A recipe for building the
Perfect [BeOS] and [Linux]-
capable machine:

Part 1: Chips and Boards

Start with a dual processor-capable and
AGP-equipped motherboard like this
[Soyo]-built beauty
that you can get at an online auction.

Why dual-CPU, you might ask? The answer is simple - just because BeOS is so great at multiprocessing. In fact, ever since the BeBox days, Be has exploited the concept like nobody else in the business. Besides, switching CPU's on and off on the fly - now that's the ultimate geek experience!

So, go to Egghead or UBid and start bidding...

Mix in a couple of genuine 400+ MHz PPGA
[Celeron] chips from [Intel]
and at least
128 MB of PC100 SDRAM [Memory]

If you are still wondering why I suggest Celerons and not Pentium III's, then you haven't been paying attention. First of all, there is very little difference in performance between the two for anything but the most demanding applications. Secondly, with two Celerons selling for less than what Intel charges for a single PIII, the former are undoubtedly a true bargain.

And, what about AMD? Well, let's wait for them to come up with dual-Athlon motherboards and then we'll see who it the king of the hill. Until then, as far as I am concerned, Intel is the only game in town.

Naturally, if you buy the value-priced PPGA
processors, you will need the so-called
"slocket" adapters to convert your
Socket 370 [Celeron] CPUs to Slot 1.

These [Adapter] [Adapter] from
[Tekram] can do a really good job.

All right, it's no secret that Abit is making the BP6 dual-Socket 370 mainboard, so you don't have to use "slocket" adapters anymore. But then again, if you buy their board, you will automatically give up the ability to upgrade your system to Slot 1-based CPU's without replacing the whole thing. In the end, the choice is yours and yours alone...

In order to experience the full power of modern
3D acceleration, you should not skimp
on your video adapter.

Go ahead and get the awesome third generation
[Voodoo3 3000 AGP] card from [3dfx]
and you will be blown away!

Why Voodoo3? Because it's totally awesome, that's why! Actually, Be just so happens to support 3D acceleration for the Voodoo family, but not for nVidia TNT or TNT2. And, as unfortunate as it is, as of BeOS release 4.5, neither Matrox Millennium G400 nor ATI Rage 128 is supported.

As far as sound goes, I suggest a rather inexpensive but
extremely well-supported [Ensoniq AudioPCI] audio
board from those [Creative] guys.

I wish that BeOS could use all the nifty features of Sound Blaster Live! For now, however, there is no reason to shell the extra money for it while Ensoniq AudioPCI can be had for a fraction of the price of Live! With 32-voice wave-table synthesis and full-duplex audio support, Ensoniq is a steal of a deal.

Part 2: Drives

To house all the various operating systems,
you must have a spacious hard drive.

The ultra-quiet 14.4 GB 7200 rpm UltraDMA
[Deskstar 14GXP] by [IBM]
is one of the best values on the market.

To tell the truth, I am not partial to IBM. It is just that lately the company which produced the very first hard drive many moons ago, is getting back on track with some of the best performing models around. However, hard drives are becoming more and more of a commodity, so if you can find a good deal on a high capacity unit from Quantum, Western Digital, Seagate, Maxtor, Fujitsu, or Samsung, there is no reason to take IBM over any of them. Just make sure you are getting a drive that's rated at 7200 rpm or more.

In order to be able to frequently load (and re-load)
your software, only a fast CD-ROM drive will do.

This 50x [CD-ROM] from [Acer Peripherals]
has proven to fit the bill quite nicely.

Actually, CD-ROM drives are even more of a commodity than hard drives. Among the many brands on the market are Creative Labs, Hi-Val, and ASUS. Of course, if you really care about CD-ROM performance, you should check out the marvelous TrueX drives from Kenwood.

What about DVD-ROM? For that we'll have to wait until Be resolves the licensing issues. In the meantime, the 10x slot-loading drives from Pioneer seem to be all the rage.

With tons of great deals on CD-RW drives, like this 4x2x8
[CD-RW drive] sold under the [Pacific Digital] name,
it's hard to resist getting one.

Although BeOS cannot yet make any use of CD writers, Linux can. Plus, having a CD-ROM drive and a CD-RW drive, both hooked up to the secondary IDE bus, lets you make direct disk-to-disk copies.

You should also consider drives from HP, Sony, Yamaha, Creative Labs, Iomega, and Hi-Val.

But just in case you need to boot
from an old-fashioned floppy
make sure to install a 3.5"
[Floppy drive] by [Teac]

On the second thought, who cares about floppy drives nowadays? Get the cheapest one around and be done with it!

Part 3: On the outside

Getting a good case is a must. I recommend
the great-looking Phoenix Blue

(pictured on the left)

from [ColorCase]
equipped with a powerful 300 Watt
power supply.

All right, so these folks also sell some of the ugliest translucent cases around but some of their offerings (and the Phoenix series in particular) are, in our opinion, rather attractive. However, if the very thought of a case that is anything but utilitarian seems like a waste of your valuable resources, check out the all-time geek favorite - Enlight. Other alternatives include SuperMicro, In-Win, Antec, Yeong Yang, and A-Top, just to name a few.

No computer is complete without a large
monitor and this 0.27mm dot pitch 17"
[Acer] is a great [Monitor]
at a bargain price that will please
most home users.

Again, the choices seem overwhelming, but a few contenders have managed to stay on top for a long time now. ViewSonic, Princeton, and Samsung are best known for their good values while NEC, Sony, and Mitsubishi rule much of the high end.

As for the flat-panel technology, it needs to come down in price before I could recommend a "space-saving" monitor. When faced with a choice of a cute-but-tiny 15" flat TFT panel or a giant 21" CRT for about the same price, I somehow tend to prefer the later. Oddly enough, I don't have much passion for electric cars either. I can only hope that Mother Nature will forgive me for not being environmentally conscious...

If you have a good stand alone Hi-Fi sound system,
perhaps you should just get a basic set of
multimedia speakers for gaming.

[Labtec] has some great values.

Their LCS-2420 set of
comes complete with a Max-X subwoofer
and a monitor mounting system.

Everybody and their dog are marketing PC multimedia speakers. Makers range from Altec Lansing, who caters almost exclusively to the computer speaker industry, to Bose, a company that made a big name in high-end home entertainment. Trying to pinpoint a good deal among all the offerings from Cambridge SoundWorks, Yamaha, JBL, Sony, Philips, Creative Labs, MidiLand, and others is truly an intimidating task. Worse yet, you have to actually make a trip to a neighborhood computer store to find the one set that sounds best to your ear.

Unlike it is the case with monitors, flat speakers are actually taking the market by storm. Offering high geek factor, good sound, and aggressive pricing, Sonigistix and Benwin are the two companies who are leading the way.

Don't forget to safeguard your
investment with a good
[Surge Protector]
by [Interex]

I am sure that its generous $50,000 connected
equipment investment protection will
give you a peace of mind.

I also highly recommend Kensington SmartSockets, an ingenious design that incorporates color-coded sockets that are spaced far apart to provide enough space for large transformer bricks. And you thought that a surge protector is just a surge protector...

Better yet, consider an uninterruptible power supply from APC or Opti-UPS. Don't be left in the dark when Y2K finally arrives!

Part 4: Connectivity

If you are lucky to have a fast network connection,
you need a well-supported 10/100BaseT
PCI card similar to FA310TX
[Network Card] from [NetGear]

Only a limited number of network cards are supported under BeOS, so choose wisely. For now, you should stick with Intel EtherExpress, 3Com Etherlink XL, or one of the Digital 21xxx-based cards like the one mentioned above.

But, if you are still stuck with old-fashioned dial-up,
the best thing to get is an external modem
like this Tidalwave 56k V.90
[Modem] by [Boca Research]

In essence, any (non-USB) external modem will do the trick. Some of the other respectable brands are 3Com, Diamond and Zoom.

If you feel adventurous, consider an internal modem, such as ActionTec Desklink or Archtek SmartLnk. However, it goes without saying that you should steer clear of the infamous WinModems and their cheap imitations.

Part 5: Input devices

Set yourself free with fabulous cordless
[Keyboard] and [Mouse]
from [Logitech]

Whoever still thinks that a $10 keyboard is "good enough," has never typed a research paper overnight. A poor soul who said that a $5 mouse "would suffice," will be forever left wondering why he cannot get to the next level in his favorite game. And, he who has not experienced the freedom of not having those damn wires cluttering his desktop, will never know how badly his comfort is being compromised. Enough said.

If you like racing simulations, their force feedback
[Wheel and Pegals]
set will keep you entertained for hours.

Oh yes, I know all too well that BeOS doesn't support this kind of gaming gear. But maybe, just maybe, after all is said and done, it is worth while to set up a tiny little partition for Windows in order to play Need for Speed 3 (which is, incidentally, bundled with the Voodoo3 3000 AGP card).

And, finally, for all those other action games,
I suggest the PlayStation-like
[GamePad Pro]
brought to you by [Gravis]

Yeah, just another Windows-only gadget. But you never know, one of those lonely winter nights, you might find yourself wishing you had one...

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