I got a new computer this week. I had known for a while my Windows box wasn't cutting it anymore, but I wasn't doing any heavy Windows development so I let it slide. That's no longer true, and it took very little pushing for me to go "OK that's it."
My old box was pretty old - 1 Gig of RAM and a Athlon 2 Ghz single core. The video card wasn't bad - I had upgraded that last year to a GeForce 7300, but it was AGP bus, not PCI-E.
The upshot of this is for a long time I used to upgrade my PC rig every year or so, and on given year I could recycle a lot of components, but this time I haven't upgraded the core components since . . . 2003? Maybe 2004. It's been a while. So this time there was nothing other than the sound card and the DVD burner I would have been willing to migrate. Since I have to buy everything, might as well get a preassembled box, right?
Here's the kicker. Ask me what the best Windows development box is these days?:
Yes that's right. I bought a Mac as my Windows box. Crazy? Like a fox I tell you. These days, with Boot Camp (and Parallels Desktop! OMFG - how insane is this software?) So first off, what did I buy? It has 2 dual-core 2.66 Ghz processors, 2 Gigs of RAM (1 Gig default from Apple and 1 Gig bought from a third party vendor), a 500 Gig SATA drive and an ATI Radeon X1900. Kept the two LCD monitors, naturally. It came with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, but right now I'm using my old faithful MS Natural Keyboard and the wired Mighty Mouse (so they play nicely with the KVM switch as well).
If you're not up on all the Apple stuff, Boot Camp is the software that lets you dual-boot between OS X and Windows XP. I partitioned the drive into a 200 Gig NTFS partition and a 300 Gig HPFS+ partition for OS X. I installed XP Professional on the Boot Camp partition, but I haven't really used it for anything yet. That's where Parallels Desktop comes in. I expect I'll use Boot Camp a fair amount for gaming and working on heavy 3d apps. But for basic "let's do the security patch update shuffle" Parallels lets me run the *same XP install* virtualized onto my OS X System. At the moment I have XP running in a window, VPNed up and running the big Perforce "suck all the data down" task. (Looking. Parallels seems to consume about 20-30% of one core to do that. Leaving me THREE cores faster than than my old Windows box completely unloaded, plus 70% of the last core for XP to waste doing dumb crap.) Now RAM is a bit skinty - and the XP box only has a half gig of RAM allocated and that probably won't fly for development. I might go ahead and bump the RAM up to 4 Gigs. We'll see. Parallels can even do this crazy mode where the XP desktop disappears and the Windows apps just run straight on the OS X desktop. When I do that I end up with the OS X dock and menubar on the left monitor and an XP Start Menu on the right taskbar. It's cats and dogs, playing together! It's crazy I tell you!
So anyway, introducing TinyGod:
The name is a reference to a very old Penny Arcade strip. It humors me to A ) reverse the Mac/PC polarity of the "Tiny God" reference and B ) call that behemoth of a box "TinyGod". But I'm a geek like that.
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