Monday, 6 August 2007

New HP S3150 PC

Yesterday, T and I bought a new PC from our local PC World. A few years ago the thought of doing this would have been unthinkable, but for me personally, the days of building from scratch are over and the extra cost of getting a pre-built machine is negligable.

The model I originally specced went end of life last week, so I had to look for an alternative.

The new machine is an HP S3150 with a Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM, 250GB hard disk, TV tuner and a 20" HP TFT widescreen monitor. It's not the most powerful gaming rig ever built, but will be perfect for T's needs, and it's got a respectable Windows Experience score.

The S3150 is designed as a media centre PC and is tiny: about 11cm wide and under 30cm high. It fits nicely at the bottom of the PC desk and is quite quiet (but not silent). As a media-oriented PC, it's got a remote control (that I haven't played with yet) and a wireless keyboard and mouse. I've traditionally not been a fan of these, but I've been pleasantly surprised by the ones supplied.

It's running Vista Home Premium and having spent about an hour removing all the pre-installed software that scatters unwanted icons on the desktop (and the obnoxious Norton Internet Security), it's now at the stage where I'm ready to do a proper system backup.

One of the tools provided allows the creation of a hardware diagnostics boot CD which I've done but not tested. It also has the ability to generate some recovery media (to restore the PC back to its factory defaults), and I'm under the impression Vista has it's own tools, but need to investigate these further. I've read that some people have had problems creating recovery media with DVD-RW (or was it DVD+RW) so will need to check this out.

Interestingly, the 250GB is partitioned with a 50GB C: drive, a smaller 8GB(?) recovery partition and the remaining space unpartitioned. This would surely confuse inexperienced, normal users.

I've setup users for me (the default administrator user) and T (a normal user), but I've not installed any anti-virus software yet. I'm intriuged to see what Microsoft OneCare is like and will investigate further.

Also need to work out a regular way of backing up the system for T - probably using an external hard drive, and will need to get a small print server so that we can both share the printer.

All in all, a lot of fun to be had with it.

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