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What Would Be Your Dream Machine? 213

isaachulvey asks: "If you could put together your dream machine with any components you want, what would it be? Obviously price is not a factor here or we'd all be putting together 800 MHz systems with 128 MB of RAM. This is your dream machine, so be creative, go as over the top as you need, remember overkill is not a crime."
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What Would Be Your Dream Machine?

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  • Linux compatible (Score:5, Interesting)

    by linvir ( 970218 ) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @02:28PM (#18387587)

    All I want is a machine 100% compatible with my Linux distro of choice. If I can have that, I don't care about the specs.

    • by wolrahnaes ( 632574 ) <{sean} {at} {}> on Saturday March 17, 2007 @03:53PM (#18388457) Homepage Journal
      I'm absolutely certain that my circa-1991 IBM PS/1 is completely supported by Linux. 25MHz 486SX, 20MB RAM, 129MB hard drive, and a 2400 baud modem in the ISA slot.

      I'll trade you for whatever partially incompatible hardware you've got today, since you don't care about the specs.
    • by GreggBz ( 777373 )
      I was hoping for a fun comment(s). Instead I get posturing to show what extreme Linux die hards some of you are. Yay for Linux, I love it and all, but come on men, have you no imagination?

      Anyway, my dream machine is whatever I can tinker with and learn cool stuff from, and that's usually not a PC, and changes quite frequently. I'd like to play with some serious SGI workstations sometime, that's my current obsession.
      • by linvir ( 970218 )
        A Linux die-hard would never admit that there is Linux incompatible hardware, or that there was anything wrong with any Linux distro anywhere. I just really like it and wish it'd fucking work for once.
        • by GreggBz ( 777373 )
          Where I work, we have dozens of servers that run Linux day in day out, for years at a time. So in a sense it works brilliantly. I've used it on the Desktop at home since probably 1996, (I now use XP mostly, Linux gets exhausting heh) and yes, it's gotten to the point where it almost does work, with almost all hardware. But I think to get over that last hump, to have Windows level hardware compatibility, more people have to adopt it, and my friend, the key to that is cultural not technical. This is of cou
          • I don't have a system that isn't fully Linux compatible. On my main machine, for instance, I have an nVidia video card...check....wacom graphics tablet...check.....Viewsonic 22" widescreen at 1680x1050 thumbdrives dvd drive plays and tv tuner card is made specifically for Linux and worked automatically on first boot....check...HP photosmart printer...check. Of course it's a mutt I put together and made sure to only buy Linux compatible parts for.
        • Linux will run on ANY hardware that Windows XP runs on, if you don't mind running shim software.
          The Answer []

          The performance hit is minimal (like 5%, practically unnoticeable), it takes about another 128M of memory on top of any other hardware requirements, and it isn't really suitable for running games in Linux, but other than that - it's the cat's meow, a 100% solution for running Linux on any machine that will run XP. As a bonus, you can backup your entire Linux box by shutting it down and burning the VM f

    • Would love to be able to run a modern OS on Harvard Architecture hardware - something like OpenBSD [] on a Data General AViiON with lots and lots of Motorolla 88K CPUs [].

      More recently, a big honkin hypertransport backplane with a mix of quad-core Opterons [] and FPGAs [].

      Bonus points if there's an onboard analog processing unit [].

      Soundcard would have to be the LynxTWO-C []: six input channels of 200K samples per second at 24-bits per sample.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by networkBoy ( 774728 )
        I too was thinking retro. I'm torn between wanting a fully loaded and totally decked out (functional) PDP/11 or a Cray Y/MP . . .
        but if you want the imagination station:

        I want a computer with the following specs:
        numa memory
        1024 bit vector math units (128 of em should do)
        64x64bit CISC processors (core two duo EE)
        a couple dozen of those multithreading jobbies from sun
        and a full memory addressable array of spartan FPGAs ready to go.
        For disk I would like 1TB of DDR2 ram battery backed with redundant controller
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by networkBoy ( 774728 )
          you know, now that I'm reading my post, fuck it.
          I want a functional quantum computer and a spaceship with warp 9.9 speed. :-)

          it's been one minute since my last post and /. is afraid I'm spamming.
          I'll take the sausage, spam, eggs, and spam with a side of vikings please.
    • ... is all of the other dream machines people have listed in this thread, put together in a Beowulf cluster...
  • I would want it to talk, kinda' like HAL, only without the killing people part. Oh, and it would have a sexy female voice.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 17, 2007 @02:33PM (#18387645)
    Is a Beowulf cluster of whatever comes in second place.
    • My dream machine has exactly the hardware, peripherals, network connection, etc. that I would come up with, if I put in the enormous amount of mind-numbingly boring time to track down the indisputable best combination of components (and they all have to be compatible with each other...) for my future usage patterns.

      It would run the OS that I would select after having tested perfectly-tuned and personally-configured versions of every OS and variant, plus all possible OS extensions, add-ons, enhancements, etc
  • 800 mhz? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 17, 2007 @02:38PM (#18387691)
    I realize there's a long queue, but how many years ago was this question submitted?
    • The guy's got a gmail address, so it can't be too old... I can't figure out what's going on here!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      A friend of mine just recently upgrade his P2 266mhz to a P3 667mhz and he's quite happy with it.
      Guess what? It runs WindowsXP quite well, he can surf the web no problems and play the awesome games that were released at that era and a great number of new small games you can get from the net, including his mmorpg of choise (runescape).
      I don't really understand it, but I guess he knows what he's doing.
      He does have PS2 and a couple of really cool board games tho.
  • C= 64 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thhamm ( 764787 ) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @02:43PM (#18387747)
    i want my C64 back. and the whole bunch of good memories too.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by lavid ( 1020121 )
      we're sorry you've lost your memory.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ai3 ( 916858 )
      But it had only 64KB of'em, which surely wasn't enough for everyone!
    • My dream machine would...

      Turn on and off instantly, no boot time
      Be ultraportable
      Run for 20 hours on a charge
      Run on off-the-shelf batteries
      Be easy to use
      Keep working if I drop it
      No hard drive, fast, rechargeable-battery backed all-RAM filesystem

      Oh wait, that's my TRS-80 Model 100 that was designed 24 years ago.

      Too bad the laptop industry hasn't quite caught up with this "obsolete" machine.

      -- John.
      • A slightly hacked ipod can achieve most of this :)
    • Contact me via email if you really want a C=64. Working condition, drives, monitor, etc. Printer ribbon might not be working though (haven't checked) Will go to the highest bidder. I have one that is taking up space.

      Anyway, my dream machine: I was thinking about a nice 64-proc Power5 or something with 64GB RAM and 20TB of disk storage. The thing could even double as a heater in the winter to "reduce" my electricity bills. And no, you probably don't want a Beowulf cluster of these ;-)

      And yes, it would
  • I'd like a Beowulf cluster in my basement. That, however, requires I first acquire a basement.

    The cluster would be running low-power/performance parts so that I wouldn't have to worry about cooling and power bills too much. It would use solid-state solutions for storage, such as a bank of CF cards mapped into one huge drive. In general, it would require next to no maintenance.
    The rest of the house would have microphones, high-def steerable video cameras, screens and speakers in every room, all fed to the cl
  • Hmm (Score:4, Funny)

    by micksam7 ( 1026240 ) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @02:51PM (#18387831)
    Can we pick two? I'd take a core 2 quad pc with two GeForce 8800GTX in SLi, and maybe a few drives in 0+1 raid. Custom built of course.

    Then perhaps a closet full of dual-processor quad-core blade servers for password cra^W^W helping out folding@home or something.
  • Ok, if the price isn't important it's already done, just get the most expensive modell. If else just give me lowend model with 256MB vram and maybe a better GPU and I'm all for it. There is hoping for may.
    • If money weren't an issue, I'd be all over a fully decked out 15" MacBook Pro. Unfortunately, I don't have the 394,000 yen to spend on the one I want (I want a JIS keyboard because I am used to the layout and it makes it much easier to switch between typing in Japanese and English).

      Of course, while we are imagining things, I'd probably also go for a fully decked out Mac Pro (quad Xeon 3GHz, 16GB memory, 3TB hard drive space, 512MB VRAM, 2 30" Cinema Displays, extra superdrive, and WiFi/Bluetooth). That is
  • Why not, the question was pretty open ended? And after changing most of the dirt in my back yard to [insert favorite precious element here], I could go buy whatever I needed.

  • Who cares when you can get a decent business machine for 400 bucks?

    I want a touch screen, with multi-point technology like on the iPhone or demonstrated here [].

    Obviously, whatever the fastest desktop hardware configuration is at the time would be a nice touch :)
    • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @03:45PM (#18388359) Journal
      In terms of form factor, I think the Psion Series 3 had it about right. I'd like an updated version. Give it an 800x480 touchscreen like the Nokia 770, a 1GHz XScale CPU, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of flash. Throw in WiFi and UMTS. Keep the keyboard. Make it about half a centimetre thinner, and add a web browser and mail client. Oh, and some kind of magic batter technology so it can get the same sort of life that the original Series 3 had...
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by JavaRob ( 28971 )

        Oh, and some kind of magic batter technology so it can get the same sort of life that the original Series 3 had...
        Please -- we are not interested in hearing about your "magic batter".
    • I belive you can get overlays that add touch screen function onto any existing screen. Some of them have dual pointers (like two mice) build into the setup. I remeber looking at them a while back when making a koisk machine out of a workstation to let customers preview product lines before making a decision.

      Google for touchscreens and I'm sure they will pop up somewhere. They were running at around 100-200 bucks depending on how clear the touch stuff was. You should be able to turn your $400 workstation int
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  • Case: Koolance PC4-1036 []
    Motherboard: Tyan Thunder n3600M []
    Raid: 3ware 9650SE-24M8 []
    Hard Drives Seagate 750GB []
    RAM water cooled []
    Power supply: Koolance 1200W []
  • by hcdejong ( 561314 ) <.hobbes. .at.> on Saturday March 17, 2007 @03:11PM (#18388017)
    Sure, it'd be fun to have the fastest computer available, but lots of power comes with drawbacks: noise and high electricity bills.

    My main machine is a Mac Mini G4, and you know, it's fast enough for just about everything I do. It's nice and quiet, and doesn't draw ludicrous amounts of power. The only drawback is its lack of room for internal harddisks. I've got two external disks connected for a total of 500 GB, and I still don't have enough space.

    I'm shopping for a PVR at the moment. AFAIK, any current machine would do for this purpose; the only thing that may pose a problem is HDTV playback. But given the lack of HDTV broadcasts where I live, this wouldn't be a dealbreaker.

    My work machine could do with a bit more power, but in my job (writing technical documents), the CPU rarely is the bottleneck. Disk speed is more of an issue. I just replaced the 4200 rpm disk in my laptop with a 7200 rpm disk, and the difference is quite remarkable.
    My ultimate work machine would be a laptop with 4 GB RAM on the fastest bus available [1], a RAID-0 using four of the fastest drives available [1], a 15" internal screen and 2 DVI ports that can drive a 30" screen each. Then again, with that RAID it wouldn't be very portable.

    1: note the lack of technicalities. I've no idea which speeds we'd be talking about. Mostly, I just don't care enough to keep up.
  • big apple (Score:3, Interesting)

    by St. Arbirix ( 218306 ) <> on Saturday March 17, 2007 @03:13PM (#18388031) Homepage Journal
    Go max out a Mac Pro on Apple's site... it's $20k.

    I could use that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 17, 2007 @03:15PM (#18388049)
    'nuff said!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Cute receptionist at work:
      What is that penguin thing "TUX" on [the back window of] your truck?

      It's the mascot of a type of operating system.

      Cute receptionist at work:
      (Dumb Look)

      It's computer stuff, you interested?

      Cute receptionist at work:
    • by Corbets ( 169101 )
      My dream machine has breasts

      Being a slashdotter, you'll likely have to settle for the machine version anyway...
  • I'd go with four of AMD's upcoming Barcelona quadcore CPUs, max out the RAM capacity, a pair of the upcoming ATI R600 video cards in Crossfire mode, one or two 30" widescreen monitors (I'm not sold on the dual screen thing), a RAID of those new 32GB Sandisk flash drives for the boot partition and a RAID of the upcoming terabyte SATA HDs for data storage so I'd never have to delete MythTV HDTV recordings (using a 3Ware SATA RAID controller?), at least a couple of HD-5500 HDTV tuners [], dual boot 64-bit Vista U
    • I want a 4 cpu AMD quad-core cpus with 4 video cards linked with 2 of them on the HTX bus and 2 on pci-e x16 2 slots with a hardware raid of sata or SAS flash drives And an high end sound card. Or 2 video card on pci-e x16 2 slots with a raid card in slot 3 and some other card (VIDEO IN?) in slot 4 with a FPGA card in the HTX slot with a co Co processor card in the other one or 2 FPGA cards.
    • While you mention those cute SANdisk drives.
      This thing [] will beat the shit out of these SANdisk-toys.
      I'd take one of these, too.
  • easy (Score:4, Funny)

    by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @03:45PM (#18388357)
    I want a machine with an original Pentium I processor (you know the one). Put that together with like 16MB of differently spec'd RAM (2-8s or 4-4s) on a mobo with capacitors circa 2001, and an IBM DeskStar 75GXP hard drive. Oh, and it should be running WinME. That's like a dream come true...
    • I want a machine with an original Pentium I processor (you know the one). Put that together with like 16MB of differently spec'd RAM (2-8s or 4-4s) on a mobo with capacitors circa 2001, and an IBM DeskStar 75GXP hard drive. Oh, and it should be running WinME. That's like a dream come true...

      About the only things you're missing are the USB-attached crotch kicker and keyboard with random TASER capability.
  • I'd like to build a mobo with a RISC descendant (PPC), Intel, and AMD processor sockets, a POST menu to select the processor of choice, and multiple flashable BIOS (post-POST) banks. Maybe even made so that the other processors can be accessed (somehow) after boot. Two top video cards (nV and ATI), TV tuner capable, whatever SoundBlaster's latest extreme audio card preferably with RCA or bare wire connectors like the back of a home audio receiver. After that I guess it'd be just technicalities. Network,
  • What I want in a "dream machine" laptop is modest, at best.

    • 13" - 14.1" display. I really don't want anything larger, and anything smaller is a PDA.
    • 80+ GB 1.8" or 2.5" hard drive. These days, anything smaller is unreasonable, but anything larger, and that's what USB storage is for. :P
    • 802.11g, or n when it matures. What I'm describing is a mobile workstation, so I want to take it literally anywhere.
    • Extremely low-power CPU with a reasonably high clock (1GHz or more). I'm looking for 9-hour battery per
  • well...

    core 2 duo passive cooled
    two gigs of ram
    a silent psu
    quad raid 0 made of a real hardware raid card and 4 sandisk extreme III 16 gb cf cards
    any decent passive cooled 3d graphics card (got a radeon 9800 pro with heatpipe now)
    a really good soundcard
    19" tft display with a mva screen
    microsoft natural 4000 keyboard and a DIN A5 size wacom digitizer

    and no, i am not into graphics, i just use the digitizer instead of a mouse, because of less wrist pain (rsi sucks).
  • Do all the components need to actually exist? If not, I'd say that I want a machine with a quantum co-processor. Heck, if we're really getting outlandish, maybe with DNF installed as well.
    If we're going to be looking at reality, I've been considering putting together a core2 quad system with 8GB of ram which is totally worth it now that Maya has a 64-bit version.
    As far as things that would be neat, but that I wouldn't actually spend any money on, I think it would be neat to have dual SLI video cards (do
  • IBM pSeries 595, fully loaded.
  • Performance doesn't hardly matter. I have one system that does all the video encoding, game playing, etc., and the rest of my machines are just the cheapest hardware I can find on pricewatch when the old one finally breaks...

    Mostly, I'd be happiest with the quietest, lowest power equipment I can get. A 25W Turion CPU, 80%+ efficient Seasonic PSU, etc. Not sure about GPUs, but something low powered, but has full-featured open source 3D drivers, and TV-out. Integrated chips need not apply.

    Incidentally, th
  • I'd like a laptop basically the same as an X60s, except with a full-size keyboard(meaning backspace and \ need to be bigger), and a built-in video camera, like how the macbooks have it. And probably the option of having an ultrabay w/o the stupid dock.
  • Something light, very portable, rugged, and powered by solar or hand crank, that could handle word-processing easily. Ideally, it could be about the dimensions of a laptop keyboard without numpad, and have a small form-factor, thus being easy to carry along while backpacking. I know it's not exactly a l33t gaming machine, but it's my dream machine. :P
  • Keep it simple. Here are my only criteria for a dream computer: No moving parts A sound card that has a built-in mixer and digital out, I'll let my receiver do the decoding for DTS and Dolby Digital Lots and lots of disk space Linux fully supports it A graphics card that can do 1080P out If I want to play games, I'll use a console. Give me something that has excellent 2D performance.
  • I'm going to assume this means "something that might be possible to make currently or very soon, but is not just something you can go to dell/hp/etc and just configure online".


    It would be a laptop/notebook/whatever. It would be smallish, with maybe a 15" widescreen (1280 x 800). It would be light weight, maybe 2 pounds. It would be less than 3/4" thick. It would would have at least 16gig of very fast flash (or one of the other new nonvolatile memory chips coming RSN) for the OS and most frequently
  • For guts, whatever. Give me a couple gigs ram, decent graphics card, and multicore processor (at least dual).

    But for aesthetics, give me the classic steampunk keyboard mod featured in this slashdot post [] (except based on Model M Space Saver []), and this 30 inch Apple cinema screen monitor []. I'd apply a little black paint and gold leaf accents to the monitor to make it go with the keyboard.

    The actual computer would have a black case, be as silent as possible, and be hidden beneath the desk.

  • A Zalman TNN 500a [] Case or a simulat custom built one with all that fits inside without making noise. All x86 CPUs and all memory that fits in, all OSes and most used software ready configured and installed into an extended BIOS ready to run 5 seconds after I booted. No HDDs, all SSDs. The fastest OpenGL card available.

    Curiously enough, the Mac Pro Quad Core maxed out with all that fits in (~19 000 €) comes pretty much close to what I'd consider the best possible workstation.

    Imagine a maxed out Quad Cor
  • Something really fast, say with HyperTransport links to dedicated hardware coprocessors designed to encode MPEG, DivX/Xvid, H264, VC1, and whatever other codecs take a long time to encode (FPGA's that can be updated down the road to support newer codecs?). I want to be able to click "export video to iPod", and have it immediately pop up "Done", regardless of video format.
  • Based around Core Duo.

    Or perhaps a Linux tablet running on Antaur, if someone could come up with some decent HWR for Linux.
  • 19" laptop, 200G disk, 4G RAM, USB ports on both sides, has firewire, no legacy ports (PS/2, modem, parallel), has DVI out, wireless that works without ndiswrapper or any "binary firmware" loading nonsense, soundcard that has excellent ALSA support, gigabit wired interface, battery that lasts 12 hours between charges that's also swappable without powering down the system, CF card interface, high resolution with good 2d performance and open drivers (3d relatively unimportant), 5 year comprehensive warranty,
  •'d probably have one of these []; I've already ran out of windows+* shortcuts to assign.
  • by MooseMuffin ( 799896 ) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @06:52PM (#18390095)
    ...that regardless of specs, this dream machine will have to have a vagina.
  • I'd like one with 2^16 quantum processors running in parallel, each running at 1 terahertz with 1 exabyte of RAM. On top of that, I'd like the monitor to be wall sized with a 16M x 16M resolution where each pixel has a less than 10 nanosecond response time and perfect real-life color reproduction. For storage, anything that supports 1 yottabyte of storage would be used in a redundant striped setup. Neural as well as spoken and body language interfaces, of course.
  • Well, just get the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud [] out of Limited Beta, and they've pretty much already built my dream machine.

    The latency is a little lousy, but the horse power is awesome, the bandwidth is pretty good, and the storage space [] is effectively infinite.

    And then I guess I'll take a fully loaded Alienware Area-51 ALX as a front-end for it at about, what, $12,000? Sounds good to me.
  • Then its not even a realistic question. I can think of a few in the million dollar range that would be nice to have.
  • No matter what it was, in two years it'd be obsolete. The machine would have to come with a support contract that said, "Every year the machine is replaced with a top of the line model."

    Hey, you said price was no object. :)
    • by dargaud ( 518470 )

      No matter what it was, in two years it'd be obsolete. The machine would have to come with a support contract that said, "Every year the machine is replaced with a top of the line model."

      Hey, maybe there's an idea:

      1. start a company that sells top of the line systems to subscribers
      2. every year you receive new top of the line replacements for whatever mobo, mem or disk is faster and yo send back the old part
      3. company sells older part in still good machines
      4. profit
  • What I want is really two computers.

    First you build a big RAID server, with lots of storage. Put this in a closet or something, such that it runs and doesn't overheat, but you aren't near it and you don't hear any noise it makes.

    Second, you build a desktop with absolutely no moving parts. Specs: AMD X2 processor that dissipates 35 Watts max; giant heatsink; motherboard with passive heatsink only on the north bridge chip; PicoPSU power supply with silent brick; no hard drive; passively cooled graphics adap
  • To even begin to answer this we need more information.

    A home PC type machine? With current off-the-shelf technology? Server? Desktop? Graphics? Games? Number crunching? How much space can it take up? Do we have ulimited power feeds? Or...?

  • I currently have a Core 2 Duo 6600 with 4 gigs of RAM, a couple of Raptors and a few 400-gig drives for bulk storage. The video card is a 7900 GS. To make it a "dream" machine, I think all I'd have to do would be to add some more disk drives.

    Sure, I could go for a Core 2 Extreme, or even for the 8-socket, dual-core Opteron with 16 gigs from my office, or SLI video cards, etc., But the speed benefits to me would be pretty minor.

    If Adobe would get with the times
  • Definitely a 2007 BMW 335Ci Coupe.
  • I would like a small quantum computer with a big 3D screen and an infinitely fast internet connection that I can play MystOnline on. That this computer should harm the environment as little as possible goes without saying of course.
  • What I think of could be feasable in a few years;

    Hardware: at least 3 servers running a virtual backbone like ESX/XEN, 3 portable wireless thin clients for the output of whatever virtual machine I choose (I prefer separate desktops instead of one giant desktop), a wireless network capable of enough graphic throuput to the clients
    CPU, GPU etc. should be able to run with passive cooling, being able to deliver performance but also to throttle back to very low power use (like VIA) when idle, flash disks that a
  • Monitor: GVS Panoramic [] quintuple display. 5x 20", 9600x1200 resolution, or

    Zenview Arena [], 6 screens, one 2560x1600 and five 1600x1200

    Input: 3D motion controller 3DConnexion SpacePilot []
  • A maxed out Mac Pro (for MacOS) and a maxed out XW9400 (from HP) for Linux and FreeBSD.
    But I'd wait with the former until Leopard and iLife 07 is released, because I can get them for free with the new hardware.
  • Is so small I don't even notice the lump where it's surgically placed inside my body. It runs on electricity generated within my body by consuming fat. It interfaces directly with my nervous system, and can do nifty tasks such as recording and playback of all sensory input, visual overlays over real world data, etc... It is immensively powerful, and won't need an upgrade for several life-times. It has easy-to-use software that is both intuitive (reacts to your reflexes), easy to learn, and hacker friendly.

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson