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Puget Custom Computers October 2002 Newsletter

Posted on October 25, 2004 by Jon Bach

This has been an eventful summer for Puget Custom Computers.  From the time we moved to a larger building in August, we have continued to enjoy growth and have found a great stability in our weekly production schedule.  We are also seeing more and more local interest, which is exactly what I would like to see!   This is a newsletter we send out from time to time, which you subscribed to on our website.  If you want of, no problem!  Just let me know or follow the link at the bottom.
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Over the last few days, with literally no warning, our sales have dropped off to nearly nothing!   Our web traffic remains constant, so I'm a bit baffled, but assume it to be a coincidence.  When it rains it pours, and vice versa!   And a welcome rest it is, as it has finally allows me to focus on a few projects that I have been wanting to tackle for a long time!  First on the list is the integration of benchmark data into our website.  This has the potential to be a very useful system if implemented correctly.  For the last two weeks, we have been running a series of benchmarks on each system we build.  I have finally had the time to build an import tool for that data to get it into our database, and have also built a very rudimentary reporting tool.  If you had a system built by us over the last few weeks, I encourage you to log in and see if benchmark data is available for your system.
Right now, the only tool built is one that will graph specific aspects of your system (CPU, memory, hard disk, video) as they compare to the average of all the systems we have built.  This is a good start, but it leads in a depressing direction!  Since computer technology is evolving so quickly, it means that you can log in at first and see your benchmarks well above the average.then log in a few months later to see them fall well below average!   Take a look at https://www.pugetsystems.com/dpic.php?pic=bgraph.gif for a sample of this benchmark reporting.
Although the reporting tool is very basic at this time, as we accumulate more and more data, we will be able to do some very useful things.  We will be able to make graphs that compare specific components, which I am really looking forward to.  To be able to say and have concrete evidence that hard drive 1 is exactly xx% faster than hard drive 2 will be very valuable in our pre-sale consulting.  When we get a few hundred system benchmarks in the database, we may even allow you to "virtual benchmark" a system even as you build it on our configuration page!  Needless to say, if we do this right, it could literally revolutionize the custom computer process by providing concrete performance comparisons and bringing absolute elimination to all the hype out there!
I spend so much time on this topic because I would love to hear you ideas.  This kind of data makes many types of analysis possible, so if you have other ideas, let's hear them!
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It has been a while since there have been any major changes to our website, but change is definitely on the horizon.  Just today we added dual Athlon MP and deal Pentium4 Xeon systems to our configuration page, and there are many more additions I would like to make.  Rack mount chassis and RAID configurations are just two more things I would like our configuration page to accommodate.  Unfortunately, our configuration page is becoming a hulk of a page that is not only a bear to administer (at over 12 pages of code!), but also takes quite a while to load even on broadband connections.  Although I like the flexibility it offers in its current form, it is inevitable that we will need to split it up.  We will probably end up making separate pages for entry level, enthusiast, and server systems, but could also split it up by motherboard type.  As always, your input is always welcomed!
There are a few hardware articles that MUST be written soon.  A current comparison of the Athlon XP and Pentium4 has been need for quite some time.  With the huge heat generated by the newest Athlon XP's, and the takeover of the performance lead by Intel with their 2.8GHz Pentium 4, the situation is quite different from last January when I wrote my last "AMD vs Intel" article.  I have found myself becoming less and less "pro-AMD" as I have to deal with more and more heat issues and noise issues from the huge AMD fans.  There is also a whole new line of Asus motherboards that must be compared, and a performance comparison of the ATI Radeon 9700 would be nice to get out as well.  I'm not holding my breath, but I hope to get at least one or two of those out this week!
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This week also marks the much anticipated availability of AMD Athlon XP 2400+ and 2600+ processors, putting a bit more pressure on Intel, who has had the lead for quite some time with their 2.8GHz processor.  The AMD chips have been listed on our website for many weeks, but it is not until now that we have finally been able to order them in.  Huge hard drives are now checking in at 200GB, and the new Audigy 2 was recently released with 6.1 channel sound.  What else is upcoming?  Plenty!  We're eagerly awaiting nVidia's answer to the ATI Radeon 9700, which should be coming in the next few months.  SerialATA hard drives are also expected at the beginning of next year.  Motherboards with dual-DDR memory controllers will also give an aggressive challenge to PC1066 RDRAM -- the long standing performance leader.
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Like I said, it has been a slow week!  If you have any questions or are looking for a computer, this is the perfect time.  Remember that if you want a computer built this weekend, we need to have your order by Thursday at 2pm PST.  If you're looking to place an order, get it in by this Sunday and I'll flag you for free shipping!   
Thank you,
Jon Bach
Puget Custom Computers
(425) 885-7014 voice / fax