While I love Apple computers and use my MacBook Pro probably more than any other machine I own, I also love putting together machines myself for eight critical reasons:

  1. It’s cheaper
  2. I choose everything, no need for compromises
  3. I don’t ever have to pay the Microsoft tax
  4. Microsoft doesn’t get any money with bundled Windows
  5. I’m not supporting Microsoft
  6. I can install FreeBSD or NetBSD from the beginning
  7. Much easier to upgrade
  8. I don’t give any money to Microsoft

The latest machine I've put together is assembled in a slimline MicroATX tower case to make it easier to take to Adelaide when I go back to study, plus it takes up much less space on my already critically full desk.

The downside is because it's so slim, the PCI and PCI express slots are only half the width. Doing a bit of research it seems for this machine at least I'll be limited to using "half height" or "low profile" cards. They certainly do look strange!

It's less of a concern for this machine because I'm using it primarily for raw number crunching and compiling large amounts of crap, so I'm just using the onboard graphics. Plus, the board has inbuilt FireWire 400 ports, gigabit ethernet and a generous number of USBs… I'll probably need another gigabit ethernet port before anything else.

Anyone know where you can get a low profile PCI express gigabit ethernet card? ;-)