I just received an order two new bits o' equipment: an Ultra 2000va UPS and a Western Digital 320GB hard drive.
Ultra 2000va UPS
What: An Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) is a essentially a battery backup for electronics, in my case, computers and peripherals. Basically, how it works is it plugs into the wall and your computer plugs into it. While plugged into the wall, the UPS' internal battery is charged. When I use my computer, it draws power from the battery, not from the wall socket, that way there is a complete disconnect between the power coming out of the wall outlet and the power entering the computer. So, during a thunderstorm, if the power goes out, my system will stay on because it's already running of the UPS battery. Also, if there is a power surge, it will only destroy the charging mechanism instead of blowing up my computer.
Why: It will protect my equipment from power surges and outages. Our apartment has horrible wiring. Everything in it is electric; the dishwasher, stove, and furnace. All electric. When the stove is on, I can hear crackling through my PC speakers, and that isn't good. With the UPS, there will be a constant, even flow of electricity to the computer and components making for a longer, more reliable equipment lifespan. Even if the apartment power totally goes out, the system will still run for about 15 minutes on the battery. These are a good idea for any piece, or pieces, of home electronics you want to survive a power surge or outage. I would recommend doing some research about how much power the equipment pulls before purchasing one. A good rule of thumb is 1000va to 2000va UPS it plenty for a low to medium end home theater system.
The sucker cost over $200, but I look at it as cheap insurance to protect the equipment. The other catch is it had be a massive 2000va UPS because the friggen Mac Pro is a such a power monster that it can spike over 1750vas when coming out of sleep or when all the drives are spinning. On the plus side, though, I should be able to run my external Lacie drive and my monitors off of it along with the Mac.
Western Digital 320GB hard drive (7200/rpm SATA-II)
What: A massive, inexpensive hard drive.
Why: I bought this for a couple reasons. One, I really want to see if I can get Windows to run on the Mac. My main goal for this, honestly, is to play games. I do also have bunch of non-gaming applications (DVDShrink, Reason, and IMToo Converter) that are PC-only that I would like to run. The Mac has a nice graphics card (ATI x19000 XT) that is well-suited for playing games. However, since most computer games require Microsoft's proprietary DirectX driver platform, it will only be fully utilized on using Windows. The second reason is I want to install and play around with Linux. I'll probably opt for Ubuntu, but I would like to try Debian, since the Windows Manager is so friggen cool looking. Either way, it will be interesting to see how well I can get these operating systems running on what used to be a totally closed hardware architecture. The future is now!
I'll write a review of each after I've used them for a while, and sorry if the most boring post you've ever read. I wrote it in the traditional geek fashion, with pens in my pocket and tape on my glasses.