Adam Zion on 11 Dec 2010 17:49:50 -0800

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[PLUG] System76 Ratel Ultra 1st + 2nd impressions

Quick background: is a linux-specific PC maker. In other
words, when you buy a PC from them, it comes w/Ubuntu linux, and no M$
tax. Prices were acceptable, so I went with them.

My first mistake, as I said in an earlier post, was to overlook the
fact that I couldn't just pop my old EIDE HD + DVD/RW drives into this
new box, since it's SATA-only. Well, I copied the data over the
100baseT connection- slow, but it worked- and ordered a SATA DVD/RW
drive from

Now, the PC I ordered, the Ratel Ultra, is a *very* compact
mini-tower. And when I say very, I mean it: 7.60" x 11.02" x 8.19".
That's less than 1/3 the size of the Dell mid-tower it replaced. And,
it leaves virtually no spare room inside the case. As in, no room for
a 2nd HD, and very little wiggle room to install that new DVD/RW. When
I opened the case- on both sides- to install the new drive + connect
the SATA drive to the mobo, I disconnected the indicator + power leads
from the front of the case. After much frustration + trial-and-error,
I was able to find the manual for the specific mobo- an Intel DH57JG,
FWIW- and connect the leads properly. This was much more aggravation
than I expected, though, and I've built probably dozens of PCs over my
life. This case is a bit too small for comfort... but it looks great.

Conclusion: nice PC, performs well (running 64-bit Ubuntu), decent
price. But don't expect to be able to work inside of the case unless
you have a lot more hair to spare than I do, since you'll probably end
up pulling out a bunch of it.


Adam+Zion, MCSE+I, Registered Linux User #471910
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