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# Thursday, December 7, 2017
I really really liked the HP MediaSmart Windows Home Server that I bought years ago. It was one of the best Microsoft devices that I have ever purchased and just sat in the corner doing its job quietly. Since it was awesome, that means Microsoft created a new version that sucked and then discontinued it. In Microsoft's defense they have baked a lot of the functionality directly into Windows 10, but I wish they would have kept the Home Server platform alive. My Windows Home Server is still chugging along, but I am slowly migrating its tasks to a Synology RS816 NAS that I bought last year. I bought the RS816 specifically because it was the cheapest rack mountable unit that Synology makes. So far I am enjoying having it as an addition to my network and it has a host of features that just work, including storing photos, security camera monitoring, and VPN access. The RS816 has built in slots for 4 drives and I started out with two 4TB Western Digital Red drives in a RAID 1 configuration, giving me a redundant 4TB of storage. I store movies on it in an MKV format and Blue-ray movies in particular can be over 20GB in size so I quickly started to fill up that 4TB of storage. Synology has made adding space a very easy task and I put together a video that walks through installing new drives, from physically putting the drives into the RS816 to configuring the drives in the DiskStation web interface. I added two more 4TB Western Digital Red drives giving me a total of 12TB (4 X 4TB drives in a Raid 5 configuration), using one of the drives for redundancy. The one thing that stood out in the process is that it actually took 2 days for the RAID to be reorganized onto the new drives. The original 4TB was still available for read and write access during this time and after 2 days of the NAS working through things the additional spaces was finally available.

Thursday, December 7, 2017 9:29:57 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] - Trackback - Save to - Digg This! - Follow me on Twitter
# Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Well the new computer that I mentioned wanting to build in a previous post is finally built and I would have to say that I have achieved what I was looking for which was no longer wasting time waiting for applications to open and for Visual Studio to build. Hopefully this one will last a while as I am going to be much more diligent about keeping the clutter off of it and install most noncritical applications to VPC images. I still need to pick up a new keyboard and mouse for it, but other than that everything is in working order. Below is what pieces where finally assembled to build the system. It is a 64 bit system with 4GB of RAM running Windows Vista Ultimate 64 bit edition. I currently have a user experience rating of 4.6 out of 5.9. My memory is the low item at 4.6 and the gaming graphics is the next lowest at 5.6. Everything else rates a 5.9 which from my understanding is the top rating. I'm not exactly sure why my memory is rating low, but I am assuming it is due to the speed. I would also like to note that besides a couple installation issues because of using a 64 bit OS, I have experience no issues with Vista and I am quite happy to be using it. I do get prompted due to UAC, but it has so far not been that much of a nuisance for me, and I don't get hit with it on a daily basis, only when installing software or configuring certain items.

    One thing you will notice is that I didn't go for the solid state hard drive. The prices just seemed too high so I went with the WD VelociRaptor which I have no regrets doing. The thing is super fast with a 4.2 ms read time and a 4.5 ms write time. It is actually a 2.5 inch drive with an inch wide cooling system build around it.

The other thing that is awesome is the 44 inches of screen space that I now have. I was concerned initially that having two monitors would cause me to not have a center space to focus on, but I am finding that not having a monitor centered right in front of my face forces me to use both monitors together instead of focusing on one as my primary monitor.

The Antec case is about three times what I have ever paid for a computer case, but it not only looks good, but is super quite. It has a very nice setup for running wires, several built in fans, and the hard drives are mounted in a separate compartment on rubber tabs that reduce vibration.

    The one thing that is not yet installed is the Corsair power supply as it appears to have been defective and I had to send it back to the manufacturer. That was a bit frustrating and I wasted money on a temporary PSU to use until I get the replacement, not to mention the money and time I had to waste shipping it back in. That is definitely one huge minus to purchasing items online.

    Amazingly another rather difficult thing to get done was installing Office Ultimate on the system. The actual install of the software wasn't the issue, but opening the stupid box to get the DVD out was. It is one of the most unintuitive packages I have ever seen and I actually had to Google to figure out how to get it open. I mean seriously Microsoft, when your packaging is harder to open than a DVD movie (which by the way I curse every time I have to do) then you may want to reconsider what you are doing. They must not even have handed the box to someone and asked them to try to figure out how to open it. (Seriously Bigyan, can you let Bill know about this?)

    Another weird issue I had was trying to initially get the 64 bit OS installed. Apparently Vista 64 bit has an issue installing and running with more than 3GB of RAM. I had to pull one of the 2GB sticks out, install Vista and then apply the following hot fix. After doing so I was able to reinstall the 2GB stick. This issue took me a bit to hunt down and I even emailed MSI, the manufacturer of the motherboard who tried to blame it on either an out of date bios, or memory voltage and timings. Way to go MSI! You would think this would be a fairly common issue they would hear about, but apparently not. Luckily I found the solution between contacting them and finally getting their response.

    That's about it. All in all it was a good experience and I am very happy with the results. Of course since I finished building the system several weeks ago it is probably already out of date and I'm sure the prices have probably already come down significantly. All the components were definitely worth it though. In the past I have skimped on cases and hard drives to save money and invested in the processor and memory, but I definitely won't skimp in those areas again. Hard drives seem to be the main bottleneck nowadays and this case is definitely the quietest one in the room.


Power Supply: CORSAIR CMPSU-520HX 520W ATX - $96.95

Case: Antec Inc P182SE P182 Mid Tower Special Edition - $178.08

Motherboard: MSI P7N Diamond LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard with SoundBlaster X-Fi Extreme Audio - $249.99

Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450 Yorkfield 2.66GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80569Q9450 - $339.99

Memory: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model - $124.99

Hard Drive: WD VelociRaptor 300 GB SATA Hard Drive - $299.99

Video Card: MSI NX8600GTS-T2D256E-OC GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported - $122.99

CD Burner: HP 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model DVD1070i - $32.99

Monitors: 2 X LG-22" Widescreen Flat-Panel LCD Monitor-W2252TQ-TF - $593.58


Tuesday, July 15, 2008 7:24:25 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [2] - Trackback - Save to - Digg This! - Follow me on Twitter
# Monday, April 7, 2008

I'm really getting tired of waiting for computers to do things; boot, shutdown, open Visual Studio, build. I feel like I spend more time waiting for the computer to do something then actually getting work done and this is very frustrating. I like my laptop and unfortunately it's not dual core, but I've decided that for the amount of mobility that I need it can still handle the job. What I do what to do is build a new desktop development box that I can use when working in the office since this is where I do most of my work, outside of the day job anyways. I've gotten a bit out of touch with the hardware world lately so I was hoping to solicit some feedback in a few areas. Here is a list of the general specs I've laid out.


Quad Core Processor – I realize that this is still a bit vague since some argue that a dual core with a faster speed is better that a slower quad core, but I hope to get the fastest quad core processor for a reasonable price when I make the purchase.

Motherboard – This is where I've gotten a bit rusty. Does anyone have any suggestions on brands and specs that I want to look for?

Vista Ultimate 64 bit – Yeah, Yeah don't do it, Vista sucks. I'm going to do it anyways.

4GB of RAM – Anything important here besides speed and response time?

16-30GB Solid State Hard Drive – This one I think is the sweet spot. The last moving part on the computer is the hard drive and common sense says that means it's the real bottleneck. I hope to get a small solid state hd that will hold the OS, VS2008, and maybe Office depending on price vs size. My one issue here is I haven't seen any 3.5 inch solid state drives.

Large Secondary Hard Drive – A regular SATA hard drive to handle everything else that isn't used all the time. I'm thinking a WD Raptor for this.

Video Card(s) – Yet again I'm going to need to do some research here or get some feedback. What specs do I need to look for here?

2 X 22 inch Widescreen Monitors – I haven't decided on anything specifics here, I just know I want 2 that are exactly the same so they are at the same level.

Case – A really, really quiet case. This is going to involve research too.


Any feedback that anyone has would be great.


Monday, April 7, 2008 9:01:36 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [3] - Trackback - Save to - Digg This! - Follow me on Twitter
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