GEEKNOTE: Replacing my old system

Rob gets ready to replace his old office machine.

GEEKNOTE:  Now that we've had a full week to live with the Windows 8 machine and study some of it's quirks, I've decided that my new desktop at the office will be a Windows 7 machine. There are a number of things that disappear with Windows 8 and I use some of them. A good article on this can be found at: 


I confess that I've become accustomed to the Start Button and conventional program list. While the Windows 8 Metro should be quite nice on a phone or tablet, my primary concern with my desktop is that I need to be able to get into whatever program I need to use quickly and efficiently.

I promised I'd fill you in on my soon to be replaced desktop, so here goes:

Five years ago, I built a custom system for one of our customers. It was a nice system for the time and included a Core 2 processor, 1gb of memory, and an 80gb high performance drive. The customer took the machine home, but within a couple of months started calling up, ranting and swearing up and down that the machine didn't work right and was complete junk. I tried to address the problems he was having, but hearing his wife screaming in the background on virtually every call helped me assess the situation and I quickly offered to give him his money back even though it was past our 30 day money back guarantee period.  The machine came back somewhat the worse for wear, with one of the USB ports physically ripped out of the back of the machine. We gave the customer a full refund anyway. My partners and I considered the refund to be a "mental health" expense... protecting MY mental health!  We suggested the customer buy a Dell.

I reinstalled Windows and put the machine at my desk. Over the past five years I've added another gig of memory, replaced the original hard drive with an SSD, and installed an external RAID drive array. The machine has been a great machine, but it is now the oldest one in the company. So much for being "complete junk".  

Moore's law holds that computing power doubles about every 18 months. With three such cycles since my machine was built, it's time to take advantage of the new performance standard. Were it not for the SSD (solid state drive) I'm planning on using, the new system would price out almost exactly where the old one did five years ago. (Solid state drives are still pretty expensive and the SSD I'm going to use costs almost as much as the rest of the system put together.)

The new system is going to address a few shortcomings with my five year old computer. I'm going to build one of our little mini-ITX desktops that will easily drive a pair of wide screen monitors and it will have a quad core processor, lots of memory (8gb, with room for another 8gb) and a monster (480gb) solid state drive, all in a very tiny package. The only advantages I'd get using a conventional tower is that I could stuff more drives in it or add a high performance video card.  I won't need the old RAID array because I should have plenty of reliability and disk space with the new solid state drive.

A bonus of using the little desktop is that I get more room for my feet on the floor where the current tower sits. I will have to straighten up my desk a bit to make room for that second monitor, but it will be worth it. Dual monitors will come in handy. The new system will also be quite a bit quieter as well.

I hope to get the new system assembled this coming week and I'll post some performance stats after I get it up and running.

Feel free to drop me a note or leave a comment here if you have any questions about your computer or your office network.

Rob Marlowe, Senior Geek, Gulfcoast Networking, Inc.


(Rob also serves as deputy mayor of the City of New Port Richey. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not necessarily represent the position of the city.)

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

bob perr September 25, 2012 at 07:23 PM
wish I knew you were close by before I had this one built.
Rob Marlowe September 26, 2012 at 09:39 AM
I got my system assembled and started the burning in process yesterday. Today's goal is to gather up all the software I want to have on the new machine. I hope to get my data moved over by the weekend so I can put the machine into production Monday. In the interim, I've got it sitting in the showroom.
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