computer upgrades

This past weekend I made a bunch of computer upgrades.

In my main machine, called TQM, it has been upgraded recently:

  • in order to run more virtual machines, the upgrade from four 1 gb sticks of ram to four 2gb sticks was a no brainer, and relatively cheap right now. Made a nice difference when running a bunch of stuff but it wasn’t noticeable with regular, i.e. non power user type use.
  • I needed an additional monitor output so I could drive my two desktop monitors and the occasional image on the projector in the basement, so I found this Nvidia 9600GSO on sale at for $40. The price was right and it works as required. No complaints.
  • I started with four 250gb sata drives in a raid0 setup and had 3 drives fail over a 6 month period. Luckily I have good backups so this was mostly just an annoyance. Because of the issues I have had with these older, e.g. out of warranty drives, I went with some Seagate 7200.8 450gb drives I had laying around and made them raid0.
  • Then I came across a 160gb Intel SSD upgrade. What I did was take my existing w7 install that was running on the 7200.8 450gb drives, install the SSD, then mirror the OS drive to the SSD. This worked perfectly.. so I was able to reboot, choose the backup mirror to boot from, then boot, break the mirror, delete the old boos partition, and I’m done. Easy!

My upgrades are never limited to only one machine, so I also had some new goodies for my server, thor. 

  • The primary new addition was a 3ware 9650SE SATA RAID controller card. This is a 4 port card basically because I was out of SATA ports and had resorted to taking apart some USB/sata adapters so I could hook up more drives. I left in the Highpoint RocketRaid 2300 and of course the stuff built onto the motherboard.
  • Installed a new “Startech” 5 bay hot swap SATA disk device. It takes up only 3 slots but has room for 5 drives.. that’s pretty cool. Add that plus the power cable and data cable mess that I can give up now, built in fan, and even temperature monitoring and alerting, and this thing is an easy win. I already had one so this allows me to do 10 hot swap data drives in the server. There are 4 spots left, one has the DVD and 3 are open.
  • Installed 3 Seagate 7200.11 SATA drives, 1.5tb/each, in a RAID5 hanging off the 3ware 9650SE RAID controller.
  • Installed the western digital caviar “Green” 2.0tb drive attached to the 3ware controller. Basically I wanted the most space for the money and the slowest/least power consuming hard drive as well. That’s because this drive will be a backup drive, it will be swapped with an identical one (including the hot swap tray) with a friend of mine. There will be 2 partitions on the drive that are encrypted, one is his and the other is mine. Our backups will run there nightly and every month we’ll just swap disks. It’ll get us into a routine and get us offsite backups, which is something I feel like I need. (Only because I have a lot of digital camera pictures that I have taken over the years, and I would be very, very upset to lose all of them.)

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