May 2006

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Hard Lessons

Over the last long time I’ve been through a lot of annoyances with computer hardware and software. All my computers have crashed within the last 3 weeks. I’ve lost the year’s worth of blogging. I like to think I learned something from the experiances.

Experience 1: Server Woes
This was the most painful of the woes. Even though I’ve kept the motherboard and processors around, I went from a server based on SCSI to one based on Adaptec SATA to one based on LSI SATA. I’ve also talked about changing the case for the third time. I’ve swapped out the power supply 3 times, the nic once, and the cdrom. I’ve also had various issues with cooling the stupid thing and the noise it makes.
Come to think of it, this was my 2nd shot at even having a server. I had previously purchased a Dell 6300. It was a 100lb quad processor box that made too much noise to be practical for me. I really never used it much and sold it quickly.

What I now know and you should know

  • Functionality over anything else.
    Because of the server being unreliable as of late, I made the decision to host the site with
    bluehost instead.
    Server downtime is frustrating and costly. Buy reliable components from the start.
    Bluehost is awesome by the way. No downtime thus far and shell access. I’m very impressed.

  • Heat is insanely important.
    Don’t buy anything will high heat output (hard disks may creep up on you here). It is an accident waiting to happen. Make sure that the air flow is optimal at all times.

  • Quiet is key.
    I will never by a computer will high noise output. ~30Dba is not a bad level. All my fans are in the 20 Dba range. Also watch out for the powersupply and hard drive noise. They can be quite annoying. Endpcnoise is a great site that sells only quiet components.

  • Speed really doesn’t matter that much anymore.
    Has anyone else noticed that the top of the line notebooks are 2.2Ghz? I bought a 2.0Ghz laptop 5 years ago. What’s going on here? Chip makers are now focusing on heat and power. Even though the performance hasn’t changed much, the battery life has. The same is true on servers. Your hard disks will most likely be faster than the network’s actual speed limits. Take note of that. Streaming music is limited by the bandwidth of the Internet connection.

Building a server is tough stuff. It’s almost worth it to buy from a dell or hp for the warranty and services they provide. Rendition 3 of my server is up and running now. Well see how long that lasts :).

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Back

After loosing everything I’ve blogged about for the last year and a quarter, I’m back blogging. This time, I’m trying wordpress. I’m going to implement categories from the get go this time to try and make things more consistent. Enjoy. Visit my side project for my brother.

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