Hardware Technology

Intel NUCs…

For the past five years or so, Intel Corporation has been building what they term the Next Unit of Computing or NUC for short. What is a NUC? It’s effectively a stripped down ultrabook computer that is housed within a small cube like box – think back to when Apple had their cube like tissue box computer but a little bit smaller If you’ve got an Amazon Fire TV unit, it’s similar dimensions though taller (stack 2.5 of them and you’ve got a NUC).

The NUC’s internals consist of a small form factor motherboard with processor, wireless card, bluetooth and video chip (in this case making use of Intel’s HD graphics chip that’s a part of the processor). As this is a “barebones” PC, you add in your memory and hard drive. In recent years there have been two options for NUC devices – one that provides for an m.2 SATA interface and one that provides for an m.2 SATA interface in addition to a standard SATA3 interface that we’ve all become accustomed to with 2.5″ SSD laptop harddrives.

For me, I went the way of picking up an i5 5th generation NUC a year ago. It works well with the m.2 SATA storage and memory. Caveat, I’ve got an additional m.2 external USB3 drive attached to it for additional storage space which for the most part works pretty well.

Recently Intel released what effectively is a stripped down workstation i7 sixth generation / Skylake device. Ars has a pretty nice write up about it over here –

All in all, the NUC works great as a desktop that doesn’t require intense gaming or rendering resources and its low profile means that it doesn’t require me to have a tower below my desk (though I do in the form factor a of 4 bay QNAP NAS).



Dell Venue 8 Pro Docking Solution

If you happen to have bought, received or won a Dell Venue 8 Pro then you’re probably familiar with some of the pain points when it comes to trying to use the micro USB port for anything other than charging.

Our friends over at Plugable seem to have put together a solution in their Pro 8 plugable hub for the Dell Venue 8.

Check it out here – looks like a nifty solution for the likes of folks like Todd Klindt, Scott Hoag and Joel Ward.

Hardware Mobile

Microsoft Surface before Google Tablet…

Google’s Nexus 7 Tablet Details Leak in Full Only Days Before I/O?

Who else is willing to bet that part of the reason that Microsoft held their press conference last week (6/18/2012) to show off their Surface tablet to get a little bit of market share before Google has their IO conference this week (6/27-29/2012).

While I realize that Google’s tablet running Android is a bit different in terms of use in the market place in comparison to the Microsoft Surface, I definitely see this as one of the reasons Microsoft rushed to get their tablet information out there before Google could own the limelight.

So what will you be doing? Picking up the Microsoft Surface or Surface Pro when they’re released or perhaps the Google Nexus Tablet or will you just hold out for the iPad 4?


Lenovo W510

So my Lenovo W510 showed up before the July 4 holiday weekend and I have to say that I’m definitely pleased to have waited on the FHD screen – it’s phenomenal.

Why did I buy a W510 after buying a Lenovo T410? Easy, the W510 is a workhorse with it’s quad core i7 820QM processor and 16GB of DDR3 RAM. Swapping out the stock 500 GB 7200 RPM hard drive with a Seagate Momentus XT 500 GB hard drive was a no brainer after seeing the solid performance the drive provided as an external eSATA drive for virtual machine work. Toss in the Silverstone DS221 dual drive eSATA/USB 2.5” RAID enclosure and find pure bliss when working with VMs (note, don’t hit the reset button unless you really wanna blow your data away).

Overall, definitely a decent procurement to continue furthering on local SharePoint 2010 development rather than using RackSpace Cloud or Amazon Web Services Elastic Cloud Computing. While both services are great and easy to use, neither really give me the ability to “toy” with technology as I need – but definitely still use them for demonstrations for organizations as needed.

So bottom line, the only thing that could be a bit sweeter – a smaller brick power supply, alas, I’ll live with the 135W power supply for now (good luck ordering a second one, they’re not available through Lenovo right now). Something that would be a nice to have that hasn’t come out yet – Privacy Filter.


Home Lab Needs Replacing…

So this evening I decided to hook up my second monitor to my Dell Dimension E520 that has a Q6600 processor and 8 GB of DDR2 RAM and 1 TB of hard drive space spread out across two drives.  Things seemed to be working nicely with Windows Server 2008 Standard x64 edition running as the core operating system.  I decided, “Why not change over to Windows XP Professional x64?”  That’s when the problems began.

Not only is the PC not rebooting properly, but I’ve hit a BSOD after running the Windows updates.  I’m uncertain as to if this is the OS not understanding how to start up in S3 or if it’s something else.

So the Desktop is having some issues – not good for any of the virtualization work that I need to do…

Onward to my Dell Latitude D820 with T7600 processor with 4 GB of RAM that I’ve had for about 1.75 years now.  The battery unfortunately lasts all of about 8 minutes before it dies.  Unfortunately CompleteCare from Dell doesn’t support the degredation of battery, only the core PC and its components that were procured in the original purchase.  Something seems not so complete about the care Dell, what’s up with that?

Lastly, I’m curious as to whether or not to buy the 2408 Dell Ultrasharp monitor – Full HD…

So where does this lead me?  I ponder, Vostro, yes, no?  I also ponder replacing this D820 with a Latitude E6400.

With the economics of the current time that we live within of course I’m wondering if I should just sit and wait on the upgrades for my home lab… perhaps Windows Vista Ultimate x64 will fix some of the problems with the E520.  Unfortunately the battery in the D820 looks like it will be a constant battle of finding a power outlet.