Monday, July 20, 2015

A good son delivers

So it is almost that time of the year when Marcus meets young mama, which is the name I would give to Agata's mother.

As a Geek I thought: what present would be most appropriate?

Naturally the answer was a new computer!

Why is this totally a good idea?

And what are some of the parameters?

- Mums current computer is a quad core Shuttle, and whilst it is powerful and not super large I figure we could do better.

- I think it's important to increment home IT to family members every year or two to otherwise they get stuck with an old computer and an old operating system.  And then it's /too difficult/ to get the older generation to move!

- The new computer needs to be smaller

- The new computer will ideally only have SSD disk for storage,  i.e. no spinning disk for quieter operation and marginally lower power consumption

- SSD disk drives will allow very fast boot times

- It needs to have mum's native language installed (Polish) so I need to install a Windows Professional level of OS, not some cheapo Home version that will allow an English language build and then later switch to Polish.

- It will be installing Windows 10, and of course I'll be using build 10240 until I've purchased a Retail Pack

- Oh yes, it needs to run all legal and paid for software

- It needs Chrome remote desktop for dutiful unpaid kids computer support when mother gets stuck


You will be pleased to hear that I'm recycling an older PC in a tiny mini ITX case with an official Intel D525 motherboard.   This used to be a hardware firewall, but now it's going to be a tiny Windows 10 Professional computer.

Some exciting Build Pictures

 Opening up the old firewall

I am inserting 2 x Crucial SSD.  First a 256 GB System Disk and secondly an old C300, 128GB backup disk.

Disks are mounted and connected.  Because the motherboard only has 2 SATA ports I have had to disconnect the internal DVD drive.  Hmm.

(There is an unused low profile PCI slot but no availability of USB 3.1 and Sata combo cards, so that's an upgrade for Christmas 2015)

At the back some really ancient ports including some physical keyboard ports,  a serial and a parallel port.  Yes, they don't make them like this anymore.  VGA output will limit screen output to only 1920 x 1080 pels, I hope this is enough in High resolution 2015.

All that is needed for the installation.  The  excellent Microsoft All in One Keyboard and a USB key with installable Windows 10 Professional.

Poland uses a US keyboard layout and this is what I use in house anyway.

 UEFI boot is enabled.

 Booting from the USB key

 Base 10162 build installation

Upgrade to code level 10240

With the very small Intel Atom CPU the Upgrade really takes a long time.  I mean like over one hour.  Time for a famous Infrastructure Coffee Break

I will finish off the build on Wednesday and then append here some performance metrics.  Let's see if Windows 10 can make the most of this extremely modest hardware.

Some timings then

Power on to boot screen = 29 seconds   (Of which 7 seconds is to the BIOS startup screen)
Login screen to desktop available = 12 seconds
Shutdown from desktop = 15 seconds
Sleep = Instantaneous
Wake from sleep  = 2 seconds

Full system backup (35 GB including Dropbox) 74 minutes