Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Consumer Costs vs Enthusiast Costs

Subject:  We had it tough and we STILL have it tough

My normal Marcus had it tough (and expensive) storyline was the time, some say it was in 1970 something when I bought a 79Kilo Byte Wangco Single Sided and Single Density Diskette drive for  350 pounds.  I am pretty sure that in today's 2016 money that is at least 1000 British pounds.

Today I just want to put a shout out for 2 low cost products and moan about 1 not yet working high cost one.

This is especially relevant as if you are wondering what to give that Computer focused partner or child I can tell you some socks just won't cut it these days.

Raspberry Pi

For less than 60GBP you can get yourself a fully working Raspberry Pi 3 with a memory card and power supply.  Simply add a USB keyboard, download and install the Raspbian (or other) Operating System.

You have to be a complete Computer head in the sand Ostritch to ignore this brilliant low cost computer platform

Asrock AM1B-ITX

I already praised Asrock for its low cost ITX product range  but now I have found an even cheaper computer,  namely the AM1B.  It is an insane 43 CHF  (about 35 GBP) from our local Swiss computer store.  And to it you'd need to add a mini ITX case and power supply, a low power CPU and some DDR3 memory.

For Marcus I have lots of old DDR3 memory kicking around and a cheap ITX case too, so only an AMD AM1 CPU .  Some specs

Supports AMD Socket AM1 Athlon/Sempron APU
Supports DDR3 1600 memory, 2 x DIMM slots, Max. 32GB
1 x PCIe 2.0 x16
Integrated AMD Radeon™ R3 Series Graphics in A-series / E-series APU
Multi Graphics Output Options : D-Sub, DVI-D, HDMI
1 x Parallel Port, 1 x COM Port Header
4 x USB 3.0 (2 Front, 2 Rear), 6 x USB 2.0 (4 Front, 2 Rear), 4 x SATA3
Realtek Gigabit LAN
5.1 CH HD Audio (Realtek ALC662 Audio Codec)

Supports ASRock Full Spike Protection, A-Tuning, APP Shop, FAN-Tastic Tuning, UEFI Tech Service, USB Key

Again, this consumer level pricing is to me quite insane!

Initially I prototyped a dedicated Webserver on the Raspberry Pi but it could just not server out data quickly enough.  I think the Asrock with AMD Quad core CPU power and Gigabit Ethernet will do the job.  (Oh and to be clear my Webserver needs to be able to serve over 2,000 Giga Bytes, I mean over 2TBytes per day).  We will see!

Intel Xeon E5-2697 v4

Actually I'm still working with the Motherboard manufacturer to diagnose why our new Workstationcannot boot so it would be unfair to name them just yet.

But let me just say that at over 2500 USD per processor, and this being a 2 CPU system, I am really hoping that they fix the problem.

Sometimes pushing for State of the Art is not what is cracked up to be.  Currently heartache and pissing about with EFI boot loaders, and not actually getting anywhere :-(

Christmas Advice

01 If you do not have a Raspberry Pi in the house and you are at all interested in Computers you really need your head examining.

It is the ideal sensibly priced Christmas present for your Computer obsessed partner or child wanting to really get into Linux and Hardware

02 And for a sensibly priced Appliance computer something based on the Asrock AM1B with a 5370 CPU should fly.  But wait for my build, review and test if you are paranoid

Finally as a perfectionist you may have to wait quite a while later for the new Xeon Workstation build story, because really these are busy times.