What We Use: Our Favorite Hardware Gear

I love to hear what other people and organizations are using in terms of hardware and software to not only run their business, but as personal productivity enhancements. I thought it would be fun to share what we have here in house for development. This particular post will focus on the hardware side.

Custom Linux Server – 16GB of RAM and 4 Logical CPU’s. This box is the basis for our WPS Development and Testing environment for the Linux platform. Lots of work space (three 640GB SATA III drives in RAID0) for temp work and four 640GB drives in RAID5 for permanent data sets.

Windows Server 2008 R2 – A four core CPU with 8GB of RAM with two arrays each having 2×1.5TB drives in a RAID1 array. There’s another 4TB of assorted space for business data. This box is used mainly for testing WPS Windows Apps and for backing up all the various desktops. It also provides us with remote connectivity when we are on the road.

Desktops – a number of assorted desktops from various manufacturers. All have at least 8GB of RAM and a couple terabytes of storage. All desktops have at least four cores so performance is decent.

Apple Mac Mini – This is a recent purchase. It’s a four core Intel i5 CPU and the box (if you want to call it that) had 2GB of RAM. I immediately upgraded it to 8GB but think it might be time to go to 16GB since memory is so inexpensive. The latest pricing for two 8GB sticks that would work in that machine is about $160.

All the desktops have dual monitors, even the Mac Mini. Btw, if you need to buy an adapter for the mini-Display Port for the 2nd monitor, check out the prices at MonoPrice.com. I paid less than $7.00 USD for an adapter to output to DVI.  Apple wanted $29.00 for it!

A couple of notebook computers. Both are dual core and are great for traveling but doing any hardcore development on them would be painful.

Printers – We just recently gave a Tektronix Phaser color printer to charity. In house we have a Canon MFC 4150 for everyday printing and a Lexmark 543DN color laser. Both are wonderful printers but the next one we buy will have to be wireless. The Canon just doesn’t support printing and scanning on the Apple OS X operating system.

Of course, we have the assorted headsets and telephone systems to compliment the business requirements that we have. It’s amazing how quickly one can load up on junk hardware. It’s very hard for me to throw or give older equipment away… it’s the packrat in me.

About the author: Phil Rack is President of MineQuest, LLC. and has been a SAS language developer for more than 25 years. MineQuest provides WPS and SAS consulting and contract programming services and a reseller of WPS in North America.


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