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2019 New Tower Computer

2019-6-4: My (John Nash) current primary “working” machine, called J6, is a Sept 2011 tower, which has served me well and is still a useful and well-balanced computer for my needs.


  • a lot of management of files, since I have a goodly collection of computer archives, having been involved with building and using computers since 1961, and I have managed to preserve many of the files, as well as materials from my academic career, my creative writing, folk dance, and personal and family history material.
  • some computation (i.e., scientific computing), as well as specialized text processing, which can be intensive but is NOT gaming; I also do some scripting as well as programming for math/stat.
  • much communication activity (web, email, video chat, ftp/ssh)
  • some investigation of other distros (even –horrors– non-Linux) using VMs under VirtualBox
  • some photo, audio and video editing, but mainly of the snip-and-glue variety


I like a fairly big screen. At one time J6 had two monitors, a 24“ HDMI and a 20” VGA, but I've found just the 24“ is fine. Smaller screens (as on my laptops) are not as helpful for writing and programming. I use headphones for audio – no fancy speakers.

I also like a decent keyboard as I am a touch typist. However, it is useful to have a numeric pad. While I'm happy with a lot of pointing devices, I find a mouse easiest, and use my left hand for this, though I am right handed. This seems to avoid some wrist stress I had a decade ago when a friend suggested this simple change. (It also inhibits folk from using your computer!)

Current machine

J6 has the following very edited setup:

  • Motherboard GA-890GPA-UD3H
  • AMD Phenom™ II X6 1090T Processor
  • 16GiB System Memory (4*4Gib DIMM 1600 MHz (0.6 ns))
  • display RS880 [Radeon HD 4290]
  • multimedia RS880 HDMI Audio [Radeon HD 4200 Series]
  • RTL8111/8168/8411 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Controller
  • 2 * 1TB WDC WD1002FAEX-0 in RAID (mirrored) – used as data storage
  • 500GB ST3500630AS used for OS and home directory
  • 250GB ST3250820A used for holding VM images and similar material
  • BD-RE WH16NS40 optical drive (CD, DVD, BlueRay)


These could each consume a lot of discussion. I am prepared to use them as topics in Linux Ottawa meetings and put a summary of the discussion here.

  • Reliability: I probably want reliability more than performance.
    • error-correcting memory?
    • RAID disks; If so, how?
    • New disks? Old ones likely close to possible failure.
    • UPS backup? If so, what size.
    • Backup strategies. I have a 2*1TB Synology Diskstation that I use, but likely could benefit from a more organized BU plan and scripts.
  • Performance vs. power consumption:
    • Choice of processor
    • Use of SSD for OS and related files
    • Size of memory
    • Power supply - Would like low power profile, esp when idle.
  • Human and usability factors
    • probably can use existing 24” monitor; switch old 20“ to J6
    • Likely will take BlueRay drive and put older DVD in J6.
    • easy access disk bays and connectors for USB
    • standardize on USB3 or do I need other connectors (SATA, FireWire, ??)
    • Current machine has no Bluetooth. Is it worth it?
    • Do I need wifi? I prefer wired networking.
    • Could keep current mouse and keyboard, but probably time to replace.
    • I have a plug-in USB webcam, which I leave unplugged except for times when video chatting.
    • Printers and scanners are external.
  • Value for money.
2019newtowercomputer.txt · Last modified: 2019/06/04 19:11 by jcnash