Category Archives: Computer Hardware
Sourcing PC Hardware
In a previous post I mentioned I would be installing a new PC system (Computer Upgrade). Seven years ago I was going through the same process, and found it impossible to purchase the components I wanted from a retailer:
Quotes were requested from seven local retailers, providing them with a fully detailed list of the components required; Motherboard, CPU, Graphics card, Hard Drive, RAM etc. Each item was specified by Make and Model, and Manufacturers Part Number.
Quotes were provided by six of these, in a time frame from 2 days to 10 days!
Not one of these retailers provided a quotation based on the specified equipment
I can clearly remember in three instances the equipment offered was not even close to the specifications of my requirement. In the other instances there had at least been some effort had been made to match the specs, but not adequately. The tendency in all cases was to suggest items with lower performance specs.
This occurrence prompted me to enter the industry as a dealer in hardware and software.
Testing PC Retailers Today
I decided to repeat this process now. As the new system is for my own business use, there is no customer to be inconvenienced by delays in delivery. So after deciding exactly what I needed to get, I requested estimates from six outlets trading within an area radius of 15km of my business. Two of these were mall type retailers, the other four were more service oriented suppliers (who could be considered competitors).
Well guess what! A repeat of the previously describe situation. Four of the six responded with quotes. None of the quotes matched exactly the specified items. One of those who never bothered to quote is known to deal with my principal supplier, hence is able to provide the required parts…
When did the phrase in a specification “If the specified item is not currently available, please quote on the next higher spec model from the same manufacturer” come to mean “offer a lower grade product from a less reliable brand”, or offer a cheaper alternative simply because it is cheaper?
Finally the time has arrived to upgrade my main workstation. I should rather say ‘forced to upgrade’ Friday last week my trusty old Windows box decided it had given 25 000 hours of reliable service and wanted to retire. Of course this was on start-up in the morning. I knew I should have finished the quotation I had been working on the night before, but wanted to ‘sleep on it’ before finishing off.
A New System
I was tempted, really tempted, to go the dual XEON processor on a top range motherboard (server board) route, but common sense (and my bank account) prevailed. For the same reason that Mac Pro I’ve been eyeing for months had to take a back seat.
Several days spent researching various products; Intel or Gigabyte motherboard, graphics cards, operating systems and so on. Decision made, I can live with a Gigabyte GA-X58-USB3 motherboard. Specifications are good enough, will accept 24GB RAM in 6 slots (and I have respect for products from this stable). The CPU – no contest! Intel’s i7 3.4GHz processor (as I mentioned, 2 Xeons are just too expensive…)
Graphics cards – well anything with 1GB memory will do – as long as it has connectors for two displays. The only games likely to be installed are MS Flight Sim, Half Life 2 and MYST… And those run fine on an old nVidia 6800 card. (And seldom get used anyway… I’ve had Half Life 2 since it came out – still only on the 2nd level… My cousin blasted thorough 5 levels in an afternoon the first time he played it!
I’ve been spoilt. For the past 6 years I’ve had the benefit of dual displays. Recently I was reduced to a single monitor, and it has been a nightmare. The reason; I simply needed to use my 2nd screen on another PC.
There’s been a mini flood of PC’s with problems through the office… and space here is really limited. There is just enough for the 2 LCD usual screens, and a 3rd old smaller CRT type if it’s raised up above the others, and the scanner gets put somewhere else. I also have a small workbench to the side – just big enough to take one PC box at a time. Space also had to be found for an extra 2 keyboards, and 2 more mice… Read the rest of this entry