My new Thinkmate machine (2010)

Oliver Knill

thinkmate machine My home office machine from 2005 was still a Pentium Machine. Even so it ran fine, it needed to be replaced. It was heating up the home office too much, sucked a lot of electricity and was too loud and lag began to become annoying. Delays of fractions of seconds can slow down productivity. This adds up to half an hour or more every day. There was no question for me to go again with thinkmate, where it is possible to get an excellent workstation for a reasonable prize. The new machine needs about half the energy of the Dell and is quiet. Mathematica runs smoother, especially with large graphics. As expected, it is about 2-2.5 times faster for raw computations. I have been happy with an older thinkmate in my work office and went again with a Antec Sonata III 500-ATX Mid Tower. It comes with a 500 Watt quiet power supply. See a larger picture of the machine built by thinkmate.

It is the first time that I used a X25-V solid state drive for a PC. I use it to run the linux operating system which only uses 10 gig from this 40 Gig drive. I install some software like Mathematica on /usr/local which is also on this drive.

The machine has 2 1T SATA Seagate Barracuda drives, which I mirror with rsync. The first one is mounted on /home in which about half a TBytes is filled. Rsyncing is done with cron regularly (also with my office machine) and I'm glad to have now a stronger machine to do that faster (this is a multiple times faster than before). As usual, I have keep regularly long term backups on external drives (which are never overwritten any more. I currently use slow 100 dollar 2 TByte drives for that which one can get for 100 dollars now).

Even so I do not expect to use it much, there is a Samsung 22x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer LightScribe drive and a 19-in-1 3.5" Card Reader. With Ubuntu standard DVD's play well with totem.

A Quad-Core Intel Core i7-960 3.20GHz processor gives currently the good performance-value ratio. The CPU lives on a ASUS P6T6 WS Revolution - ATX - Intel X58 Chipset. I chose 3 Crucial 2GB PC3-10600 1333MHz DDR3 memory slots. The graphics card is an NVIDIA GeForce GT 220 1GB. Google earth flight simulator rocks.

I ordered the new desktop machine together with a 28 inch HDMI LCD monitor. It has a 1920x1200 WUXGA resolution (which is now the minimum for my work computers) and is manufactured by HANNS.G. The model is HH-281HPB and comes with built in speakers. The sound is ok for a monitor speaker. With this monitor size, I can read two pages comfortably. The screen is flawless. And having scanned part of my book library this summer I expect also to read more on a monitor. Here is a 1920x1200 pixel by pixel dump of the monitor screen, while I write this. You see the "artwiz" theme in blackbox, xterm's (they still are the only xterminals without copy paste issues in foreign languages), the xmms music player which looks good, and the moaning goat meter at the bottom (which I use only primarily to test the system).

The machine runs Ubuntu 10.4 LTS. I of course got the machine without operating system. The newest Ubuntu is the smoothest linux system so far.

Some configuration issues which came up during the few hours to set up the system: