Who would have thought that there was something so fun under the Temecula, California sun? Recently we purchased a new desktop PC so that we could test out file server and storage server configurations. The Machine is an ASUS M32 with a Core i5 processor, 16GB Ram, (It came with 8GB, but we maxed it out today at 16GB) and a built-in Wifi AC card. The HDD is 1TB – and we’re waiting on a bracket to adapt a 2.5″ 1TB SSD in the 2nd 3.5″ drive bay for RAID configurations.
The machine is currently running Win 10. For Quickbooks, this is the OS we’ll use. However, when we build it as a storage server, we’ll be installing NAS4FREE – a free and open-source Network-Attached Storage server operating system that can run from a USB flash drive. This allows 100% of the hard drive space to be used for storage, as the OS runs from the flash drive.
The trick to running the NAS configuration is that it will wipe all data on the hard drives. This means that if we want to use this machine as a regular PC again after testing, we need to create a system image and repair disk before running NAS4FREE on the machine. We’re on it.
It looks like a few weeks will go by before we’re ready to test the NAS build, but we should be testing the Quickbooks file server configuration next week or the following week.
Here’s a peek at the new machine:
Asus M32 Desktop.
We’re also running a laptop that we keep a full-size keyboard, mouse, and curved 26″ monitor and power supply in place on the workbench for. the laptop is the biz workhorse, and goes with us wherever we go.
The trick is sharing the monitor and keyboard/mouse between the two machines. We found a radio Shack A/B switch for the HDMI sharing, and that is working beautifully. It only cost $20.00 or so, so we’re very happy with that!
The next thing will be sharing a single mouse and keyboard combination with a similar USB A/B switch – however that switch will use 5 VDC power supplied via a micro-USB connection. We should be able to power it with a standard cellphone charger rig & cable – albeit with a heavy-duty charger.
We have a wonderful Logitech 4-button hyperspeed laser mouse that is USB cabled. We believe it’s an M-500 model. We also just got an illuminated keyboard with a built-in volume controller that came with the ASUS desktop – it’s ASUS-branded and full-sized with a USB cable connection. We’re not so much fans of wireless mice and keyboards, because we’ve had several radio rigs just die on us over the years, so we prefer cabled mice and keyboards for their extreme durability.
You can tell that the ASUS keyboard is high-quality. For long work and larger comnputing projects, there’s just no beating the comfort and speed of a full-sized keyboard and mouse!
The other nice feature with the desktop machine is the sound card. It’s got hi-def audio, and it’s located in a position in the shop where we were able to run a 3.5 mm stereo to dual RCA cable from the PC to an old entertainment center hub with 60-watt speakers mounted high in the corners of the shop. Needless to say we’ve been streaming reggae from Brazil and blues from Indiana for starters!
The curved 26″ monitor is icing on the visual cake. It really makes for a low-eyestrain work environment.
We’ll update once the USB switch arrives and is installed – and also with the results of the server testing. The inside of our Tardis just keeps getting better and better!