thefrozencoder

Programming and Technology blog

New server setup - Hardware

So I decided a couple of weeks ago to retire my old home server that was doing dual purpose as a file share/media server/testing/everything else including AD server by investing in a real setup, something that I can be proud of.  This is what I decided on for the hardware and some of my thoughts on each piece while installing it.

  • 1 x CoolerMaster CM690 Black ATX Case
  • 1 x XFX GeForce 8200 MB
  • 1 x AMD Phenom X4 9550 CPU
  • 4 x 2096MB PC6400 DDR2 800MHz Dual Channel RAM
  • 1 x Thermaltake TR2-R1 CPU Cooler
  • 2 x Seagate Barracuda 1TB HD
  • 2 x WD Caviar 160GB HD
  • 1 x Ultra X3 ULT40073 600-Watt PSU
  • 1 x Intel Desktop 1000GB Network card

CoolerMaster CM690 Black ATX Case

  • Tool-less design so everything is pretty much snap in place
  • 5 x 3.5" drive bays are at a right angle to the MB so it’s way easier to get them in and out
    • Each bay has a drive tray that you mount the drive in so you can slide the drive in and out with a little handle, also snaps in place
    • If installing 4 drives at once you may want to take off the opposite case panel (backside of MB) to get the power and SATA wires setup first as it gets a little tight for space back there
  • Has loads of fan mounts even two on the bottom (one for power supply)
  • Power supply is mounted on the bottom of the case and can be mounted upside down
    • This allows for the power supply to suck cool air in from underneath the case and out through the back, thus not using the hot air from the case to help with cooling
    • The internal mounts for the power supply on the case have rubber grommets to help with vibration as well as a foam gasket on the back to give a better seal
    • Does have some mounting issues (see my thoughts on the PSU I purchased)
  • Comes with preinstalled fans:
    • 1 x back of case
    • 1 x on main side panel
    • 1x on front
      • This is one of those coloured light up fans (blue). It’s not that bright and can be replaced with another 120mm fan.
    • Fans are low flow (around 1200rpm and are pretty quiet but look cheap)
  • To install the optical drive you will need to remove the front panel, the manual is useless for this and the panel required a good pull to get it off. Even though I gave it a good yank the plastic clips that hold it in place did not break (something I have done on cheaper cases to easily)
  • The front IO panel (USB, Mic, Headphones, 1934 and eSATA) ports are actually on the top which is kind of cool
  • The feet on the bottom are actually a hard rubber rather than plastic

XFX GeForce 8200 MB

  • MicroATX board with 6 SATA ports
    • Ports 5 & 6 can not be used in SATA mode only RAID
  • LED Display on IO panel for error codes (was never able to find the error code list)
  • Cooling on integrated chipsets was low profile so CPU cooler fit without a hitch
  • Comes with easy setup guide (4 pages), manual would have been better
  • Does support DEP and hardware virtualization assistance (needed for Hyper-V)
  • Has indicator lights for DDR Dual channel setup properly (for newbs)
  • Comes with a way to configure RAID via the BIOS or a Windows control panel like interface (called MediaShield)

AMD Phenom X4 9550 CPU

  • If you have seen one CPU you have seen them all

PC6400 DDR2 800MHz Dual Channel RAM

  • Had heat sinks on them which was cool I guess
  • Same as processor if you seen one stick you have seen them all

Thermaltake TR2-R1 CPU Cooler

  • Great little fan, very quite and keeps the CPU cool
  • Comes with what looks like "silver" thermal paste on the bottom not that white stuff
  • Is a bit high, if you have one of those CPU cone things on the main side panel of your case for the CPU fan to pull air in you may have to take it off.

Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1TB HD

  • Stayed clear of the 1.5TB drives due to the reports of poor performance
  • Raid 1 configured without a hitch
  • Will be used as the data drive

WD Caviar 160GB HD

  • Solid little drive
  • Raid 1 configured without a hitch
  • Will be used as the system drive

Ultra X3 ULT40073 600-Watt Power Supply

  • Modular cable design with lots of connectors
  • Large 135mm fan (very quiet, low flow)
  • With the case that I bought the 135mm fan on the PSU made mounting it a bit tricky, the mounting grommets on the bottom of the case did not align properly at times. It seemed that one or more of the mounting grommets on the case slipped into the PSU fan screw holes (probably because the fan is not a standard 120mm so the hole is bigger) which caused the PSU to tip from side to side at times.  Once it was screwed into place it seemed fine.

Intel Desktop 1000GB Network card

  • It was either this or a 3com, this was cheaper
  • No worries about drivers with either Intel/3Com for any Windows OS probably the best supported card out there.
  • I will be mapping the VM’s to this card only; the OS gets its own dedicated LAN via the onboard one.

Linq to SQL the latest developer drug to be banned?

Recently I have read on various blogs about the demise of one of the newest technologies to enter the .NET framework Linq to SQL.  Well it’s not its demise but from what others have said it’s more like a “don’t count on it being there and updated in the future” statement.  Scott Allen over at OdeToCode has a pretty good blog article about “The Estrangement of LINQ to SQL” and his thoughts on what is going on and how he feels about it.

This is one of the reasons that as a developer of over 10+ years have never really jumped into bed with the latest and greatest technologies/frameworks/methodologies because you never really know if they will be around or supported in a years time.  This is probably why I and a few other developers that I know tend to follow a POD (Plain ol’ Development) process.  While it might not be as glamorous and the talk around the water cooler it surely gets the job done and you more often than not do not get bitten in the ass by the addiction to these gateway drugs.  

Lately it seems that a growing number of developers are showing signs of ADHD (the persistent pattern of impulsiveness part).  Jumping on the latest and greatest just for the sake of “doing it first”.  There are always two sides to the coin, it does drive interesting ideas and development but at the same time I believe that it is creating a whole generation of code that is not maintainable because of how quickly these drugs are dispensed to us and when the next big fix is just around the corner to become addicted to.

 

Note: some of this article was inspired by a fellow developer and friend Shaneo and his post Linq to SQL, MSTest, Unity – Are These Gateway Drugs?

When refactoring goes bad

So I ran into this little nugget this morning while working on a C# WinForms project in VS 2008 (might be an issue in VS 2005 as well).

Compiler Error: The item "*.resources" was specified more than once in the "Resources" parameter.  Duplicate items are not supported by the "Resources" parameter.

Seems that when I copied an existing form and renamed the copy to something else (using the properties window) the refractor tool decided that the source form name needed to be changed as well.  Apparently this is a common issue as I did a search for the problem online.  Normally when you do a rename in a code file you get the option to preview the changes and apply what you want to.  If you do this in the properties window or rename a class file in the solution explorer it seems to just make the change without a preview and globally.

I think that I need more control with this feature so you can turn this off in the IDE under Tools (for VS2008):

  • Options
    • Windows Forms Designer
      • General:
        • Set “EnableRefactoringOnRename” to false.

Doing this still allows you to do your refactoring (via the context menu) but now you have more control over what gets renamed.  And as an added bonus it's also a performace tweek to the IDE.

HP Pocket Media Drive

A couple of weeks ago I purchased a HP Pocket Media Drive Model: PD2500s as a way to store large files (iso, vhd, gho, etc.) so that when I can:

  • Have a place to store my Virtual Hard Drives
  • Have a place to store my CD images
  • Have a place to store the last image of my laptop incase I need to restore
  • Have a quick place to do one off backups
  • Have a device that is small enough and large enough to store extra files I ma need on the road

So far the unit has performed flawless, I have no issues running my VM's or mounting ISO's from the drive and I don't really notice any performance issues.  The drive itself is pretty compact (being a 2.5" drive) and the case only adds about an inch more to the over all length of the drive.  The only issue I have is not with the drive but with the cable that came with it.

Most generic 2.5" drive enclosures come with two separate cables, one for data and one for power.  This drive comes with one cable but has two USB ends and one end that plugs into the drive (see Picture below).

 

The issue is the two plugs need two USB ports closer than 6.5” inches or you are forced to purchase an extension cable.  This is probably fine for most tower setups but a lot of laptops (older ones) don’t have two USB ports that close together.  Fortunately my HP does but I can see how this might cause issues for users who may have an older laptop.

Site up up up and away

Finally got a real site up, decided not to roll my own but try out a ready made blog engine.  I already rolled a home brew site willyd.ca which I will be slowly moving away from that site over time.

I have added some of my tech blogs from my other web site just for content, look for some interesting topics and items soon.