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CompuLab (Fit-PC) Intense PC
Selecting a Machine

James F. Carter <jimc@math.ucla.edu>, 2012-03-11


Diamond is Alice's desktop machine. It was purchased in 2006, and while it has been reliable, it seems to be running out of resources. In particular, we host a virtual machine Baobei on it, on which we run TurboTax, which has expanded, and it runs at the speed of an arthritic snail. It's time to upgrade the hardware.


We have current requirements for Diamond, but we also want to shift jobs to Diamond from Jacinth.

Are we going to need a USB hub? Expected USB devices are:

Likely we will have enough USB ports on the machine itself and won't need a hub.

Networking is now, and will continue as, 802.3 100baseT Ethernet to a MOCA bridge.

How much disc space do we want? Currently we have a Seagate Barracuda 160Gb 7200RPM (SATA). Jacinth's storage is also 160Gb. It is not exactly maxed out, but we should probably get 250Gb to 500Gb. I want to continue with Seagate products due to their good reputation. Almost certainly the machine will take laptop drives internally, but I would like to get 7200RPM if available. If at all possible I would like to get a discless machine and provide my own drive, rather than taking the vendor's generic one.

Zeroing In on a Machine

There are quite a number of possibilities for the replacement machine.

If we got the Compulabs Intense PC, what else would we need to buy?


These are offered on Amazon:

Seagate Momentus 7200 750 GB 7200RPM SATA 3Gb/s 16 MB Cache 2.5 Inch Internal Notebook Hard Drive -Bare Drive ST9750420AS. Various sizes:

Sustained data rate 76 Mb/sec. A reviewer (2011-12-27) says his 750Gb drive was flaky, developing at least 2 bad sectors within 2 weeks of installation. Also, the 750Gb drive uses 4K sectors, and you need to update your Intel Matrix Storage Manager or it won't work (doesn't say which kind of Windows).

Although Seagate has likely fixed this problem, I think I'm going with the 500Gb drive.


The two major vendors on Amazon are Corsair and Kingston. Which one? I've heard of Kingston, so I think I will do the dumb thing and specify that vendor. They are well regarded in reviews. We need DDR3 1600MHz SODIMM dual channel, 2 slots, up to 8Gb each.

Kingston Technology HyperX 8 GB (2x4 GB Modules) 1600 MHz DDR3 SODIMM Dual Channel Kit (PC3 12800) 204-Pin SDRAM KHX1600C9S3P1K2/8G, $66 for the pair. Non ECC.


I really am not sure about 24 watts in this size of case; Jacinth is hot enough at 10 watts. The ideal would be a an external fan that the machine could signal to turn on, but that's not going to happen. This is the USB powered fan I've picked out:

Thermaltake Mobile Fan II External USB Cooling Fan , $14. It has a speed control knob and is said to be very quiet if you turn it down. Comes with a special cable (USB type A male on one end, Molex thingy on the other) in a wind-up hub. Claimed 30k hours MTBF. Uses 2W. Reviewers like it.

Cost estimate:


I ordered the CompuLab (Fit-PC) Intense PC from CompuLab for USD $799 (2013-04-06).

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