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    Computers for (my) home

    Hi all

    It's been drawn to my attention that I spend lots of time making computers do great things (well, mostly work at least) at school, but our domestic IT is lagging behind.

    We've got one vaguely modern i3 laptop running Windows 7, but that is business critical to my wife's job, so not available to the rest of us really and is 3 years old anyway. I spend enough time at school looking at a screen to not miss having a decent home machine too much. For the rest, we've got 3 xp laptops, only 1 of which is vaguely operational and a couple of custom build desktops which are all other people's cast offs, so over 5 years old when we got them. Obviously this is more than enough computers, but none of them are really powerful enough to run anything modern. I am well known for being tight, but more importantly, I don't like throwing stuff away which is still useful, just because of the needs of the consumer society.

    I can make the machines we've got usable with a light Linux build, but that's still a significant compromise. I'm wondering about converting them to thin clients - something I've thought about for school too - and buying one powerful machine (2nd hand server or a new i7 desktop). Full editions of MS server seem a bit overkill and very expensive. Windows Multipoint server is probably about right but still over £300 plus CALs. A left field option would be a Mac mini with server OS - you can apparently tweak thin clients to work as it's based on standard rdp, but that seems like an expensive risk. Another idea I had was to set up a Linux server as a host for a number of windows desktop vm's.

    Trouble is, apart from the last option, which i haven't worked out all of the licence implications for, all of these seem to work out as expensive as two or three half decent laptops.

    Anyone else done this kind of thing or have any better suggestions to avoid chucking stuff away or should I just forget it all?

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Re: Computers for (my) home

    I've helped setup the VM thin client server thing, VMware esxi and a bunch of hosts you can connect to, works alright but frame rate for some stuff is still an issue. If you have the right board with vt-d support and the right gpus you can feed a GPU and a couple of USB ports to each VM, can work better than MPS for raw power as games etc. Work, you can still RDP to them or others in the background from other machines.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    I used to do lots of stuff like that at home. I got sick of it and just have a few standalones. When i come home from work i want to relax

    Good luck with the project

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    Quote Originally Posted by FN-GM View Post
    I used to do lots of stuff like that at home. I got sick of it and just have a few standalones. When i come home from work i want to relax

    Good luck with the project
    You're getting old!

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elsiegee40 View Post
    You're getting old!
    Tell me about it. I remember when i was younger i would say some sort of phrase that was in fashion and see the staff at school confused as they have no idea what i mean. Fast forward a few years i student comes out with something i and i stand there and i dont have a clue! God i feel old!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmak View Post
    I can make the machines we've got usable with a light Linux build, but that's still a significant compromise.
    Useable for what? I think if you don't know what exactly do you want/need to do with the machines, then you don't even know if you might as well throw them out (if you want to play chess and it wont ever play chess, then what use is it?). Once you do know what you want, it becomes much easier to decide what is worth doing and how.

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    Quackers's Avatar
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    I would just dump them all, have a clear out and treat your self to a Mac. Its the best thing i ever did, last thing i want when i come home is to deal with yet more Windows issues, i want to relax and if it involves using a computer i do not want to be pulling my hair out with waiting for endless Windows updates to be installed when all i want to do is quickly look at a webpage, or be dealing with malware attacks and all other things that annoy me. I use to have 3 or 4 PCs at home and then laptops too, now its just my Mac Book Air and a Tablet and 1 desktop PC which has not been turned on for about 6 months.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Re: Computers for (my) home

    Quote Originally Posted by Quackers View Post
    I would just dump them all, have a clear out and treat your self to a Mac. Its the best thing i ever did, last thing i want when i come home is to deal with yet more Windows issues, i want to relax and if it involves using a computer i do not want to be pulling my hair out with waiting for endless Windows updates to be installed when all i want to do is quickly look at a webpage, or be dealing with malware attacks and all other things that annoy me. I use to have 3 or 4 PCs at home and then laptops too, now its just my Mac Book Air and a Tablet and 1 desktop PC which has not been turned on for about 6 months.
    Hear that, its the sound of kittens crying for your statement :'(

    Windows is not that bad, especially when its just a workstation or several but it's whatever suites the end user best in the end I guess.

    Personally I'd break down in tears if I had to come home to a Mac.

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    If you want to use the server os's get yourself a technet account - free downloads for trial and home use is it not?

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    Re: Computers for (my) home

    Quote Originally Posted by glennda View Post
    If you want to use the server os's get yourself a technet account - free downloads for trial and home use is it not?
    Good call tech net although expensive gives you everything but developer tools.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    Hear that, its the sound of kittens crying for your statement :'(

    Windows is not that bad, especially when its just a workstation or several but it's whatever suites the end user best in the end I guess..
    Or substitute mac for "high quality hardware from a Windows OEM with a good reputation", if you prefer.

    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    Personally I'd break down in tears if I had to come home to a Mac.
    Horses for courses and all that, but I can't hear your tears over the sound of the macs I have at home doing what I want them to do with no fuss or bother or maintenance that reminds me of being at work while I'm trying to relax.

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    You haven't said if there is anyone else in the household besides your wife? If it is just two of you and she already has a laptop, just sell/recycle all the old stuff and buy yourself a new machine. I'm all for recycling and re-using but there is a limit. Your situation sounds like a lot of clutter!

    Even if you have a few kids it might be less hassle to get them a decent second hand laptop to share or something
    Last edited by sidewinder; 11th January 2013 at 09:36 AM.

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    I used to have a fairly complex home setup with a windows server, all the pc's on the domain etc but have now settled for 2 standalone laptops and a cheapo linkstation for file storage. The wife's also just got a tablet

    Can't be bothered with the hassle anymore and the wife would probably have a hissy fit if I tried setting anything else up!

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    I can relate to the "I go home and relax" bit. I have an Athlon X2 TL56 as my home main rig for older games on Win7. I have an Atom netbook as my web browser running puppy linux. Missus has one too to work on whilst settling Olly. Her main rig is an Athlon X2 Vostro 1000 running win7 from an SSD (babyproofed). She's a freelance webdev, so for her it's important.

    I CBA to diddle with things when I get home..I just want things to work. Heh. I once did tech at home, now..not so much.

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    Fully aware that I'll probably be shot down in flames, I have heard from other techies that Windows 8 actually runs very well on old hardware.

    Just putting that out there as an option...

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