A New Computer!

April 10, 2022

So, the worst case scenario has happened. The computer that was running the server where all my websites went down, and it was all because of a $30 part. The fan supporting the CPU died, causing the CPU to overheat and die, but in the process, somehow, it killed the motherboard and that scrambled the hard drives (yeah, mirrored hard drives are not safe even under those circumstances!).

At that point I was not overly concerned. I had all the files from the websites on a secondary hard disk and I had the raw MySQL data files. Little did I know how HARD it would be to resolve even with all that.

Before I could get to that, I needed to replace the dead computer, and that was actually an excellent opportunity to upgrade. The plan was formulated to get a new main computer and to get my current Dell PC to become the main server… but that changed real fast too, because I needed a setup that would give me even more added redundancy, I never wanted a computer failure to ever bring me to this place again.

First things first, the replacement computer. Normally I am a “build it myself” person, but I wanted something fast, and COVID was still causing ridiculous prices. So I bit the bullet on 2 fronts, to order a pre-built PC and to pay a pretty ridiculous price for some better hardware. Basically in the end I paid about $100-$200 more than if I had built it myself, so that part was not too bad.

I have an Apple MAC MINI M1 with 2TB drive and 16gb or RAM, so my current video editing needs were met, but I wanted to get a PC that would be a level above for my future editing needs.

My current older Dell was a rock solid PC that was super reliable, so I thought I would go back to Dell and see what they had to offer. They had just what I needed:

  • Dell XPS desktop with an Intel 12th gen Core i9-2700k 3.2Ghz CPU (16-core) that peaks at 5.2GHz in turbo mode.
  • Liquid cooling for the CPU
  • 64gb of DDR5 RAM @4400MHz (easy to add another 64gb)
  • WIFI and Bluetooth capabilities
  • 2TB SSD M.2 PCIe SSD and spare 1TB SSD for cache and swap files
  • Windows 11 PRO edition
  • NVIDIA GeForce 3070 video card with 8gb of GDDR6 LHR ram

The cost was pretty much ridiculous, costing me more for any computer than I have ever paid before… but it would be here before the end of April.

It arrived on time and I had already been researching on how to get it back. It was an excellent PC for my needs. I set it up and also immediately worked on setting up the environment that I wanted to use moving forward. Oh, I slapped in a nice PCIe firewire card so that I can use it with my Mackie mixer when the mood hits… a smart addition, IMHO!

Addendum: October 21, 2022

So how is the current setup working? Well, I am never going to ever go through this again. First I am running everything under Windows 11 PRO, and here is the interesting part… I am running my web server in a Windows Hyper-V virtual environment. I export the entire server and make three copies of that server to three different locations. With this setup, I can boot up another PC in a few seconds, import the virtual server with all my websites to this computer and be back up 100% in a matter of about 5 minutes… a lot better than 5 months!

Since my environment doesn’t change on a daily basis (more like a weekly or monthly basis, anytime I create a new article, for example), I export the VM (virtual machine that holds my web server), manually and copy them to my external hard drive, my NAS and on to my secondary computer. On a bad day that takes me 15 minutes… I’ve found myself doing it even when it is not really needed, but I love this new setup, and won’t need to recreate the server from scratch ever again!

I often say computers don’t last, its not a question of if but when. Well, when “when” comes around this time, I will be ready!