About me and contact details.
MISSION CONTROL: MAIN PC AREA, testing and repair work also done here.
Left monitor ACER 27" HD LED, to the right an LG 30" HD LED TV / monitor (showing my cctv screen). Right hand PC is an ACER XC-115 which I bought raw and ran Linux Ultimate. It now runs Windows 8.1 Pro. Main PC is below table.
The box the LG is sitting on is the CCTV DVR. Image to the right is both PCs booted and the Denon Mission Monitor loudspeakers.
Click images to expand / slideshow
I modified the layout slightly, adding a Samsung 14" monitor for the cctv which remote controlled via the 5 way 13amp socket transmitters. I like lazy!!
A Little background.
I live and work in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, Surrey UK. On my doorstep I have access to the River Thames, Richmond Park, Kew Gardens and Hampton Court Palace.
Over the years my work and interests has involved High Voltage Electrical installations, H&V, M&E engineering, Building / Facilities management, Electronics and lastly but not least COMPLICATORS (computers).
I semi retired some 10 years ago partly due to an illness and decided to gear my work to computing, building, repairing and delving into why the blasted machines do not always work the way you want. I had over 30 years experience with computing starting with DOS (DISK OPERATING SYSTEM), Win 3.1, NT 4.0, Win 95 / 98, XP, 2000, XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8.1 and now Win 10 (WinX). It has not been an easy road for sure! Microsoft I believe really did try to get a Windows OS that would become standard and this started with NT, a Windows that did not work in a windows shell. Initially, for business this was a way forward.
95 and 98SE were still booting via a DOS integrated start but we were now in the days of the CD and the MB support for a driver. Installing 95 and 98 was pretty sure to work (ish). However the speed of the optical drive was still very slow.
However, prior to that, Windows 3 and 3.1 machines did not have such 'modern' device input......Oh hang on it did! The floppy drive!!
In those unconnected internet and W3 years ( the was a BB service running via a quite useless 33kbps...but it was just text sent and received ) a M$ update never appeared.
In those halcyon days to load Window 3 you had to install the OS by floppy disks.! 21 disks if I remember correctly.
My main PC is a home built tower.
It is used for testing software, audio and video editing etc. A tower gives you the benefit of changing hardware at will. A laptop upgrade is extemely limited which is why I go through them like a dose of salts!
It is made up as follows:
An ASUS AMD M5A78L Socket AM3+ Motherboard ( pretty good MB for the price as opposed to an intel)
Operating System is Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit. It will never run Win X (!).
Upgraded the first 4 core processor to an AMD FX 8320 8 core 4ghz.
HyperX Savage 32 GB (4 x 8 GB) 1866 MHz DDR3 CL9 DIMM XMP Memory Module - Red
Sapphire AMD R7 240 4Gb DDR3 PCI-E Graphics Card ( 4gb dedicated Ram )
500gb Crucial M300 Solid State Drive ( SSD ).
2 x 2tb Seagate internal 7200 drives ( spinners )
Added a 4 port USB 3 card.
Multi usb / sd card reader to front case.
CPU cooling; ARCTIC Freezer 7 Pro Rev 2 - 150 Watt Multicompatible Low Noise CPU Cooler for AMD.
Internal cooling, front mount LED 4" fan, rear mount extraction fan.
Crucial PSU 850w.
Samsung DVD multi rewriter drive.
The graphics are fed to an LG 30" LED monitor via DVI. There are inputs on this monitor for DVI, VGA, USB and 2 HDMI, switchable by remote control. The Monitor has split screen and picture in picture options.
The machine is now at the maximum regarding upgrades.
The internal sound card is 'adequate' but I feed via SPDIF to an external mini hifi amplifier ( using Bose chips, class T ) 2 x 30w which feeds 2 Mission by Denon monitors as I do a lot of music mixing.
Machine 2, a Lenovo ideapad 500.
Intel i7 Skylake CPU 4 logical cores. AMD Radeon Grapchics with dedicated 2gb ram.
The Lenovo Ideapad 500 is used as my 2nd machine but is a portable workhorse. I paid a lot for this machine which came with Win 10 Home ( Win X ). I had to have a daily machine to run Win X although I dislike the OS BTW. I do like the finish and the 2 USB 3.0 ports. All my backup drives and flash drives are USB 3.0.
1tb drive and 12gb ram installed.
Eventually got to the desktop and then did all my system checks, the first one is looking at the C: drive content.
Why oh Why should there be a win.old folder?Alarm bells, tintinabulation and a minor irritation because I knew what the situation was.
It was not a 'raw' Win X install but in fact an upgrade instigated at the factory. Not too happy...it means that the machine initially was win 8.1. OUCH, what a con.
I wiped the 1tb drive.
I had already downloaded all the necessary drivers fro Lenovo.
Bought Win X Pro for £25 and installed as a complete rebuild.
Installed a Toshiba 960gb SSD.
Upgraded the ram to 16gb from 12gb.
Installed all my software including Office 2016 pro, a load of mostly open source audio, graphic and video editing software but also paid for apps.
The machine performs well given the upgrade but still unhappy running Win X. I run 3rd party software called Stardock Deskscapes including Fences and Start 10, which has many tweaks and options to make it seem like running Win 7. Stardock packages can be downloaded here: http://www.stardock.com/products/
I was able to get a package for $18 which I thought was a bargain. Start 10 gives you the familiar start orb from previous Win OSs.
The internal graphics is 2gb on board ram which pushed up the lappy cost but allows better resolution and external display. Neither the GPU or the GPU Ram can be upgraded.
Below, two screen shots of the Lenovo:
The Hi-Fi end of the room.
After a day consumed with manifold excitement including mental breakdowns one needs to relax.
With a glass of Scottish wine (whisky) in one hand and the manifold remote controls in the other an interesting scenario can be created. Loads of music!
A Yamaha 2 x 50 wpc class A amplifier. It feeds the speakers 50w pure at whatever 'volume level' (gain), so it runs 50w PC, always on as opposed to class A+B. It thumps out a bloody good sound.
This is fed into a pair of TDL Nucleus 2 loudspeakers. Their size belies the performance, reference FR = 20hz - 21khz, backed up with a Technics sub-woofer (rarely needed!!). The lounge is quite small so the need for floorstanders I had in the old days are not needed. Also modern speaker cabinet design combined with new materials make this setup ideal for my space. The Cabinet structure is 22mm MDF.
The ported base at the rear produces the lower tones below 50khz so they should be placed carefully...as all loudspeakers should. It is preference, to your hearing / aural experience.
To the left is a TEAC reference CD player (studio quality). The internal assembly is suspended on rubber mountings and is not integrated to the mechanical side. The connections to the CD assembly is by coiled wire which act very much like coiled spring in a car suspension system for instance but without transmitting mechanical deviations / vibrations.
The TV is a Panasonic 40" 4K 3D. It has multiple inputs 3 HDMI, 3 USB 3.0 inputs and VGA (USEFUL!!), I have a 240gb SSD drive attached to one USB 3 where some of my FLAC / MP3 music / video files are stored. Via the TV, the input is fed to the amp via Spdif / Toslink gold cable to a ADC (analogue digital converter) module. Through the ADC I can feed audio from the 2 DVD recorders.
The Media Centre: The TV is wireless and connects to my Synology NAS box where I can stream music, videos from it but I have ethernet connected also so speed issues are never a problem.
I can extend any of my desktops to the Panasonic via HDMI with ease.
Copyright Mike Bromley 2020