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I've purchased almost no new computer hardware this year. The truth is, I've been focused this year on getting to zero debt (other than a reasonable mortgage which is about half way finished). To get there means not buying a new car and resisting the temptation to by a massive new desktop or really big server. It also means sticking with the Dell D820, now just over 2 years old.
I like the D820 a lot though, so no real hardship there. Its a dual core 32 bit machine with plenty of battery life and RAM. What it needs now, is a bigger, faster, more macho hard drive. This will let me store all the pre-built virtual machines I could ever want, along with some good movies for the long travel times coming up.
Over the last couple of years, the internal technology used in hard drives has advanced a great deal. As data densities have increased, the drive heads must pass over less surface area to read the same amount of data. That results in dramatically better performance. When you combine it with advanced on-board logic like "NCQ" (Native Command Queuing) that lets the controller re-order the read requests to better match the order of the data on the drive, you end up with a very different experience.
So, on order is a new Seagate Momentus 250gb drive for this machine. The drive stores its bits perpendicularly (up and down), supports NCQ, has a 16 meg on board cache, and spins at 7200rpm. It should be a very nice upgrade over the original equipment 80gb that came with this machine.
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