Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rackable or Portable - a new hardware mantra

Now you can get badass portable hardware on the cheap, like the acer revo (~$200) or similar devices. They come with NVIDIA's Ion chipset, which supports DirectX 10 and 1080p over HDMI. For "normal" stuff (web, media, etc.) it's perfect. And it even runs XBMC (which you should try if you haven't. It's AMAZING)

For storage and heavy lifting, you can get equally badass rack-mounted machines, like this 2U barebone server (~$1000) that comes with 6 hot swappable drives. Imagine 6x3TB hot swappable drives configured using ZFS. It would be all the storage I'd ever need. In fact the day I fill up that volume would be the day I burn all my technology and walk off into the woods.

There are still some legacy BIOS issues with the 3TB drives though, and legal issues with native ZFS support in Linux, so I'm waiting.

But in the meantime, everything I now buy will be either rackable or portable. To me, anything in between is akin to living in the suburbs. Sure it's cheap and it looks nice. But it's the worst of both worlds - an unholy compromise between rural and urban living. You get neither the space and freedom of living in the middle of nowhere, nor the conveniences of living close to a bunch of people. The same can be said of a typical desktop PC.

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