After a relaxing weekend, imagine my horror when I turned on my monitors and found my PC wasn't sending video anymore ...
Worried? Yes, I was. Very! I was supposed to be getting everything ready for Monday morning and the start of a week of publishing, sharing and editing for my beloved clients. It was my only PC and it had given me faultless service for the past couple of years!
I always left it powered on (and just turned off the monitors when I'd finished for the day) as 99% of hardware failures occur due to spikes across the motherboard from the power supply when you hit the on switch.
I tested everything; were the hard drives spinning up? Were the motherboard lights on? Were on the board fans working? Yes, yes and yes. It would power up then there was nothing. No beeps, no power on self-test, nothing. Just an amber power light meaning there was a serious fault.
After conversations with a few hardware oriented friends (I'm a software girl mostly) we came to the conclusion that the power supply, although partly working, was failing to send out a particular voltage and that I needed a new PSU.
Having done hardware support years ago, and knowing computers as I do, I didn't want to spend money on something that may or may not work (it would have been Â£89 for a new PSU) so decided to bite the bullet and get a new PC.
An expensive option, and from every website I could see, it would take days and days to arrive. PC World was my next option but the machines available were not to my liking. So what should I do? I needed something quick!
A friend of mine had shared something interesting on Facebook recently. It was a link to an Amazon listing detailing a PC on a stick! I'd seen these little machines and decided that although there were powerful enough, they just didn't have enough flexibility for me with their lack of ports.
But looking again, I saw something else in the listings. It was called a LNK URL="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sumvision-Cyclone-Officially-Bluetooth-Streaming/dp/B00XA1A3NU" Title="Sumvision Cyclone Mini PC"}. Not only did it have an Intel Atom quad-core processor but could drive both HDMI and VGA monitors at the same time, had Bluetooth, WiFi, an RJ45 Ethernet connector, audio out and 3 USB ports. And it had an SD card slot to expand the 32Gb of onboard storage.
And the best thing? It was less than Â£100 and available for next day delivery on Amazon Prime! I decided to get one as a stop-gap until I figured out what to buy as a more permanent replacement for my old dead desktop.
But now I've got it, I'm not so sure I'll bother. Why? Well, it does everything (and I mean everything) my old desktop computer did, just as quickly. It runs Windows 10, It's driving 3 monitors faultlessly (I've got a USB based DisplayLink connector), and I've installed Build 1511 of Windows 10, Office 365, Chrome, PaintShop Pro X8 and all the other tools I use day-to-day to run my business.
I'm incredibly happy with it and I'm going to keep on using it. In fact, I'm going to get another one! Yes, it is a little slow on occasion (when I've got 10 Chrome tabs open and all my other programs and tools running at the same time), so if I get another and configure it the same as the original one, then I can split the workload between the two little computers, freeing up memory on both, helping them to run a bit quicker.
And having two computers working side-by-side solves another problem. What if one of them breaks like my faithful old desktop PC did? Well, I'll just switch to using one of them and order a new one from Amazon on next-day delivery then configure the new one as I continue working.
Hardware redundancy see? We're always told to back up our data over and over (all my stuff is in the cloud or on my web servers so that wasn't ever going to be an issue), but what happens when we have a hardware failure?
I've got over 25 years' experience in the computer industry so I diagnosed, ordered and rebuilt everything I needed within 24-hours and ended up recycling just one single days' worth of blog posts for my clients. By Tuesday, everything was back to normal in Steffi HQ. I dread to think how much someone with less experience would have spent trying to resurrect their old machine.
So take a look at the LNK URL="http://sumvision.com/product/Cyclone-Windows-PC/Window-PC1.html" Title="Sumvision Cyclone Mini PC"}. It proves that size isn't important (men have always tried to convince me of that) and I'm sold on the benefits of this wonderful little machine.
I would certainly recommend it to anyone!
If anything I've mentioned here resonates with you, do call me on 0333 335 0420 and let's see how I can help.