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Intel T Processors in the X51 Configurations

Jun 1, 2014

2 Votes

Status: Acknowledged

When people think of wanting to upgrade the Graphics Crad on the X51 (any revision), they come to the conclusion that a larger PSU will fix the problem. I disagree as it defeats the purposes of the X51, a portable, small form factor PC that sizes well to game consoles. While it is great to have a 500w or 725w Power Supply Unit, for one the X51 does not have enough space and two, rarely anyone wants to lug a charger (that 330w PSU is the 18's charger) that big. However, there is a better alternative, and while it is not the best, it makes the best compromise. Alienware should introduce Intel's T processors (for example, the i7-4790T) in the X51 line. Here's why.1. It keeps the desktop factor. These procesors, while intended for All-in-Ones, are still desktop processors. They use the desktop processor sockets as well, so there would be no need for a special motherboard for T processors and regular processors. Better than resorting to mobile processors in a desktop and having two motherboards for one revision.2. They have low TPD. In the Ivy-Bridge and Haswell line of T processors, they have a TPD from 34w to 45w. This is lower than the i3 line of Intel processors, which have a TPD of 54w to 55w. While the S line generates less TPD than the regular line of processors (i7-3770 TPD is 77w, i7-3770S TPD is 65w), it isn't enough.3. Better upgradeability for GPUs. On youtube (I'll link the video later), an uploader recorded his X51 R1 that had an i3-3220 with a GTX 680. A GTX 680 generates 195w. With a T processor, this can be done with much ease, but the fact that an i3 + GTX 680 can go under the 330w limit, it means that exterem GPUs are possible in a X51. A T processor would expand and increase the amount of GPUs available to upgrade to (not just a GTX 680). The only constraints that would hold back owners are the size of the GPU and heat management (like not having a reference card for example).Fitting in a GTX 780 ti or R9 290x may not be possible, but anything better than a GTX 760 and R9 270x is better than nothing.4. Performance isnt bad. T processors are still great processors; they just have lower clock speeds. That isn't too big of a deal as games haven't fully utlized the 8 threads of an i7, and the i5 and i7 T processors wouldn't bottleneck the high-end GPUs (the i3, however, could).Does Alienware have to do anything drastic? Nope. They can add in the processors, validate more GPUs, and make owners more happy. The X51 will compete much better with other SFF and consoles. While the T processors may have to be priced slightly higher than the regular, consumers get the option to pick more GPUs than before. More sales for the X51? Of course.

2 Votes | 3 Comments

Categories: Servers and Storage, Alienware,

How are SSDs in notebooks increasing productivity?

SSD sweetspots

May 23, 2014

1 Vote

Status: Acknowledged

I've used SSDs since the pricepoint was $3+/GB, beginning with the 64GB Kingston SSDNow with upgrade kit for both desktops and laptops.  As prices dropped, I tried the Crucial m4 in my work laptop, and convinced a corporate IT shop to enhance the  existing XP fleet by swapping out mechanical SATA2 drives for SSDs, and they extended the service life of the laptop fleet to four full years. I used my own work-supplied Lenovo laptop for almost five full years, with the last two-plus years on SSD.  Granted I'm a performance geek, but the other nerds in IT agreed and SSD became standard for all new laptops.Finally Samsung's price/capacity hit the sweet spot for 250GB drives about a year ago. I bought several 840 Series SSDs for my private business and have installed them on machines as old as Inspiron E1505/6400, Latitude 830, and Vostro 200 Desktop.  All these machines are ultimately throttled by their 800Mhz FSB. But the relatively spartan Vostro 200, with its built-in support for hardware-based RAID1, will support 8GB RAM with the final BIOS version. With SSD, it's an impressive machine. I've added $100 video cards and set up these Vostros everyday desktops, as well as a poorman's RAID1 backup solution using a free version of CrashPlan,  Win7-64bit, and CPUs as fast as 3.1Ghz, readily available for about $25.  I'm writing this from an Inspiron 1505 with Intel Core Duo T7200, SSD, and 3GB RAM. It still boots faster than most new computers, wakes from hibernation in seconds, and can go weeks without a reboot. The SSD has also cut down on heat, which is the enemy of a laptop and frequently causes the deterioration of the thin areas of the plasic shell.In my private business, I've carried spare Samsung SSDs with me on job calls, and offered to demonstrate the performance improvement by cloning a drive using Acronis, then swapping the existing mechanical drive with the 840 SSD. Users are awed by boot times and the speed that their common apps-- whether a standard  Office app, Powerpoint,  or media.  If you want to sell an SSD, clone an exisitng mechanical HD with a substantial  iTunes library to SSD and demonstrate the time it takes to load the app. It's really impressive and users are immediately sold. The existing mechanical HD can be stowed as a backup of the computer, or leveraged as a data drive depending on the user's comfort/risk profile.For corporate shops, SSD is best sold when laptops are a year old or more. Depending on how a company depreciates laptops, or how long they expect them to be serviceable (usually 3 years) , the SSD upgrade can be seen as extending the service life of a sunk cost. If the Latitude is cosmetically still viable, isn't $180 a reasonable expense to get a 4th year of service? Create a pool of 10 SSD test users-- a modest investment-- and compare the satisfaction of the SSD and non SSD pools.  If you choose your power users wisely you should have enough data after a year to consider extending the investment in SSD..02, comments welcomed.

1 Votes | 1 Comment Join Storm Session

Categories: Desktops and Laptops, Servers and Storage,

Updated Intel Rapid Storage Technology (IRST) OROM in Dell M4400 BIOS

May 21, 2014

2 Votes

Status: Acknowledged

Hello!I just downloaded the latest BIOS for Dell M4400 (A29) and latest Intel Rapid Storage Technology software available in the download section on Dell's website.While the IRST software is relatively updated (version 9.6.0.1014), it's a shame that the OROM in the BIOS is still the ancient 8.0.0.1039. Because of the old OROM version, some functionalities of the software are not available and/or limited.So this is my idea: it would be quite easy for Dell to provide a BIOS at least with the same OROM version as the IRST software it provides through its driver download page.Even better would be if Dell did a general update and provided the latest software/BIOS OROM for Intel ICH8M-E/ICH9M-E/5 Series SATA RAID Controller found on the M4400, and not just the 9.6.0.1014 version that dates back to 2010.So my idea in short is: can Dell provide through its download page the *latest* version of Intel Rapid Storage Technology (IRST), *both* for the windows software/drivers *and* for the BIOS OROM? I'm sure it would make a lot of users happy.Thanks!

2 Votes | 7 Comments

Categories: Desktops and Laptops, Servers and Storage, Service and Support,

Server Support

Apr 30, 2014

1 Vote

Status: Acknowledged

Over the last few years when a PowerEdge Server had Next Business Day Warranty, a technician could still call in on weekends to get support. Recently Dell changed their policy to only Servers with Pro Support could call in on weekends. There are a lot of older servers that do not have Pro Support and they should be grandfathered in for support on weekends. A lot of small companies can only be accessed on the weekends for upgrades, i.e. hardware or software. This limits the support that Dell has always been famous for. As a Dell Reseller this new Polciy change has made me think about how to Support my customers and what Hardware and from what Vendor they will be recieving it from in the future.

1 Votes | 1 Comment

Categories: Desktops and Laptops, Servers and Storage,

How are SSDs in notebooks increasing productivity?

enhanced hybrid Hard Drive

Apr 23, 2014

1 Vote

Status: Acknowledged

while there are "hybrid drives" which fuse a small amout solid memory into a larger standard disc hard drive, my suggestion would be intergrating a removable memory stick to the hard drive to allow users to deside how much solid memory they would like (if any), to keep the internal hard drive profile down, a laptop style "pop up ddr" or memory slot could attached to the unit. 

1 Votes | 3 Comments Join Storm Session

Categories: Desktops and Laptops, New Product Ideas, Servers and Storage,

What is the SSD effect on data center performance?

Performance and Efficiency

Apr 14, 2014

5 Votes

Status: Acknowledged

We already have a few Equallogic hybrid arrays which have provided a decent bump in performance versus their non-SSD counterparts, but are looking to start transitioning to all SSD storage arrays for the increased performance to support our increasingly virtualized environment (will be approaching 98% virtualized by EOY) while also reducing our power draw and cooling requirements.  Additionally looking down the road 5+ years we feel that all flash arrays will become the norm as costs continue to come down, and technologies like dedupe and compression become common place in tier 1 storage.As we make the move to AFA storage, we plan to make use of SSDs in our ESXi hosts for server side caching via vFRC or PernixData's FVP to offload demand from our SAN and provide a better experience to our customers.

5 Votes | 1 Comment Join Storm Session

Categories: Desktops and Laptops, Servers and Storage,

SME Server Form Factor

Nov 7, 2011

2 Votes

Status: Partially Implemented

My idea is based around the need for Small and Medium sized enterprises to have a new form factor created around their very specific need to get datacenter capable components that cannot be situated in a dedicated datacenter.   Their needs are getting ever more sophisticated but its hard for them to have multiple tower servers or one powerful server situated in an office environment. If they did go for rack servers a large rack dominates the office space and of course remains loud due to the BPU output. I am therefore proposing a new standard be created around the traditional rack platform but meets specific criteria for SME; 1. Size (Office Space) 2. Power (Efficiency) 3. Cooling (Reduced active cooling)   My idea is around taking the traditional server rack 'U' format and shrinking it to a more suitable standard for SME's. i.e. 'Mini U'. It could be around 50-70% of the normal depth and width and a maximum of perhaps 50% of the height. This rack could then take mini U servers, storage, switches, routers, UPS's, patch cabling etc. It would likely need to be an open standard in order for other vendors to build equipment to the new standard or offer rack mount kits for their existing equipment.   With Mini ITX and ATX becoming more commonplace and Intel driving down the TDP of their processors we must surely be in a situation where these servers could be produced effectively. Think along the lines of a blade computer but one that is stand alone and mountable.   These racks could also be used for Enterprises for satellite offices too.   When working for a Microsoft Gold Partner we were frequently told by Microsoft that theres a lot of consultancies going for the large corporates and yet there are literally hundreds of thousands of SME's in the marketplace desperate for more IT maturity.   Obviously cost is always going to be a factor but the volume might become comparable to large enterprises when taking into account the number of businesses out there.   With Microsoft's essentials platforms you could pretty much have an OEM appliance marketplace developed as well as Open source opportunities.   I know for me as an SME consultant I would love to have equipment like this available that allows me to help a small business but allow them the headroom for years to come. Especially because VMWare offer ESX SME solutions too.   Its an idea I have been thinking about for a couple of years so happy for it to be dissected, good or bad, pros and cons.   Richard Status Update: This idea has been Partially Implemented with the announcement of the Dell PowerEdge VRTX converged solution.  Thank you for posting!

2 Votes | 0 Comment

Categories: Servers and Storage, Small Business,

Compellent Logo on drive carriers

Apr 15, 2011

5 Votes

Status: Implemented

Following Dell's acqusition of Compellent, it appears that a decision was made to remove the Compellent logo from the front of each drive carrier. I discovered this after purchasing (and recieving just yesterday) a new shelf of 15K SAS disks for my Compellent SAN. Here's the new shelf as installed (the new shelf is on the bottom).As you can see, not only do the new drives not match the rest of the system, but also (and perhaps more importantly) the Compellent branding is significantly decreased, making the array look like a generic no-name disk array. Yes, the Dell|Compellent logo is present on the right-side bezel, but that's a miniscule amount of real-estate compared to having a logo on each drive carrier.Please consider bringing back the Compellent logo on these drive carriers.Thank you![Personal information redacted]

5 Votes | 0 Comment

Categories: Advertising and Marketing, Servers and Storage,

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