Replacement to HP microserver

I’ve had my HP microserver for four years this summer and it’s been a great little machine and very reliable, but the time has come to upgrade the machine as it doesn’t run very quitely and could be more power efficient. I’m currently using Ubuntu 12.04 and am a little bit nervous about upgrading to 16.04 – so a new machine allows me to transfer over in a more leisurely fashion.

The replacement is going to be using an ASRock low powered CPU motherboard machine to minimise power consumption and noise. I’ve used an ASRock motherboard in my router and it runs virtually silent as I didn’t need any fans running in the case.

My first choice was the ASRock J3710-ITX, but its currently retailing at £40 more than the ASRock N3700-ITX, so I’ve gone with the cheaper one. The main difference between the boards is the CPU (see 1 and 2 at the end), but since this is primarily a file server, I’m not concerned about the N3700 being lower frequency.

The rest of the parts are on a wishlist until the motherboard has been shipped, but the plan is:

  • 8GB Kingston RAM
  • OCZ Trion 100 120GB SSD
  • StarTech 5.25in Trayless Hot Swap Mobile Rack
  • WD Red 6TB NAS HDD
  • WD Purple 6TB Surveillance HDD
  • Antec P50 mATX Case
  • Antec Earth Watts 380W 80+ Bronze Power Supply

(the list can be seen here:

The file server will be in a RAID 1 configuration using the Red and Purple WD drives, the SSD being the O/S drive.  I’ve deliberately not selected two reds or two purples so that the drives should be made at different times and shouldn’t both be from the same batch.  Most likely I’ll repurpose the existing 2TB drives to I have for the offsite backup to save money!

The 5.25in rack allows me to plug in one of the offsite HDDs without opening up the case. The case will be used to home my router machine, allowing me to put the file server into the Lian Li media center case.




Feeling a little poorer but browsing the internet a lot quicker!

Back in 2014, I posted that I’d bought a 4G router having reached the point with my home broadband where it would go no faster…!

I’ve used eight 6GB EE sims since I bought the router, but those sims were costing too much and I’d stopped buying them after summer 2015.

At the end of 2015, when I was considering selling the 4G router, I managed to get one of the Christmas 2015 deals which allowed me to find out how much data I’d need if I were to get a contract.

In those 2 months, we used under 20GB each month, despite using Youtube for streaming music and downloading a bunch of Sky HD programs.  I therefore worked out any contact would have to have 20GB+ of data per month, but most importantly be affordable! (ideally £25 or less)

A week ago, I received my 32GB, £28 a month sim and have been enjoying 10+Mb/s* speeds since 🙂

It is more than I hoped to pay per month, but I’ll be swapping over to a cheaper and bigger data tariff as soon as  see one!


* the WAN connections are load balanced, but the 4G connection is set to take more of the load than the ADSL

Retirement Countdown Clock App

I posted my first app to the Microsoft Store last weekend. It took me about 8 days to write, most of which was trying to learn about XAML and C#… (the resources on the internet aren’t as easy as trying to find out about Java in my opinion).

I got a little bit (too) excited today when I found out it’d been downloaded 6 times! hehe

The app I’ve created is a Retirement Countdown Clock.  When the user configures their retirement date, it will display the number of calendar days and estimated working days until that person retires.

I won’t tell you how many calendar days until I can retire (assuming I haven’t won the lottery before then) as it’s well over ten thousand! Here’s an example picture on a mobile device.


My thanks goes to the two people I demonstrated it to in it’s early form who suggested the working days feature.

Store link: