For computing components, quality is always more important than price.  Below is a photo of our QNAP TS-h1290FX NAS containing 60 TB of NVMe disk storage which is connected to its associated UPS.  We have recently signed up for SpaceX Starlink. The main "quality" hardware we use are:

QNAP TS-h1290FXComputers:  home built
Laptops:  Lenovo X1 Carbon and T series laptops
Network: QNAP NAS and Netgear switches
Audio: Creative Labs and Logitech
Phones and tablets - Apple
Router and WAPs - Draytek Vigor
Printers - HP

 All devices (computers, NASs, IP cameras, printers) here at Redoak are hard-wired LAN connected, and I never use wireless unless there is no wired alternative. The reason for a strong wired preference is for both speed and security.  All computers, phones, and tablets connect to the internet using a VPN for safety and security.


My current main computer is home built and was upgraded in 2021; it uses an i9 CPU with 64 GB RAM with 1TB and 500Gb NVMe SSDs; all data on all PCs is stored on the NAS; no PCs store data locally.  My prime focus is silence, so I use an ultra-quiet graphics card.  My monitor is a Dell 30" U3011 in my preferred 4x3 format with a 2560 x 1600 resolution.  I prefer to self-build to have the features I need and in this PC I have a twin FreeSat HD TV tuners and an HD FreeView TV.  The computer operates off a UPS which also powers other pieces of equipment that are vital to the security of the house. 


I've always bought the Lenovo X or T series laptops for their outstanding performance and reliability.  My main laptop is the superb Lenovo X1 carbon with an i7 (5th gen) 6600U 2.6GHz processor, 16 GB memory, a 1 TB PCIe NVMe SSD with a stunning 2560 x 1440 display, yet it weighs just 1.1kg.

I've also a Lenovo T410 which also has an i7 processor, 16GB memory, and a 1 TB SSD, but it weighs twice as much as an X1; the X1 is 25% faster than the 4 year older T410. 

Network Attached Storage (NAS)

I really like the QNAP NAS range.  There are four NASs in use here; the main NAS is the TS-h1290FX, which is backed up by a TVS-EC1080+ that is populated with 10 x 6 TB Western Digital Red Pro SATA drives in a RAID6 array.  The two 10Gb ports work in parallel, and the NVMe drives can saturate the network with 20Gb being drawn.  The TS-EC1080+ NAS is backed up to QNAP TS-873 which has 8 x 6 TB Western Digital Red Pro SATA drives, again in a RAID6 array.  The fourth and final NAS is a TS-453B containing 14TB drives; all data is backed up onto this NAS, and it is physically held many miles away and brought back here for periodic refreshing.  All NASs each have their own UPSs and are in different places. Because most rooms are using up to 10 wired devices, we use multiple Netgear switches of which some supply POE.

SpaceX Starlink

starlinkAlthough we have a 1Gb/sec down and 100Mb up fibre broadband connection, I've always been concerned about the lack of resilience of the land-based internet connection, so in 2023, we signed up for the SpaceX Starlink service that provides over a 250Mb download service.

The advantage of using a Draytek Vigor 2927 router is that the output from the SpaceX modem can be connected directly to the second WAN port of the Vigor 2927 router without any configuration and this gives uninterrupted internet and VOIP service should the service from one of our two providers fail.

Installation of Starlink was very easy, and to clear the gutter, I mounted the dish on a solid block of Sapele wood.


I've always liked high-quality sound, so my preference has always been for Creative Labs sound cards (discrete or integrated on the motherboard) and either Creative Labs or Logitech 5.1 speaker systems for my desktop.

Phones and Tablets

Apple has always been my preferred manufacturer because of their reliability, usability and the broad depth of features.  We use multiple iPads - mini, iPad and iPad Pro, and I use an iPhone 13Pro.  I refuse to use the Apple iCloud as I do not believe in sharing or storing any data remotely for data privacy and security reasons.  All devices are set up to self-reset to the factory default if the very long passcodes are not entered within ten attempts. 


Over time, we have used a mixture of ISPs using the telephone line.  We now exclusively use Virgin Media Cable.  I use the Virgin box in modem mode and my Draytek Vigor 2927ac router for security and functionality, and this gives us over 900Mb/sec download and over 100Mb/sec upload speeds.  The big advantage of these Draytek Vigor 2927ac router is the high firewall bandwidth for VPNs.


Never use ink-jet printers, now repeat after me, never use ink-jet printers.  We just use Hewlett Packard network printers.  Most printing is performed on an old HP4100DTN which prints A4 duplex very cheaply; it has 3 trays.  I also have a HP5000 A3 printer, a CP4525 A4 duplex colour laser and an HP colour LaserJet MFP M477fdw.   

Related Articles