Computing

For computing components, quality is always more important than price.  Below is a photo of our QNAP TVS-EC1080+ NAS containing 60TB of disk storage, and with its associated UPS.  The main "quality" hardware we use are:

  • Computers:  QNAP TVS-EC1080+ NAShome 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 - 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 speed but primarily security.  All computers, phones and tablets connect to the internet using a VPN for safety and security.

Computers

My current main computer is home built and it uses an i7 CPU with 32GB RAM with a 1TB SSD; all data on all PCs is stored on the NAS; no PCs store data locally.  My prime focus is silence, so I use a fan-less fast discrete 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 have a 2 FreeSat HD TV tuners and a FreeView TV.  The computer operates off a UPS which also powers other pieces of equipment that are vital to the security of the house. 

Laptops

I've always bought the Lenovo 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, 16GB memory,a 1TB 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 years older T410. 

Network

I like the QNAP NAS range.  There are three NASs here; one is a TVS-EC1080+ which is populated with 10 x 6TB Western Digital Red Pro SATA drives; nine disks are in a RAID6 array and one is a hot spare.  This NAS is backed up to QNAP 873 which has 8 x 6TB Western Digital Red Pro SATA drives in a RAID6 array.   Vital data is also backed up on a TS-659 Pro II which has 6 x 4TB drives also in a RAID 6 array.  All NASs each have their own UPSs are are in different places. Because most rooms are using up to 10 wired devices, we use multiple Netgear switches of which a few supply POE.

Audio

I've always liked high-guality sound so my preference has always been for Creative Labs sound cards (discrete of 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 featues.  We use multiple iPads - mini, iPad and iPad Pro, and I use an iPhone X.  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. 

Router

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 router for security and functionality and this gives us over 300Mb d/l and over 30Mb upload speeds.

Printers

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 a Colour LasetJet MFP M477fdw.