New Workstation (or Colophon 2012)

June 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Apple, Tech, Uncategorized 

New Desktop (April 2012)

For those of you who are geeky enough to be interested, I thought I’d share my new workstation set-up now that I’ve finally gotten everything somewhat in working order. For extra-credit, if you click on the Flickr-linked image above, it will take you to a page that has everything highlighted and called-out in rollovers.

See after the jump for all the glorious (or was it goriest?) details of my new system, my old system, and most of the software that I use (hence the “colophon” title)…

After working for the last four+ years on a pretty beefy mobile workstation (at least at the time of purchase it was), it was getting long in the tooth and I was struggling with how much I need the portability vs. horsepower. While the current crop of MBPs aren’t shabby, the new 15″ MBP Retina wasn’t available at the time I was putting this system together–so I settled for the horsepower, and horsepower I got. As big as the processor increase is, I know the single-biggest factor for the manifold increase in speed is deciding to go with the 256GB SSD as my start-up drive. It is absolutely phenomenal. The only problem I have had is when I added two 8GB sticks of RAM from OWC to bump up the memory to 20GB. it appears that I got some bad sticks because the iMac began hard-kernel-panic-crashing at least once and sometimes two or three times a day. Coupled with Lion’s autosave features, the resulting reboot and reopening of all previous apps and browser windows was negligible–similar to waiting for Safari to refresh every window and tab in my MBP. If those types of crashes had happened on the MBP, I would have been down for at least 10 minutes each reboot and relaunch of apps. With the iMac it was something in the neighborhood of under a minute.

After talking with an OWC rep, he suggested that I try using a pink pencil eraser on the RAM DIMM contacts and try re-inserting them. That greatly improved the situation, but I may still have to have them replace the RAM as I still have an occasional crash at least once or twice a week and I suspect OWC still.

The screen real estate increase has been amazing. I used to think that 1920 x 1200 was relatively impressive but having two 2560 x 1440 displays side by side has made going back to the 1920 x 1200 world seem cramped and constrained by comparison.

Also, the 3TB Time Capsule has been a great improvement over my old Airport Extreme that I tried hooking a 1TB HD to for network backups. That was painful and I had to resort to locally attached external drives for each system that needed to be backed up. Now it backs up all four Macs on the network and is not even noticeable. Well worth the premium for the speed and peace of mind it brings to be backed up regularly. Time Machine has saved my bacon on several occasions and I consider that worth the investment alone.

I’ll try to follow up with a post about the height differences between the 27″ iMac and Apple’s 27″ Thunderbolt Display and my attempts at Display Level Equality (DLV). So without further ado:

New System

  • 27″ iMac 3.4GHz Quad-core i7 w/ 256GB SSD and 1TB internal HD, 20GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2GB GDDR5
  • 27″ Apple Thunderbolt Display (getting refurbed is a much better deal)
  • Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750 for Mac
  • Logitech Performance MX Mouse

Old (or Mobile) System

  • 17″ MacBook Pro 2.5GHz Core 2 Duo w/ 500GB Hd and 6GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT 512MB, HD Screen (yes, this is the infamous polybaked MBP with a new logic board that has been running trouble-free for over 7 months)
  • 24″ Samsung SyncMaster 245bw
  • Logitech Z3 Speakers
  • Apple Wireless Keyboard w/ Magic Trackpad


  • 3TB Apple Time Capsule handling Time Machine backups for 4 Macs
  • New iPad 32GB WIFI only with Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard and Cover
  • iPhone 4S
  • 500GB Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex HD
  • 1TB Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex HD
  • 3TB Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex USB3 HD


  • Adobe CS5.5 Master Collection
  • QuarkXPress 9
  • BBEdit
  • Coda 2
  • Transmit 4
  • FileMaker Pro 12 Advanced
  • Microsoft Office 2011:mac
  • LogMeIn
  • GoToMeeting
  • iChat (can’t wait for iMessage in Mountain Lion)
  • TweetDeck

Windows World (running in Parallels Desktop and VMWare Fusion)

  • VMWare Fusion
  • Parallels Desktop (liking Parallels more and more and have switched for main Win enviro)
  • Windows XP (for testing IE6, 7 & 8 and older versions of Firefox)
  • Windows 7 (main Win enviro for Visual Studio, Office and IE9/Firefox/Chrome
  • Windows 8 Preview (IE10 and Tiles!)
  • Microsoft Office 2010
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2010

Next up: 15″ MacBook Pro Retina with another 27″ Thunderbolt Display?



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