CyberPower UPS

Finally, I decided to invest in a UPS! I decided to put my money down on a UPS to protect my NAS and web server from power outage. Which could happen anytime. I decided to invest in Cyberpowerv model number: CP900EPFCLCD. 

Why now?

I decided to get a UPS after a recent power outage that made my one drive fail on my QNAP NAS. I could not access the drive until it rebuilds the RAID. In my case it was RAID 5. As you might already know, RAID 5 has distributed parity data across the drives you have. In my case, I have 5 3 Terabytes drives, thus parity data is distributed across the 5 of them. When one drive failed, the data is reconstructed from the other drives.

The rebuild could take days depends on the size of the drives. In my case, it took 16 hours, and then it went into optimisation mode which took 2~3 days.

It went into optimisation because some of block data went corrupt.

Why CyberPower?

In any case, I decided to invest in a UPS. I picked CyberPower because the price was right compared to APC. However, the price is one factor, the other is the fact that it has a True Sine Wave inverter inside. It means that once the power is out, the power that comes from the battery is inverted into a power similar to the one that you get from a wall outlet.

Other cheaper UPSs use simulated sine wave  (also called, modified sine wave) which looks squarish in shape. This might cause issues with some of the equipments. In my experience, modified sine wave inverter causes much heat when it runs. It also waste much energy when it runs. So I decided to just get a true sine wave UPS and have a peace of mind.

UPS uses:

It you are planning to run a web server from home, then get a UPS. You need one to prevent your website from going down. It is also true if you are planning to host your own personal cloud storage. I do not plan to plug the monitor to the UPS. It would waste battery power. I will only plug my server and NAS. TV, printers, and my gaming consoles will not be plugged.

Since the server is accessible from remotely, I can just shut it down remotely when I learn that there is a power outage at home.

The other important thing to be aware of is getting another UPS for your home internet connection. You don’t want your computer to stay on without being able to reach it. Especially if you plan to run a server from home.

Unboxing: 

The UPS comes with a USB cable, telephone cable, power cable, and a UPS cable. Plus the Unit itself. I expected the unit to be huge, but to my surprise, it turned out to be small.

Extra cables: 

I decided to invest in extra cables. Since computers and other devices uses regular cables, do yourself a favour and invest in some extra cables. I decided to get extra UPS cables, plus I got many other kinds of cables for devices that I plan to plug into the UPS.

I got the following:

1- C 14 to C7

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2- C 14 to C 5

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3- C 14 to C 13

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Overall, I am satisfied with the purchase. The quality is good. It does its job. It has a small LCD that displays current load, how long will it last, and other figures.

Roof Garden

garden Roof garden is one of these projects that not just fun, but a great learning opportunity as well.

I attempted my roof garden project in a hope to cut on my grocery bill. But it turned out to be a fun project. Now, gardening become a hobby of mine.

One of the benefit of having a roof garden is that, it gets more than 8 hours of direct sun light. It is also an off limit place for kids.

I started with two rows of pots that I bought from Ikea and planted few vegetables seeds. Few days passed and I started to see plants growing. I kept watering them whenever I had time. This become a choir so I decided to install a automatic watering system. I used a small submersible water pump that I got from Amazon, and small hose that pass through the pots. I used wooden sticks and planted them in each of the pots.

I punctured the hose above each pot and knotted the end of the hose. Water will pass through the hose and stop at the knot and then escape through the punctures. I forgot to mention that the water pump runs on solar panel and a timer. I documented how I did it on a previous post.

Then, I faced two issues. Water runs out fast so I needed to find a way to refill the water reservoir automatically. Another issue is that, plants grows fast and then stop. I later found out that the pots that I am using are relatively small. Nutrients run out fast from smaller pots.

The decided to expand the project and add more rows of pots. I bout 20 pots, and grouped them into 2 groups. Each group consist of 10 pots divided into 2 rows. Each groups has 5 pots in a row and a water reservoir. Each eater reservoir has a water pump. This time, I decided to go with larger pots. AC1CFC0D-48E3-42D6-B7A5-E495D672750F

As for the automatic refilling of water reservoirs, I decided to use the main water tank that my house has to get water from. I used a simple garden water hose and made a hole through the water tank. Then I passed the hose through the hole and started to siphon the water from the tank. Because of gravity, water would flow through the hose and into the water reservoir. This hose goes to each water reservoir and fill it. I then installed a float valve to prevent the water from over filling the water reservoir. It worked flawlessley.

After this, I cut the garden hose and installed a T connection so that I can take the water to the other water reservoirs. 3F8D4210-3972-4C62-8977-A9BC7A57353D
Since cutting my grocery bill was my main goal out of this project, I decided to only plant eidable plants. Do I planted tomatos, potatos, garlic, onion and watermelon.

It’s been over 2 months and a half now and I started to pick up tomatos. And I am starting to see other plants growing as well.

If think everyone should have a small garden in their house. It’s fun and great learning experience. img_9271

Water Cooled CPU

I just bought Intel thermal Solution TS13X. It is the first water cooler that I bought for a PC. I decided to go the water cooling route because it makes the PC setup much cooler and also to element the noise. I used to depend on air cooling before, but I witnessed the following problems. The room temperature would rise, especially if there is a graphic card also installed.

I intended to use it for my Intel DX79SR motherboard that I also bought used. But the Xeon processor that I bought for it, got delayed, so I decided to use it for my experimental setup.

Experimental Setup: 

I constructed an experimental setup with 2 GPUs that I had laying around. I used an Intel core I7 4470k for this setup. Then I used a mining  software miner gate to push the processor to 97% usage. I noticed that the temperature never reaches 37 C. Which is really cool. It is a departure from the air cooler which usually the temperature reaches around ~70 C. Keep in mind that, Air cooler pushes hot air into the case, and the case pushes the air outside the case and into the room. Which raises the room temperature. Water cooling on the other hand pushes air into the radiator that has water in it. IMG_8585

Assembling it:

Not as easy as air coolers but not difficult at all. It just need an extra step of fixing the extra brackets. One on the bottom of the motherboard and another on top of the processor. The bracket that fits on top of the processor also the one that holds the copper pieces that sets on top of the processor and transfer heat to the radiator.

Overall, not hard to assemble, and adds much value to your setup.

As a bonus, I found that if you want to sell your PC, it would sell much faster if you added a water cooling to your setup. I believe that water cooling is a sign that your processor temperature is never pushed over limit. Also it looks much sophisticated. Just my opinion based on what I saw in the market.

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What Do I think: 

From now on, I would never by an air cooler again. I would recommend this cooler to any PC owner. It would lengthen the life of your PC and make it run much cooler.

 

Mac Mini, Apple and Other Things

Mac Mini is by far one of my favorite Apple products. It gets the job done and it is perfect for regular computing. As a person who has multiple PC at home, I find myself using it more often.

I don’t do video editing or computing intensive tasks to need a super computer. I just need to browse the web, watch YouTube, work processing, programming and that’s it. It does all of that.

As for gaming, mac is not a great machine for gaming. For me, I don’t game on PC at all. I use consoles for that. I believe consoles deliver the best experience when it comes to gaming. Game consoles also become powerful enough that you don’t need powerful PCs to enjoy breath taking graphics.

My First Mac Mini

I bought my first Mac Mini during collage. My laptop had an issue with its SuperDrive, so I sent it to Apple for repairs. At that time, I forgot about one of the assignments that I needed to deliver by the end of the week. It was an assignment for an Artificial Intelligence class. The name of the course seems fancy and high tech. But it wasn’t fun and mostly was mostly boring. Was had to code in languages such as schema, Lisp and Prolog. Did not like any of them. Anyway, I went to the school’s computer lab but those laps were using Windows. I was not able to download a compiler for Prolog because I had a student not admin account.

At this point, I decided to buy the cheapest Mac available. And it was Mac Mini with SuperDrive.

I ordered it from Amazon with over night delivery. I had Prime membership so I did not pay crazy price for this option. Only 4 dollars to receive it over night. I received it the night before the assignment is due. And was able to finish the assignment with an all nighter.

That’s not the end of it. I started working on it as my daily driver. I even used it to host my personal webpage, among other sites that I hosted at that time. The thing is that, I liked setting on a desk while working on a computer. When I had a laptop, I used to set on the sofa. That added much to why I liked the Mac Mini.

In anycase, I still have the first Mac Mini that I bought in 2008. Recently, I bought a 2010 version with SuperDrive to use it as a media center PC. Since the drive was a regular HDD, I replaced it with an SSD and upgraded the RAM to 8G (was 4).

Apple After Jobs and alternative to Mac Mini!

I believe that moment Steve jobs died, Apple went downhill. They started to produce products that are disposable. You can’t upgrade them nor you can easily fix them. For example, the very same Mac Mini version 2014, has a solders on RAM. In addition to this, the HDD is also much more difficult  to change. These changes obviously were made to force users to choose a product which the hight specs that they can afford. If they can’t not afford a higher spec product now, they will be deemed to change it after few years because it will become obsolete.

For this reason, I started to look for alternatives. Since I am a guy who likes small form factor PC, I looked at Intel NUC and AsRock Deskmini. Both are amazing.

Intel NUC however, fails when it comes to performance. I choose a NUC with Core I7 but still, it was too noisy and would slow down when I am doing doing many tasks at once.

As for Asrock Deskmini, it is a DIY computer. So I choose the parts. Well, this unit was a beast of a PC. I choose a core I7 67900k which is a powerful processor. So it provided a fine computing experience without an issue or slowdown. IMG_9740 2

In the end, Deskmini and NUC are not Macs. I mean they don’t run Macintosh. Well, you can run Hackintosh but that’s a hassle and it is not upgradable. And I hate Windows.

In conclusion, I will see how it goes. I started using Linux so I might switch to it permanently. At least I see it as the closest thing to Mac and much better than Windows.