Hardware Upgrades 2015

I wrote awhile back that I ordered a new laptop, and I’m excited to have that coming. However, I had a few more upgrades to add to the machine, and I decided not use to use Toshiba to add them.

These are a few items I’ll use for speaking in 2015, and I’m excited to get a better demo setup for showcasing SQL Server and Red Gate tools.


I can’t demo on less than 16GB of RAM. It’s disappointing as there are soooooooooooo many more choices for hardware if I could use 8GB, but I can’t. One of our demo VMs needs 6GB, and really wants 8GB. I used Grant as a testbed in a few places, and even when he built his own VM, stripping things down, it didn’t run well.

I ordered the laptop with the base 4GB from Toshiba, and went to Crucial for a memory upgrade. For $100 less, I got a 16GB kit for the machine. There might be better choices than Crucial, but they’ve always worked well for me and I like them.

Hard Drive

I need disk space to keep a few demo VMs handy, and the 128GB that comes with the laptop isn’t enough. A 512GB from Toshiba was $400. I found an end of the year deal from Crucial for an mSata drive at $270. Hard to beat that, so I’ll put that in the machine once it arrives.

External Storage

I didn’t want to throw away the 128GB drive away, so I also grabbed a small enclosure from Amazon that will allow me to use that 128GB SSD as a backup for my main demo VM. I can connect it to any other laptop (likely Grant’s in an emergency) and work from there.

Travel Wi-Fi

I’ve been trying to be more economical, and looking to potentially carry two machines for demoing things. Ideally I want a small enclosure PC that I can run demos on, and connect to it over RDP. The first step here is to get a small router.

I found a small travel router, with two LAN ports that I’ll be testing in that capacity. If that works well, I may end up trying to get a tablet of some sort as my backup machine for classes and training, some of which we are looking to start in 2015.

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2 Responses to Hardware Upgrades 2015

  1. craigpurnell says:

    Hi Steve,
    I see you’ve picked out the Gigabyte Brix. I bought one about 5 months ago. I went with the i5 model as I couldn’t justify the cost of the i7, I speced it with 16 GB of memory and a Samsung 840 EVO mSata 480 GB drive. There’s a couple of models of the Brix with different ports available and a slim one and a thicker one. I picked the thin one for travel. Running Hyper-V on it and have been very happy with it, although it’s really overkill for most presentation demos. I ended up connecting to it with a Netgear GS105E mini-switch as I couldn’t get a crossover cable to work. You can’t go wrong with the Brix IMHO even if it’s just sitting on your desk.


  2. way0utwest says:

    Craig, that’s good to hear. I am thinking that if we move to more training, I’ll get one to travel with. If I was sure I’d have no issues in airports, I’d go with an 8GB ultrabook and the BRIX for demos.

    We’ll see how the TPLink works out.


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