Buying powerful PCs pre built is all so well and good but the fun comes in when you build them yourself!

That’s just what we have done at work with some media suite PCs which use 6 core processors, modular PSUs and all other kinds of fun things – full specs and photos to come after the video.

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I’m quite a perfectionist when it comes to making sure that hardware runs with the latest firmware, quite often these software updates bring improved stability and features. In SSDs though it quite commonly brings about performance boosts.

However when trying to update the Vertex 4s I recently received to build a Custom RDS Farm I would go to update the drive, reboot the system (as directed) only to find that there hadn’t been any firmware update at all!

I started experimenting and one fix I have found is to flash the drive, shut down the PC and then remove the SATA power/data cables from the drive and leave the drive un-powered for a few minutes.
Next reboot the PC with the drive plugged back in and lone behold its updated!

The screen shots below show this in a little more detail.

This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series Virtual Desktops on PCI-E SSD

One of the most interesting features of the OCZ RevoDrive 3 X2 is that in many situations you can boot a OS right off the drive (great for super fast gaming PCs). The only issue with this is not every motherboard out there will support booting right off a PCI-E SSD (OCZ do have a list here though) but also more importantly its a right pain to update the firmware on a SSD that you are booting off. Continue reading

Its been a little while since posting What happens when you put a OCZ PCI-E SSD in a server? and I thought I would give an update to its progress.

After 2520 hours powered on (about 105 days or 3.5 months) the SSD is yet to give us any trouble – that’s while hosting 3 a fully active virtual machines covering Lync 2010 install (IM/and now moving into VOIP) , a App-V server and now a UAG 2010.

The full SMART details can be seen in the image to the side (using the OCZ Toolbox) and as you will see the drive is still reporting no reserve blocks used.

My intent would be to see how one (or maybe two of these drives in software RAID0) will work when hosting a number of virtual desktops but going to have to wait until April for that!

After the previous article looking at the merits of a Solid State drive in a server I had a root around the Internet and found out that normal 2.5″ (Notebook PC sized) SSDs are nearly at the £1/1GB magical price point.

The particular drive I’m looking at is the OCZ Technology 120GB Agility 3 from dabs.com which currently ships (free postage!) at £129.99.
You might think that for this kind of low price that this is some kind of previous generation SSD – you would however be wrong, the Agility 3 series is from OCZs latest line up and includes 6Gbs SATA.

So why is £1/1GB so magical? Well in a real sense its not – just a nice milestone to reach, either way for more info visit the OCZ Agility 3 web page.

For a while I’ve been wondering just how well a PCI-Express Solid State drive would work inside a standard off the shelf rack mounted server. Finally I have been given the chance to find out and as it turns out everything works quite nicely.

The solid state in question is a OCZ Revo Drive 3 x2 240GB (from Novatech) and the server is a HP DL165 G7. Both the SSD and the server have the latest BIOS updates and although initially the server didn’t boot past POST after a little tweaking (inside the BIOS of the server) I got everything to work along quite nicely.

Sufficed to say the performance is astonishing even when compared against a RAID array of 15k SAS drives but then again that’s nothing to be surprised about given the SSDs ability to randomly read data from anywhere on the drive without having to wait for a mechanical spinning disk to catch up. Continue reading