Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Laurent's Handy Guides

Handy software? Handy guides!

This week I would like to talk more about hardware rather than software. This week I will cover 2 topics, AMD's Ryzen CPU launch and some good storage practices.

Ryzen

Ryzen, for those of you who don't know is a new class of CPU that has just been released by AMD, based on AMD's zen architecture. AMD's line of Ryzen CPU's are intended to disrupt Intel's vice like grip on gamers, content creators and more, after nearly 7 years of not producing a single worth while chip.

Well we can safely say they have done just that, whilst performance per thread will not be as good as Intel (due to extensive optimisations to an unchanged system), many tests and in depth research has already shown AMD Ryzen 1800x as a very strong competitor against Intel's 6900k which is nearly £500 more expensive. Whilst I am not recommending that everyone trade in their i7 for Ryzen CPU's I think that if you are looking for a price sensitive gaming PC that has enough threads to future proof its self for a while, then AMD is now a solid choice. Below is an image of a partner build at the launch, beautiful!


Best Storage Practices

Whilst this subject is one of great passion to me (being a key part of my business), it is also one that can be extremely complicated. There is already a lot of tech-jargon, products and practices, its hard to know or what to do about the ever increasing amount of data you need to store. So I am going to break some things down and go through some dos and don'ts. 

Backup's:

Important documents and files should be backed up to at least 2 different places (and I don't mean on your PC!). The best practice for this is to keep a local copy on your PC and store a copy in the cloud through services like OneDrive or GoogleDrive. These services store your files safely in multiple places across the globe so even a natural disaster in a country would never effect your data's safety. This is one of the best bits of advice I can give and costs nothing but a little bit of your time.

Hard Drives:

HDD's or Hard Disk Drives are common and are still standard in most PC's and Laptops. Whilst they are really great for getting lots of storage per £ they also come with their own risks, which for mission critical files for say a business could mean loss of business or records. Whilst I wont go into how they work in this guide, what I will say is because of their mechanical nature they are susceptible to movement, magnets and time. As a rule of thumb hard drives typically start reaching the end of their life after 3 years of normal operation. In this time you will a reduction of speed before eventually the drive stops working. This is why I strongly recommend that drives that see a lot of use should be replaced frequently (2-3 years) or a SSD (solid state drive) should be used in its place, which are much more hard wearing. Other natural phenomena such as "bit rot" can mean loosing data or getting corruptions just because time has passed or it was raining, so don't always rely on one place to store your important files and family photo's

Redundant Storage:

If you need an extra layer of protecting your data, you run a business or you don't like using the cloud, then redundant local storage is important. Redundant simply means storage that can function and keep its integrity even when a drive or system fails. In the past standard RAID was the go to method for creating clones of a drive for some basic levels of redundancy but now standard RAID (especially software created) is considered a poor practice for ensuring data is safe. Redundant storage will definitely not be for everyone as it can be costly and has specific use cases, but I feel that it should be included as some of you may need it or run business that should consider this extra protection. Here is an image of my home networking and personal storage which includes 8 terabytes of redundant storage that can have 2 drives fail without compromising my data, I haven't switched off this machine other than to move it once for 4 years straight. That is the kind of reliability that is important when you need to keep very important files safe.

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