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Saturday, August 05, 2006

My New Computer Will Be Great For My Research Productivity

I was in the office earlier today and ran into the head of tech support for the college. He said I'll be getting my new computer on Monday. Compared to the old school, my new school has far fewer resource constraints, so the technology (and the support staff) is much, much better.

Here are the specs on my new system:
  • 2 gigabytes of ram
  • 2 250 gigabyte hard drives
  • 2 monitors - a 19' and a 17"
  • I forgot what the processor speed is, but it'll be several times as fast as my old machine
These features should all help my research quite a bit. Here's why: The additional ram will help because I regularly use SAS to merge, combine, analyze, and otherwise torture some fairly large large data sets (1+ gig is not uncommon). With insufficient ram, my system was always swapping things to disk. I noticed a huge improvement when I went from 500 meg to 1 gig of ram on my previous computer, and the increase to 2 gig should speed things up considerably.

With all that data (if I add up all my data, it's almost 100 gig in zipped format) the extra hard drive space will mean that I don't need to always carry around an external hard drive (I currently have a 40 gig shirt pocket drive, a 100 gig one I use for backing up my notebook and a 250 gig one I use for storing my data).

The two monitors will be particularly nice when I'm writing papers - I often find myself either transcribing results from SAS into tables or writing text that comments on the results in those tables. This way, I can keep the table open in one window while I have the SAS output or text in the other. And my primary monitor is big enough that I won't have to strain my eyes.

To paraphrase Wallace Simpson (the former Duchess of Windsor), "You can't have too much ram, too much disk space, or too large a monitor).

And yes, I am the Alpha Nerd.

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