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The Computer Buzz October 2nd, 2008


Nome and Paul Van Middlesworth - owners - The Computer Fact
ory
 

 

My Job

Nome and the guys spend their days troubleshooting, upgrading, repairing and building new PCs. They may think they're having fun but I know that I'm the one with the best job in the house. I get to design our standard computer line, negotiate and design customer specials and source all the materials. They feel sorry for me, stuck in the back office hunched over my PC, the truth is that I'm having a ball. I try to look stressed out and overworked but its all an act.

We review the entire design of our "standard” PC line every month to make sure that we stay squarely in the "sweet spot" and that our PCs maintain value leadership in terms of price, performance and reliability as compared with "package PCs" from Compaq, Dell and Gateway.

Design stability is important but at the same time we don't want to lag as new products become mainstream. There are seven major components in our standard PCs. They are motherboard CPU, RAM, hard drive, optical drive and the case/power supply assembly.

We use ASUS motherboards because they are the best and they have five-year manufacturers warranty. We use Intel and AMD processors but only the "boxed" CPUs with factory components and three-year warranty. Our RAM is first quality with lifetime manufacturer's warranty. We use Western Digital hard drives with three year warranties, Optical drives are inexpensive and offer only single year warranties. We select Lite-On DVD-R/Ws because of reliability. Our case/power supply assemblies are designed for flexibility with plenty of reserve power to allow post purchase upgrades.

By contrast, Dell, Compaq, Gateway and the other package PCs contain all components with single year manufacturer's warranties. Their power supplies have power enough to run the "package" configuration with no reserve for post purchase upgrades.

While our standard configurations fit most of our business and home user requirements, we do get to design some very special systems. We've built hundreds of rack-mounted computers for the survey ships of Fugro Pelagos, a Netherlands company that is the world leader in ocean bottom survey and mapping. We built two solar powered computers to serve as remote geo positioning relay stations in the mountains overlooking the Atlantic coast of Portugal for another customer. Over the past several years we've built dozens of PCs controllers for Amistar's automated labeling stations.

Special applications computers that need unique form factors or unusual configurations is something we do particularly well because we can work one on one with users without the multi layer bureaucracy of larger companies.

Last week we designed and built an unusual configuration for an architectural designer who needed the power of a solids modeling workstation combined with ruggedness and portability. The resulting $3000 system is a thing of beauty (to an engineer). This week we built a high function workstation in a blue acrylic see through case. It looks like an alien iceberg.

Whether it's for a special business application, a gamer or simply a special look or form factor to fit a home or office décor, bring it on. We love the challenge. (At least I do).

 

 

 

 


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