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Computer #12 (Dell XPS 8930 "Special Edition" Tower)


  • 9th Gen Intel® Core™ i9 9900 (8-Core)
  • 64GB DDR4 at 2666MHz
  • NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 2070 SUPER 8GB GDDR6 Video
  • On Front:
    • Generic Tray-Load DVD/CD
    • SD card slot
    • Mic-in, headphone jack out
    • (Quan 1) USB 3.1 Type-C Port
    • (Quan 3) USB 3.1 Gen 1 Ports
  • On Back:
    • (Quan 4) Card Expansion slots
    • Audio ports (5.1 channel (3 jack))
    • (Quan 3) USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports
    • (Quan 1) USB 3.1 Gen 2 port
    • (Quan 1) USB 3.1 Type-C port
    • (Quan 2) USB 2.0 ports
    • (Quan 1) Gigabit Ethernet
  • Internal Storage:
    • 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD (Boot)
    • 2TB 7200RPM 3.5" SATA HDD (Storage)
  • External Storage:
  • Windows 10 Pro, 64-bit (upgraded to Windows 11 Pro, 64-bit, November 2021)
  • Twin Samsung C27F396FHN 27" Curved Full-HD LED-Backlit HDMI Monitors (with an effective 14"x49" viewing surface)
  • Power eSATA II & USB 3.0 HUB Combo PCI-E Card with Motherboard 20 pin Connector (purchased separately to add eSATA connectivity)
  • Blackmagicdesigns DeckLink Mini Recorder PCI-E HDMI Video Capture Card with Motherboard 20 pin Connector (brought forward from previous workstation)

#12 is my current workhorse - a beauty! I've been tag-teaming my computer needs with two machines for quite a while now; a laptop for email and web-surfing, and a desktop-or-tower workstation with the biggest monitor (or monitors) I could afford (both in cost and in desk space) for compute-intensive stuff, since about 1996 or so. That's when my then-employer (MITRE) offered to let me buy the Gateway Liberty laptop they had bought for me to use way back in 1994 when I was still stationed at the Stuttgart Germany office. They offered it to me for $25, which I jumped at§. That started a gradual trend toward using the laptop for email and web-surfing (which I do multiple times a day), and the workstation for more compute-intensive activities like graphics and video processing. That division of labor inadvertantly caused a gradual cluttering-up of the dining room table since setting the laptop up and putting the laptop away 2-3 times a day got to be a hassle, so I'd leave it set up on the dining room table. More clutter!

Now that we're in residence up in Maine, my office is upstairs (in a former bedroom/quiltroom) rather than down in a labrynthine basement office (in the oversized split-level in Woburn), or in a cold damp cellar (where my laptop computer was in the pre-reconstructed Ballot Box in Maine). The "dining room" table up here is about a THIRD of the size of the one in Woburn, so clutter can't be ignored. I use laptops far less frequently now, so this new #12 will get (and does get) LOTS of use. The computer and monitors are plugged into a UPS to allow me to ride through a power outage (not all that uncommon in rural Maine in the winter) for the ten powerless seconds until the whole-house generator takes over. Same setup in the network closet on the lower level to keep the network alive.

I use the workstation for genealogy (RootsMagic; browser visits to Ancestry.com, LDS, NEHGS, Civil and Church records of Ireland and Scotland and Sweden, and MANY others), web site crafting and maintenance (an antique copy of Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004, bought out by Corel in 2005, is my tool-of-choice), image processing (Corel PaintShopPro v2019), video processing (Pinnacle Studio v23), controlling my HP G4010 flatbed scanner AND my PlusTek OpticFilm 8200Ai film and slide scanner (VueScan), and a host of other usual suspects (SiliconDust for live TV on any house computer/laptop/tablet/phone, Keeper for password management, MailWasherPro for email taming, Microsoft Solitare as the only "game" used on the beast, Microsoft Office 365 for writing and databasing and financing and emailing and plotting and...)

§ Offering me my work laptop at such a ridiculously low price caused a bit of a hubbub around the company too. Most employees didn't have laptops back then, but a lot of the employees wanted to be offered the same sweet deal they offered me, so MITRE modified their old-laptop-disposal policy after that to an online auction that all employees got to participate in if they wanted to.


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