Tag Archive for ‘Hard Drive’

Christmas Gift Guide

It’s been several years since I’ve published a gift guide on Initial Charge. But I thought it was a great time to bring it back. I’ve maintained a private wishlist site where my family and I post links to things that we want and we can all view each others’ lists. The site isn’t just for gift giving, though — I also use it throughout the year to keep a running list of things I want to purchase for myself.

I happen to have a number of items that I’m pretty excited about acquiring, though. So you can think of this as a gift guide for people who happen to share my interests.

Retroid Pocket 3+ — an excellent retro emulation handheld. I already own the Retroid Pocket 2+ and the 3, but the 3+ includes a pretty decent performance boost over the 3. It’s far from perfect, but the more powerful internals allow it to better emulate PlayStation 2, GameCube, Wii, and Nintendo 3DS games.

8bitdo Pro 2 — I love 8bitdo’s controllers and this seems like the one to get right now. I’d mostly pair it with my Retroid handheld for playing on a television, but I’d also use it with my Apple TV, MacBook Air, and Nintendo Switch.

Apple TV 4K, Wi-Fi + Ethernet — I’ve purchased every Apple TV iteration since the first generation. This one would go in the living room and the old one would be moved to the bedroom. The old bedroom one would likely get handed down to my in-laws.

20TB WD Red Pro — These are priced at $330 at the time of this writing, which is an unbelievable deal. The 8TB drives I’m currently using for media storage are nearing their capacity, if I’m going to upgrade, I’d want to go a lot bigger and this capacity offers the best price per terabyte from my preferred hard drive manufacturer.

CyberPower 1500VA UPS — My current uninterruptible power supply is maxed out in terms of power outlets. This model only adds two, but that should give me enough room for the new hardware I’m planning to add.

ThunderBay Flex 8 — This is a bit expensive, but the ThunderBay 6 I’m currently using will eventually reach capacity and I’ll have to move to something with more bays. The ThunderBay 8 only offers two more, but it also has a PCIe slot, which can be used for additional storage or accessories.

2012 Mac Mini, Quad Core — You can pick these up from OWC or eBay for under $200 at this point. I would install Ubuntu and run it as an Umbrel. And for the price, they offer pretty decent performance in a chassis that matches the rest of my server hardware.

Anker 40W, 521, Nano Pro — This is the charger I have in my laptop bag and I love it. I’d like another one to keep in the living room for more flexibility in our charging setup — we’re just using Apple’s 18W USB-C power adapter at the moment.

Ledger Nano X — I still dabble in cryptocurrencies and would like a hardware wallet for more secure storage, rather than keeping everything on an exchange. From what I’ve researched, this is the best option on the market.

Elbow Deep in Mac mini Parts ➝

Despite my plan of waiting until later this year, I spent about an hour this afternoon upgrading the internal hard disk of my Mac mini to a 1TB hybrid drive that I bought in an upgrade kit from iFixit. The process went about as smoothly as one could expect and I’m currently running Carbon Copy Cloner to copy the contents of the old drive to the new one.

A couple quick tips that took some trial and error to figure out, in case you end up performing this in the future:

  • The Logic Board Removal Tool is absolutely essential to this upgrade — the cheaper, non-Apple one works fine. I had some trouble sliding the board out until I realized that the removal tool is meant to be used like a lever where the pivot point is located beyond the board, against the inside of the mini’s casing.
  • The most difficult part was getting the new drive to positioned so that the screws fit inside of the rubber grommets in the front side of the mini’s casing. The key is to be patient and use gravity to your advantage — I found sitting the mini on its front, so that its oriented vertically, to be the easiest way to seat it properly.

With any luck, the new drive will be fully operational by tomorrow.

Backblaze’s Hard Drive Reliability Review ➝

If you’re in the market for a new hard drive like I am, you’ll likely find this piece invaluable. There’s plenty of interesting statistics to help you make an informed buying decision.