Project Get Rid of PCs

So Project Get Rid of PCs is officially underway! I decided I had too many computers running in my house and 2 of them are just fancy file servers. Now that I switched to a Mac mini, my Windows desktop has become nothing more than my video encoder / Quicken host, which I plan on converting to a VM.

Unofficially, this is also called Project Conserve Energy (for those who might not share my opinion on Mac OSX, you must at least agree conserving energy is good). I’ll be able to power down 3 full computers (hosting a total of 12 HDDs running 24/7) and replace them with 4 power-saving external USB drives.

I was initially planning to start this project during holidays, but with the floods in Thailand and the expected hard drive shortages, I decided to get them before the price was blown out of proportion. Costco had a coupon where the Western Digital 3TB drives would be $20 off and when SlickDeals reported the final price was $110, I decided to bite.

Even though Costco’s coupon showed a limit of 5 per customer, they had a sign up that said limit 2 due to the flooding in Thailand. SlickDeals did report you can actually bypass the limit as long as it’s only 2 per transaction.

Anyway, I pulled Derek along since these hard drives were going to come out of’s budget, but was sad to find out that Issaquah was sold out of them. Their computer showed 6 in stock, but probably in people’s cart. The told us that Kirkland still had ~30 in stock and Derek was cool enough to take a side trip to Kirkland Costco. We each picked up 2 and my original estimation of ~$500 came pretty close. I had altered my estimated cost to ~$600 after I heard about the flooding in Thailand.

Western Digital My Book Essential 3TB External USB Drives

The plan was to have 2 sets of mirrored drives (RAID 1) and as Ryan has painfully found out, it’s impossible to use the Apple software to raid 3TBs. I went ahead and installed SoftRAID and setting up the arrays was really easy.

External USB Drive Setup

Now comes the long part of moving all the crap off my existing file servers onto these external USB drives.

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  1. Thank you for your posts about the d-link dcm-202. I am planning on flashing the firmware tonight. So, I feel kind of weird asking here but I did not see another way to contact you besides leaving a comment so here goes. I had a 500gb Drive crash on me recently. I had an old 20gb that was able to put win on to give me something to work with. I was wondering if you would be willing to sell one or two of the drives you replaced getting rid of these old computers. I am on a limited income so I would not be able to compensate you as much as you could probably get on craigslist. However it would be a great help to me. I live in the U-District and saw that you did this project recently. I figured it could not hurt to ask. any way thanks for the modem info and serving up some HD-Trailers. have a great day.