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Have you ever wanted a computer system that provides all of your storage needs, yet didn’t look like a mini-fridge?

Well, I did. I am on the lookout for a new system which allows for maximum storage, yet takes up the least amount of space in my home office. So, it’s off to Cybermind Computer House as I had seen a respectable selection of mini PCs in the shop previously, including the Next Unit Computing (NUC) small form factor from Intel.

Selection of NUC and Mini PCs at Cybermind

A wide variety of selection made my choice difficult. Thankfully, I got to speak with the store manager, Mr. Chia Hung King, who kindly took the time to discuss some of the finer points of storage options with me.

Mr Chia Hung King, Manager, Cybermind
Mr Chia Hung King, Manager, Cybermind

With my requirements in mind, I asked Mr Chia for recommendations on a system to suit my storage needs.

<Me>: Which type of customers typically purchase a NUC / Mini PC?

<Cybermind>: “Our customers are generally those who do signage displays. They are always surprised at the size of it and how they can further conserve space by mounting the NUC onto the back of the TV using the VESA mount.”

<Me>: Do you recommend a specific type of storage to NUC/Mini PC buyers?

<Cybermind>: “The SSHD is a good choice because you have the capacity and yet you have the speed.”

<Me>: What brand of SSHD would you recommend to photographers?

<Cybermind>: “Seagate is a good choice as their Adaptive Memory Technology means you get fast booting, fast transfers to and from disk and quickly applied alterations to your images.”

<Me>: Is the 8Gb of onboard flash memory enough to comfortably meet my needs?

<Cybermind>: “Yes. Most of the commonly and frequently accessed application and operating system files actually total well under 8GB. When the SSHD accesses files from its NAND flash memory, it really does make the entire system perform better by delivering a faster, smoother and more responsive computing experience.

I wanted a system which is equipped with enough horsepower to perform daily tasks like – emailing, browsing, watching movies, viewing photos and listening to music whilst looking sleek to boot. The ASUS Vivo Mini PC, which is slightly smaller than a breakfast cereal box and comes in a timeless dark metallic grey hairline finish, caught my eye.

ASUS VIVO PC
ASUS VIVO PC

Now that I’ve decided on the Vivo PC, it’s time to make a decision on the storage needed. The system is capable of housing two 2.5-inch hard drives or a single 3.5-inch. Though the drives are available in capacities up to 4TB for a 3.5-Inch and 1TB for a 2.5-inch, I felt 1TB was a perfect option for me. No other storage technology is able to match the price and performance of a Seagate SSHD. Combine this with the peace of mind of knowing Seagate’s excellent reliability track record and the choice was easy.

This is the 1-Terabyte Seagate SSHD
This is the 1-Terabyte Seagate SSHD

Just as I was about to make payment, it struck me that I might as well upgrade my laptop to SSHD too! My laptop is a key photography productivity tool as I often travel and take my work with me. My major criteria are capacity, reliability and performance so a Seagate SSHD was a natural choice for me. I eventually settled for a 7mm 500GB Seagate SSHD to suit my needs. The upgrade was easy, with no special tools or software required to install or run the drive. The upgrade to the SSHD breathed new life into my laptop! The greater capacity and an immediately apparent performance improvement made it feel like a new laptop altogether.

Seagate 500GB Laptop SSHD
Seagate 500GB Laptop SSHD

Back home, it was a breeze to hook up the system to the LCD TV in the living room. The Seagate 1TB SSHD allows me to store all of my work photos, music collections, movies and provides easy access to them in the comfort of my home. The performance is awesome. Thanks to Seagate’s Adaptive Memory Technology, my most frequently accessed system files including windows files and applications are stored in the on-board NAND flash memory. Boot times are much faster than a standard HDD and the system is so much more responsive.

VIVOPPCREAR
The rear of the ASUS VIVO PC
VIVOOPENLID
The modular design makes it easy for DIY.
SEAGATESSHD1TB
The drive tray is easy to open and slot in two 2.5-inch drives.

When I am working in my studio, I prefer to tether the Vivo PC to my camera. Tethering is basically a wired connection from the USB port of the camera to the USB port of the computer. It allows the camera to be triggered from the keyboard without having the press the shutter on the camera. The most important benefit is the almost limitless storage of the added SSHD to save the images.

When shooting in tethered mode, I need a lot of storage and fast access. This is where my Seagate 1TB SSHD comes into play. With my digital camera capturing 36-megapixel images by the seconds, I need storage capacity every bit as much as speed. This is a key advantage of my SSHD. I am able to rapidly transfer data to the drive without worrying about space constraints.

At the end of the shopping trip and storage lesson (thank you Mr Chia), I have the best of both worlds with a Vivo PC in my living room and a ready to boot laptop when I’m on the move.

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