Small and Quiet Computers
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Technical FAQ

Dual Boot: Ubuntu v Windows

Which operating system you choose is largely personal preference. Both are superb operating systems (os), are designed to be easy to use and have a huge range of application software available.

With our systems you can choose to install either or both operating systems. If you opt for a "Dual Boot" system you will be prompted to choose the operating system for that session when the system starts. In "Dual Boot" systems most of your disk space is allocated to Windows. This is because the Windows disk space is also visible to Ubuntu.

If after receiving your system you find that you have made the wrong choice then contact us. We will re-install for the cost of the "dual boot" option + delivery + pay software you require installed.

Silent, Quiet and Fast hard drives

Hard drives are the bit of the PC that stores your data. These drives come in several forms and many different sizes.

The drives with the larger capacities contain one or more "plates" which spin at a high speed. We use drives from Seagate in our custom systems which are not only designed to be very quiet but also to spin at a higher speed than typical. This higher speed gives them extra speed.

An alternative to these common drives are Solid State Drives (SSD). SSD drives contain electronic memory which results in a drive with no moving parts and is therefore totally silent. The downside is that they are more expensive than the traditional drives and have not yet reached the storage capacity of large drives.

Size, Speed and Noise

When designing any computer system, there is always a balancing act between the size of the system, how powerful it is and the noise that the system produces.

Our approach is to use common technology to deliver a quality system which offers great value whilst being as unobtrusive as possible.

The SmaQ range includes equipment which can deliver a completely silent solution through to more powerful systems that need one or more fans to keep them cool. In each we have tried to make sure that they generate the lowest noise possible by making use of quality devices such as ultra silent case and processor fans, and adapting the hardware developers on-board facilities to full effect.

The choice of case style also influences the level of noise from the system. If noise is an issue to you, go for one of our cases with an external power supply. Moving this key generator of heat outside of the main case significantly reduces noise. Unlike internal power supplies, an external PSU is more easily cooled and under many circumstances will need no more than passive (fanless) cooling to keep them operating at acceptable levels. Less heat = fewer fans = less noise!

What is Open Source?

We install a wide range of software including free Open Source software on both our Windows and Ubuntu systems.

This Open Source software is produced by both commercial and community developers with the software code that makes the program work, being made publicly available (generally the code produced by commercial companies is kept secret).

This encourages a wide range of users to modify the code with new features and improvements and submit their new code back into the project. This approach has produces some seriously good software including the excellent LibreOffice/OpenOffice (similar to Microsoft Office), GIMP (for manipulating photographs and other images), and of course the Ubuntu operating system itself.

You can find more information about Open Source on Ubuntu's site here (external link).

What is left to Configure

When we ship our systems we try to make sure that they are as "finished" as possible. If you tell us we will make sure that they are ready to connect to your printers and other peripherals you already own assuming that the appropriate drivers are available.

However there are some tasks we cannot complete for you.

Under most circumstances we will be able to provide telephone support including remote access to achieve the above if required.

What software gets installed

When you order one of our custom systems, we aim to ensure that you have a fully working system when you unpack and set it up. There are some software packages which we consider fundamental to any modern PC.

If you have ordered a Windows based system then we will always install the following software unless you ask us to do otherwise.

The following software is installed on an Ubuntu system.

All systems are configured for UK region/keyboards unless you request otherwise.

Any other software can be requested on the "Your PC Builder" page.