Make it rain


Q: I work with several massive Excel workbooks that contain large quantities of data consisting of many millions of rows, contained in multiple workbooks. As our data continues to grow, I find my current computer system to be inadequate. I need a computer that is not only powerful, but also can handle a large volume of RAM. Price is not a significant issue in this matter; therefore, short of purchasing a Cray supercomputer, do you have any brand suggestions that might best meet my needs?

A: Like you, I appreciate a powerful PC, and I applaud your desire to equip yourself with the best tool for the job. Over the years I have encountered many CPAs who insist that the speed of computers, printers, or the internet is not an important factor, only to see them change their tune after using a fast computer, printer, and internet access. Once they understand how productive a fast system can be, they are usually no longer satisfied with their slower computer systems.

As a possible solution, Rain Computers of Ringwood, N.J., ( produces a liquid-cooled desktop computer equipped with up to 16 i7 core processors (two i7 cores with eight processors each), 20 megabytes of core cache, a Tesla companion processor, up to 96 gigabytes of RAM, up to six 480 GB solid-state hard drives (SSD), and Intel’s Hyper-Threading and Turbo Boost technologies. Prices start at $2,499 for the computer running Windows 8 64-bit.

Rain also produces a laptop equipped with an i7 quad-core processor, up to 32 GBs of RAM, dual 480 GB solid-state hard drives (SSD), Hyper-Threading, Turbo Boost, running Windows 8 64-bit, priced starting at $1,299.

Rain computers are primarily targeted toward the high-end audiovisual industry, but they are well-suited to be high-end business computers. Other high-performance desktop computer manufacturers include Alienware (, targeted primarily for the PC gaming industry, and Maingear (, targeted primarily for business professionals.

Disclosure: For delivering CPE lectures, I use four teaching computers/devices as follows: Rain AFX laptop with 480 GB SSD and 16 GBs RAM ($2,014); Sony VAIO 15-inch touchscreen Ultrabook ($1,149); Apple iPad 2 ($499); and a Motorola Droid Razr Maxx smartphone ($100 with two-year contract). My desktop computer is an HP Envy running Windows 8 64-bit with 12 GBs of RAM ($849), with two 40-inch Coby monitors ($298 each).


News quiz: College debt, stolen identities, and retirement planning

See how much you know about these developments and others in the Journal of Accountancy news quiz.


Preventing and detecting fraud at not-for-profits

Organizations in all industries must deal with the potential for fraud to occur, and design controls to prevent and detect it. Environment, policies, and controls can help organizations steer clear of problems.


The dangers of dabbling

To meet evolving marketplace needs, CPAs often look to diversify their service offerings. Firms can mitigate the risk of experiencing competency-related professional liability claims by implementing these basic steps.