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., (raincomputers.com) 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 (alienware.com), targeted primarily for the PC gaming industry, and Maingear (maingear.com), 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).