Jack Barber / Website Design

Asus VivoMini - First Impressions

I've wanted to get my spare monitor back in use for ages. I bought it nearly 7 years ago and it's still going strong.

Given its age, it's not DisplayPort compatible - so I can't just daisy chain it to my newer monitor - and my MacBook Pro gets enough to do without running a 2nd additional monitor!

Also, given a recent MacBook failure, I became instantly aware how crippled I am (from a business perspective) when my main computer dies unexpectedly.

To alleviate this issue I've come up with a solution which makes use of my spare monitor, giving me more screen space on my desk and will also serve as an additional workstation should I need it.

Enter the Asus VivoMini

The Asus VivoMini is a 'barebones' desktop PC from Asus. All you need to get in running is a mSata hard drive and some RAM. I had some spare RAM lying around, so getting this new PC up and running cost £160 - from eBuyer - with a 60GB mSata hard drive.

If you're interested in all the product details, here's the VivoMini product page on Asus' website.

The headlines are:

  • It's got a fairly basic 1.4 ghz Intel Celeron processor
  • It can accommodate up to 16gb RAM - which I happened to have available, so mine's running with this amount
  • It has 4 USB ports and an SD card reader
  • WIFI and Ethernet ports
  • DisplayPort and HDMI graphics ports
  • It's really quiet and uses hardly any power - it'd probably make a perfect media centre PC, if that's your kind of thing

Here it is:

Asus VivoMini

And for scale:

Asus VivoMini - it's tiny!

Not the Smallest, But Small Enough

It's not the smallest fully-fledged desktop computer available - but it's still tiny. And it's VESA mountable, so you can stick it on the back of your monitor if you like. As it happens, my monitor is on a VESA mount, to keep my desk clear and so I can lift it up higher than normal:

Asus VivoMini with Dell Monitor

Server Monitoring

My website server is managed by Bytemark in York (they're the best). But that doesn't mean I don't like to keep a close eye on things throughout the day.

Helpfully, Bytemark provide realtime graphs of server load, memory usage and so on - which you can see in the image above.

Currently this is what's showing on my monitor. But I'm planning on doing more with this over time. Perhaps it'll become my 'support' workstation - for dealing with support queries, live chat etc.

Speed, Efficiency and Clarity

I'm a big advocate of using technology only where it brings real benefit. Technology should assist and support what we do - not get in the way or make tasks unduly difficult or complicated. There's really nothing wrong with a pen and paper, for instance.

This whole setup is one way I'm bringing a bit more speed and efficiency to how I work - not having to switch between windows all the time to keep an eye on things - knowing I've always got up to the minute information at my finger tips and hopefully protected, at least in part, from annoying technical failures in the future which render me unable to work.

Here's how my desk currently looks:

My desk, currently

Over To You

What tools and technologies are you using to help you work more efficiently? Or, how could the way you work be improved by making use of appropriate technologies?

Get in Touch

If you'd like to talk about how your firm could make better use of technology - whether in terms of website design and development, or physical hardware to help and improve your business processes, feel free to get in touch on 01947 878108.