My macbook pro (which I love) has started to feel a little slow, so I decided it was time for an upgrade.
It works fine for digital drawing (though it can get noisy when the fan kicks in for painting at hi res) but it positively crawls when you try and do anything in 3d (as I have been doing lately – with sketchup, and using 3d models for tanks)
Looked around, but, sadly, like many of my peers in comics there’s a real struggle to find a new mac that fits – my ideal would be a mac mini with more oopmh, but it just doesn’t exist. So it was time to go back to PC. Having bought a surface pro 3, I’ve actually liked windows 10 – there’s things I HATE about it, but nothing I can’t work around in some way. Plus I’m keeping the mac for my day to day job stuff.
It’s been a long time since I’ve looked at buying PCs and I’ve sought advice from friends on this front, so ended up building a system from overclockers.com (it is a bewildering experience after going from apple’s clean limited options to an explosion in a tinsel factory layout of PCs, and god how can PCs be both boring looking AND gaudy? amazing). Anyway, it’ll be black box I’ll hide.
So here’s the system I ended up with and why, first I asked a good friend of mine Sean Doran for some suggestions and so, unless otherwise stated, he’s suggested the bulk of this device and I was happy enough to with him.
(I present this in full because either this is boring to you in which case you’d’ve stopped reading earlier or you’re thinking of doing the same..)
CASE: Phanteks Enthoo Pro M Window Edition – Black Full Acrylic Side Window
This is the dull but gaudy bit of windows. Give me a nice invisible case, who the hell wants to look inside your computer and have lights? Ugh, never mind, this is fine. It’s all fine. Has a single drive bay for DVD/Bluray.
MEMORY:Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 PC4-19200C14 2400MHz Dual Channel Kit – Black (CMK16GX4M2A24
Many of these numbers mean little to me, it’s fast and it’s 16Gb – I’m currently happily working within 8 on my mac, so 16 seemed a reasonable upgrade. Clip Studio Paint works very nicely on 4, photoshop and other apps want more.
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 64-Bit DVD – OEM (MS-KW9-00139)
Gotta have an O/S. Windows 10 – NOT awful. It’s actually alright and if it’s my main machine I can probably tweak it for exactly how I want to use it. Part of me is tempted to not even connect it to the internet – leave it as a machine that just draws and works, but there’s too much useful stuff on line (like ..er.. twitter)
BLURAY: OcUK Value Blu-ray / DVDRW combi SATA – OEM
I rarely use the cd drive I have, but I’d like something I can throw a bluray on to. If I remember right there’s some question over decent software to watch blurays on on windows (which seems insane it’s not a standard thing, but what do I know…?)
MAIN DRIVE: Intel 600P 512GB M.2-2280 PCI-e 3.0 x 4 NVMe 3D NAND Solid State Drive (SSDPEKKW512G7X1)
Ok, here’s the stuff. M.2 drives are new technology to me, in fact when I left the IT industry SSD drives (a kind of hard drive built on memory) didn’t exist at a consumer level. M.2 are similair to SSD in that they use memory (so silent and very, very fast) but plug in more directly to the computer so they transfer data at ridiculous speeds. 512Gb is actually storage for me to do all my work from-my current storage needs for all of the art I’ve drawn over the last 15 years is about 100Gb (and even that could be halved if I ever tidied it up)
SECONDARY DRIVE: Seagate BarraCuda 2TB 7200RPM SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache HDD – OEM (ST2000DM006)
Secondary storage, mostly for storing backups of things and any over spill. TBH most overspill will probably be me accidentally creating multiple copies of the same documents.
Graphics Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 1060 Mini 6144MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card
This is where I start flailing about looking for advice. Here I went for the best I thought I could afford on my budget. I’m interested in VR/AR stuff. I want to play with that. I’m convinced that’s our next big thing for entertainment (but I was also convinced by that in the 80s and the 90s, so I’m clearly on the optimistic end). Having played with Google Tilt (a 3d painter program for the HTC Vive) I really really want more access to that level of reality.
Processor: Intel Core i5-7600K 3.8GHz (Kaby Lake) Socket LGA1151 Processor – OEM
Ugh, this was a toughie, it felt wrong to go for an i5 processor when my current macbook pro has an i7 – but the i5 is quad core at 3.8Ghz and my current is dual core at 2.8Ghz so the spec was definately up. I’m still not entirely sure what the i5/i7 difference is, especially when measured over the years (is it just branding? suspect it maybe… 7 is definitely more than 5, but is 7 from 2013 more than 5 from 2017? stupid computers).
I have no keyboard (will, at least temporarily, use an older macbook keyboard). I’d like a small – no numerical key – keyboard with a backlight and the whole thing will be plugged into the 27″ cintiq (a second screen may be useful, but I’d like one with retina resolution so may hold off on that for a bit…)
Again, thanks to those online who were probably bored of my asking, and my pal Sean Doran. I’ll let you know when the computer arrives and what I actually make of it…!