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My Personal Computer Build

Today I’m going to talk about my computer.  It is a custom build from December 2012.  It has treated me well and given me numerous headaches over the years.  However, I built my PC and therefore it is good!

I mentioned in my previous post that I had a few assignments to work on!  I have managed to get about 1 1/2 of those complete.

Comics Vs Art is a Columbus, OH gallery where comic artists, local and non, parody or reimagine classical works in their own image.  This year the runner called the show “Variations on a Theme.”  In the past we had to choose one painting, and that was our painting.  This year multiple artists were assigned the same painting from a significantly smaller list.

The painting I got is Elizabeth Nourse’s “A/The Family Meal.”

A Family Meal by Elizabeth Nourse

Seeing my cousin Katy deal with her son’s PS3 and iPad addiction I decided to modernize it a little.  The mother also went to the ‘Shinobu’ school of expressing her anger.  I have a feeling the original looks at the problem of poverty or little facing some classes of families.  In the modern era the new little is real human interaction.

The Family Smart Meal

I’m personally a little guilty, but I keep my phone in my pocket at the table.  I’m part of that bizarre 90s kid generation that remembers a time without the internet, but fully embraced the digital era.

Speaking of which, I’m counting down the days remaining of my 20s…  It was an interesting run I wish I did more youthful stuff with.

The other thing is my friends’ podcast.  It still needs approved, but I may have the icon final ready!

Ani-Zone 23 Icon v1

All I have to do now is the banner.  It may be significantly more complicated since I need to paint a damaged Arleigh Burke class destroyer with some trippy effects around it.

Finally I have the e-book cover.  I have an image in my head, but I still need to put it to paper or screen.  I thought it would actually be best to draft a contract first.

Anyway, on to my computer!

Near the end of December 2012 I had a lot of surplus cash on hand.  I think I was actually saving up for my computer so it makes sense.  My MacBook Pro (remember it?) was still a bit on the curve, but I already maxed out its capabilities.  I wanted MORE POWER!  I also wanted to be able to play a lot of games I was missing out on.  Because, Mac!

A friend of mine recommended I start with a barebones kit.  If you aren’t too familiar with builds like I was, this is a good place to start.  Mine came with a tower, disc drive, hard disk drive, motherboard, compatible RAM, power, and a CPU.  I got to choose my screen, mouse and keyboard, speakers, graphics card, and operating system.  I shopped around for gaming PC specs, because their graphic requirements would also work for my art.

It arrived during Christmas break at about 6-7 at night.  It was a few days before I had to go up north for the actual holiday.  Excited, I opened everything up and spread it across the kitchen floor.  I had heard previously about carpeting and the malevolent magic smoke.  A friend of mine actually complimented me on knowing better.

I recall the first part was to mount the motherboard.  It and mounting the disc/k drives were the worst part!  The RAM was super easy, but I wasn’t sure why the four slots alternated between black and white.  My main mistake was wiring the motherboard to power or disk components until the thing would turn on.  I tried following a booklet, but I couldn’t see any pin id’s anywhere.  This was a mistake that cost me a motherboard replacement about 14 months later.

Almost 5 hours later Windows 7 reached the desktop and I did as follows:

  • Download and install Firefox
  • Download and install Steam, purchase/(re)install TF2, Amnesia: TDD, and Saints Row 3
  • Get the free trial of Paint Tool SAI
  • Download Dream of the Blood Moon (my old ‘friend’…)
  • Get iTunes and transfer ALL the music over

The first piece of artwork I made on my new PC is ‘Preparing to Fight.’  I did not have Bandicam yet, and OBS wasn’t a thing, so I don’t have all of the footage.

I kept my computer in the living room for a really long time.  My brother had an ethernet cord going to the large bedroom I could utilize.  When he told me about it I moved my PC in there in January or February.

My first flexing of my computer’s muscle was my independent study project.  Some of my longest lasting fans will know this is ‘So We’re Making a Comic!‘  I was still working with my old Intuos at the time, and I can’t recall if SAI had any text functions.  A lot of time was wasted fixing the lines.  I appreciate Clip Studio Paint’s tools a lot more for this purpose.

Aside from that Blender was MUCH smoother!  Render time more than halved compared to my MacBook Pro.  However, with the release of the cycles engine I had the first taste of my computer reaching its limit.  My long lived intro logo on YouTube took over a day to render those original 15 seconds.  By comparison my MacBook Pro could render 90 seconds of 24 fps animation in Maya overnight.  I was working with some complicated lighting in Blender, though.  It could have also been super big.

Over the next year I bought two large programs: Manga Studio Ex5 and FL Studio.  I already had a small piano keyboard for a couple years.  Manga Studio has since upgraded to Clip Studio Paint, my main digital art tool.  The last time I used SAI was for the still very recent ‘Looking Back.’  I purchased FL Studio to make my own music for YouTube before I discovered some recent Creative Commons sites.  It is far more robust than Garageband, but I miss one synth instrument in it.

Did I also mention I may have put a literal month’s worth of time into Minecraft?

In 2016 I finally made the plunge and got a new tablet.  I bought the Ugee 1910B tablet monitor.  It was a whole new world!  I still have tablet envy when I get to use a Wacom Cintiq, but… some day!

The sad part is my PC needs a little bit of a pick me up now.  I was looking to upgrade the RAM when the hard drive needed replaced.  The graphics card could also use an upgrade.  I want to hang on to the build for as long as I can since they can be fairly expensive.

Specs!

  • Thermaltake Versa II Mid Tower Case
  • Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit (You can pry 7 from my cold, dead hands!)
  • ECS Z77 Motherboard
  • Intel i5-2500k CPU @ 3.30 GHz, Quad Core
  • 2 X 4GB DDR3 RAM, I forget the rate, upgradable to 32GB (4 X 8GB)
  • 1 TB internal hard disk drive
  • MSI R6670-MD1GD5 Radeon HD 6670 Video Card – 1GB, GDDR5, PCI-Express 2.1 (x16), DVI, HDMI, VGA, DirectX 11, Dual-Slot
    • I want a Blender Cycles compatible Nvidia card that likes water shaders (Cry of Fear, among other games)
  • ASUS 22″ Class Widescreen LED Backlit Monitor – 1920 x 1080, 16:9, 5ms, HDMI, DVI, VGA, Energy Star
  • Microsoft APB Wired Keyboard and Mouse
  • Logitech LS21 2.1 Stereo Speakers – 2.1 Channels, 7-Watts RMS, 2″ High-excursion Metallic Drivers, 4″ 4-Watts RMS Max-X High-excursion Subwoofer (Still can’t get this to play right with my PC)
  • A currently dead disc drive, friend gave me a loaner I still need to install
  • Current favorite internet browser: Google Chrome
  • Most played games: Minecraft and Freecell
  • Most used art program: Clip Studio Paint

The akaneArt.com blog will return in: The Tablet Experience or My Favorite PC Games.

There’s still about a week to take advantage of my shop’s sale!  Head on over to the shop and use the code happy4th18 for 25% off when you reach an order of $10 or more.  Also, orders $20 or more get free shipping!

I also have a mailing list!  You can follow the mailing list to know when there are new blog posts, new art added to my gallery, or sales in the shop.  You will also get a coupon upon sign up and on your birthday.