The Octavius Maximus build: One month on

It’s been a month since I last built my new PC RIG with a new AMD CPU, the AMD Ryzen 2700x. Along the way, I also had to get a new motherboard for the CPU, an ATX sized motherboard, which led to me having to change the CPU case to fit the new motherboard. I got the Fractal Design Meshify C case with dark tint tempered glass and the whole set up looks sweet. Impulsively, I bought another pair of G.Skill Trident Z RGB ram sticks to fill up all 4 ram slots and the whole set up is now complete.

One month on and this thing flies. Like seriously. I never thought that I could actually feel the difference in speed and responsiveness of just using the PC for day-to-day tasks compared to my previous build (Intel i5-6600) but I could actually feel the difference. This rig works like a beast. It’s like comparing a Mercedes to a monster struck. The difference is almost night and day. For the first time, I could play Assassin’s Creed Origins at 1440p 60FPS ultra settings where ever I am in the game world. Previously, I had trouble hitting 60fps in densely populated areas of the game, like city centres. The game is a CPU resource hog. Now, with the new Ryzen CPU 8 core, 16 threads, it simply crunches everything the game has to offer. I am not seeing on average just 50% CPU utilization on all cores while playing the game, as compared to 100% on just 4 cores available from my previous rig. The CPU was definitely the bottleneck in this game and I was right after upgrading the CPU.

Right now, I am extremely happy with my new build. I am now just waiting for the launch of the new Nvidia GPUs in a couple of months’ time. I am excited as to the performance increase the new GPU can push through compared to current generation GPU.

On other news, my MacBook Pro is officially one year old! How do I know? I realised I was paying the last monthly instalments for the notebook a couple of days ago. Now, this notebook is fully paid and one year on, its still performance just as great as I bought a year ago. Even the battery life is still pretty amazing. No flaws at all. Though I have to admit, I haven’t been using the notebook as intensively as I expected. I am only using it to do my school assignments and even then, they don’t come often and sometimes when I am at home, I ended up using my main PC to write my assignments. But I guess the good thing is that it looks and feels new and I can be assured that I will be using this device for a long time. After completing my studies this year, I don’t expect to use the MacBook Pro as often anymore. But that could change if the nature of my work changes.

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The Octavius Maximus Build!

When the new Ryzen’s Zen+ Ryzen CPU was officially launched last week, I pulled the trigger to get their latest 2700x, 8C/16T CPU with an accompanying motherboard. I couldn’t wait for the ITX motherboards to be released, so it was my first time getting a full ATX motherboard. Previously I mentioned that I never liked having huge gaps underneath the graphics card with all the spare and unsed PCI-E slots below it. It’s just an unnecessary waste of space. But after building the new rig, I am slowly getting used to the idea of having large empty spaces below the GPU.

With the ATX motherboard, I had to get a new case too, as the NZXT Manta wouldn’t be able to fit an ATX motherboard inside. So I got the Fractal Design Meshify C Dark Tinted Tempered Glass edition PC case. The tinted tempered glass, is surprisingly helpful in masking out the empty space below the graphics card because it darkens the entire area out, making it look like there’s no dead space in between. So you only see the GPU RGB LED and anything above it. This darkens out any hideous cabling found at the bottom of the motherboard but the downside is that the LED RGB luminence is somewhat diminished due to the nature of the tinted tempered glass. Everything inside looks darker now. But still, it give a surprisingly cleaner look that I initially expected when I built this rig.

The CPU and motherboard combo came at around S$800. I got the Asus ROG Strix X470-F motherboard, which was supposedly the second best motherboard after the Crosshair VII. It is significantly cheaper too due to less extreme overclocking tools and features usually reserved for the Crosshair series. I did encounter a problem with the motherboard when I first bought it. It simply refused to POST to BIOS. My motherboard was essentially dead on arrival. That set me back a couple of days after building the rig and finding out that the motherboard was defective. I had to wait till the coming weekday to have it exchanged for a new one. Luckily, exchanging it was one-to-one and it was quick and painless.

With that out of the way, I spent time doing some cable management before installing the newly exchanged motherboard. My weakest part of building a PC is the cable management. I find it extremely tough and annoying just to spent considering amount of time ensuring that the cables at the  back of the PC is neat and tidy. At the end of the day, it was still pretty messy, I gave up. At the bare minimum, so long as I could close the back of the PC with the steel case, without any impediments, I am happy with the results.

I resued most of the components like the RAM, storage, PSU, GPU and case fans from the previous build for this new one. The only new components were the CPU, motherboard, a couple of LED RGB case fans, and the case.

I named this build, the Octavius Maximus build. Octavius, similar to the number 8, which represents the 8 core, 16 thread CPU and the Maximus, which represent the flagship and most powerful consumer based GPU currently out there on the market, the GTX 1080ti.

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So here is my new PC specs:

Octavius Maximus PC Specifications

AMD Ryzen 2700x 8C/16T CPU 3.7GHz base clock, 4.30GHz boost clock

Asus ROG Strix X470-F ATX motherboard

G.Skill Trident Z RGB 3000MHz 32GB ram (3200MHz overclocked)

Sandisk Ultra II 480Gb SSD x2

WD 2TB HDD

AMD Prism Wraith stock cooler

EVGA GeForce GTX 1080ti 11Gb FTW3

Corsair RM650x PSU

Fractal Design Meshify C tempered glass edition.

Thermaltake Riing Floe 120mm RGB case fans x3

JBL Bar Studio

I was walking around town yesterday when I saw an event hall selling consumer electronics like headphones, speakers, powerbanks, and sound bars. In particular sound bars from JBL. They were selling at an offer price and I was intrigued by what they had on sale. I came across the entire line of JBL sound bars, from the 2.0 setups to the full 5.1 audio setups with discreet subwoofers.

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I got myself the JBL Bar Studio for my TV setup in my room. As you know, I recently for a 49inch 4K TV from Sony for my room. That was the last piece of major electronics I got to complete my room revamp that took place over several months since the end of 2017. Ever since I got that, I had to contend with crappy TV audio for all my video and Netflix fix. I couldn’t find a decent soundbar that is perfect for a room set up, yet does not cost an arm and a leg to get one. I just wanted a simple sound bar that would enhance the TV audio that I am currently experiencing. I was not looking for a set up that would blow my mind (or my room windows with a kW powered speakers).

JBL Bar Studio was perfect. It features a single soundbar. That’s it. Just what I needed. And for S$250, its a pretty sweet deal considering the sound quality that comes out from the  sound bar. I mean, its JBL, it has to be good. The JBL Bar Studio is not earthshattering. Bass is good, punchy, but could be better if it can go lower in terms of frequency. Still, my aim of getting a sound bar was simply to enhance the TV audio, get a little more clarity, loudness and punchiness, especially when it comes to action scenes. The JBL Bar Studio served its functions terrifically.

Heading to Sydney without an itinerary.

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Now this is going to be interesting. My upcoming trip to Sydney will be my first solo trip without an itinerary. Yeap, that’s right. I did not plan anything for my upcoming trip. The only thing that I planned was my flight, my accommodations, and one outdoor activity that I decided to book in advance just in case of limited slot availability. I seriously do not know how my trip will turn out. It can visualise my trip as going in either directions; either it’s going to be fucking awesome, or it could be the most boring trip I have ever made as a solo traveller in my entire life. We shall see.

So why did I not have a plan? Partly the reason is that I am so busy with work and school that I just do not have the time to sit down and really draft a proper itinerary. Another reason could be that after I book my flights, I am starting to get cold feet on this trip. I am suddenly not in the mood anymore. Strangely, I’m not exactly looking forward to this trip. Yes I am busy, and I feel burned out sometimes, and I know that this trip is exactly what I need to get myself refreshed before facing the onslaught of work and school. But so far, my ‘busyness’ had dampened the mood somewhat. Just a little more than 2 weeks before my trip and the thought of vacation hasn’t reached to the top of my mind yet. Usually, by this time, my vacation is the only thing I can think of right now. My mind would be so distracted that I wouldn’t be able to focus on work or just about anything else other than the trip itself. This has never happened before. For the first time, I am not feeling excited about my holiday and it’s kinda worrying. I love to travel. Somehow that love has died for some reason.

Disabling my Smugmug account

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I have been using Smugmug to host some of my photographic works over the past few years. The photos that I took from my trusty Olympus OM-D camera were all saved and backed up using the Smugmug file storage services. Now I am disabling the account because I haven’t been using the website much. The past year alone, I barely uploaded any photos at all. And while the file hosting services are fantastic, I am under-utilising the services and wasting money away. So now I am downloading all the photos that I have hosted on the website back to my computer, where it will be stored somewhere else, at least somewhere without a website as a front to showcase some of the best works. It might on OneDrive, since I have tons of space there. Goodbye SmugMug!

Nanoleaf Aurora is just amazing!

8A1aSoA - ImgurAs part of the room revamp project that I started sometime late last year, one of the final touches being made to my room and my desktop area was to fix the Nanoleaf Aurora panels. I bought the starter kit with 9 panels and an expansion of 3 addtional panels, making it a total of 12 panels to play around with it. In the end, I chose a simply clean design, spreading the panels wide across the wall above my desktop.

Ever since then, I have gone absolutely crazy over these panels. I have a number of favourite themes that I switch it up from time to time to keep my room ambience fresh and cosy and perfect for any occasion. But soon after, I begin to realise, would it be even better if I expanded to an addtional 3 more panels?

And expanded I did. The final design is the one above. With 12 panels, it just felt, incomplete. Let me show you what it looked like with 12 panels that I initially had. IMG_3939

It looked simple enough, but it felt a little short, barely stretching the entire desktop area. With 3 more panels, it now looks complete. These things are expensive, but they are totally worth once you switch it on, set it up, and let the lights take over. These things are seriously too pretty.