Hello to all! I think it is time to update our rigs. The question are still the same? What is your favorite way of working? Which hardware you think is indispensable?
Are you working on a brand new pc/mac or you prefer keeping a low profile?
And since I’m getting old, which is the best configuration for not having pains in the neck/back? yourr best combo desk/chair? What makes you creative?
First off, jojo1975. I’m a year older than you and neck/back pains mostly result from poor habits.
Schedule breaks. Get up & move around. Spending too much time in one position or doing the same task over and over will cause problems, regardless of age. Back pains. RSI hand/arm issues. Vision problems. Headaches. Circulation problems. ETC and so on. All of these can be mitigated, if not completely avoided with just a bit of self-care.
Reconsider your tools. Ergonomic mice may be large and chunky. Ergonomic keyboards may be ugly. However, using both or either can greatly reduce the chance of RSI issues. Compact mice and space saver keyboards can be the death of you if you’re not careful. Ergo products can cost a it more, but they’re loads cheaper than hand surgery. It doesn’t pay to be a scrooge if you’re particularly prone to hand cramps or joint pain.
Range of motion and flexibility exercises are your friends too. I suffer from a wide variety of body pains, most of which stem from childhood surgery to correct clubbed feet. There’s not one day where I don’t complain about something. However, there are a number of simple stretching exercises that you can do for your back, hands, shoulder, and neck that will reduces those pains and your need for pain killers. 15 minutes each morning is all it takes.
You’re only as old as you feel. 43/44 is nothing. Depending on lifestyle and genetics, you may have a very long way to go. My family is particularly long lived; Making it past 100 isn’t all that uncommon in my family. I’m turning 45 this year. If I start acting like it’s the end, my next 50-60 years are going to be miserable ones. Not to sound too new age, but body and mind are connected. A positive, youthful attitude can take you a lot further than the grumpy old man act.
Back on to the computer topic…
I’ve got 8 active PCs here in my apartment. My situation isn’t exactly normal. I tend to get a brand new PC for my main desktop about every 2.5 years. I like to keep my setup (relatively) current and fresh, updating a component or two in the 36 months between purchases. That said, for me, there’s no such thing as too much power. The expense is always justified as long as I’m making money using my PC. It pays for itself (and then some) in the end.
The most up to date PC is usually the one sitting in my bedroom workspace, where I spend the bulk of my day.
Here’s a rough outline of this setup:
- Intel Core i9-7920x (12 core) @ 2.9GHz
- 360mm Liquid Cooler
- 64 GB RAM
- NVIDIA GeForce 1080ti 11GB (Founder’s Edition)
- 500GB Samsung 970 EVO NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSD (OS/App Drive)
- Five (5) 7200rpm SATA 6gb/s drives totaling ~17TB (Data)
- LG 32" Monitor @ 3840x2160 (4K) 4ns refresh
- Wacom Cintiq 22HD Pen Display
- Wacom Intuos Pro Pen & Touch (Small)
- Logitech G13 Programmable Gameboard
- Cooler Master CM Storm (Cherry MX Green) mechanical keyboard
- Logitech MX Master 2S Ergonomic Mouse
- MS XBox One S Wireless Bluetooth Controller
- Logitech 5.1 Surround Sound Speakers
- Monoprice Maker Select 3D Printer v2
- Windows 10 Pro x64
The overall setup, not including desk/chair cost me just under $10k. Again, not your average setup. However, I often do a lot of rendering and other tasks requiring loads of storage & speed. The downside of this PC is, ironically, not the price. It’s the weight. The case is a double wide, about the size of two ATX boxes. It actually weighs about 75 lbs. Not knowing the weight when I bought it, I nearly broke my back during the unpacking process. Got caught off guard. Was wondering why the Fed Ex guy was sweating so hard. The PC is so heavy that I have to sit it on the floor instead of the desk.
The desk itself is, well, not a desk. It’s actually just a $300 converted dining room table. I opted for a dining room table instead of a computer workstation both out of convenience and due to quality. Most computer workstations tend to be oddly shaped, too small, or made of flimsy particle board. A simple 6’x3’ oak table gives me lots of space to work. The only downside of using a dining room table? Again, weight. Oak top and steel legs do not make for a light setup. I think that it weighs about 110 lbs. On the plus side, that thing doesn’t move easily - especially fully loaded.
Software-wise, my setup is generally much more modest.
- GIMP v2.10.8
- Krita v4.17
- Blender v2.80 Beta (save early & often, but getting more stable each day)
- Marvelous Designer 8
- Substance Designer 2018
- Substance Painter 2018
- World Machine Professional v3
- Marmoset Toolbag 3
- Articy Draft 3
- Unreal Engine 4
- MS Visual Studio 2017 (VC17)
- Intel GPA 2018
- MuseScore 3
- Photoshop CC 2019
- ZBrush 2018.1
- 3D-Coat 4.8x
- LightWave 2018.0.7
- Maxon Cinema 4D R11
- Maya 2018
I know that I’m going to draw criticism. Why spend so much on hardware and so little on a core pipeline? TBH, it’s pretty simple.
- Because I have many PCs, staying (mostly) open source is much cheaper and easier to maintain.
- Blender is super powerful. Model. Sculpt. Retopo. Animate. Texture Paint. Render. Composite. Video Edit. Blender gets a bad rep from the “elite”, but it’s amazingly capable.
- ZBrush is an amazing tool. I won’t lie. I’ve been using it for 18 years. However, the tool itself CAN be a bit overkill. I only need 6 or 7 brushes, all of which Blender has. I also find that ZBrush sometimes provides a half dozen ways to accomplish any given task, some of which are really gimmicky. I usually only need one or two good, reliable ones. It’s nice that ZB handles a crazy number of polys, but I find that I rarely need more than 24Mil before I finalize and/or retopo. I can sculpt quite comfortably at that 24mil poly level in Blender and achieve the same detail level, especially with dynamic topology enabled.
- Photoshop is an amazing app too. That’s why I’ve been using it for about 27 years. Since the annual cost for the CC suite is so cheap, I keep my subscription active. However, unless I’m doing a lot of hardcore photo or CMYK editing, which is where PS shines, I can easily get away with a GIMP/Krita combo for basic editing, 2D texture painting, concepting, & other RGB work. GIMP & Krita are missing out on a few key features and can be inefficient with layer effects. That IS annoying sometimes. However, like I said, I’ve got multiple PCs. Open source makes WAY more sense. I’m happy to work around a few quirks. Plus, with some keyboard remapping and UI reorganization, I hardly notice the difference most times anyway.
(I still keep my old C4D R11 active on my laptop mostly because it’s one of the last truly 100% rock solid C4D builds. I could work on it all month and never get a single crash caused by the app itself.)