My gaming rig

A bit of story.

In 2012, my brother decided as a gift for going away to college, he would purchase PC parts for me to build my own PC from. There was a $500 combo deal upgrade package from Newegg that he found and made mine. I grew upon that initial build as time went on, adding and replacing parts with newer and better parts, until finally its last build. In 2014, I had better income and could afford to upgrade to higher end parts, so I donated that PC to my sister and built my current gaming rig, which has also since been upgraded over these past 4 years.

The current gaming rig I have started out with much less storage space, a different set of monitors, a different mousepad, video card, and webcam. All of these have been upgraded over time.

In addition, I’ve now added an Intel NUC to my mix of networked devices, which I’ve been using as a utility server. I’ve offloaded nearly all of the virtual machines that my gaming rig has been hosting for 4+ years over to the Intel NUC. This has changed my PC’s performance and resource usage in a favorable direction, and it also means I should be able to take my PC offline more often.

There is one problem I want to tackle, the 2x 5 TB WD Black drives are actually unused. They were originally given exclusive access to a guest virtual machine running my Plex server, and they were configured with LVM, creating a virtual volume of 10 TB. The performance wasn’t that great, however. I transferred the contents of them to a single 6 TB HGST drive and had equal performance with less headache. I want to RAID 1 the 5 TB WD Black drives and then possibly use them for general purpose backup storage, rather than exclusively with my Plex server.

And as for the Plex server, I want to move it off my gaming rig. I’m looking at short-term and long-term right now. In the short, I’m expanding the RAM on my Intel NUC from 16GB to 32GB, so I can host more guests on it, which would allow me to transfer my Plex server. I should then be able to move the HGST 6TB drive to the NUC since the drive is using an external USB3.0 interface. In the long-term, I want to purchase a dedicated storage server, host it at a colocation, and use a RAID 10 array of at least 6×4 TB or 8×6 TB enterprise drives. This would then become the permanent home for my Plex server, giving it the maximum efficiency I can offer.

In the long-term for my gaming rig, I do foresee a possible shift from Intel to AMD. The Ryzen processors have intrigued me. This would mean a new motherboard, which means adopting a new architecture platform. And I’ve never used an AMD processor as my main machine before, either. There’s comfort level hurdles to overcome in that direction. I also won’t need 64 GB of RAM either, since I’m moving the virtual machines to my Intel NUC, so if I build a new desktop system in the future I’ll probably split them to 32 GB. It’s unfortunate that the memory modules between my gaming rig and the NUC aren’t compatible, in addition the NUC has an upper limit of 32 GB memory. Sadness. Maybe I should purchase a second NUC? We’ll see.

My custom PC speaker setup

I recently moved in March 2018 to another apartment unit in my city. I neglected to unpack and setup my computer speakers until earlier this week. What a difference it makes, I pretty much forgot in three months what it was like to have them, turns out I missed my setup and didn’t know it.

This custom speaker setup actually used to be recommended on the r/audiophile subreddit. It’s a basic all-in-one setup that is pieced together by different components.

This setup allows me to connect my PC’s rear stereo output to the Lepai amplifier, which then drives the Micca speakers.

The sound is amazing. I have bass and treble control through the amplifier, which is something I had missed living in my new apartment for the last three months. The Micca speakers are more than suitable for listening to music, no subwoofer required as these Miccas have a woofer built-in that does the job. In terms of volume, I feel like moving the knob more than half way is too loud for my environment, so there’s plenty of upper volume range.

I’ve now had this speaker setup in three different apartments in total. This custom set easily beats any of the all-in-one speaker setups I’ve tried.

I got my car back today

I woke up at 5pm Sunday evening, thinking alright I’ll spend the night chatting with friends and playing games, no big deal. That night, I try to go to sleep at 3am, and I just sort of lay there in my bed until 7am rolled around, and I decided I’m not going to sleep for 1 hour until my alarm goes off. Insomnia is terrible. So, I decide since it’s Monday, before I go in to work at 9am, I’m going to go pick up my car, cause it’s ready to be picked up so why not?

Well, let me tell you. What a day today has been.

A little background: I drive a 2014 Honda Civic. I absolutely love the car since the day I picked it out and drove it off the lot. Fast forward two years later, I was hit by someone on my way to work, to the driver-side rear bumper. The damage wasn’t too bad, the car still drove and functioned as it should, and it didn’t even leak when wet, but still it needed to get repaired since there’s still payments left and there’s an insurance claim. I take it in to my local Honda Collision Center and get situated with a 2017 Toyota Corolla rental.

The Corolla only had around 6,200 miles on it when they handed the keys to me. My Civic had about 21,000 miles. There’s several reasons I chose my Civic over the other entry-level sedans like the Corolla, most of them are preference but a few things stood out immediately even on the 2017 Corolla when compared to my 2014 Civic:

  • The headlights. My Civic has halogen bulbs. The Corolla has LED bulbs. This was a huge difference I wasn’t immediately used to but enjoyed as I rode the rental for a while. LED bulbs are actually pretty neat.
  • The engine, accelerator, and brake. They’re just not the same. I don’t expect them to be, they’re two different cars after all. But, just after being stopped at a red light accelerating to 35 mph, the Corolla would accelerate up to 3500 rpm easily, however my Civic would only need 1500 rpm to do the same task.
  • The rear-view back-up camera. My 2014 Civic’s camera has a HUD that aligns itself with the steering wheel, allowing ease of movement while geared in reverse. The Corolla’s camera does not have a HUD that steers with the steering wheel. In addition, the Corolla’s camera was very foggy even after rubbing and cleaning, yet my Civic has a crystal clear picture.

With that out of the way, it’s 7am, I get dressed for the day and head to the collision center to pick up my car and drop off the rental. They had the car out to me within 5 minutes, pretty speedy no issue at all. Only immediately notice one problem and that was on the driver-side rear seatbelt, the plastic chassis behind the seatbelt wasn’t clipped into the interior wall. They took it back, had it fixed within 5 minutes, and back out to me again. I give it a good look over, I’ve even been described as conscientious before. No other problems that I see. The interior smells like fresh paint, of course. The paint job looks fresh, I can tell they waxed it and put a new clear coat on. I sign the paperwork that I received the car. Cool, I have my car back! But wait, I still have to turn in the rental…

[This post was never fully drafted. It ends there. Sorry.]