My new desktop computer
After my experiment with the Razer Blade Stealth proved somewhat successful (meaning I was sure I could survive on Windows/Linux without missing MacOS too much), it was about time to replace my Desktop computer as well.
First of all, why having a desktop at all in 2019, aren't Notebooks good enough? Well, yes and no. I just could have gotten a big screen and for a while I was doing just that with the Razer. The reasons why I wanted to replace my trusty Mid 2011 iMac with a new desktop are:
- Just that tiny bit more power and storage space
- More room to have a quieter thermal design (Something Apple's iMacs are somewhat good at, but we're getting to that)
- More connectivity, specifically for my music gear
I've been surveying the market for a while now and while I did play with the thought of waiting for the MacPro or go with a new iMac, my overall positive experience with Windows and Linux with the Razer made me look at other alternatives. The cool thing about the PC market is that it's still really diverse, with catering to many vastly different needs. For example, you can get a tricked out gaming PC with water cooling for CPU and graphics card that will be quite expensive but will also be a beast performance wise, while you can also get very cheap, quiet and compact relatively low performance mini PCs that will do the job for the usual office work.
My performance requirements are somewhere in the middle there.
- I wanted to have a rather decent graphics card, mostly to be able to drive a 4k display, but also to throw in the odd game and for that little bit of 3d modelling that I do.
- I also wanted a CPU that would at least be in the same region as the Razer Blade Stealth one, probably better, to have a little more headroom for VM's or the odd web project build process.
- I also wanted to have something that's considerably quieter than the Razer Blade Stealth is (when the fans spin up)
- Extensibility would also not hurt, of course.
The other cool thing about the PC market is that you're not restricted to the big shots like Dell, HP etc. to buy from.
Rate my Setup
And so I bought my new PC from a small german vendor specializing in silent machines, Silentmaxx. I won't bore you with the full specs of this machine, but it's a current Intel i5, 16 GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and has a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics card. Not that that means anything to me. The cool thing about this machine is that it came with exactly zero moving parts (like fans or spinning disks), both the CPU and the GPU come with huge passive coolers.
I've since mounted a 2TB hard drive I had lying around into a thing called a HD Silencer which makes this the very quiet loudest part of this computer. If there's any additional noise in this room (music, the dishwasher from the kitchen, anything, really, the computer is impossible to hear. And I can't say how much I love it.
One thing that my PC doesn't have, and I'm not sure if that's going to be a problem down the line is a thunderbolt/USB-C interface. As far as I know my mainboard is Thunderbolt capable, it just needs an extra extension card to expose that.
I've since added an AOC U2777PQU 27” 4K monitor to the setup and with that I am almost done with the migration. One thing I want to add at some point is a better, more modern soundcard, but that has time.
I'll still keep my MacBookPro for now as I sometimes need to test Mac software for one of my gigs, but right now, even though the Windows/Linux world isn't perfect, I'm quite happy. This is by no means a decision for eternity (nothing in computing is, obviously) but if Apple doesn't radically change their approach to general purpose computing hardware, I can't see me changing back to a Mac any time soon. That being said, that has happened before, so we'll see.
All in all, including the monitor and other things like a new Keyboard-/Mouse combo, I've now roughly spent 4000 EUR for my new setup with a powerful laptop and an equally powerful, silent desktop. That's not too shabby.