April 22, 2022

A One-Year Review of my Desktop PC

Buying a Desktop PC is usually about favouring power, speed, and disk space over portability and ease. This is what I heard repeated in my research before purchasing one. After owning one for a year, I can say this is the precise balance decision. Everyone is right about this.

Here’s a quick audit of how I’ve used this PC over the last year.

If you want to know what apps I use all the time, I recently wrote this post: Solid Windows Apps, updated for 2022

Art & Design

  • In 2021, I learned how to make pixel, voxel, and 3D art.
  • I began using Photoshop again for the first time in many years.
  • I began using Bridge and Acrobat more.
  • I began learning Adobe XD, which may inform the type of work I do in the future.

Gaming

  • I’ve played Death Stranding, Final Fantasy VII Remake, and Cyberpunk 2077. I wouldn’t have been able to play any of these on a Surface Pro.
  • I’ve created an emulation library for myself, containing digital backups of almost every game and system I own. I’m even in the process of backing up my 3DS, which I thought was impossible until recently.

Video

  • I learned how to use Davinci Resolve to edit a ton of video game footage. Also, podcasts, gifs, and tiktoks.
  • It’s not a bad Plex setup.

Work

  • Most of my work is in Illustrator and InDesign. These aren’t the most intensive Adobe apps, but it’s still been very nice to never feel a slow down.
  • I’ve been able to sync more files to my local pc without worrying about running out of space all the time.

Photography

  • I’ve finally had the space to locally store every photo file I have, and I’ve begun the work of tagging/rating my collection, something I just haven’t had the bandwidth for in the last decade. Lightroom is awesome at exactly this.

Music

  • I was able to rebuilt my local music file collection. Starting with a bunch of FLAC files from vinyl purchases, and moving onto files from an old iPod of mine, I was able to mostly get back what I’d lost nearly a decade ago when I made the move to smaller laptops with less storage.
  • I used the old iPod for a while, actually. It was nice! But I found it had syncing issues, and would sometimes appear to glitch out. Time comes for us all.

Phone Backups

  • Every now and then, I’ll make an encrypted backup of my phone with iTunes. I know iCloud has largely obviated this, but it’s still nice.

Experiments in Mac and Android Emulation

  • I had an itch to see if I could make a hackintosh” with this machine, and I did. It worked. If I ever feel the need in the future, I can run the experiment again and work as a Mac” user, with access to most apps (I don’t think it would work with M1-based apps, for obvious reasons).
  • When windows 11 came out, it enabled better android app emulation. This also works! It’s a novelty to see something like Apple Music running on Windows. But much like the Mac emulation, I don’t actually have much use for android apps in my routine.

Downsides to a Desktop PC

  • No Built-in microphone or camera. So the decision is to be made: keep a microphone or webcam always plugged in? Or have some system where you put them away when they’re not in use, so you don’t have to cover your desk with accessories. I’ve been frustrated by this modularity at times.

  • It’s obvious, but still worth mentioning: I can only really use it while sitting in one place in my apartment. Teamviewer gets around this for the odd thing, as I can sort of peek at it from my phone or my old Surface.

  • I worry about heat. This is a big, hot machine that can kick up to 70-80 degrees while doing normal stuff. I’m probably going to buy more fans, which will only make it louder.


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