My Multimedia Workstation

Now that the barrage of importing from Medium is done it is time to slow down, recalculate my path, and settle into a pattern of writing here and sharing what I choose through other platforms. For the last year I had just typed my thoughts and projects here at theinterneteffect.com but did not do much else to promote the content. The longer I think about it, I have just settled into the fact that I was not taking my writing as seriously as I should have been for the last 12 months, or ever. I have always had a passion for writing, but until the last year or so, severe anxiety issues kept me from publishing it out to the Internet. Well, except that one time I wrote an e-book.

In the time working up to striking out on an independent writing gig I had built quite the multimedia workstation. I have no house payment, I own a mobile home, the lot rent is only $300, very low car payments and was working for a silicon valley start up making mass cash along with stock options vesting every few months. You can read about the mobile home in more detail at this post Mobile Home Living. I am far from a millionaire but the combination of these things allowed me to leave the 9-5 world and try my hand at my love of writing without the worries of a day job. So now, at 6:38am Ohio time I will start my first writing of the the day which is this post. 🙂 Wearing a thick black and white robe, thick Carhart socks, my coffee to the left, surrounded by monitors and computers, I start to write. But what to write about?

Well, I figured, since this barrage of imports from Medium caused me to pick up a few followers I would take some time to reintroduce myself a bit and discuss the equipment I used to do all of the multimedia things that I attempt to do. So, follow along while we take a trip through my world and the tools I use to bring my thoughts and ideas to the world. So first is of course, me. Who is me? Me is below.

Me is named Bryan. There are many posts throughout this blog that discuss my anxiety problems and the steps have gone through and still go through to keep them under control. You can get a little more background on that by checking out these posts New Found Energy and Where are we Going Today. The 20 word summary is: I worked in IT for over 20 years while dealing with debilitating anxiety. I took a break, started writing, and here I am.

Those two posts go into enough information about my situation and why I am now here that I think we can move on to the happy fun stuff, the multimedia workstation.

A lot of my posts start on my laptop somewhere else in the house or out in the great beyond using a trusty, battle hardened, 17″ HP Omen i7 laptop. The room that you see in the picture above is a bedroom in my mobile home. I am always doing different things in here, currently it is about 95% done with a remodel and paint. I just need to finish the trim which is why you see a gap at the top. This is my primary work area where things are finalized, wrapped up, edited, and published. There is not much I can not do multimedia wise with this setup. Though I do need a 4K camera, but I can work around that for now.

Everything that I use that has a display is shown in the image below.

Workstation

At the far left is the coveted HP Omen i7 laptop. It has 16GB Ram 256GB SSD, a 1TB spinning hard drive for extra storage, and an Nvidia 1080 video chip. I bought this at Walmart. They only had the display model left so I got it at 50% off, about $750, I have had it three years and the only problem is a few dead pixels on the monitor, great deal. Next to that is a 24″ LG Thunderbolt 5K Ultrafine. This is great for live previewing videos when using Power Director. This was a $1200 monitor when new, my last employer let me keep it when I left the company. The workstation that drives all of these monitors on the far right does not have Thunderbolt support so I ended up buying a Titan Ridge HDMI to Thunderbolt adaptor to use it with this system. It can be finicky to get working but once you do it is rock solid, until you unplug the monitor, so I don’t. 🙂

The monitor in the middle is an LG 32″ 4k general purpose monitor. The one to the far right is an LG 24″ 4k, currently I have it in portrait mode because I find that a much better use of space. The microphone is a Blue Yeti, old but still rock solid. The headset hanging there is a Logitech G635 Gaming headset. This is the headset I generally use, but if I need to monitor the Yeti mic directly I have a generic pair of Sony noise canceling headphones that I will plug directly into the microphone, I do need to upgrade this headset at some point. The tablet is a Samsung Galaxy Tab A that I have had for 3 years and it still does all I need it to do.

You will also notice the joysticks here. You will find as you follow along that I explore in Elite Dangerous a lot, that is the control set I use. This set is the Thrustmaster T1600M with HOTAS, one of the handful recommended for Elite Dangerous. I have had this set for about three years now and they have been rock solid. They are not out on the desk all of the time, but are out frequently as I sometimes use screenshots from the game for story ideas or other multimedia projects. Shots like the two below.

Heavy Ammonia Atmosphere from space
Heavy Ammonia Atmosphere from surface

The workstation that powers this part of the setup is a custom built, by me, medium range workstation. It runs a 6/12 core AMD Ryzen at 3.4Ghz. It has 16GB ram. In total there is 4TB of storage available spanning across one 4 drive RAID-5 Array and two stand alone 1TB drives. This is the bottleneck of this system as these are not SSD. But, I have 24 1TB spinning server grade drives left from a storage array that I retired so I can live with a bit of slowness there, this is not where the heavy duty processing happens anyway. This is where I prepare things that need more processing for passing on to the master system, we will peek at that one in a minute. The video card in this workstation is enough to do what I need it to do, render most parts of Elite Dangerous at high resolution and give Power Director some rendering help. This video card runs an Nvidia RTX 2060 GPU. The only picture I have of that part of the setup is the one further up that shows all of the monitors.

The master system of all of my systems is deeply explained here The Move from Dell R820 to Homebuilt Threadripper. The short of it is that I had a Dell enterprise server running in my office, it was quite loud. So I retired it and built a liquid cooled AMD Threadripper based virtual machine host.

This computer is a beast. The processor is an AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X 32-Core, 64-Thread running at 4.3Ghz, that was almost $2,000US. This system is built on the MSI Creator TRX40 motherboard, also not cheap. The system has the maximum amount of ram it can support at a 256GB. Networking is provided by an Intel enterprise 4 port 1Gb/s network adaptor. And last but for sure not least because I love data so much, 51TB of storage spread out across 4 14TB Seagate Ironwolf enterprise class hard drives.

Showing this in its case would not do it justice so here is a picture of all of the parts after we unboxed them.

Unbuilt Lab Server

I added two video cards to this system to use as passthrough to the VM for heavy rendering applications like Blender, or really anything else that could take advantage of the GPU.

So, there you have it. Everything you need to know about me and the systems that I use to process whatever content I come up with for the day. You never know what might be coming tomorrow, or even later today, especially if I shoot out on the Pondering an Introspective Writing Road Trip, heavy processing will still be done at home through a VPN. It is also nice to have home based IT support, my son, Allen Vest.

Stay tuned for “An Almanac for Imagineers: Day 3 (Basic Animal Instincts are the Basis of Cults)”, coming later today.

Have a wonderful day
–Bryan Vest
Celina, Ohio
January 20th, 2022

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