PC Update 2020 – for Lightroom and occasional gaming

The list of bad things that happened in 2020 is pretty much endless, so every spark of light must be cherished. To me one of those points is that 2020 looks like a great year to finally update my PC. and indeed a great year for everyone else thinking along those lines.

Why? Well, AMD, that’s why. Imagine that the company was on Ars Technica‘s Death Watch list in 2014 and still got dishonorable mention in 2016, having become insignificant while Intel ruled the desktop CPU market. AMD’s new CPU line is aptly named Ryzen.

The first generation in 2017 definitely got my attention, and the 2 and 3rd generations even more so. I’ve been holding out while my i5-2500K PC went from venerable to obsolete. Now the time is nigh.

My Requirements – What do I need?

A PC revamp is a solid investment and I don’t want to invest in bragging rights alone. I will get the stuff I need, which is a PC to work with photos and movie editing on a hobby basis. “movie editing” is a magic word in this context – I don’t think a PC can be too powerful for that application, which mean that it is all down to cost/benefit analysis. How often am I going to render a movie and how often will cutting the waiting half in time make a difference? If I was a media creation professional getting paid by the hour, the business case would allow to by some very high performing stuff. Being a hobbyist, I think I’ll live with that occasional couple of minutes extra waiting time and give my kids an extra hug. Photo editing is also a key word, although this is more about single thread performance, while movie editing involves coding on many frames, which can be packaged out to processing by several cores, a single image being loaded for editing is a single image. Therefore, single thread performance remains a key interest of mine. However, while browsing though a list of images means I will certainly feel a 50% performance gain, I highly doubt that would feel a performance gain less than 5%. I.e., being fast is great, but being fastest is not worth it.

My gamin habits do little to change that conclusion. At my level, having a decent CPU is important, but the video card is the most important. Looking at my current list of games to play, the most demaing is Witch r 3 from 2915, so I am not worried.

PC Design 2020

What is the best CPU?

Looking at the mid-end CPU options in 2020 the main options are

  • AMD: Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7
  • Intel: i5 and i7

where Ryzen 5 has 6 cores and twice as many threads, Ryzen 7 has 8 cores/16 threads; the latest i5 has 6 cores/6 threads and i7 has 6 cores/12 threads

The table below shows a collection of options, including some that are mostly of historical interest to me, with benchmarks from the PassMark Software PerformanceTest V10:

CPUBenchmarkBenchmark (ST)Year#cores#threadsNotes
Ryzen 7 5800X2794933832020816
Ryzen 5 5600X2234133322020612
i7-10700K1968230862020816
i5-10600K1460629262020612
i7-9700K146262914201888
i7-8700K1390327912017612
i5-9600K108702790201866
i7-7700K97212769201648
Ryzen 7 3700X2281826892019816
Ryzen 3 3300X127852689202048
Ryzen 5 3600X1832826782019612
i5-8600K102652643201766
i5-7600K68772571201744
Ryzen 3 3100117782443202048
Ryzen 7 2700X1758524382018816
Ryzen 5 2600X1409824132018612
Ryzen 5 1600X1308321942017612
Ryzen 7 1800X1623321782017816
i5-2500K40831696201044My 2011 build
Core 2 Duo E840011651250200822My 2009 build

Motherboard

Having chosen a latest generation AMD CPU the selection is narrowed down considerably. To me it becomes a choice between a general purpose b550 chipset and the higher performing x570 chipset, which requires active cooling. My PC is in my living room, so fewer fans outweighs being proofed for a hypothetical future (at which point updating the motherboard may be a welcome opportunity anyway). Note that most current AM4 socket motherboards will need a BIOS upgrade before they can support a Ryzen 5000 series CPU, i.e., an older CPU must be installed first).

RAM

DDR4 blocks with 288 pins is the thing these days, with 3200 MHz being the pragmatic choice. In most cases 16GB is fine, but since I will be editing RAW files and rendering movies, I’ll go one step up to 32GB.

GPU

Something mid-range will do, Radeon 5600XT or Nvidia RTX 2060 sounds fine.

Storage etc.

I am happy to note that the cost of M.2 SSDs is now comparable to SATA SSDs. That is particular good if you are bad at sorting photos and culling the bad ones. Also, the NVME drives are cab le less, greatly reducing clutter in the case and improving air flow.

Another piece of good “news” (I totally missed when this became a feature) is modular power supplies. How great you can remove all those cables that you’ll never need.

Finally a point to watch out for: When buying a new case make sure it has room for the components you need, First of all a front loading bay like a DVD drive or internal card reader. This is no longer a given (I believe I once had a case with room for 7 units).

Featured Image

A leaf in fall colors.

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Garden Update – Fall 2020

<- Summer 2020

It took a while to get started with garden work this fall. Being very busy at work was surely part of it, but we also made it hard for ourselves but keeping ‘build a playhouse’ on the todo list – a big project that would have to be done early if at all. Last change to do it was the fall break in mid-October, but as we ended up working all days, it just never happened. Coming out on the other side probably allowed us to us realign expectations to something we can get done.

We also gave up growing magnolia trees in our front garden – they just wither away – now we are trying plumes instead (time will tell if they truly replace the splendor of the old tree).

Key events in the garden

  • Oct 17: We admin defeat and remove the dead(ish) magnolias in the front garden. Not sure why, but this plant just doesn’t work for us
  • Oct 18: Went shopping at plant nursery. Trees, lilac, perennials, lavender
  • Oct 25: Planted the two plumes (Kirkes and Victoria) and a Lilac (‘Charles Joly’). In the afternoon, as it begang to rain, I drove away the rest of the tiles from the old garden path.

    Planting a plume tree
  • Oct 27-28: I try drying chilis in the oven. It kinda works, but it is an iffy business when the oven has a broken temperature regulator. 200°C for even a few minutes is too much.

    Drying chilies in the oven

Featured Image

I went for a walk today and brought the camera to photograph trees in fall colors. Here are some of them.

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Top 5s

A recent thread on Twitter ask for people to share a top 5 list without giving the category.

A fun read, with some expected lists coming up, often with little twists, such as the Five Beatles. My contribution to the thread was:

  1. Moana
  2. Rapunzel
  3. Kida
  4. Eilonwy
  5. Vanelope

…having just written my princessology post. Of course, there being no category made me think again, especially how I would but such different personalities into a common, sensible frame of reference. I settled on to five Disney princesses I would like to take out for a Hamburger and thinking about the possible burgers and places to eat them i realized that the list must be revised.

Top 5 Disney princesses to take out for hamburgers:

  1. Moana: A standard burger, probably made with fish.
  2. Kida: Standard burger, high-end place
  3. Tiana: Something New Orleansy, but I’ll trust her expertise. Might be at Tiana’s, if she’d serve that in her own place.
  4. Eilonwy: A veggie burger at an independent cafe
  5. Rapunzel/Vanelope: One of them needs to go, because I wouldn’t miss the chance to eat with Tiana. It may be a choice between a Whopper and a Happy Meal though, and today I am more in a mood for Whopper.

Thinking more about the concept I though about other lists I could have made, mostly nerdy and showcasing some knowledge I have picked up over the years – preferably something generally useless. for example:

  1. Photon
  2. Graviton
  3. Gluon
  4. Z
  5. W

(the particles that carry the fundamental forces – once a physicist, …)

Doing a top 5 is not just a matter of creating nicely googleable content, demonstrating some chunk of knowledge and study pros and cons, inviting a nerdfight about which Star Wars movie should be the fifth on the list; it is an opportunity to dive deeper into a subject and think it over.

I have several Top 5 lists that I look forward to share here.

Featured Image

Another summer vacation shot: A fishing boat landing on the beach in Nr. Vorupør, Thy (Denmark).

Berry Month 2020

Once more I write the yearly post about on the harvest in my garden. Usually the harvest takes place during a couple of days in mid-July, inconveniently sandwiched between summer vacation trips, and thus these posts are generally called ‘berry week‘. This year, although one vacation trip was canceled to avoid infection risk in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we had to pick the gooseberries just before leaving for a week in Jutland, but nothing else was ripe at the time. When we returned home I had just one day before going back to work and that took my focus away (bad weather didn’t help either). But this weekend the sunny summer returned and I went out to pick what remained after the birds have had their chance.

(Actually, we started harvesting the garden even earlier than that: The flowers on our elderberry bush were ready on Jun 13 and a basket-full was made to syrup).

The gooseberry yield was low, especially compared to the 9+ kilos green (Invicta) berries last year, but I expected that after the pruning I gave the bush in spring. All was frozen and will be made to syrup later (worked great last year). The red Hinnonmaki have also been pruned and had so few berries that I didn’t bother picking them.

The currants were finally picked on Aug 1 and had good yield, except the redcurrant, where the birds had already taken their share. The red- and whitecurrant were immediately cooked to syrup (like this – but I’ll go easier on the vanilla next time) and the blackcurrant was cooked to marmalade.

In numbers:

  • Gooseberry (green): 3848 g
  • Redcurrant: 606 g
  • Whitecurrant: 1274 g
  • Blackcurrant 1524 g

Featured image

Whitecurrant waiting to be picked.

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Princessology: Erata, Enchanted Etc.

Spoliers ahead

Erata

In my previous Princessology post I did thorough work to determine the scope of the study. Must of the usual suspects makes the cut and then there are several honorable mentions who didn’t make it to my list, for example because they aren’t animated or because they are not princesses at all.

One young lady I summarily excluded from the study was Giselle, the protagonist of Enchanted, on the grounds that the movie wasn’t animated. I realize that I should have been more precise: I obviously meant “fully animated”…

That said, further study into the character reveals that while Giselle not only wears a dress and has an animal sidekick, but also has most of the characteristics of the classical distressed damsels like Snow White and Cinderella, she lacks a defining trait: She is not a princess and neither does she become one during the movie. Therefor she is stricken from the list in any case and get to hang out with Mulan instead. I can imagine worse company. However, there is another character in the movie who might pass that criterion depending on the scheduling of wedding and coronation, but as already pointed out the movie must be fully animated.

Good to have that cleared up now.

Enchanted

I enjoyed casually watching Enchanted. It was interesting to see Amy Adams in one of her earlier roles before her career really took off. Also, watching and not just listening to Idina Menzell (the voice of Elsa) was interesting. It is fair to wonder what the ambition of the movie is – is it a retelling/mashup of the classical Disney fairy tales, or is it a satire of these movies, showing how absurd they are when watched through modern eyes? It may be age or movie watching experience, but I believe the latter, and as such the movie is fine – just think about the cleanup/singing scene – brilliant. I’ll rate it 3/5.

Etc.

Probationary Princess

Upon further consideration, Megara has been moved to probationary status. While hooking up with the Son of Zeus, King of Gods certainly count towards princess status, the fact that Hercules gave up his god-hood to be together with her counts against him being a prince, and her princesshood as a consequence. More research is required.

Likewise, Jane Porter needs to be reviewed, since she is romantically involved with Tarzan, who is often referred to as the King of the Jungle. This might make Jane a queen (but skipping the princess stage entirely). However, if Disney’s movie doesn’t make clear reference to Tarzan being king, the Esmeralda rule will be applied, since only the movie version count.

Rewatching Frozen II

When I published my previous Princessology Update Frozen II had just premiered on home video and as expected I have watched if several times since. A few times with the kids, several times by myself. I like the movie very much.

I guess there may have been many possible plot-lines to choose between, including the most obvious one with some new antagonist arriving and the sisters teaming up to win the day for Arendelle. Instead the relationship between sisters is explored and resolved. Maybe the creators took input from the senior Pixar people who receives thanks in the end credits. Especially if watching the movie through a neurodiversity lens, it tells story of the challenges sisters that are different may experience as they grow up. In that sense, Frozen II is not just a kids’ movie, but a movie for everyone with an interest in how siblings grow up and it is well worth watching. I’ll rate it 4/5.

Featured image

A landscape photo from Thy, where I just had vacation with the family. The landscape is something special, the light in midsummer is something special and the weather was cold and rainy, which was bad for beach trips, but great for photographing landscapes with interesting clouds.

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