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Everything posted by Scungio

  1. Scungio

    CHEAP PC build

    One last thing on the 2400G, I promise!! My old server was a Mac Pro, the original, first Intel Xeon based model from 2006. From 2012 to November of 2018 I used it as a media server. When I retired this old Mac Pro and replaced it with the 2400G, boy, did my electric bill drop!!! It was an 8 core Xeon and if memory serves it drew 160 Watts when idle and would ramp up to 250 watts when on load. The 2400G is 65 watt TDP chip and that is variable and I find it manages power very well, even under load. This is another area where AMD is taking it to Intel, the latest 3000 series of Ryzen are even better at power management. Anyway, the savings per month on my electric bill, switching from the Mac Pro to the 2400G, I figure that after 18 months it will have paid for that 2400G build. I have one last item to replace to improve that electric bill, a 10 year old Plasma TV! It is still beautiful, but the power draw is unbelievable. I know when I replace it with a new modern 4K TV that my electric bill will drop even more. Isn't technology grand? It is incredible how tech improves so rapidly, gets better, cheaper, more efficient.
  2. Scungio

    CHEAP PC build

    I always cringe at some of the case designs that I see today. To me the best ones are those that provide real airflow. I don't see how having a solid piece of plastic or a slab of glass in the front, and only allowing the air to sneak in through these narrow edges on the side, provides any airflow. Ideally you want as much mesh on the front so that your front case fans aren't obstructed and can get as much air as they can to cool your computer. There was a classic example the past year or so of Gamers Nexus (search for them on Youtube), were critiquing a CoolMasters case and they had glass/plastic on the front with only thin intakes on the side. GN did testing, thermals and the results were pretty bad, they went so far as to mod the case, putting in more mesh and showed how it greatly reduced temps. CoolMasters, to their credit, eventually did redesign this certain case a couple times and did come out with a front mesh version. This stuff isn't rocket science and yet some companies try and make it more complicated than it has to be. Sanderguy777, does your old PC not have an expansion slots? $15-20 will get you a PCI card that could be installed to give you 4 USB 3 ports. I did want to point out a couple more things concerning the Ryzen 5 2400G, first Ryzen doesn't support Thunderbolt at the moment. There have been some people doing some hacks, complicated workarounds getting TB working on Ryzen with Linux as the OS. Maybe when Intel officially makes Thunderbolt part of the USB 4 spec, then it will be available for Ryzen. The second point I wanted to make is that the Ryzen 5 2400 G has some PCI 3.0 limitations. For example it has only 8 lanes dedicated to the one slot if you want to install a graphics card. In the non APU Ryzens, the 1600, 1700, 2600, 2700 families, so to speak, you can have a PCI 3.0 x16 lane slot for your graphics card. Some might argue that there is little difference between the two but if you bought a real high end graphics card it may very well perform worse in that x8 slot then in a x16 slot. An RX 580 would be a perfect mid tier card that would give you a big upgrade over the Vega 11 graphics. It would also be a very good 1080 gaming card.
  3. Scungio

    CHEAP PC build

    The RAM and memory can be a finicky thing with Ryzen. I will explain my issues that I had when I first set up my Ryzen 7 1700X. Back then it was a new CPU, new chipsets, motherboards and many of the boards were sort of how can I say this? Rushed to market before they were ready?? I chose an X370 MB and thought it would be so much better than a B350 but it turns out that no matter what I did I could never get the memory past 2,666 MHz. This was normal back then, many went through these growing pains. Then the B450 and X470 boards came out and things got better with RAM, firmware updates and such smoothed out the glitches and now with the X570 and probably B550 boards later this fall, all of the RAM issues should be a thing of the past. The Corsair Vengeance memory you have chosen will be great, I have that in my 2400G server and in the MSI BIOS setting for that motherboard the XMP profile only gets it running at 2933. I was content with that, didn't really think the effort in overclocking, messing with timings, etc would yield much of a boost. I am not really big into overclocking, sort of think it is silly, but that is my personal opinion. To me the best computer is one that is stable and quiet. I love the Noctua case fans and especially the Nocuta air coolers. Can't stand the liquid coolers and I know too many people where an O ring failed and their computer got literally hosed. Bling, RGB has its place and I don't fault people for enjoying that, but for me I always want my computer to be quiet and invisible, like it is not even there. The 2400 G really is a great budget choice. 4 cores, 8 threads, 65 Watt TDP, has Radeon Vega 11 Graphics and comes with a Wraith Stealth CPU cooler. All of that for $125. If you can afford it I would try and get an NVMe M.2 SSD. Samsung, Western Digital, Adata they all make very fast drives. It is important to do your research on this though, there are some M.2 drives that aren't really that fast, are merely SSD fast, 550 MBs / 520 MBs read and write speeds. What I do is get the fastest NVMe M.2 drive I can to be my boot volume and then pair it with a regular HDD with more capacity. I love the Samsung EVO series of NVMe M.2 drives. I bought the Samsung 960 EVO when I got my Ryzen 7 two years ago and it has read and write speed of 3,200/1,500 MBs. If you shop around you can find great deals, Adata has an XPG SX6000 pro 256 GB NVMe M.2 drive selling for $37.99 on Amazon right now. It has read and write speeds of 2,100/1,500 MBs. You could probably add a 3 TB HDD drive for $50 or so. So, taking your $338 and adding $88 for the 256 GB NVMe M.2 drive and 3 TB HDD brings your total to $426. That would leave you $74 to buy a case. You didn't say but do you have a graphic tablet? Maybe that can be your next purchase for the holidays. XP Pen just release their Deco Pro series, they look really, really nice, love the design and buttons and jog wheels on those.
  4. Scungio

    CHEAP PC build

    I built a media server with the Ryzen 5 2400G. It is a really nice APU, meaning CPU/GPU. You mentioned the 2200G but if you can swing it try and go for the 2400G. It is 4 cores/8 threads whereas the 2200G lacks the SMT/Hyperthreading and is only 4 cores/4 threads. Also the 2400G has Vega 11 graphics, 11 compute units, 704 shader units, 1,250 MHz clock speed. B450 motherboards are perfect for the 2400G, an X470 board is just overkill and really, many of the VRMs (Voltage Regulator Module) for those higher priced boards are lame. I went with the MSI B450 Mortar because the VRM's are nice and they have great heatsinks on the VRMs. Now, yes, the 2400G might not have much overclocking headroom but if you are going to do it best to have a MB and VRMs that can do the job. And who knows down the road if you upgrade to a 2600X or 2700X you can really take advantage of the board. Many of these Ryzen board makers will try and dazzle you with bling, RGB, and then have a half assed VRM. I went with a Corsair 450 watt power supply (80+ bronze) because with no dedicated graphics card and the 2400G has a 65 watt TDP. More than enough. The thing about buying a case that comes with a power supply is that the manufacturer will give you a really sketchy power supply, usually a brand you have never heard of, why take the chance?? They are looking for ways to improve their margins, put more money in their pockets, right? Best to make that decision for yourself, don't risk your system with a substandard power supply. 16 GB of RAM is fine, 2 x 8 GB Dimms. Make sure you have two DiMMS installed to take advantage of the dual channel speeds. Some try and go with one 8 GB Dimm but it really handicaps Ryzen chips, it works best with dual channel memory. I believe the Ryzen APUs, the 2400 and 2200g only support 2,933 MHz speed with the RAM, so paying for more expensive memory hoping to get the memory overclocked higher than 2933 is probably futile. Other than that, I would say just be realistic in the gaming aspect of these APUs. Yes, they are worlds better than the Intel integrated GPUs but still they are not a dedicated graphics card with plentiful memory. I think the Vega Graphics have something like 1 GB of internal memory and then use your systems shared memory (RAM). If you want to play some eSport games online, great but if you are hoping to install some triple A, big name games and get 100 FPS, you will be disappointed. Just be realistic with your expectations. There are plenty of YouTube videos where people have benchmarked games and show what to expect with these Ryzen APUs (2400G, 2200G). I have 3 Ryzen systems and love each and every one. My main workstation is a Ryzen 7 1700x, first gen Ryzen, I jumped on the train early! Then I picked up this quirky Huawei Ryzen 5 2500U laptop for $450 from Walmart and it just blew my mind. Punches well above its weight, build quality is excellent, like having a MacBook. Then I built this Ryzen 5 2400 G server just 8 months ago, no hiccups, no issues. AMD just released their Ryzen 3000 series of CPUs this past week and they are getting better and better. You can't beat the price and the performance is matching Intel. Intel got fat and lazy and greedy. Competition is a good thing, no a great thing. AMD battling Intel is like Serif going up against Adobe. I have always loved the underdog!
  5. I had been a long time Wacom user and then the past 3 years or so, I started to look for alternatives. Yes, I understand Wacom is the gold standard but I didn't feel like paying for the premium any longer and I felt that the competitors were closing the gap in the low to mid range. I really like to have a smaller display tablet, for portability reasons and just my preference. I find a larger display or even a larger tablet makes my arm, hand and eyes become fatigued faster. That may sound silly but for me it is true. For years I had used a Wacom Cintiq 12WX and always had a medium sized Wacom Intuos tablet in addition to that. When it came time to replace the small Cintiq, I really did not care for the features or pricing of what Wacom was offering so I went with XP Pen. My current display tablet is the XP Pen 15.6 Pro and it fits my needs perfectly. I do think that whether it is XP Pen or Huion, the drivers are always going to be annoying from time to time. XP Pen for example tells us to make sure to remove other companies drivers like Wacom as it will cause issues. I thought that was sort of crazy but then when I used my 15.6 Pro with my laptop I was having issues. Hooked up to the desktop things ran perfectly, but when I used it with my laptop it was ugly. I forgot that I had installed Wacom drivers on the laptop as I had been testing out some old Wacom tablets that I was going to sell. I don't mean to be so long winded, but does Huion recommend to uninstall other tablet drivers like XP Pen?? I often wonder if other devices could cause problems too. Like I have a Shuttle Pro that I use too. From time to time I often find that other devices can be the culprit of glitches. It does suck though that we spend money on these competing products and then get frustrated when they don't work perfectly right out of the box. To me I have come to expect more bumpiness in the beginning, I mean after all Wacom has decades of experience, probably employs way more employees than Huion or XP Pen. If we want to have a seamless, perfect experience with as little trouble as possible then paying the premium for Wacom products is the solution. I don't want to pay that premium so I am patient and put up with a little aggravation! I do know that often times it may not be the fault of the software makers like Serif but actually with Huion or XP Pen. Many people will go to XP Pen and ask why things are not working right and sometimes there were updates pushed out that did fix some issues with certain software. It does seem like that when there are major revisions to the OS or an app, like maybe the 1.7 updates to the Affinity range, that the drivers may take a while to catch up. Don't know if this helps at all. I will say this too, the competitors are catching up. That Huion Kamvas 16 Pro, wow, some Cintiq like features and build quality starting to creep in. Huion and XP Pen are now starting to have fully laminated displays, reducing parallax, they are introducing 60 degree tilt with their pens, they are improving the color, 120% sRGB, 85-90% Adobe RGB. I can't help but feel that the etched, textured glass is coming any year now and them upping the resolution from 1920 x 1080 to something more is in the cards too. I feel like those of us supporting Huion and XP Pen and the others are going to help Wacom become more accessible to all. Sort of like how AMD Ryzen is forcing Intel to lower some pricing on their CPUs. Of course maybe Wacom will just concede the low, mid range and just concentrate on the high end, 24-32 inch displays?? Who knows?? -Mark
  6. I think that Serif could get spread too thin if they took on more and more and more apps. People want them to do video editing yet there are already free options out there like DaVinci Resolve 16, that has Fairlight and Fusion, for audio and composting/motion graphics, which makes it very compelling. How does Serif compete with that?? Others want Serif to do web design, motion graphics and now animation?? I use Harmony and Moho. What I would like to see is Serif make export options that are more friendly to those apps, sort of like how we can export out with Json to Spine. I have workarounds where I export out to Moho just fine using SVGs but it is sort of tedious. Others have mentioned how they need more robust export options for formats like TGAs, Targa format, etc. To me it seems more doable, more possible to make the Affinity apps work well with other apps than it is for them to compete against them.
  7. Just for giggles I was able to open the file on my 2nd gen iPad Pro and was able to zoom in and navigate around. The problem is when I go to the blue dot ‘curves’ layer and try to select anything with the node tool it crashes.
  8. Howdy, I have a two year old system by now, an AMD Ryzen 1700x, 8 core, 16 threads, 3.5 Ghz base, with a Samsung 960 NVMe M.2 SSD, 32 GB of RAM and a 1070 Ti, 8 GB graphics card. I am able to open the file. The blue dot gradient is the very last item in the Layers panel. It is named 'Curves'. The other layers that are named 'Curve' are for each of the larger white circles. I am able to zoom in, I got to 1000% and saw all of the blue dots that make up the gradient but this is not a fun file to navigate or deal with. Designer is taking quite a bit of time to open it, display items, when zooming in, etc. Oh, now it has crashed, yeah, no fun at all. That dot gradient, there could be so many, millions of points involved in that, it is kinda crazy.
  9. I was a long time Adobe user and now I am using the Affinity apps. I know many want to be able to use the brushes, and smart objects, and plugins and whatnot that they are so used to with Adobe, but if we make the switch to Affinity shouldn't we leave that behind? There are many fine people making brushes available for the Affinity apps that are 100% created for the Affinity apps. We should be supporting them, encouraging them, we should want native brushes created FOR Affinity Photo and Designer. We are never going to be able to use Photoshop brushes and have them behave the same way as they do in Photoshop. They are two different companies with different ways of doing things in their apps. That is why I don't even bother with Photoshop brushes but instead seek out Affinity 3rd party developers, such as Frankentoon, or Paolo's DAUB brushes, or Agata's brushes. Some are paid, some graciously give away free brushes, but we should try and support their efforts. Better to have a brush that is created for and takes advantage of the Affinity line then have to settle for a hand me down Photoshop brush. Hope that makes sense.
  10. Howdy, Designer has Assets, Symbols, Artboards and Constraints. In your scenario of taking the Pen Tool in Photo and making a shape, yeah, you can do that but say you wanted to save that shape? In Designer you could save it to the Assets panel and then use that shape in any other document. Say you wanted to create a business card, a letterhead, an envelope, a tri-fold brochure, etc. How do you do that efficiently with just Photo? In Designer you can create multiple artboards in just one file. You could create a logo, save it as an asset and then use it across those artboards. Or create a logo or graphic and make it a symbol, then use that symbol across your multiple artboards. If a client wants you to change a vector graphic/logo, you can go into the symbol, make your changes and it refreshes across all of the instances that you placed it. There is a tremendous amount of overlap between both apps but both have their own specific set of features that are important and crucial. Designer has a subset of bitmap tools like Photo but I can't get to the Channels, I can't use the Filters that Photo has, the Cloning, Patch tools, etc. It is worth it to have both, and for the price almost a crime not to buy both.
  11. It might be helpful for you but I think it would be bad for Serif. They are not Adobe, they are not charging us a monthly rate to rent their software. I have a Mac, a PC and an iPad Pro and I have bought licenses for all three of those platforms for both Designer and Photo and soon for Publisher. With the recent Designer for iPad promotion and the sales they had for the desktop versions, a person just coming to the Affinity line could have bought Designer for iPad, Mac, and Windows and Photo for iPad, Mac and Windows and it would have cost them all of what?, $175??? I used to pay for Adobe CC and just for the Photoshop/Lightroom and Illustrator plans and it cost me $382.56 a year. And the next year it would have cost me $382.56 and the next year it would have cost me $382.56. Now, yeah, I can install them on my Mac and PC but there were no iPad versions. You add up the cost over a 10 year span, assuming no price hikes and I would have paid out $3,825 to Adobe. Now I personally have spent $215 for the Affinity apps I have for the 3 platforms. Even if in a 10 year span I have to pay for the upgrade cost to version 2 and 3 of the Affinity line, I am still making out like a bandit and pocketing $3200. That is $3200 that can pay for the cost of a new iPad Pro AND a new PC. When you look at it through that lens, which again, is just my personal take, isn't Serif's approach fair and just? Now I am all for purchasing a license to any of the Affinity apps and having it be cross platform but there would have to be a price increase. To expect to pay $50 for a license that entitles you to the Mac, PC and iOS is just folly. I mean, Serif has different development teams, they have to pay the bills, the employees, etc. Now yeah, hypothetically, say there was no Mac App Store and Serif decided to go in different way, would people be willing to pay $100, 125, 150 for a license that allows them to install it on Mac, PC or iOS? I think that would be a dubious proposition and a serious gamble on Serif's part.
  12. Scungio

    Using larger assets crashes Designer

    I did have some troubles recently and I was using Enrique's Propaganda Design Kit but I think it didn't have much to do with using the assets. I had 12 files 'open' in the gallery, I had three files that I was working on and had some 9 samples that I was exploring/learning from. So, 12 files open in the gallery. When I started to get sluggishness and some occasional crashes, I went back to the gallery and started to close the samples and files that I was not working on. When I went back to the file that I was currently working on I had no more issues. Is that just a coincidence? I guess for me some explanation is needed on how the iPad Pro version of AD handles all of these 'opened' files. Until you close a file, is it taking up resources, memory? If you have multiple files open and not 'closed' does it stretch these resources and make crashes more prone to happen? I have the 2017 iPad Pro 12.9, 2nd gen, with 4 GB of RAM
  13. Well, Serif is only developing for Mac, Windows and iOS at the moment so that excludes the Amazon Fire HD. Also, doesn't Amazon have a fork of Android, this Fire OS is an offshoot of Android, who is to say if Serif did develop the Affinity line for Android that it would run without any issues on Fire OS? There are those that want the Affinity apps on Linux, those that want Android, those that want it to run on Fire OS, I don't think Serif has enough time, money, people or resources to do all of that. I have the Mac/Win/iOS apps for both Designer and Photo and yes, this is purely selfish on my part, but I think Serif should concentrate on those 3 and not take on anymore platforms.
  14. It is in the help file/documentation. The 62 video tutorials and the help files are really well done. Compounds was one of the first things that I searched for in the help file and it clearly explained it all.
  15. Yeeehawww!!! Just bought it too. Man, I am not going to get any sleep for a couple days, been waiting a long time for this. $13.99, 30% off pricing for the introduction.
  16. I can't really use the image that you have here as it is a JPG already, I would need the original uncompressed file. You can't expect people to test something in such a manner, it would be like taking a Xerox and making a Xerox of that Xerox. That being said, I don't use JPG much anymore for web related stuff, mostly PNGs. And if I were to use JPG to show images/photos I don't ever remember using quality settings that low. That to me is asking for trouble, but what do I know, are there a lot of people out there compressing photos with 10% low quality settings? It looks like you are going out of your way to make it more difficult than it has to be.
  17. As a longtime Mac user I had never used Serif's legacy apps because, well, they were for Windows. I think that you have to appreciate that over time, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up with old legacy code, to add new features, to keep up with the changing Operating systems, etc. If Serif wanted to increase the number of customers by also including Mac OS, how were they going to do that easily by porting their old code? To take advantage of new hardware and technologies, modern APIs, etc, they had to literally start over from scratch with a new slate, and this allowed them to develop for both Windows and Mac and iOS. They have said they aren't developing for Android or Linux but if they were at least it would be possible now. This is not something that is unique to Serif, I have seen many software companies over the years having to eventually rewrite their apps at some point, it is just a fact of life. You may find yourself patting yourself on the back, proud that your old Serif apps work right now but there is no guarantee that they will continue to do so. I had bought many Adobe CS apps before they went to their CC cloud. On the Mac, on the latest MacOS, it becomes problematic trying to install older software. I keep an old Mac Pro with MacOS 10.7.5 so that I can run some of these older apps. You may find that Microsoft makes some OS changes in the future that suddenly make your Serif apps not run as smoothly. It is just the nature of the beast. I must say that buying software, and each user's different views on what they expect, what they think they are entitled to, what they think they deserve, has always been fascinating to me. I have the utmost respect for software developers, the coders, etc. It seems like such a thankless job though, with far too many people ready to dismiss your efforts. Everybody seemingly wants everything for free. I don't understand that logic and never will.
  18. This is a real complicated issue. After Effects and Illustrator being owned and developed by the same company makes their compatibility possible. For Serif it is hard to make it possible to achieve that same goal. There are many applications out there that have their own take, their own proprietary vector approach. And even when you try to use some format like SVG or EPS even then it is hard to get all the apps on the same page, or to support all of the features of a format to the same degree. For example, I have Moho Pro 12, I can use that to do character animation, or to do some motion graphics type of stuff in a rudimentary way, it is no After Effects or Apple's Motion. It can import SVG from Affinity Designer but there are gotchas, issues here and there. For example, say I want to do a character, I can't really get too fancy in terms of expecting Serif's effects or styles to come though, even something as simple as a gradient does not import into Moho. If I want it to be vector then the best I can do is use simple colors for the stroke and fills, no gradients. Then in Moho I can use the gradients, effects and whatnot from within that program. Or I could use all the bells and whistles in Affinity Designer but when I go to export I would have to rasterize it and work with it that way in Moho. This may or may not be relevant but here is a video I did for a forum member a while back talking about the SVG import and export, the back and forth from Designer to Moho. In the video I talk about the differences of how they handle vectors, and whatnot. Unfortunately, it is all about workarounds and learning to deal with limitations. I have been wanting to do a long, comprehensive video showing how to do a character in Designer and export it to Moho and finish it up, rig it, etc, but it is a pretty daunting task and I have been busy with other stuff. Sigh, maybe one of these months... https://vimeo.com/237423775
  19. I don't think it has to be an either or situation, and ideally I think most people would want to have more ways of working and not be limited to just one device. The iPad Pro makes a great device that should be part of everybody's arsenal so to speak. Me? I have both a Mac Pro and a Ryzen PC. They share an Asus 27 inch monitor. I have a Wacom Intuos Pro Medium tablet with their Art Pen that I use with the Mac. On the PC side I have an XP Pen Artist 15.6 Display Tablet and I love it, it replaced an old Wacom Cintiq 12wx. Then I have the 12.9 iPad Pro which is not that much smaller than the XP Pen screen. So, MacOS, Windows 10, iOS 11. I have some programs that are exclusive to a platform like Procreate on iOS or Apple's Motion on Mac OS, some programs that run on all 3, like Affinity Photo and soon Designer, Clip Studio Paint, etc. But it is cool that I am not limited in any way. If you are just starting out, well you do have to start somewhere. The iPad Pro would be a good start but you will most likely end up buying a laptop or desktop later on. In terms of doing professional work with the iPad Pro, I think that it is all up to that individual. I love the Affinity Spotlight that Serif has started up and Monez was spotlighted here: https://affinityspotlight.com/article/making-a-monster-with-monez/ Maybe if he is reading this thread he can chime in on his thoughts. I am sure he uses much more hardware than just an iPad Pro, that he does not exclusively do all of his work on the iPad, but it really does show how capable the iPad Pro can be. Here is an example of Monez using Adobe Draw on iPad Pro to create the characters for a Mural Project. http://www.monez.net/mural-project-paradise-1 Serif, please release Affinity Designer for iPad Pro so he can use that instead!!!
  20. No, I agree with you about the inherent advantages of a desktop, but for many younger people their phone is their computer. They spend more time consuming media, surfing the internet and their phones are in a lot of cases their only camera, the only thing they have to shoot video, etc. I know many that when they are faced with moving on to something with a little more oomph, or complementing their phone, they are looking at the iPad. For what now, $299 (at Best Buy, in the US) for the latest 9.7 inch Apple iPad. You go to Apple's refurbished section on their website and you can pick up an Apple Pencil for $85. OWC or elsewhere you can pick up that smaller Apple Bluetooth keyboard for $35 or less. Throw in $40 for Affinity Designer and Photo. Procreate is $10. LumaFusion is $20, Ferrite Recording Studio is $20, Stratospherix FileBrowser is $6, Yoink is $3. $99 for the software, and with that you get an image editor, a vector drawing app, a painting app, a video editor, a sound editor, and a file system that makes things more manageable. And that $99 can sometimes be negotiable as those companies have sales from time to time. If you were to buy a laptop or desktop and got comparable software wouldn't it be significantly more than $99? That comes out to $518 in all for the hardware and software. Yeah, throw in a case and the assorted odd and end and you are maybe up to $600. For many people I know, younger people I know, the iPad is more compelling. There are even a lot of older people that I have seen the past couple years that are ditching their laptops because they can do everything they want with 'just' an iPad. My mom being one of them. I know there are many on this forum that question Serif's decision to make an iPad version of Photo and Designer, but to me it is brilliant. This can be a nice revenue stream for them because the competition is rather meager and there are so many users looking for quality, high end software on iOS.
  21. Yeah, it is tricky going by reviews. For example, hey, we all love Affinity Photo for iPad, but those that are using it on an iPad Air 2 or last year's iPad without an Apple Pencil? Brutal. I have tried using other bluetooth digital stylus from Adonit to Wacom, etc and they just can't compare to the Apple Pencil. So, yeah, I can read reviews of software on the app store and I have to take it with a grain of salt sometimes because I do no know that person's use case. Do they have a lower spec iPad? Are they trying to use an app that can barely run on their hardware? Do they have their iPad filled to the brim with junk? I know so many people that will literally use up nearly all of their available storage and then wonder why things are so slow or why apps don't work right, etc. I know many people that will trash an app because they just can't figure it out right away, or that it should come easily. I will admit that from time to time I am guilty of this too, being frustrated that I can't figure things out quickly, not trashing the app though. Anyway, just a lot of factors go into my buying an app, the reviews are really a small part of it at the end of the day. For example, in choosing Ferrite Recording Studio, I read many bad reviews from people that are used to perhaps old ways of doing things. The idea of using a touch based input device and the Apple Pencil in editing just really chaffed some people the wrong way and they ended up with a negative review. Me? I like that it was different, the whole experience of the iPad for me is hoping app developers think outside the box and work to the strengths of the device, of the OS. I see Apple just moving forward with the iPad, making it better and better. And I think actually the success of the A-series chips and the power of the iPad convinced Apple to decide to move from Intel chips and develop their own desktop chips for laptops and desktops.
  22. I do agree that the 12.9 inch iPad Pro is the way to go if you do indeed want to go that route. I had the first gen 9.7 inch iPad Pro and the screen was just too small for me, it made such a big difference when I upgraded. I usually keep my iPad for 18 months to 2 years and then sell it to Gazelle or Usell and then take that money and put it towards the new iPad, to subsidize it if you will. That is the crazy thing about Apple hardware the resell value is incredible as long as you take good care of it. That first iPad that I bought way back when, the first model, I paid full price for that, but the 3 iPads that I have gotten since have been way less. My current 12.9 iPad Pro I bought for $700 on Ebay through a respected seller and I got $225 from Gazelle for my old 9.7 inch iPad Pro, so $700-$225 = $475. That is how I do it every couple years, sell the old one and use it to buy the new one. I have always loved the iPad from day one. The portability, the versatility to be used in a number of ways. There simply is no better way for me to read my comic books than on my 12.9 inch iPad Pro. Or to read books. And now the software is finally coming. Affinity Photo, soon Affinity Designer, Procreate, Clip Studio Paint. Want to do Video Editing, Lumatouch's LumaFusion is pretty awesome. Sound Editing? Wooji Juice's Ferrite Recording Studio is sweet. Want to do some ZBrush type of work on the go? Try Forger. I think many of the complaints of a file system or issues with workflow are sort of moot if you know what apps to get/use. Stratospherix File Browser and/or Readdle's Documents along with a nifty clipboard app like Yoink are a pretty good solution. I don't really use Apple's Files app. I do think that the younger generation CAN use the iPad Pro as a replacement for a PC. Us old farts want to hang on to our desktops probably because it is so deeply ingrained. Anyway, I always recommend people don't waste their time getting the Cellular iPad Pro models, why pay more for that? When I am not in range of wifi when I am out and about, I just use my phone as a hotspot for the iPad Pro to connect to, works fine, just didn't see the need to pay for another plan for my iPad. Also, yeah, more storage is nice but 64 GB is very doable if you are smart with how you work, Stratosherix File Browser allows me to access hard drives on my Mac Pro and Ryzen PC, as well as a NAS, and my various cloud services, Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, etc. In terms of a keyboard, it really isn't that necessary to buy the smart keyboard. I have a Logitech, an Anker mini Bluetooth keyboard and an older Apple Bluetooth keyboard (that was used previously with an iMac) that all work with my iPad Pro.
  23. This past year I got a PC, a Ryzen 7 1700x. I think in today's marketplace it makes more sense to buy a prebuilt computer from somebody, whether it is CyberPower, iBuyPower, Origin PC, NZXT's build service, etc. If you try and build yourself you are not getting the lower prices that those companies can get for parts. RAM, Graphics cards, etc can be very pricey when you are trying to build your own PC. Those companies I mentioned also have sales and specials frequently throughout the year. Also, don't forget about AMD and their Ryzen chips, I find that they are the best bang for your buck. The PC that I bought would have cost me easily $2,000 if I were to buy the parts and build it myself, because I would have paid much more for the RAM, the graphics card, etc. I saved $700 by going the prebuilt route. The only thing that I ended up buying and installing myself was a Noctua Air Cooler and a Samsung 960 NVME M.2 drive because I WAS able to get a better deal on those shopping for them myself. There is no reason why a PC you buy/build today can't last you 5 years, so I would try and get/assemble the best your budget allows. It may seem like overkill to have a beefy powerful system today when you are learning but 3 years from now when you are more experienced that powerful hardware will come in handy. You don't want to be in a situation where 2 or 3 years from now your PC isn't able to keep up with you and you are looking to buy/build again.
  24. I bought the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 and it works very well for me. There is a similar XP-Pen model that has a stand but is more expensive and I did not care for the pen. You had to charge it up. The Artist 15.6 has a passive pen design, so no charging to worry about and I already had a stand that I use for my 12.9 iPad Pro. What I love about the Artist 15.6 is that it has a matte screen protector already applied, the pen does not need charging, and the cables have been streamlined. I hook up a single USB type C to the 15.6 display and then on the other end I plug the HDMI connector to my computer and one of the two USB connectors as well. I did not have to use the second USB connector or plug it into the wall adapter. My computer gives it enough juice to work with over just the one USB connection. At this price point, yeah, there is some parallax that you have to get used to but it really is not that bad. It becomes a non issue pretty quickly. Some might complain that the pen has no eraser but that to me has always been a pet peeve of mind. I have owned Wacoms in the past but never used the eraser on their pens. Why you say? Because why would I want to flip the pen in my hand and use a big, fat stub to erase with? That to me is like using my finger to erase with, makes no sense. With my XP-Pen stylus I have a button on the pen set up so that I click it and it switches to the eraser and I can actually see what I am erasing clearly using the same fine tip. Never understood the attraction of mimicking that analog equivalent of the eraser on our digital pens. Sorry for the rant. Anyway, I bought mine for $359. Highly recommended.
  25. I think you never go wrong when you get the best computer you can afford with the most cores. For example, my old reliable Mac Pro from 2008 was an 8 core, 8 thread machine and it lasted me 10 years. This past year I got a Ryzen 7 1700x, 8 core/16 thread CPU and it overclocks to 4 GHz. To me it was too good to pass up. I am not afraid to roll up my sleeves and put Mac OS on it as some point but for now I use it with Windows and it will easily last me 10 years too. You can't just think of how Serif uses all of those cores but how everything does. Games, other apps, the OS, they are all using more cores now. With AMD bringing 8 core CPUs to the masses for a reasonable price, it forced Intel to respond and they will soon do the same. I think 8 core CPUs will be the new standard very shortly. Best to future proof your computer by getting the most cores you can. You may not think you need it now (8 cores) but two years from now you will be glad you did.