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Everything posted by Scungio

  1. When I go to the Color Picker Tool, there is no lower triangle indicator showing that there is a sub menu/flyout with the Style Picker Tool as I see on the desktop version. With the Knife tool, I can't get the Scissor functionality where you hover over an edge, see the Scissor icon and then can click to make a split. Anybody else having the same issues? Or am I missing something in how to get them to work or function right?
  2. Well, the issue I have with the current trash/delete icon being at the top right when deleting nodes, is that it isn't accessible when one is holding the iPad and working with it in portrait mode if you will. I was swiping, trying to find something to allow the right most icons, specifically the trash/delete icon to come into view and did not have any luck. I would love if it were relocated back to the old spot or even below the question icon on the right side.
  3. Whether you are browsing on a phone or tablet or desktop computer the intro to Universal License is there and it clearly states that you can get the ENTIRE Affinity suite on all your devices, across macOS, Windows and iPadOS. If the argument is that a phone is a device, sure, but does it run macOS, Windows or iPadOS? Of course not, if you have an iPhone it runs iOS. An Android phone does not run any of the platforms stated either. Now, yes, I did check the link on my iPhone and the checkboxes don't show in that section, for whatever reason, sometimes you have websites that will present differently depending on devices viewing it, but still the Introducing the Universal License section is there, is clear and should put an end to this discussion.
  4. What are you talking about? I clicked the link you provided and once you scroll down you see the platform options with the check boxes. Also, iPadOS is clearly shown to be one of the platforms, not iOS. You clearly seem to be trolling, maybe you should go use Adobe software, surely they have all of their software running on phones? Honestly for as long as we have waited for version 2 to arrive it is annoying to have people complain as much as they have these past two days. Serif could have offered an upgrade price of $10 and there still would be some people up in arms, pitchforks raised, ready to burn the place down.
  5. Yeah, don't understand the gripes about pricing. I own the Mac, Windows and iPad versions of Designer and Photo and with Publisher I only had the Mac version of it. I was thinking before November 9th, wow, that is 7 installers in all for the apps that I have and did not look forward to how much that would all cost to upgrade. Then I wake up on November 9th, check for news, and see the pricing. Universal License for $99.99 that gives me 9 installers, each app for each platform? Sold!!! How is that not the ultimate upgrade price? I bought Designer version 1, when it was on sale, so the Mac, Windows desktops apps cost me something like $35-40 a piece and I bought the iPad app for $15. You add those 3 purchases and the price comes out to $90-95. With this Universal License I am able to get that upgrade cost to version 2 of Designer down to $33. With Photo down to $33. With Publisher down to $33. Version 1 of the Affinity line that I had cost me something like $230, but now with this Universal License I have version 2 for $100. And it gave me two things that I did not have, Publisher for Windows and Publisher for iPad. I guess for some people they can't see the forest for the trees. This Universal License is one of the best deals I have ever seen, it is almost like I have to pinch myself, still in disbelief.
  6. No, they do not. Version 1 of Designer does not have these 3D features. I will also add that Adobe for years early on (mid-90s) had a separate 3D program called Adobe Dimensions. If I remember right it got up to version 4 but had lackluster sales and then Adobe folded these 3D features into Illustrator. Similarly, Adobe had another program Adobe Streamline that did bitmap tracing to vectors and it got up to version 4. They also discontinued this program and folded it into Illustrator. It is quite a luxury for Adobe to be able to develop these programs and then be able to pick the best bits and merge them into Illustrator. I think we Affinity users have to appreciate that it is not an easy ask to expect Designer to get 3D features or vector tracing/conversion with a snap of the fingers.
  7. Just a little update to my earlier post about the new M1 chips. Turns out Apple doubled the memory bandwidth of the original M1 chip, going from 128-bit to 256-bit in the M1 Pro chip with 16 or 32 GB of RAM. And then they doubled that to 512-bit for the M1 Max chip with 32 or 64 GB of RAM. They also went to faster DDR5 RAM. And remember these are really, mid level chips, laptop chips, iMac and Mac Mini chips with lower power draw around 35-45 Watt TDP. What are truly professional Apple Silicon chips going to be like when Apple gives them a 65-100 watt TDP like Ryzen or Intel? Apple doing their own custom silicon is bringing competition and influencing the chip industry. Having chips that consume less power and that are more efficient is good for all of us and the environment. I still laugh at how long I used a 2006 Intel Xeon Mac Pro as a media server and then finally replaced it with a custom built Ryzen 5 server. The laughter on my part was the noticeable drop in my electric bill!
  8. I bought heavily into Ryzen and have a Ryzen PC, Ryzen Laptop and a Ryzen Server. But I am also a long time Mac User and love Apple Silicon and have M1 powered iPad Pro, Mac Mini and the MacBook Air. The M1 MacBook Air is the best laptop I have ever owned. Just the base configuration, 8 GB of RAM, 256 GB SSD, and it has one less GPU core, got it for $800. A definite steal at that price point and it is amazing how it punches above its weight. No fan, stays cool even when I stress it, battery life is insane. I think one thing people need to reassess is specs and what is truly needed. I have 32 GB in my Ryzen PC, 3200 DDR4 RAM but the memory bandwidth and speeds are really pokey compared to my MacBook Air. This unified memory that Apple is pushing, there may be some truth that 8 GB may be equivalent to 16 GB in Windows, that 16 GB might be closer to 32 GB in Windows. The M1, is using 128 bit memory bandwidth and 4200 DDR4X RAM? It appears that they want to take the memory bandwidth and ram specs of Graphics cards and bring it to the whole system, not just the GPU. These new Apple Silicon chips may have 256 Bit memory bandwidth, or 320, 384? And may be using DDR5 RAM? DDR6 RAM? Or something similar? That Unified Memory is accessed by all components, big fat pipes for everyone, GPU, CPU, Neural Engine, etc. I get real excited by Apple and their chips because they, to me, are really being innovative and pushing boundaries. As much as I like tinkering and building systems, I also sometimes just want something that is fast and is pain free with no maintenance.
  9. Just a hobbyist animator here but Moho Pro recently, the past year, had the original creator gain back control of the software and put out an update to it. It is now at version 13.5. They have Debut and Pro versions, that cost money, $60 and $400 respectively but those are one time purchases and the upgrades are reasonable. They often times have sales and you will not find a better forum/community in helping you to get up to speed with the software. I have had success working in Designer and exporting out via SVG and then importing those SVGs into Moho to rig and animate. Spine 2D is what?, $299 but I am amazed at videos I have seen where artists are working in Affinity Designer to create a character and then exporting out by use of JSON, and then are able to rig and animate and with the continuous export of Designer, can make a change in Designer and it updates in Spine in realtime, very cool. Opentoonz is a free option and more specifically, Tahoma 2D, which is a fork of Opentoonz and has a more polished UI and some additional features. It is free as well. I really do think that both Moho and Tahoma would be geared toward more independent freelancers. I don't know, to me, even a program like Moho Pro is very affordable because it isn't like something like say a Toon Boom Harmony where you could pay what, $2,000 for a perpetual license. But then you have to have a $300 support contract if you want to still get updates to it past that first year. That adds up quickly over say 10 years and could cost you $5000. But you buy Moho Pro initially at $400 and then say pay for another two upgrades in 10 years time and maybe you only end up paying $750 over a ten year period for Moho Pro? That ends up being an average of just $75 a year to have Moho Pro for that 10 year period. That to me is a great deal, but your mileage may vary of course.
  10. Yeah, I jumped at the chance to buy VectorStyler for $75 on the App Store when I saw it was available. In a very real sense I view it as an Astute Graphics type of plugin for Designer. Yes, I know it is not a plugin but a companion app but right now it is offering very worthwhile options for me that Designer lacks. The workflow is trivial in terms of getting stuff into Designer from VS. So, what would I use VectorStyler for you ask? Well what if I wanted to do a blend between a Square Star and a square over say 30 steps? And in that same blend I wanted the stroke of the square star to morph into the stroke of the square? AND I wanted the fill of the square star to blend into the fill of the square? AND I wanted the stroke color of the square star to blend into the stroke color of the square? AND I want to twist, curve the blend to make a sort of limb, tentacle, horn type of object? Something like this: That is VectorStyler on the left and Designer on the right. I copy from VS and paste into Designer. In VS I can select that central line, that spine of the blend and shape it and I can shape both starting shapes to quickly get all kind of interesting objects. What if you wanted to blend two lines together to make sort of the basis of a flag, or fabric or a landscape, etc. In VS I can whip together a blend of two lines and copy and paste it into Designer in less than 10 seconds. Like this: VectorStyler for me, is like my go to Astute Graphics plugin for Designer that lets me do flashier stuff that Designer is not capable of right now. I also use Lost Minds Vectoraster and Patternodes for similar reasons.
  11. One thing to be aware of is that many of the brush packs, add ons that are on sale in the Serif store are really just the tip of the iceberg of what is available for the Affinity apps. For example, the Neptune brush pack by Frankentoon, he has something like 24 more products over on his site https://frankentoonstudio.com. Brush packs, texture packs, macros, and free lessons and videos of him using his products. Retro Supply Co https://www.retrosupply.co/collections/affinity for years made their brushes/textures/add ons for Adobe but now many of their releases are made to use with Affinity. Design Cuts https://www.designcuts.com/product-category/affinity/ has many products for the Affinity apps. Trailhead Design Co brushes and packs being some of my favorites. The above mentioned people have some free samples that you can find and install to get a feel of what they are offering. It is of course hard to recommend specifically what is good because everyone is different in their tastes/styles, etc. Not to offend anyone but one of my pet peeves is when I hear the complaints of how come this Photoshop brush doesn't work in Affinity, etc. I left Adobe but I don't expect Serif to magically make it possible to import with perfection Photoshop brushes. The solution is to get 3rd party artists/creators to develop brushes, textures, add ons, plugins FOR Affinity. To make the best possible brushes and packs for Affinity that takes advantage of the features of the Affinity line. Now some might balk at some of the prices but they all have sales and offer bundles and quality products shouldn't be cheap. Just know that the 3rd party community developing brushes and add ons is getting better every day. I would love to see Serif develop a native plugin API for the Affinity line. Yes, you can use some Photoshop plugins but it is really hit or miss, not really a first class experience, don't we deserve better? If they (Serif) build that native API I think the plugin developers would respond in kind. Or maybe I am delusional, hard to say, but speaking personally I have spent probably 2-3 times as much money for 3rd party brushes/packs than I did for the Affinity apps. I don't think that is unusual. I would love to have a plugin for Designer that allows for a more seamless export to the animation app Moho. Right now I have to go through a tedious workaround with SVG and faux registrations, that works but maybe a native Affinity API could allow a plugin that makes it painless and fun to do so? Aw, well, sorry to get sidetracked, fun to daydream sometimes.
  12. Enrique (Frankentoon) has a video tutorial on his site that is well worth going over to learn about how to use creative layer effects and such with text. /https://frankentoonstudio.com/design-school/creating-realistic-textures-using-a-single-image/ It may not be specifically what you are after in terms of getting an ink bleed, but it may give you some clues on what you could use, get you familiar with how Affinity does things that may be different. Olivio Sarikas also has quite a few tutorials on text, using displacement, etc. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svaIoTqIWdU Iamrensi also has a nice text tutorial here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQf97tJkXJQ There are so many people now producing great tutorials/videos on youtube specifically about the Affinity apps, seek them out, they are not hard to find.
  13. I am just beginning to explore the macros you can set up in StreamDeck too. For example, in that one button I have called Flatten, which is next to the Pencil/Vector Brush button, that was my solution to create a workaround for a Blob Brush. I use the Vector Brush to quickly fill in shapes/areas and then I select all of those curves and hit the Flatten button. That is a macro that performs an Expand Stroke, then a Boolean Add and then chooses the Node Tool. With the Node Tool I then will use Smooth command on it and then will further delete points here and there. What is cool about getting into the StreamDeck realm is that you can choose to go with their Stream Deck Mobile. You can use your phone or if you have an extra phone, or a tablet, iOS or Android, it allows you to use that device in place of a physical StreamDeck product. It is limited to 15 buttons and you have to pay a monthly/yearly sub, $3 a month, or $25 a year. This is the route I went originally, tried the trial and then set up an 8 inch Android tablet I had lying around. Loved the experience but as I said earlier, either go big or go home, I wondered what 32 buttons would be like. So, I managed to get a good deal on the StreamDeck XL and it is one of the best purchases I ever made. That StreamDeck Mobile option though is a very good deal and ends up being one tenth the price of the XL, and how many of us have a drawer filled with old phones, tablets, etc?
  14. I have been using StreamDeck with Affinity Designer and Photo and will eventually get Publisher in on the fun too. To me the only way to go with the StreamDeck is to go big if you will, make it personal, develop your own shortcuts, icons, etc, don't rely on others to come up with a solution because it will always come up short in the end. On the Mac, I went into the package contents of Designer and copied the icons that the app uses, then created these rounded squares with said icons and text and use these in SteamDeck. I have the XL version, the one with 32 buttons. You are not limited to just 32 buttons, as you can make a folder that when clicked will take you to another screen with 32 buttons. I have 10 screens set up this way, and there is overlap, some tools and commands will repeat and I have color coded some tools, commands and try and position some of these so that they stay consistent, to help with the muscle memory, etc. Anyway, here is a screenshot of me setting up the shortcuts/icons in Designer: It goes by pretty fast once you get the hang of it. StreamDeck allows you to save the shortcuts you set up, export, import, etc. for each app. I am finding that it is important to not think too much at first when setting this up, just get something done and then do iterations of it as you learn what works or doesn't in actual use. I got the StreamDeck XL because I am lazy and don't really want to learn/remember shortcuts for half a dozen apps or more. I also don't feel like contorting my fingers to reach multiple keys on a regular keyboard either. Here is a quick photo, a closeup of the buttons on the StreamDeck.
  15. Well, here is what I have been thinking lately about some of the major missing features in the Affinity line. Since Serif is getting very close to the next version 2.0 release of the entire line, isn't it understandable that those missing features will probably debut in the 2.0 upgrades? I have Mac, Win and iOS versions of the apps and will be happy to buy the version 2.0s if those features are available. But if they aren't? Then Serif is going to have a hard time convincing their users to upgrade to version 2.0 of Designer aren't they?? They have to know this, if some sort of bitmap to vector conversion feature is available, if some sort of vector distortion/envelope feature is available, etc, then that will greatly boost sales for a 2.0 of Designer. That is my hope anyway.
  16. I think a Blob Brush has its place in the program but I got tired of waiting so I rolled my own version using the tools in Designer. Here is how I did it. You use the Vector Brush. I don't necessarily want to use a Blob brush just to fill in areas to color but to create shapes that are more organic, more freehand, less pristine and sterile. So I use the Vector Brush, create my shape and then I have a MultiAction set up with my Stream Deck XL. This is a 32 button separate input/display that I have set up with Designer and Photo I press the key that I have set up as 'Blob', and it takes the shape (Curves) I have selected, performs an Expand Stroke, then an Add, and then selects the Pen Tool. Then I have to perform a Smooth command on it from that point myself as that is not accessible with a keyboard shortcut. At that point I then typically will use the Pencil tool with the Sculpt option to carve and trim away portions of that shape. The shapes that I can create in this manner with my 'Blob Brush' have a personality and charm that are distinctly different from me just using the Pen Tool. Like I said it has a purpose, just another arrow in the quiver to be used when the time is right. If I have time Sunday, maybe I will post a video showing this Blob Brush of mine in action.
  17. I have been developing a workflow that makes the Vector Brush behave like Ilustrator's Blob Brush. I use Stream Deck Mobile on an 8 inch Android Tablet for my shortcuts. I wanted to create a tool similar to the Blob Brush to quickly color in a more freeform way. Basically, I use the Vector Brush to fill in areas, then select the area I colored, expand stroke, Geometry>Add, then Smooth to reduce the node count. It works pretty well, then I am able to use the Pencil Tool with Sculpt mode on and use that as an Eraser to trim away any excess or where I went outside the lines, etc. Now I would love to be able to set up a macro to take care of that Expand/Add/Smooth steps. My Stream Deck app has the ability to set up a sequence of actions, a macro, and bind it to a button. Anyway, there are so many things that I wish we had access to in terms of setting up a keyboard shortcut, which I then would be able to set up with my Stream Deck app. Like the Node Tool, or the Pen Tool, we have access to Break Curve, Join Curve but why not Smooth Curve? Why can't we be able to have access to Sharp and Smooth to covert nodes?? The Isometric Studio, I would love to be able to assign keyboard shortcuts to speed up the process for that too. I am still only one week into perfecting/setting up the Stream Deck to use with the Affinity Apps. Here is an early go at trying to figure out what to include, and nothing is definite yet. You can have a button be a folder which will open another screen with 15 buttons, so you are not limited to just 15 buttons. Also, I am using the XP Pen 22R display tablet which has 2 Dial Wheels and 20 buttons, so that has given me plenty of options between the two. I really, really don't like using the keyboard, don't like having to contort my hand and fingers to reach keys, or remember the keys themselves. I like the visuals, the icons of what I am setting up and for me it will be easier to work that way, using the keyboard as little as possible. Anyway, again, please Serif, more access to commands, actions, etc for keyboard shortcuts. -Mark
  18. Just a note on the XP Pen 15.6 Pro, it is currently selling for $320 on eBay by various vendors. $320 is just an incredible price for what you are getting. I am not an XP Pen employee just a really satisfied customer. It is a great time to be an artist and in need of a tablet or display tablet, just so many options and companies to turn to besides Wacom.
  19. I have the large 12.9 inch iPad Pro second gen and the first gen Apple Pencil. I also have the iPad 2018, 9.7 inch model. To me I love it as much or more than the various Wacom products I have had over the years. The apps have started to come to iOS. You have the Affinity products of course, but also Procreate and Clip Studio Paint. There are those that hate iOS file management, and supposedly there are big things in store for iOS 13 but really, I have been getting along fine with Sratospherix FileBrowser as my Mac OS Finder replacement or iOS. Readdle's Documents is another worthy Finder replacement for iOS. I am not a big fan of the second gen Apple Pencil. Yes, it appears better in most regards but fails me in customization. With the first one I can use an assortment of custom pencil grips. I have always preferred grips with pens and pencils. I am partial to this UK company named Ego that makes Apple Pencil grips. But now with the double tap functionality of the Apple Pencil 2 how do I do that if I have a pencil grip? How do I charge it with a pencil grip on it?? I am in the minority on this I know but I will really miss my first gen Apple Pencil when I upgrade to a new iPad Pro in a year or two. It will be interesting for Mac users how Apple's Sidecar works out and develops. Could an iPad Pro be a replacement for a Ciniq? Could Apple make even larger iPad Pros?? Who knows? It is important I think to not try and shoehorn everything into one device or expect one device to be great at everything. There is a reason why I have a Mac Pro and a Ryzen PC, why I have a laptop and iPads, why I have a Wacom Intuos Pro medium sized tablet and an XP Pen 15.6 Pro. I like to change things up and sometimes things work better in certain situations. Pick the right tool for the job at hand. For example, say you want to do a pattern, a repeating pattern, have it be a vector. Yeah, some may go into Illustrator to do that, some might even do it in Affinity Designer and use symbols as a workaround to get it done. Me? I first turn to Lost Minds Patternnodes 2. It is this parametric, node based app that gives you so many options and possibilities. You can even do animations with it. Anyway, you could develop this repeating pattern, really complex and then export it out to use in Designer. But this app is only on Mac OS, so I would use the Mac Pro for that. As I have gotten older I have tried to become platform agnostic, and not tie my wagon to any one OS but at the same time I try and take advantage of each OS and what it has to offer.
  20. I was really torn this year when buying a new display tablet. Wacom has started to make more affordable Cintiq models by stripping out some features from their pro lines. I am opposite of SrPx, I prefer smaller displays, wanted something along the lines of a 16 inch display. I like being able to be more portable and take it along with my laptop when the need arises. So, I look at the Wacom 16, not the Wacom 16 Pro, and really I was not that thrilled with what they were offering. A 1920 x 1080 resolution display with 96% sRGB/72% NTSC, 3-in1 cable setup, it comes with retractable legs to give you, what, 20 degree working angle, and no express keys. You would have to pay extra to get the Wacom Remote to get the express keys. That would bring the price to $750 (Wacom 16 $650, Wacom Remote $100). I then looked at the XP Pen 15.6 Pro. It offers the same 1920 x1080 display but has 120% sRGB/88% NTSC coverage, has the same 8192 levels of pressure, comes with a cheap, but functional stand that gives you the same working angle, 19 degrees? It differs from the Wacom 16 in that it has 8 express keys and a Red dial, scroll ring. It comes with the same 3-in-1 cable type of setup. Pen does not have to be charged. The laminated display of this XP Pen 15.6 Pro really does improve parallax greatly and I think eventually they will update their 22 line with laminated displays as well. The cost of the XP Pen 15.6 pro was $400. Did I want to spend $750 or $400? No matter which one I chose, I was going to calibrate the display with my SpyderPro. And a better stand would need to be purchased regardless of which one was chosen too. The one clear advantage that Wacom has is the pen and software/drivers. But is that advantage really so great to be worth the extra $350?? In my mind, no, I think XP Pen is close enough with their pens and drivers. Wacom has decades of experience, I think they were founded some 35 years ago? And XP pen was founded in 2005? Yeah, Wacom has way more experience and development time in this field but I do think XP Pen has made a lot of progress lately. I think XP Pen and their drivers are second to Wacom, I think Huion and the other companies are not quite as mature and lacking in their drivers and support. Just my opinion of course. Anyway, I bought the XP Pen 15.6 Pro and it has been a fabulous experience. My favorite 'feature' is that I don't even have to use all of the 3-in1 cable. I plug in the HDMI connector and one of the USB connectors and the remaining USB connector goes unused. On both my Ryzen PC and my Ryzen laptop, they both provide enough power to run the display. I don't have to use that last USB connector to plug into a wall outlet. So I am able to go out and about and use the 15.6 display with my laptop and not be worried about being tethered to an additional power source, wall outlet, etc. If I remember right I got something like 220 nits of brightness when measuring the 15.6 Pro, I believe the Wacom 16 is 250 nits? But the color gamut of the Wacom is worse and I think the XP Pen has the better display. Now if I considered the Wacom 16 Pro, that has the same form factor as the 16 but more of the high end features that you associate with the Pro line. 4K display, etc. But a jump in price to $1,500? But it still doesn't include any express keys and you still would have to buy the Wacom Remote, so the total cost would be $1,600??? And is the display really better in terms of color gamut? Better than the XP Pen 15.6?? And then I have seen really bad reviews of the early buyers of the Cintiq 16 Pro, seems Wacom did have quality control issues with the first year of this model. So, I ponder to myself, $400 for the XP Pen 15.6 Pro or $1,600 for the Wacom 16 Pro? What could I do with the $1,200 difference between the two?? Well, I could buy an Nvidia 2080 Ti for that much money. With so many programs now using CUDA or OpenCL, using both the CPU and GPU, my time in Blender or Resolve would be much, much nicer with that 2080 Ti card. I am happy with my choice of the XP Pen, for now, but even if I had the budget of $1,600 say, I would still choose the XP Pen. One last thing, it was mentioned earlier about taking into account your desk and the space you have. I can't stress this enough, having a quality desk seems to be way down the list of priorities for artists and if anything it should be right at the top. I had an Anthro computer desk and various accessories and it served me well for 20 years but I decided to upgrade to something different this year. It was a do it yourself project. I bought and assembled my own sit/stand desk. I did not go with an electronic motor but one that has a simple, rock solid manual crank. I went to Home Depot and bought a butcher block counter top, 5 foot, 1.5 inches thick put a couple coats of polyurethane on it. Together the frame and desktop weigh about 100 pounds, it goes from 27 inches to as high as 50 inches. So, I can sit in my ergonomic chair and then change it up, crank the table up and stand and work. I have a nice floor mat that I stand on that has various cushioned structures on it so that you can shift your weight, massage the arches of your feet, etc. With my regular displays mounted on arms, I can push and move them around, and there is just so much space to set up the XP Pen 15.6 Pro, to have my Ryzen laptop on the desk as well, or to have say my iPad Pro set up as well. So often I see Youtube videos where artists are using so little space, I get claustrophobic watching them. It is like a juggler going into a tiny closet and trying to juggle. Yeah, I guess he can adapt and figure out how to do it, but why??
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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!
  25. 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
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