SHODAN: The Evolution of my Battlestation

Now that I recently received my Ikea desk that I ordered more than a month ago (there was a bit of a mix up in the shop’s inventory), I upgraded the setup in terms of desk and chair, and a bit of bling.

All other items, such as the new chair and the LED strip, etc., were all shipped in way before the Ikea desk did, so I had to control my excitement until everything has arrived before I start building anything.

I will post a separate blog on the actual transfer of my PC setup from the old layout and desk to the new layout and desk. For this post, I will just chronicle how this current PC build named SHODAN (yes that is a System Shock reference) way back in 2012 and how it evolved through the years.

Let it be known that I have been building my own PC’s since 1998; each iteration has its evolutionary stage. What do I mean by this? Well, each time I build a new system from scratch with the latest CPU of that generation, I don’t buy all parts immediately. That is, I start with the most important parts: CPU, motherboard, RAM, and if needed, another HDD and other peripherals like monitor/s. I then add the other parts like GPU, possibly another monitor, or other peripherals that is both functional and cool (mechanical keyboards, gaming mouse, etc.). A lot of people deem me to be a rich person… nope. I am just good at saving. And others will say “hey, it’s 2017, why do you have the i7 Ivy Bridge instead of the new Kaby Lakes?”; well, like I said, my builds have an evolutionary stage, and I don’t build completely new systems until an 8 year span or if I feel my current CPU is no longer doing its job. But my current PC is still a beast, so I will keep using this, keep upgrading if need be, until it overall will no longer be able to do the things I want it to do.

And also of note, I have been rocking a dual monitor setup since 2008 and since 2015, I have been using triple monitor setups. So I am more used to systems with multimonitors and feel very limited if I just use one screen even if it were an ultra widescreen monitor.

Anyways, let us see a bunch of photos chronicling SHODAN’s evolution! Join me for a trip down memory lane! From SHODAN’s humble beginnings to what she is today!

2012:

My Workstation (As of 12-22-2012)

My Workstation (As of 12-22-2012)

My Workstation (As of 12-22-2012)

As mentioned above, when I first build new systems, I don’t buy all the necessary parts immediately. So here, I still had my old peripherals and I didn’t even get a GPU, yet.

Specs in 2012:

CPU: Intel i7 3770 3.4GHz
Chassis: Bitfenix Shinobi Windowed Edition
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme 4
RAM: G Skill 2 x 4GB 1600Mhz DDR3
HDD/SSD: Seagate Barracuda 500Gb/Plextor M5 Pro 128Gb
PSU: Corsair GS700
GPU: None
Cooling: 23″ LG IPS234V and 17″ HP f1703 monitors; DeepCool IceBlade Pro CPU Heatsink with 2 120mm DeepCool 120mm IceBlade Pro fans on push/pull config; 3 x DeepCool XFan Blue LED 120mm  fans for rear and top exhausts; 2 x DeepCool XFan Blue LED 120mm for front intakes
Peripherals:  : E-blue Cobra (Got this for free… I don’t even recognize the brand LOL); A4Tech KD-800L (Cheapo keybaord but has LEDs LOL); (A cheapo) Ozaki 2.2 Dual Bass speaker system; Phillips SHP3000 Headphones
Misc: Roccat Taito Midsize Mousepad; NZXT Blue LED Kit; Razer Mouse Bungee

2013:

My Workstation as of 8-11-2013

My Workstation as of 8-11-2013

By this point, I waited for the new Nvidia cards to come out and snatched me one; here I have added the GTX 660ti and I upgraded my keyboard to a mechanical keyboard, the Ducky DK9008 Shine II Cherry MX Blue Mechanical Keyboard… and still use that keyboard to this day as I am typing this blog. I also added a NAS for filebackups and whatnot and a 3.5 multi card reader for transferring phots/videos since I am into photography and videography, too.

Specs in 2013:

CPU: Intel i7 3770 3.4GHz
Chassis: Bitfenix Shinobi Windowed Edition
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme 4
RAM: G Skill 2 x 4GB 1600Mhz DDR3
HDD/SSD: Seagate Barracuda 500Gb/Plextor M5 Pro 128Gb
PSU: Corsair GS700
GPU: Gainward Nvidia GTX 660Ti
Cooling: DeepCool IceBlade Pro CPU Heatsink with 2 120mm DeepCool 120mm IceBlade Pro fans on push/pull config; 3 x DeepCool XFan Blue LED 120mm  fans for rear and top exhausts; DeepCool XFan Blue LED 120mm fans for front intakes
Peripherals: 23″ LG IPS234V and 17″ HP f1703 monitors; E-blue Cobra (Got this for free… I don’t even recognize the brand LOL); Ducky DK9008 Shine II Cherry MX Blue Mechanical Keyboard; (A cheapo) Ozaki 2.2 Dual Bass speaker system; Phillips SHP3000 Headphones
Misc: Roccat Taito Midsize Mousepad; NZXT Blue LED Kit; Razer Mouse Bungee
NAS: D-Link DNS-320L

2014:

My Workstation as of February 2014

Upgraded my monitors to 2 Dell 23″ S2340L IPS monitors, added the Razer. As you can see, I have been using an awful, AWFUL, chair back then…

The mouse by the way, as with most Razer products back then, are USUALLY green, I said usually, cos they did have blue LED products, but for the DeathAdder 2013, they didn’t have a blue LED one I can find. Of course, this is all but a blip in history now as they have the Chroma series that is basically RGB. Anyways, I modded my DeathAdder 2013 by changing the green LED with blue ones… destroying my warranty, but hey, that is what we setup addicts would do to make the theme match.

Specs in 2014:

CPU: Intel i7 3770 3.4GHz
Chassis: Bitfenix Shinobi Windowed Edition
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme 4
RAM: G Skill 2 x 4GB 1600Mhz DDR3
HDD/SSD: Seagate Barracuda 500Gb/Plextor M5 Pro 128Gb
PSU: Corsair GS700
GPU: Gainward Nvidia GTX 660Ti
Cooling: DeepCool IceBlade Pro CPU Heatsink with 2 120mm DeepCool 120mm IceBlade Pro fans on push/pull config; 3 x DeepCool XFan Blue LED 120mm  fans for rear and top exhausts; 2 x DeepCool XFan Blue LED 120mm fans for front intakes
Peripherals: 2x Dell 23″ S2340L IPS Monitors; Razer DeathAdder 2013; Ducky DK9008 Shine II Cherry MX Blue Mechanical Keyboard; (A cheapo) Ozaki 2.2 Dual Bass speaker system; Phillips SHP3000 Headphones; A4Tech HD1080p Webcam
Misc: Roccat Taito Midsize Mousepad; NZXT Blue LED Kit; Razer Mouse Bungee
NAS: D-Link DNS-320L

2015:

My Workstation as of August 22, 2015

My Workstation as of August 22, 2015

Here, I upgraded my GPU to the VTX3D ATI Radeon R9 390. This can handle triple monitor gaming for the most part so I added a 3rd Dell 23″ S2340L IPS monitor. I also got a couple of Corsaur SP 120s that I sued on the after market heatsink, as well as an Ipega Bluetooth Gamepad, mainly for my Android phone, but works well with the PC.

Specs in 2014:

CPU: Intel i7 3770 3.4GHz
Chassis: Bitfenix Shinobi Windowed Edition
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme 4
RAM: G Skill 2 x 4GB 1600Mhz DDR3
HDD/SSD: Seagate Barracuda 500Gb/Plextor M5 Pro 128Gb
PSU: Corsair GS700
GPU: VTX3D R9 390 8Gb GDDR5 1000Mhz Core Clock 1500Mhz Memory Clock
Cooling: DeepCool IceBlade Pro CPU Heatsink with 2 Corsair SP120 fans on push/pull config; 3 x DeepCool Ice Blade Pro LED 120mm fans for rear and top exhausts; 2 x DeepCool XFan Blue LED 120mm fans for front intakes; 1 x DeepCool Ice Blade Pro LED 120mm for bottom intake
Peripherals: 3x Dell 23″ S2340L IPS Monitors; Razer DeathAdder 2013; Ducky DK9008 Shine II Cherry MX Blue Mechanical Keyboard; (A cheapo) Ozaki 2.2 Dual Bass speaker system; Phillips SHP3000 Headphones; iPega Bluetooth Controller (Mainly for my Android phone, but works well with the PC)
Misc: Roccat Taito Midsize Mousepad; NZXT Blue LED Kit; Razer Mouse Bungee; Buffalo Bluetooth 4.0 Dongle
NAS: D-Link DNS-320L

2016:

Workstation as of 02-09-2016

Shameless Workstation Glamour Shot

Finally added a better chair, this is racing inspired but as you can see, there is no way for this to recline. I also added an extended mouse pad, a cheap clip on/lav mic, and a cheapo webcam and a printer at this point. Oh I nearly forgot, I also upgraded my mouse into the Logitech G600 MMO Gaming mouse – works well for all games not just MMOs. This also marks the beginning of my fanboyism to Logitech. Also added an extra 2 sticks of 4GB RAM totaling 16GB good for photography and video editing.

Vidya Gaemz

A later little on, after I passed my medical licensure examination and became a licensed physician, I was able to land a job early and get to save enough to get a new a case, added 3 more Logitech products: Logitech G13 advanced gaming pad, G430 7.1 Headset, and F310 gaming pad. Told you I was a fanboy. Oh hey, I have a Megaman E Mug, too.

Specs in 2016:

CPU: Intel i7 3770 3.4GHz
Chassis: Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme 4
RAM: G Skill 4 x 4GB 1600Mhz DDR3
HDD/SSD: Seagate Barracuda 500Gb/Plextor M5 Pro 128Gb
PSU: Corsair GS700
GPU: VTX3D R9 390 8Gb GDDR5 1000Mhz Core Clock 1500Mhz Memory Clock
Cooling: DeepCool IceBlade Pro CPU Heatsink with 2 120mm Corsair SP 120 fans on push/pull config; 3 x DeepCool 120mm IceBlade Pro fans for top exhausts; 2 x Phanteks 140mm front intakes; 1 x Phanteks 140mm rear exhaust
Peripherals: 3 x Dell S2340L 23″ IPS 1080p Monitors; Ducky DK9008 Shine II Cherry MX Blue Mechanical Keybord; Logitech G13 Advanced Gamepad; Logitech G600 MMO Gaming Mouse; Logitech F310 Gamepad; iPega Bluetooth Controller (Mainly for my Android phone, but works well with the PC); Logitech G430 Headphones; (A cheapo) Ozaki 2.2 Dual Bass speaker system; Brother DCP-J100 Printer with Continuous Ink System
Misc: Tecware Haste XXL Desktmat; NZXT Blue LED Kit; Razer Mouse Bungee; Buffalo Bluetooth 4.0 Dongle
NAS: D-Link DNS-320L

2017:

Workstation as of 01-05-2017

Workstation as of 01-05-2017

Finally, we caught up with the present year. As you can see, I got a new desk, I also got a long awaited LED strips that are USB powered and connected directly to my PC so when it powers on, it powers on the LED strips. I also upgraded the speakers to, guess what, Logitech Z333 2.1 Speakers. I also changed my chair to the Ergodynamic F1 Blue Fauz Leather Gaming chair that reclines.

Specs in 2017:

CPU: Intel i7 3770 3.4GHz
Chassis: Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme 4
RAM: G Skill 4 x 4GB 1600Mhz DDR3
HDD/SSD: Seagate Barracuda 500Gb/Plextor M5 Pro 128Gb
PSU: Corsair GS700
GPU: VTX3D R9 390 8Gb GDDR5 1000Mhz Core Clock 1500Mhz Memory Clock
Cooling: DeepCool IceBlade Pro CPU Heatsink with 2 120mm Corsair SP 120 fans on push/pull config; 3 x DeepCool 120mm IceBlade Pro fans for top exhausts; 2 x Phanteks 140mm front intakes; 1 x Phanteks 140mm rear exhaust
Peripherals: 3 x Dell S2340L 23″ IPS 1080p Monitors; Ducky DK9008 Shine II Cherry MX Blue Mechanical Keybord; Logitech G13 Advanced Gamepad; Logitech G600 MMO Gaming Mouse; Logitech F310 Gamepad; iPega Bluetooth Controller (Mainly for my Android phone, but works well with the PC); Logitech G430 Headphones; Logitech Z333 2.1 Speakers; Brother DCP-J100 Printer with Continuous Ink System; A4Tech HD1080p Webcam
Misc: Tecware Haste XXL Desktmat; NZXT Blue LED Kit; Buffalo Bluetooth 4.0 Dongle; 2M RGB USB Powered LED strip
NAS: D-Link DNS-320L

Now some people will ask why I have a small (that’s what she said) HDD in my system, well, I have a 4TB NAS and another 2x2TB HDDs coming in as well as another 2 bay NAS, so I will have 8TB NAS for most of my files. The 500GB HDD is just for games. the 128GB SSD is for the OS, some games, and the more commonly used programs. I will be adding another 256GB SSD mainly for games later on this year.

Also of note, I used NZXT extended sleeved cables and a couple of custom sleeved SATA Data cables, so if you look inside my PC, you’d see sleeved cables.

So there you have it, a trip down memory lane… thanks for joining in the ride!

Til next time! PEACE!

UPDATE:

Fixed the remaining wires that are bothering me under the desk.

Workstation as of 01-11-2017

Workstation as of 01-11-2017

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Review on the Tecware Haste XXL Mousepad/Mousemat/Deskmat

DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional reviewer; I review the things I buy as a consumer. I am not at all sponsored. I am an average consumer, giving my consumer thoughts.

I have reverted to using my DSLR for taking photos of products for review as I have been getting complaints when I just lazily use my smartphone camera. So, there, better photos coming up!

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It is no surprise to many that I am techie; techie in the sense that I like computers and audio gear – I am not as good when it comes to smartphones; that is to say, I own Android phones, but I need a lot of research before buying and tweaking them. It is not like computers where I know it by heart.

With that out of the way, I know a lot of brands for computer components. From GPUs, RAM, to even those that make custom sleeved cables. I know my stuff… And I am confident about that.

To my surprise, and honestly, my embarrassment, is that I didn’t realize, for all these years, there was a company here in the Philippines that make radiators for water cooling and actually out source them to other countries.

Okay, there are other facilities that are here in the Philippines that make items that are exported, sure, like other countries, but those facilities are owned by big name companies of other countries. So, this one, is really from the Philippines.

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Check out more of their radiators HERE!

And to think that I know watercooling parts and have heard of Black Ice radiators over and over again and not knowing it was made here – boy is my face red.

Then a few days ago I was still hell bent on looking for a simple designed extended mousepad/deskmat. I honestly DO NOT like the over the top design of Razer Goliathus (And I simply don’t like Razer products; overpriced pieces of poorly made accessories – no hating on me. I am entitled to my own opinion. And if you say it is because I can’t afford it… I owned a lot of Razer stuff and died on me. PLUS. Look at my system! You honestly think I can’t afford a keyboard, mouse, or headset from them!? Heck, I even bought a Razer Mouse Bungee even if it is technically useless! *rages on*).

Then I saw Corsair’s MM200 extended edition; it was nice… it wasn’t truly the pure black I wanted as it had a long yellow line on the bottom and their logo there, too. The drawback? It had no stitched ends. So it is prone to fraying. That is the reason why I wanted to change my current mousepad from Roccat (Taito) because it was already fraying. And I said to myself, if I were to buy a new mousepad, I have to make sure it had stitched ends. That’s what was good about Razer, but it just had to go OVER the top with their designs and the heavy use of GREEN. (Like everyone has a green build… There are more blue builds than green according to stats of modded PCs!)

Then their is wonderfully designed, still not pure black, but closest to the minimalist design I was looking for was also from Corsair, the Corsair CGMM200 extended, but again like the regular MM200, it is prone to fraying. Sigh…

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I would love to represent TekSyndicate with this deskmat; even if isn’t pure black, representing them would be great! Find more products HERE and join the TekSyndicate community HERE!

I am a fan of Logan from TekSyndicate way back in his days at TigerDirect and RazeTheWorld (Which I was also a forum member) and he was selling this awesome deskmat with their burning earth logo; sure it ain’t pure black, but to represent TekSyndicate with a nearly minimalist design is great! Sadly, I live in the Philippines so ordering from his store would have me ending up to pay for nearly 50 bucks. As much as I want to represent, it was too much for a piece of cloth. If only they had a partner to resell their mousepad/mousemats/deskmats here without having to worry about the price of shipping (maybe just raise the overall price a touch but not as much as it would be to ship it here), then without a moments breath, I will buy the TekSyndicate Burning Earth Logo Deskmat. Hands down.

Sadly… that isn’t the case.

Much like my previous post about searching for a chair, my search continued, to the point where I thought, hey, I will just buy the TekSyndicate deskmat when I go the States for vacation later this year.

Then out of nowhere, like the chair in my previous post, I found this… a Tecware Haste XXL mousemat/deskmat.

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From a Filipino company named Tecware. Surprised by the quality! Check em out HERE!

To clarify my segue about the Black Ice radiators being made by a local company, Tecware is also a local company that has been around for quite a while and are making cheap, quality built, PC chassis; and quite recently extended mousepads.

It is nearly everything I wanted; I say nearly because I wish they hadn’t added the “Haste” branding on the mouse pad. The little label on the side of the deskmat with their company logo and name on, I feel is enough and makes it even more minimalist if it were the only one. But I am now just nitpicking.

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Along side my old, unwashed for a year, Roccat Taito MidSize 3mm mousepad.

Just like my (worn and dirty; last washed a year ago) Roccat Taito mousepad, it has rubber base that is non slip, but unlike my Roccat Taito, this mouse is stitched on the ends to prevent fraying and has a water resistant surface that is like the Aorus Thunder P3 Gaming Deskmat – I remember JayzTwoCents feature that deskmat once and mentioned it was water resistant for accidental spill of your drink and was easily cleaned by using window cleaners like Windex or something. If this could also be cleaned with Windex that would be great, but if not, this is fully washable anyways.

It certainly makes the desk look a lot cleaner, I get to place my phone on the deskmat (I can also put it on my Roccat Taito but it does take a bit of real estate away), heck any gadget, and it won’t look cluttered or have the fear of the device getting scratched or something.

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Initial size check
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With the keyboard and mouse housed; ignore dusty desk…

Immediately upon using it, believe or not, there are some people like me that will notice a difference in a mouse pad if it is good quality, etc. This one was just like my Roccat Taito, it was an easy transition – it had a little smoother (maybe because I didn’t clean my Roccat Taito in a year), so there is a false sense of an increase in pulling rate of the mouse that I just lowered the speed down down 100dpi (originall at 1000dpi, now 900dpi). Apart from that, it was like any other good mousepad/mousemat/deskmat I ever used that was great quality.

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Even the packaging is nice!

Overall, I am surprised by the amount I paid for a great deskmat that nearly had all the minimalist feel I want in it (I just want that “Haste” branding gone, or at least be placed like the label on the side with their company logo on it. Heck even the packaging isn’t a cheap box or something. It is good packaging and not on a freakin’ blister pack! Hello other companies! Don’t use blister packs! They injure people!

So, if you’re in the country, and in need of a minimalist deskmat that isn’t as over the top as Razer’s extended deskmats, then do look at this from Tecware. For php500 (roughly 12 bucks), this is the definition of bang for the buck!

Now time for some shameless glamour shots:

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There yah go! PEACE!

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