A good balance between size and performance

In regards of space I’m a bit restricted, and so my thoughts about computers and cases to put them into lead me to Mini ITX, and to a case which was introduced last year and which immediately became one of the favourites in that size and price class, the CoolerMaster NR200P. Here’s Leo from Kitguru reviewing it:

Leo analyses Cooler Master MasterBox NR200P

You can also read their/his written review here in case you want to know more.

As you could see in the review video, my current drives – one 2,5″ SSD and one 3,5″ hard disk with 4TB – the same Leo was showing – both fit nicely. Plus modern mainboards all have space for one or two M.2 SSD drives which are even faster anyway, and the case could even take two more 2,5″ SATA SSDs behind the front plate – that’s 6 drives overall, surely more than enough storage options.

Of course one should also try to save some space with choosing components wisely, so as a power supply I’d take Corsair’s smaller SFX ones, the ‘Platinum’ specced ones have a set of nicer braided cables compared to the ‘Gold’ rated ones. Without ever planning to add a graphics card, a 450W model would be more than enough, if you want to keep the possibility to add a medium- or high powered graphics card later on, there are also models with 600 or with 750W available. Remember, the high powered system Leo was building there drew some 500 Watts from the wall socket when stressing it out, both CPU and GPU alike. For me, that would rarely to almost never happen… so what about cooling?

I’d go with air cooling with a Noctua L12S low profile top blower cooler. I’d never overclock a system, so that should be just fine for a CPU with a TDP of around 65W like the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G (6 Core / 12 Thread), the Ryzen 7 5700G (8 Core / 16 Thread) or a comparable Intel Core i5-10400 (not the “K” versions which take lots more power). Learn more about such coolers from Machines & More:

Cooler Master NR200: Low Profile Air Cooler Configuration (feat. the Noctua L12S)

In case you also take low profile (or JEDEC-compatible) RAM which isn’t higher than 31,25mm, you could even let the cooler’s fan *under* the heat sink if you so desire, although these tests showed that it’s performing a bit better if you have the fan on top of the heatsink.

So for RAM a kit of 2x8GB or 2x16GB DDR4-3200 from Corsair (“Vengeance”) would be cool and wouldn’t restrict your mounting options.

For the main board, I’d go with Asus, but Gigabyte is also a good option and maybe a bit cheaper. Even MSI has a nice board, for AMD CPUs I’d take one with a B550 chipset, for 11th gen Intel chips a Z590 one.

All of the mentioned CPUs have graphics built right in, so you won’t have to overpay for graphics cards (only gamers would want these anyway, you can cut movies or “develop” photos without a dedicated graphics card just fine).

That would be cool machines, and maybe I’ll build one of these for a relative soon.

Oh, and a propos benchmarking: my own current system which is quite old already, and still has a 4th gen Intel Core i5 was behaving quite nicely when I stressed out its CPU with the Blender render “classroom” test:

Benchmarking Blender on my machine

As you can see, CPU average temperature was 41°C, max was 52°C, and the system was drawing about 72 Watts from the wall socket while doing this. Of course this took quite a while:

Blender classroom test finished

Over 31 minutes is slow, a more modern machine and chips like the ones mentioned above should do the same in about 8-10 minutes. And while they might draw a bit more power, they’d still do it in about a third to a quarter of the time, which makes them much more efficient in case you need that power…

As always, thanks for reading.

A Cookie on my chair

Today someone had let “Cookie” the neighbours’ cat in, and so first he woke me up, and later when I came into our living room he had occupied my chair. So I took a chance to take his portrait:

A neighbour’s cat which we named “Cookie”, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2021

As always, thanks for viewing.

Cologne, and/from Bensberg Castle

Yesterday we were invited to a wedding, and the invitation said “no cameras please”, so I left everything home.

Still, since part of the wedding was at Bensberg Castle and I knew that the look from up there onto Cologne was/is quite nice, here are two photos from my mobile phone:

Cologne (Köln) as seen from Bensberg castle, Bensberg 2021
Bensberg Castle (Schloß Bensberg), Bensberg 2021

The wedding was lovely, although we’ll have to wait for the photos from the pros, and for information about what can be shared.

As always, thanks for reading, and for viewing.

My computer housekeeping is kind of ready

Since yesterday morning I installed the new Debian 11 with codename “Bullseye” which is now officially released. And that’s my main operating system since over 16 years, I remember that I started to use that while still living in Bremen where Zuleikha was born over 16 years ago. And if you keep something that long it has to be good, doesn’t it?

Anyway, I have everything up and running nicely by now, and even Ardour runs on both Debian (with Jack) and also on Arch (with Pipewire). The next thing I did was to take the same background image – a photo of the moon I took in 2011 using my Olympus E-520 DSLR (I didn’t have a mirrorless camera yet) – for all of my devices (2) and operating systems (4). Looks like this:


Since my Conky is using a light font, a darker background like this helped. But this is cosmetics, meaning I’m done with the most important stuff already. Cool, now I can turn my attention to some other things again.

As always, thanks for reading.

Another chair, another cat

Took this with my employers’ iPhone while having breakfast this morning – “Cookie” on my new/old computer chair:

Another chair, another cat, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2021

“Out-of-camera image” from the iPhone SE (2020) with 4mm, f/1.8, 1/17s, ISO640. As always, thanks for viewing.

Edit: here’s the same photo with a Kodak Tri-X film simulation added in RawTherapee 5.8 on my employers’ notebook (just before I had to start working):

Another chair, another cat, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2021

Again, thanks for viewing.

Grasshopper on a baking tray

My first photo in August was simply a snapshot from this morning – we’ve had a smaller kind of visitor since at least yesterday, and today he walked around a baking tray on the dining room table – so I took my macro lens fully open (the little guy was moving) to take his portrait. After doing that, I took the tray to the garden where he left onto some plant.

Grasshopper on a baking tray, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2021

As always, thanks for viewing.

A “selfie” with my “webcam” at 720p

Toying around with my camera and OBS again because in less than a month from now, I won’t be an employee of IBM anymore, and so I’ll have to give back my current notebook, iPhone, and all what belongs to them. And on my own desktop machine I don’t have a webcam. But I have a very nice photo camera which is my Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mk2, and my latest lens is the 17mm/1.8 Micro Zuiko which has that awesome manual focus “clutch”, very useful especially for videos… so here you go, tried this one in 720p:

Selfie with my “Webcam” in 720p, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2021

OBS is currently set up to use Full HD (1920×1080), but that isn’t enough to show my whole desktop which would be 1920×1200, so I’ll have to experiment and to decide how to use that camera. A video stream of 720p would certainly be enough for video calls, since normally you’ll have more than one other person on the screen at the same time anyway.

But yes, let’s see how that goes – would like to use it with my fellow moderators from Wikiloops for a test, so I’m excited to see them again as well 🙂

Anyway, thanks for reading and viewing as always.

Partly in the shade

Took this one of “Cookie” today, with a Panasonic 35-100mm zoom lens (set to about 64mm) on my camera:

Partly in the shade, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2021

I used an Ilford HP-5+ film simulation within RawTherapee, and corrected the exposure about hald a step down.

As always, thanks for viewing.

One of my most used tools

A few days ago I showed you a self portrait which I took while working, lit by one of my studio strobes with a beauty dish attached to it. Counter shot, directly out of my camera, so not lit is this:

Simock E300 “Mythos” studio strobe, here with 17″/51cm Jinbei beauty dish attached

I have these since over 10 years now, and reviewed my first one three years later for Lighting Rumors, here. They still work as on the first day, and I have taken very lovely photos with them, not only for money like the high school class lately, but also for memories like this one:

I don’t know if these are still made, maybe under different ownership in China, because the original manufacturers site seems to not exist anymore. But if you find some of these on the used market, they’re worth it, at least for this amateur photographer.

As always, thanks for reading.

The last days of work…

… at least for *this* employer. In about 6 weeks and 2 days it will be over …

Wolfgang at work, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2021

Self portrait, lit with 300Ws studio strobe, manually (zone-) focused (love that feature on the 17mm M.Zuiko lens), 12s timer, “developed” with RawTherapee 5.8, Kodak Tri-X film simulation, cropped square, 1/20s to keep some of the outside daylight…

As always, thanks for viewing.