PC 2016 Build Log

I decided to build a new PC. It’s been over five years since I did my water-cooled rig and technology has made some serious leaps. After weeks of research, the goal is to build a high-end gaming rig in a compact form factor. This rig will be built around having the option to Crossfire or SLI. This will be a combo CLC and air-cooled rig. The CPU will be on a CLC and the video card will be Air Cooled (as of now).

Here are the parts:

CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K 4.00 GHz LGA1151 $415
CPU Cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H100i GTX $105
Motherboard: Asus ROG Maximus VIII GENE Intel Z170 (Skylake) mATX $230
Graphics Card: Asus AMD Radeon R9 NANO 4GB HBM $510
RAM: 32GB (2x16GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2400 (PCA 19200) $240
Storage: Samsung 950 PRO Series 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD $330
PSU: Corsair AX1200 (The only part I am reusing from my last build!)
Case: Corsair Carbide Series Air 240 mATX $90
Case Fans: 4x Corsair Air Series SP120 PWM $70
OS: Windows 10 Professional $120

Total cost: $2110

It’s crazy that this build won’t be using a single SATA device! With new PCIe SSD technology, I can finally have the same SSD performance I have been getting on my Mac Pro but now on a PC! Apple was way ahead of the game when it came to PCIe storage technology. Typical SSDs get 500 read / 500 write performance. These PCIe M.2 sticks get 2500 read / 1500 write!

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Another big leap in tech I wanted to take advantage of was in graphics cards. I picked the ASUS Radeon R9 NANO because it is the first video card to have it’s RAM on die, called HBM (High Bandwidth Memory), so bandwidth is increased between the RAM and the GPU. And because the RAM is on die, this allows the card to be half the size of it’s equivalent card without HBM!

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Keep following my blog these next few days to keep up with my build out!

Fujifilm X-T1 + Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4R


I’ve had a Fuji x100s for a little over a year. I have to say it was one of the best cameras I’ve ever owned! Why? It was compact, stealth, had unrivaled ergonomics, and amazing image quality for a compact camera. In my constant effort to keep up to date, I decided it was time to move to a more mature compact system – a system with interchangeable lenses. I didn’t want to give up the compact form factor nor did I want to lose the stealth characteristics of the x100s. There was really only one choice, the Fujifilm X-T1. I decided to start off with a 23mm f/1.4 (35mm full frame equiv.) lens because that was the same focal length as my x100s. Once my pockets recover, then I will purchase the renowned 56mm f/1.2 (85mm full frame equiv.)

Here are some unboxing pics:

It’s good to see that Amazon FINALLY upgraded their packaging for fragile items!




What I love about the XT-1 and many of Fuji’s cameras are the use of dials for Exposure Comp, Shutter, and ISO. Aperture is controlled through a traditional aperture ring on the lens!



I never really thought an adjustable display would be important, but as I gain more experience shooting I think it will be a welcomed feature!



With the 23mm lens attached.


And for size comparison, here it is next to my D4s.



I have several accessories ordered (Rear LCD screen protector, RRS plates, Black Rapid, etc.) Once everything arrives, I hope to be shooting with it this weekend! If time permits, I may even do an IQ test between the D4s and the XT-1!

Alaskan Cruise

Back in May, my Mom treated all of us to an Alaskan Cruise Vacation!  We cruised the Norwegian Pearl early in whale watching season. We flew to Seattle and cruised to Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Glacier Bay, and Victoria, Canada.  The trip was filled with lots of eating, shopping, whale watching, train riding, glacier viewing, more eating, and more eating! Here are some photos from the trip! Washy-washy!

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Here are some of the photographs from the on-board photographers:


Glacier Bay 1


Pearl 1

Pearl 2

Pearl 7


Skagway 1


Skagway 4

Skagway 3


Ketchikan 2

Glacier Bay 2

Glacier Bay 4

The trip was a lot more fun than expected. It truly gave me an appreciation nature and an understanding of how much damage our culture has done to Mother Earth. Yah, depressing.


Be prepared for a few, long overdue blog posts! This is the first of many “catch up” posts! Since my last post in January, I have spent a lot of time birding. Most of sites I visited have been in the San Francisco Presidio and around my neighborhood! I’ve been spending some time with my new Nikon D4s and 300mm f/2.8 lens. If you follow my IG, I usually post these shots along with descriptions of the bird and where I shot them.

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The Cayman Complex

One of many takes from many writers and drivers that the Cayman is simply a better chassis than the 911 and that Porsche refuses to put good engines in the Cayman because it would end up being “better” than a 911. (Jump to 3:30 for specifics otherwise watch the whole video…it’s a great one anyway)