Finally, it’s upgrade time!

I normally schedule major upgrades for my hardware and software every 5 years, and I was overdue for a major upgrade for months. Just didn’t have the money or opportunity to make it happen earlier in the year. The fact that my desktop workstation, which normally handles everything that my convertible notebook didn’t have the graphics horsepower to handle, died a few months ago added a bit of uneasy panic to the equation. 
I wasn’t able to work on any models that had textures larger than 1024x1024px as a result of that hardware failure, and my large paper model output dropped sharply as the amount of time needed to work on models increased. That was a crippling blow to my already weak sales, which really didn’t help matters any when tax time rolled around. It was also another reason I took a programming contract for all of March–there just wasn’t any feasible way for me to crank out enough small paper models to make the bills.
I had resigned myself to not being able to upgrade my toolset for the foreseeable future, and I sort of came to terms with that after closing down all direct sales. Of course, fate has a funny way of going about things. I finally had an opportunity to upgrade my hardware and software the other day. There was a catch, however–the timing really wasn’t good, because of our financial situation, and it was a very limited window of opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.

I had a chance to get the full boxed DVD version of Photoshop CS5 Extended at a really steep discount from a software liquidator. My current convertible isn’t up to running CS5 Extended (it can just about keep up with plain old Photoshop CS!), so in order to make the most of that acquisition, I would have had to replace my computer. And wouldn’t you know it, there was a promotion for the kind of laptop I wanted from the hardware supplier that I had a line of credit with. Oh, I was torn. I went out to talk to a singularly unhelpful Mrs E, who was of the same indecisive mind that I was. Sometimes being on the same wavelength 90% of the time isn’t necessarily a good thing!

In the end, I pulled the trigger. If I had let that opportunity slide, I’d never be able to get back on my feet with my existing, aging toolset. On the other hand, going for the opportunity would make an already tenuous financial situation go from bad to worse. Yet, on the third hand, not doing this now could easily mean waiting months or years for a similar opportunity to arise. So, I just took a big leap of faith and did it.
As of this moment, I’m the proud, excited, terrified, and even more broke owner of Photoshop CS5 Extended, a new 1TB external hard drive, and a much more modern laptop with more graphical horsepower than my old desktop workstation and convertible notebook combined. The laptop will ship sometime in the middle of the month after it’s been assembled and tested. Photoshop and the external hard drive are supposed to arrive sometime this week. It was a good bargain, but one that I really wish had come during better financial times.
For you, this means I can actually work on the huge, bill-paying paper models once again, after the big coding project is wrapped up. 

17 thoughts on “Finally, it’s upgrade time!

  1. emergencyoverride

    Congrats bro! That awesome. It's always hard to pass up a super great deal and that one sounds epic!

  2. Christopher Roe

    It certainly was an epic deal! The timing could be better, since it's not likely I can actually put the stuff to moneymaking use until next month. (Get this, I was also tapped for jury duty starting on the 11th. If they pick me to serve, that's more time lost.)

    If I were a minister, I'd be passing the plate right about now. *grin*

  3. Anonymous

    You really ought to get the Pay Pal button installed here.

    I'm sure donations would be more than welcome


  4. David

    Definitly Congrats on the new Software and PC! I wouldn't blame ya for taking up that offer, Who could pass an awesome deal like that up! 🙂

  5. John C. Morrison

    That is great news! I can't wait to see what your evil genius imagination comes up with next.

  6. Christopher Roe

    VK: I *do* have a PayPal tip jar here! It's on the right side of the page, about halfway down. 🙂

    David: I'm still swinging back and forth between buyer's remorse and relief at being able to upgrade my stuff before it all kicked the bucket.

    John: Me too. There's a lot of 3D stuff in CS5 Extended that I'm very eager to play with.

  7. Pogo

    Yay! Mel-Chris V2.0 lives!!!! Soon our plans for world domination via paper models will be complete!

  8. glenn williams

    I had some initial problems with CS5, mainly, because I had CS2 for so long that I didn't even remember HOW I'd tweaked it (or that it was). For a week I just stared at settings thinking, "I usta know this stuff!" Tried my first 3d render in CS5 yesterday–my conclusion: get a good book 'cause ain't nuthin 'bout CS5 intuitively obvious. Frackin' $1300 software that comes without a manual–and NO I do NOT count pdfs!

    BTW, did you get the whole suite, 'cause it's sweet.

    Anyway, good to see you're getting at least getting a new saddle, even if you haven't climbed in. Enjoy the new toy. Uh, more important, will it play Mass Effect 3?

  9. Christopher Roe

    Pogo: Heh. 🙂

    Becky: I'll certainly try!

    Glenn: I'm not really worried about the learning curve. I kinda expected it, since it took me almost a year to get comfortable with CS back in 2006, and I didn't really settle into a comfortable routine until 2007.

    I didn't spring for the whole suite since I didn't need any of the other tools.

    As for Mass Effect…no idea. I was more concerned with its ability to handle 3D rendering and content creation than I was with its gaming potential. 🙂

  10. Squirmydad

    I get more ideas for modding and building from playing videogames. Not all games certainly, but I recently played 2142 Battlefield and in some of the maps it was very much like walking through a virtual version of cities made using products from Dave Graffam Games-with Stompies. Which makes me want to build some more stompies. 🙂

  11. Christopher Roe

    Oh, I don't have anything against videogames. It's just that I don't actually have a lot of slack time, and when I do, the computer is usually the last place I want to spend it.

    There's also the deafness issue…videogames without a proper captioning system like that used in Valve's titles tend to be too frustrating and provide an incomplete experience at best. The only times I've ever truly felt immersed in a videogame were when I played Half-Life 2 and Portal. Even the sound effects were captioned.

    That aside, videogames just aren't something I spend a lot of time on. For inspiration, I watch movies–I don't get killed in movies by the dude I didn't hear running up behind me with the BFG 9000.

  12. Will

    Congrats on pulling the trigger. CS5 Extended is a pretty powerful toolset. Some of the integrated 3d stuff is cool.

    And on the new, more powerful laptop. I imagine the laptop is now an order of magnitude more powerful than your old desktop was. Memory wise…at least. What 8gb of Ram?


  13. Christopher Roe

    Well, at the time of the order, I only maxed out the stuff that I couldn't actually upgrade myself later on down the line, so with the exception of the discrete video and a couple other things, it's a mid-range configuration right now. Even so, it's still much more powerful than my 2006-vintage desktop workstation.

    By the time I'm through with the incremental OS, RAM, and CPU upgrades later in the year, it'll be a monster, and it should easily last me 5 years.

  14. glenn williams

    Should have added that CS5 occasionally burps and freezes. It's always when there's a rectangle selection with an operation like ctrl-x. Task manager won't close it. Strangely, nothing else freezes.

    I've just begun to play with the 3d. It looks like you might be able to bake a UV map.

  15. Christopher Roe

    Hmmm. Weren't you having issues on Windows 7 with Ultimate Papercraft 3D as well? How about Carrara?

  16. glenn williams

    I really haven't worked with Carrara–I'm hoping for some time to do so soon. Ultimate Papercraft finally worked, up until my last model set (the Vulture)–for kicks I tried a big UV map (4096×4096) to see how it would work. UP choked and I had to switch to Pepakura. It was an experiment–now I know.

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