Zenith Media PC (Avalanche) STEP Project Reflection

Hello, like I stated in a previous post if you are interested in building a computer yourself my primary site will be u.osu.edu/zenithmediapc. I will also be posting content about the computer building process and other budget technologies on the youtube channel ZenithTech (Link -> https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgAw2jyK2TzefcByolfSsAA ) with Gautham Sivakumar.


Here is my STEP reflection.


My STEP project involved building a workstation computer so that I am better able to work on content creation and 3D rendering.  Initially I had to pick the components that I could best utilize within the budget, then building the computer, and now using the computer to create content.  Here is a video tutorial on how to build this computer -> https://youtu.be/1Dlv0CVZdf0


Throughout this process I learned quite a bit, covered by this -> https://youtu.be/MLJkLsrEGpQ video, however here is a summary of what I discuss.


Building a computer is no small task, and during the process I learned about my work ethic, my passions and my complete lack of knowledge in the media creation field.  I have always wanted to build a computer and this was the perfect opportunity to fulfill that dream.  During my high school years I had no idea that doing something on this scale would even be possible.  I knew that people built PCs but I had no idea about the beauty that I would find in some of the pieces of artwork that exist out there.  Going into freshman year my daily use computer was a laptop that fit what I needed and nothing more.  Eventually heard about this program through a friend, Gautham Sivakumar (see his STEP project here http://u.osu.edu/powerpc/author/sivakumar-18/ ), who was building a computer with his funds.  He pointed me, like a starved teenager towards a buffet table, to some technology resources online and I took off.  Over the next few months I discovered the wonders of modern technology with regards to mobile, desktop, laptop, drones and anything else I could get my hands on.  This has since turned me into ‘tech support’ for those around me, but I don’t mind because I enjoy it so much.

My passion led me to assisting Gautham with his build and eventually planning on creating a media group, ZenithMedia, that would create content for those that need it.  We discussed it at length with one of the STEP supervisors and were able to work with Archie Griffin and Alex Bandar when they presented to one of the STEP groups last year.  I did what I could on my laptop but it struggled in the most basic image editing and SolidWorks creations.  That is when I decided to build my own computer through the STEP program.  Unknowingly this took my passion to a whole new level.  Just knowing that if I had the chance to build my own computer sent me into a rampage looking through all of the options that I could possibly have.  After many months of scouring the internet for better more optimized components and finally completing my sophomore year I built my computer.

Since then I have been able to record my computer build and create a build guide (See video here -> https://youtu.be/1Dlv0CVZdf0 ), work with various Adobe products (including After Effects and Premier Pro), trouble shoot overclocking and other computer issues and share some of my experiences with others.  I would say it has been a fantastic transformative experience.  Without this experience I don’t know if I would have found the same passion for technology, however I know this experience will stay with me for the rest of my life.

If you need specific events that affected the change that I saw throughout this process I don’t know if I could point you to one specific thing.  Once I discovered that this program could allow me to follow my dreams there was nothing that could have held me back from finishing it.  The most influential steps of the process were picking the parts and creating the content because those two processes respectively showed me the importance of budget allocation and the true awe that comes with creating something that impresses yourself.  The entire process was my transformation and there are no specific parts that really are more influential than the rest.

This change is significant to me because it is allowing me to expand into a variety of topics and pursue my dreams.  Also, finding my passion was a process that will change who I am forever.  Being a well rounded engineer is a something that I have been striving for and this is a fantastic step forward (see what I did there?).  So, thank you STEP for giving me an opportunity that has changed who I am and who I will be into the future.

IMG_0381 IMG_0512


P.S. The number of things that I have learned, since the creation of the two videos in the reflection, that would improve content quality is incredible. So apologies for the not so great quality on these videos, the learning curve, on the Adobe suite of products and content creation, is incredibly steep.

P.S.S Here is an panoramic image I put together as part of the Archie Griffin project

Archie Griffin with a STEP group after his presentation late last year

Archie Griffin with a STEP group after his presentation late last year

If you read this far, thank you for investing your time in my project!

John Coffey.153


-RE: Prompt #2: Through this project I have furthered my understanding that I am a multifaceted individual that is totally unique and I need to use this to my advantage.  Due to my training in engineering I was able to diagnose a variety of problems, as well as learn about the process of starting a business.  My view of the world has expanded due to this project because I now know that I am part of more than just the engineering world, but I can be part of the creative world of media as well.  Without this project I would have never learned of my love of technology, the internet, and media creation.


Prompt #3:  Specific events in this project that led to my transformation include, but are not limited to, learning about the STEP program and the ability to build a computer with the money that I earn by going through the project,  being introduced to LinusTechTips and his computer  build guides, purchasing all of the components and tracking their shipments, putting the computer together and analyzing the problems that my system had, as well as utilizing the computer to expand on my creative side via media creation. In addition to these new experiences I was able to have, I was also challenged in ways I did not anticipate. For example when at first my original design concept for the computer did not work out I had to come up with a completely new idea that was still within the budget I made. Throughout the building process I also ran across a few issues due to faulty parts that unfortunately are still plaguing me today.  Fortunately however I am able to adapt how I use my system so that I an avoid the issues with the motherboard.  Due to this project, I have gained relationships with quite a few professors around OSU that are asking about having content created for them as well as people from around the world within the media creation industry.  The process of building a computer (or creating content) is a transformation experience because from the moment you have the idea any number of compatibility and optimization issues arise.  For instance, I could have built a very simple system with the biggest baddest graphics card out there and limited everything else, but that system would be inefficient and severely bottlenecked.  Or I could have put all of the money into the RAM and the CPU to optimize render times for content, but then the storage solution would bottleneck the render times and the graphics card would slow progress due to some prerendering that goes on while I’m working on content.  What I ended up with was the best optimization that I could find that is slightly skewed towards video editing, so now there are very few bottlenecks (I could use another 16Gb of RAM for example) and my render times/storage solution/graphics card are all the best that I could find for my use case.  I have never participated in a project that required so much research and time to optimize, however I am incredibly glad that I did it.  Now I not only have a very capable system, but I know how to think outside the box and look at all aspects of compatibility within any type of system. I have the abilities to analyze problems that occur within the computers that, as an engineer and a human of the modern era, will be working with for the rest of my life.

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