I recently spec’ed out a Mac Pro system for a Digital Video project I’m working on. This $4,900 configuration is what I would recommend for most photographers. I’m posting this prior to building the system because I want to get some feedback on my plan before I put it together. I’m a big Mac fan even though I run mainly PC’s; Mac hardware is really easy to configure because the choices are limited. On the inside a Mac Pro tower looks a whole lot like a Windows Server, which is what I use for workstations. Now that Apple is using Intel processors, a Mac can do a good job of running Windows as well as OSX.
Here’s How I spec’ed out this system. I’ll just order a basic tower from Apple because they charge so much for Ram and Hard drive upgrades. I’m ordering the lowest standard configuration for every component except the processor and video card. I’ll add Ramm and Hard drives later from NewEgg.com. Read more…
I’m loving using an online photo-sharing service called SmugMug. There are many services that offer ways to store images, show galleries, distribute, sell licensing, and print on the web: Flickr, Shutterfly, Digital Railroad, Photo Shelter, etc. I’ve worked with many of these and they all have their strong and weak points. SmugMug combines many of the features I like in other sites into one easy to use service. The gallery design choices are far superior to other sites. The interface is intuitive and easy to use.
This image is being shared from a SmugMug link. It isn’t really here on the blog, it’s on a SmugMug server and I’ve added a link to it. It’s possible to store all your images on SmugMug and connect to them easily from just about anywhere on the web. Read more…
Adding a solid state drive to your laptop or workstation will dramatically improve performance, but it’s also a major investment. Here at foto-tech we generally don’t concern ourselves with trivial things such as the cost of technology, but in this case we had to take notice. These drives cost more than than many of the computers they are used in. This is the cost of owning a piece of technology that’s really new and really good:
32 GB= $500-800
64 GB =$1K-2K
128 GB = $3-4K
Benchmark tests that compare SSD’s to conventional hard drives show the SSD’s beating the pants off of the old spinners in read speeds. Windows and OSX startup times are cut in half, etc. Random write speeds are not dramatically increased on flash based SSDs. They also use less power, generate less heat, are more shock durable, and better tolerate climate changes.
SSD doesn’t work well with all controller chipsets, so careful consideration of the machine you intend to use one in is necessary. These drives do not need to be defragmented as fragmentation does not hinder them in any way, and defragmenting them will actually shorten the drives life.
Note: Most modern Digital Imaging software relies on cache and scratch disk to fulfill needs for memory that exceed available RAM. Setting up the drives for these functions is very important. It’s not a good idea to use the same drive that your OS or Files reside on. Cache and scratch operations are very taxing on hard drives and the process of writing and rewriting constantly tends to fragment the drives.
Western Digital has released an upgrade to the very popular Raptor line of hard drives. Raptor drives are the only SATA drives that run at 10,000RPM. These new VelociRaptor drives make an excellent choice for Boot Drive, Cache and Scratch disks for Photoshop, Lightroom, Bridge, etc. Speeds are 20-30% faster than the best 7200 RPM drives on the market.
300GB | SATA II | 10K RPM | 2.5” (with 3.5” Cooling Adapter)
This may be the last post I make on spinning hard drives for Boot, Cache, and Scratch Disks. Solid State Drives (SSD) are the way to go for a high end Digital Imaging Workstation. I’m posting this because solid state drives are still a bit small and more than a bit pricey for the majority of photographers.
See my next post for more on SSD and for more info on hard drives, see my Jan 02 08 Blog: ALL ABOUT HARD DRIVES