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Author Topic: ideas for update to pc and backup system with minimal cost  (Read 1195 times)


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ideas for update to pc and backup system with minimal cost
« on: October 12, 2012, 04:58:24 PM »

Hi all,

I've been researching the last two weeks on updating my 5 yr old pc to work with stitched panoramas from a d800. The amount of info to sift through is overwhelming.

Here's what I currently have which was my first build from spring 2008 I think:

core 2 quad Q9450 2.66ghz
Asus p5ke wifi motherboard
8gb ram (maxed)
74gb raptor (os & programs, ~35gb used, ~35gb free space)
150gb raptor (cs5 scratch)
(2) 1tb HDD's for storage (essentially full)
(1) Lacie external esata 1tb drive
Antec true power trio 650W power supply
radeon hd3850 256mb graphics card
xp 64 pro (I have win7 pro update disk which will use with new os drive if that's needed)

I think the bottle necks to updating this will be the sata II connections, ram, and processor speed.

This machine will likely eventually end up being transferred to administrative use at my gallery perhaps in 6 months, if I have the funds to replace it.

It's basically working fine, but just slowish, especially when dealing with my best selling print which is a 12"x48" stitched panorama from a D300 (56 megapixel file, 8 images). I've run into scratch full errors when resizing and sharpening this for printing which I remedied by assigning 2 portable usb 2.0 drives as additional scratch disks. Works, just takes a bit of time.

I'll be producing more of this type of image in the near future and will eventually build a system for this, but don't currently have the funds. As it stands, in order to actually use the files from the D800, I need to update, Capture NX2 $140(which was inadvertantly purchased from an unofficial vendor and can't be upgraded), or update lightroom 3 to 4 $80 which I've never learned to use.

So I'm looking for advice on making this machine temporarily more capable. Initially, 5 yrs ago, I'd intended the 1tb drives as my backup strategy, but I was never very diligent about doing this. So I definitely need to set up a good backup system and learn to use it.

Basically, what I'm looking for is whether I'll be able to get this machine to work for doing large D800 stitches at minimal cost (until I can build something in spring? As winter is my good print sales season). Although I don't have the contract yet, a museum here has asked for an image for a 30'x14' forest mural at 150dpi which, although the designer my not have realized what she asked for (and maybe doesn't actually need that resolution), I think would be interesting to produce.

Here's what has been initially suggested to me:

Intel 520, 240gb ssd (OS drive) $240 with desktop kit, (worthwhile updating raptor? for other than startup/load times?) This would likely stay with computer when shifted to administrative/internet/email usage.

intel 520, 480gb ssd (scratch) $489 with desktop kit (or just repurpose a 1tb drive for this)

Although these may be faster to boot, and load/save images, would this be necessarily the best bang for the buck. Could I get the capability I need (without the speed) by just using the raptor with Windows 7 pro then reassigning one 1tb drive to a large scratch disk? Then spend my money on updating the backup?

The two 1tb drives need to be replaced. In researching, some people have suggested using two enterprise level 2tb drives in a RAID1, then others seem to be shouting "raid is not a real backup".

So do I get some kind of NAS as the easiest means to backup and access/transfer between computers? Does a raid array of NAS need a backup too? A NAS system with enough storage to last a while would presumably be ~$1000? or more?

I'm guessing at a minimum, I'll need (2) 2TB internal drives and a 2TB external drive plus some suggested software (acronis?, win7 backup?) to use to backup.

Things got a little tighter since the two ssd's were suggested, so I think can likely find about $1200 to spend. Though less would be better.

Thanks for your help.




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Re: ideas for update to pc and backup system with minimal cost
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2012, 11:29:16 PM »

The 240GB SSD can be partitioned into 100GB for system + 140GB scratch/temp/etc..., and you still can keep the raptors for other scratch uses that don't need fast seek times (where big files are read at once, not multiple small seeks for small bits of files), that woud seem the best way to make your existing setup a bit more reactive.
Don't worry for the SataII interface, it's hard to max it out in practice.

About backup, errrrr.... Did anybody say you that RAID is not backup? ;) Forget about RAID (moreover if cost is an issue!) and get some disks and a good software (I'm also interested in opinions about win7 backup for files), and maybe an USB3 PCI card to connect external drives if you haven't eSATA already. My few cents.
Nicolas from Grenoble
A small gallery


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Re: ideas for update to pc and backup system with minimal cost
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2012, 12:32:32 AM »

Thanks Nicolas,

I hadn't thought of partitioning the os ssd. I was just focused on making the scratch as large as possible as I had been told several times that my scratch space was simply way too small. Which I admit I still don't really understand. Currently Photoshop will make a temp file of about 7gb when working with this image, then with adding the two USB drives the scratch space used gets up to maybe 8.5gb without any errors. I was just having trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that I was getting scratch full errors on a drive with more than 130gb free space that had a measly 7gb temp file on it, then all is well when I would add 100gb of USB 2.0 space allowing the temp file to get up to a whopping 8.5gb.

But I digress.....

Can anyone speak to the reliability of storage drives >2gb? I've had two system builders now advise me against anything bigger. I've managed to fill 1tb in four years using 10-12 mp files and now I've got 36 mp ones so I could see myself filling this additional 1tb of new space in relatively short order. I'd hate to be throwing out hdd's again in a year and a half. What does one do with old hdd's by the way? With this update I'll now have half a dozen sitting around unused ranging from 160gb to 1tb.

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