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Photography Computers

LaCie 2Big Thunderbolt 6TB



My new LaCie RAID came yesterday. 😀 It’s Thunderbolt in 6TB of madness. But for me, I configured it to RAID 1 so it’s got data backup redundancy. So I’m down to the 3TB for now. Still lots of room to grow. I like this product for two main reasons. 1, it’s Thunderbolt which is awesome. And 2, you can configure it for striped (RAID 0) or mirrored (RAID 1). So depending on your needs, you can have super speed or data back up. Daddy likey. 😎

Why I went with this over a Drobo: Conceptually, I like Drobo. But what I don’t like is that the user is at the mercy of propriety backup technology. Meaning that if your Drobo enclosure dies, your data cannot be recovered unless you get another Drobo enclosure. That doesn’t sit well with me. With the LaCie RAID, if the enclosure dies, simply pop the drive into any other enclosure and recover your data. Easy.

Striped 2BigDiskSpeedTest

Now for speed. Before I reconfigured the RAID, I tested the speed of the striped config. I used Black Magic speed test. Here’s what I found out. In a striped configuration, the LaCie screams. 304.5 MB/s write and 300.4 MB/s read. That’s awesome! If you wanted to use this as a working drive for video, this would rock the set.


Now, for the mirrored config, I got a little better than half. 179.5 MB/s write and 176.5 MB/s read.  So you can’t have it all. The cost of redundancy is a substantial speed hit. And yet with that in mind, it’s still loads faster than USB3. I tested a bunch of other drive media just to see how they performed. Here’s the results.

A Touro USB3 drive was 94.9 Write and 95.8 Read. A USB2 drive was 37.7 Write and  37.8 Read. I tested a Lexar Professional 32GB SD 400x speed card (in a USB3 reader) and it was 40.2 Write and 87.9 Read – almost approaching USB 3 read times.  So the LaCie with the Thunderbolt goodness is majorly king of the hill, even in a mirrored config.

PS: Just for kicks – a USB2 thumb drive speed: 6.5 Write and 11.4 Read. USB3 thumb drive: 34.7 Write and 43.5 Read. 🙂

So I’m excited to welcome the LaCie into the workflow. It’s going to significantly increase my quality of life in transferring D800 megapretzels, especially after a long day of wedding shooting! I’ll probably abandon my Aperture 3 JPEG + Matching RAW workflow as it will be just as fast to copy the RAW files to a scratch folder on the LaCie and do the culling from there. I’m sure it will be fantastic!



Ultimate Photo Editing Computer Setup

Lately in computing there have been a couple pretty major technology jumps. By that I mean, we’ve got USB 3.0, Thunderbolt, and SSD technology all becoming more and more available. The speed upgrades are a big improvement over USB 2.0, FireWire and normal hard drives. I remember when Mac first brought out USB in their blueberry iMacs. Nobody used USB!  And then, it became standard for like 10+ years. hehheeheh… 😉 And now, we’ve had another big tech jump offering never before seen speeds which really help the overall computing experience, especially when it comes to editing photos. I was blown away by the performance of my i5 MacBook Air with 128GB SSD, especially in comparison to my aging Core Duo iMac. So before going to sleep last night I started wondering about the ultimate photo editing computer. Could it be done on the cheap?

Ideally, when you say “ultimate” everyone thinks MacPro tower. But they are 1) expensive, 2) seldom updated, 3) physically huge. So what other options exist in the Mac realm for maximum grunt computers? The new iMacs are nice  but a 27″ i5 1TB old school HD with 8GB of RAM is 2 grand. You could always nab a MacBook Pro too. But you’ll be spending the mad scratch getting a pimped out model with all the bells and whistles too. What’s left? MacBook Air. Yep, doable. But if you want a desktop option, all that’s left is the Mac Mini. Is it a contender?

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Check it out. You can buy the best Mac Mini with 2.6 GHz quad core i7 processor with 4GB RAM and 1TB of old school HD for $899. Canadian. Not too overwhelming. BUT, the ability to kick the mini up a notch is pure awesome. RAM is cheap. You can get 16GB of RAM for the 2012 MacMini from CanadaRAM for $137 bones. But what about the old slow HD? You can pull it out of there and replace it with an 256GB SSD for $219.99. It will require a bit of hacking on your part, but there’s tonnes of good tutorials on YouTube about how to make the switch. So, you get a smoking fast chip, blistering SSD hard drive and a fat 16GB of RAM for a grand total of: $1255.99 before tax and monitor. Not too shabby!

You can buy Apple’s Premium $999.99 monitor or, wait until an updated Retina versions come out. In the mean time, you can nab a sufficient 24″ ASUS HDMI connection monitor for $199.99! 😎 So, for the complete cost of $1455.98 before tax, you are well ahead of the top iMac for $600 less, minus 3 inches of screen real estate. Not bad!

Maybe in retrospect, this little Mac Mini build isn’t the “ultimate” setup. But it’s pretty darn close for a whole pile less money! Who doesn’t like that?! 😀 I think the performance of this little suped-up setup would sizzle for photo editing. The integrated intel 4000 graphics will be fine for Photoshop/Lightroom/Aperture apps. Plus, you get scads of ports for external storage solutions from promise pegasus to drobo to g-technology in one tiny little footprint. I think it’s a killer setup!

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