November 7, 2012 at 10:39 pm #1907
Finally I’ve found a spare half hour to be able to get on the Forum again.
I’m currently looking at buying a new PC and was just wanting a bit of advice regarding the spec.
I’m probably going to go for an Intel based one obviously with around 8GB RAM, but not sure which Graphics Card to go for, also whether to have a Solid State Drive as part of the system ?
Any advice greatly receivedNovember 8, 2012 at 10:40 am #1909
A quick Google search turns up a lot of useful stuff, such as…
John got a lot of info re laptop specs when researching the new club machine; but I don’t know whether he picked up anything about PC specs. Not aware of anyone in the club upgrading recently.
As for how useful SSD drives are, it depends what program you’re using and what the bottlenecks for your workflow might be. For example, having SSD would help with catalogue transfers in Lightroom; but rendering in Photoshop is dependent on RAM and CPU, so more RAM would be a better bet there. Here’s a relatively recent discussion of the issues:
Sorry I can’t speak with the voice of experience – as you know, I use an iMac for photo work. Try one of them? But get second mortgage! 😉
HTHNovember 8, 2012 at 3:31 pm #1917
Have you considered a Mac? ;o)November 8, 2012 at 3:49 pm #1918
How exciting … a new PC purchase. I would be beside myself!!! I do understand that SSD storage is about 20 times more expensive per unit of storage than a traditional hard drive although this will be coming down all the time. A quick google revealed the info below, the most alarming of which is the consequence of a hard drive failure. Personally I would upgrade to SSD in a few more years when it is cheaper and any recovery issues in the event of a failure have a solution.
Hope this helps. Good luck with your purchase and decision making.
Making a comparison between SSDs and ordinary (spinning) HDDs is difficult. Traditional HDD benchmarks tend to focus on the performance characteristics that are poor with HDDs, such as rotational latency and seek time. As SSDs do not need to spin or seek to locate data, they may prove vastly superior to HDDs in such tests. However, SSDs have challenges with mixed reads and writes, and their performance may degrade over time. SSD testing must start from the (in use) full disk, as the new and empty (fresh out of the box) disk may have much better write performance than it would show after only weeks of use.
Most of the advantages of solid-state disks over traditional hard drives are due to their ability to access data completely electronically instead of electromechanically. On the other hand, traditional hard drives offer significantly higher capacity for their price.
While SSDs appear to be more reliable than HDDs, researchers at the Center for Magnetic Recording Research “are adamant that today’s SSDs aren’t an order of magnitude more reliable than hard drives”. SSD failures are often catastrophic, with total data loss. While HDDs can fail in this manner as well, they often give warning that they are failing, allowing much or all of their data to be recovered.
Traditional hard drives store their data in a linear, ordered manner. SSDs, however, constantly rearrange their data while keeping track of their locations for the purpose of wear leveling. As such, the flash memory controller and its firmware play a critical role in maintaining data integrity. One major cause of data loss in SSDs is firmware bugs, which rarely cause problems in HDDsNovember 8, 2012 at 4:32 pm #1919
Thank you both for the info I’ll have a good read later. And thank you Steve I was going to start off with ‘I don’t want to start a Which is best PC or Mac debate’ 😉
I’ll probably just go for a normal Hard Drive or drives. I read on one forum its recommended to have FOUR Drives 2x SSD and 2x HDD!! A bit extreme I reckon. I’ve been looking for over a year now but still not taken the plunge, it’s just the pc is making some funny groaning noises so don’t think it’ll be long before it finally gives up. All photos should be backed up on 2x External drivesNovember 8, 2012 at 4:44 pm #1920
…the pc is making some funny groaning noises
Are you sure it’s not the fan(s)? How about taking the side of the case off, and giving it a good clean for starters? While you’ve got the side off, fire it up and see if you can locate what’s making the noise.November 8, 2012 at 5:20 pm #1922
I think we are all a bit paranoid about hard drive failure these days. A 2TB internal drive is only about £70-80 but having more than one is a good option just to be safe. The best option is to get one built to your own spec rather than look for the closest fit. I am sure you realise this and know someone, but Bliss computers in Nantwich are good and don’t overcharge for custom builds if you want a price comparison when you have your spec. It is amazing how prices vary on custom builds and well worth shopping around.November 8, 2012 at 5:22 pm #1923
Great debate, as my computer is only two years old and as Dee knows I am still getting to grips with its programmes so even contemplating a new computer would be beyond me. But having this advice always acts as a good sounding board, whether your a mac or a pc user.November 8, 2012 at 5:58 pm #1925
I use an external wifi 2TB drive for long storage and can get to any files from any laptop or PC in the house, plus it can be accessed from outside the house if you wish. by having 2TB’s i have this set up as a mirror so it backs up every thing on it without me doing so.
I also have a 1TB drive on a docking station conected to the main PC that i can access through the wifi and use this as a local back up for my running PC, i never trust the built in hard drives, and i know i can take all of my photos and files from one PC to another.
Another good idea is to back up good stock onto CD.
I have never bought a PC from anywhere other than a home build you get what you want that way. I am now running 3 monitors on two high speed 1GB graffics cards and 4 hard drives with the main operating system mirrored with a very fast mother board and loads of internal memory. I biult the lot for about £350November 8, 2012 at 6:01 pm #1926
Good point Ian something I’ve never done so after 8 years I’m sure there will be plenty built up.
Delores – I’ve been looking at pcspecialist.co.uk they seem to get good reviews. I’ve not heard of Bliss computersNovember 8, 2012 at 6:06 pm #1927
Wow Paul sounds like you’ve got a great set-up there. I’ve read a bit about RAID systems that do a similar thing – backing up or am I getting mixed up. I’m gonna go for a Blu-ray RW drive so I can have another back up of my more precious files which obviously should be stored remotely…… Or is that just being paranoid 🙂November 8, 2012 at 6:19 pm #1928
…I’ve read a bit about RAID systems that do a similar thing – backing up or am I getting mixed up.
RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Drives) is not really a backup system. Rather, it’s a set of discs – e.g. 4 x 1Tb drives – managed by software that spreads and repeats the data on the system across all four drives, with some of the space being used to record where and what it all is. If one of the drives fails, you simply replace it, and the RAID software rebuilds the information that was on the failed drive on to the new drive. But you still need to back up the data elsewhere (e.g. on a USB drive; on a web-based service) in case the RAID system itself fails. As the IT guys never tire of incanting, “RAID is not backup!”
I use a ReadyNAS NV+ with four 1Tb drives in it. It provides a lot of network-attached storage (NAS) where I keep all my image files, music files, documents, and video. So there’s very little data on any one computer – they can all access the network storage. It’s a very powerful storage method if you can afford the initial outlay on the NAS device and hard drives. (One way of covering the cost is to retire, and use the money your colleagues give you as a retirement present to buy the kit! 😉 )November 8, 2012 at 6:22 pm #1929
Ha I do realise the benefits of retiring as John, Tom, Bob and many other members keep mentioning but I can’t see my ‘friends’ being that generousNovember 8, 2012 at 6:23 pm #1930
Bliss are on Pepper street in Nantwich Paul right in the town centre. The good thing with local is if you have a problem you can drop it in, chat on the phone or they will pop out to you. They have late nights too. Really cheap, knowlegeable, and a good old fashioned hands on firm. Ask for Phil Chapman (Steve is not a people person bless him) and mention my name and just have a chat / get some advice. They won’t mind and are uber helpful. If you have your spec and send it after speaking to him first I am sure you will get a higher spec for less money.
November 9, 2012 at 7:56 am #1936
Delores has a glowing report about Bliss Computers and they seem worth a try but I bought a new machine only a couple of weeks ago from Darbro (http://www.dardro.co.uk) who are at Radway Green. There is also Ray Hill’s son, who was offering the servicing last year. I’m afraid it was rather a quick decision since the hard drive had died in my old machine, which was also running XP, no longer supported. An upgrade, new HDD and some extra RAM was somewhat expensive and a new machine seemed a sensible option. Darbro are ACER dealers and, while they built the last one to spec, I choose one off the shelf. This “ready made” has an i7 processor and 8Gb RAM, SSD, the GT 640 graphics card (4Gb) and a 1Tb HDD. Off the shelf is inevitably not perfectly suitable; I could have done with 500Mb on the HDD, but it was delivered in two days. I may increase the RAM to 16Gb but I am very pleased with it. SSD seems a good idea but the present products are only able to take 1,000 formattings, so they are no use as HDD substitutes.
Looking at the references Ian found I can see I didn’t make a bad choice. His advice about cleaning the machine is very good too, mine was choked with dust and it was overheating that killed the HDD.
I am now looking into external drives. I have 4 already but a RAID array or something looks appealing – or, in any event some system for continually backing up. The decision is mainly about how to arrange the files.
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