Out and About

Scenic Vista From the Top of Mt. Evans, Colorado

Back to winter mode here in Colorado. This week I’m modernizing the office computer system. Being a long standing computer geek and considering that I’m never satisfied with just slapping something together, I’ve decided to review my computer file storage situation as the next installment of my computer hardware upgrades.

Today, with the grace of Amazon, I’ll be installing a new hard disk in my computer system. For some time now I’ve been using 2, 3 or 4 terabyte hard drives in my tower. This has worked fairly well for the past 5 years or so, but one thing that keeps slapping me in the face is the occasional hard drive malfunction. I have about a half million digital image files that I keep on my main system and on external drives as backups. One hard drive failure can wipe out a butt-load of image files and force me to go dig out a backup drive to restore those images once the problem is fixed.

I’ve calculated that with 6 hard disks in the system, my annual failure rate is about 1 drive a year. The new hard drive is a change of strategy for me. I’ve decided to begin replacing the internal drives with NAS SATA drives, which connect and function the same as a regular SATA disk, but are designed to run all the time with a MTBF of something like 1 million hours. That equates to 114 years without a failure. I’m not deluding myself into believing that it will last me 114 years but it should cut down on the failure rate. The new drive, the first of this type I’ll be installing is a Seagate 8 terabyte Iron Wolf/NAS drive. These drives are designed to be installed on RAID systems for network servers that run 24/7. High reliability is the design function. I’ve read that it takes them a little longer to spin up, but once up and running, they consume less energy and can run 1 million hours without a failure.

We’ll see how all that goes today, assuming the new disk drive is delivered on time as promised by Amazon (that’s hit and miss from my experience.)  It should allow me to reduce the drive count in the computer by half on this pass. If all goes well, I’ll order a second drive and will have updated my internal disk storage to about 17 terabytes. That should give me room for another half million image files in the computer. All the old drives will then be relegated to the role of backups.

It’s always good to have something to do in the winter when one isn’t out and about taking photographs. Right now, I’m not out and about.

 

I Don’t Need No Instructions


Hanging out in the office doing computer upgrades today.

I build my own PC’s, always have. The current system is getting a little dated by modern standards, still running a generation 4, Intel i7 cpu motherboard, which has been doing quite well. I built this back in late 2014, and I’m certain the techno-geek scrutinizers would be shaking their head at me for my lack of maintaining a modern computer architecture.  So with that fear in the back of my head, coupled with the fact that Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop won’t recognize my old graphics card’s 3D setting, I felt it was time to update things a bit.

We do have a good computer store here in town called Micro Center. I don’t order computer parts off the internet unless it’s a last resort, as I don’t want to wait for days and then get a bad part, only to have to ship it back and wait more days. Micro Center stocks just about everything and the price with sales tax isn’t much more than online parts with shipping costs. Immediate satisfaction is better. I want some and I want it now!

I just installed a Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card and a new dual-band wireless LAN card. Went pretty smooth, but that graphics card is big and it clears my PC case by about 1/4 of an inch. That’s better than being too large by 1/4 of an inch. I’ll take it.

The network card was needed because I’ve had an old wireless card in the thing since day one and my wireless LAN does 5 ghz, which I’ve never utilized on anything but my iPhone and iPad. Doubled the wireless speed for 30 bucks. I’ll take it.

The big difference is the graphics/video speed now. I’ve upped my video performance by about 50% over the old Intel on-board chip set. Both monitors are now running via HDMI, which does a good enough job. I could actually consider this a cheap gaming system now, but I don’t play computer games.

Hopefully this will keep me going for another couple of years, at which time I’ll probably spring for a new motherboard and all the nice stuff current technology offers.

In the meantime, I’m humming along with zippier graphics, zippier networking and zippier hard disk (now using a SSD on the boot drive)

Not bad for an old fart. I can still tear a computer apart and build what-ever I need and I don’t need no instructions.