Quandary Decisions

Ok, so I've made some computer decisions that I've been complaining about for months (sorry about that).

First things first, I'm going to stick with Vista x64 instead of moving my desktop to OS X.  I've never had Vista crash on me, and it can actually use the 8GB of RAM I've got installed, as well as the fact that 64 bit Photoshop is Windows only for a while and I've come to really like CS4.

I've also decided to not replace my desktop, but rather upgrade it instead. Next week, Intel's new i7 processors will be available, along with the new motherboards and DDR3 memory that goes with them.  I've been eyeing and waiting for them for a while, but you know what?  My Core 2 Quad 6600 is pretty darn fast, and as I've said, I've already got 8GB of RAM, so why replace all of that for not that big of a speed boost for what I do? In fact, I think the only thing I ever wait for the CPU in Photoshop is the lens blur filter on the rare occasion I use it.  Most of the time I wait to save my 500MB layered 16bit PSD files.  Which brings me to the changes.

Currently I've got 5 hard drives in my machine. 1 old 74GB Raptor as a boot drive,  1 500GB RAID 1 array for random documents and downloads, and another 1TB RAID 1 array for photography.  That's a grand total of about 1.6TB of space on the built in Intel RAID controller on the motherboard, and I'm running very low, easily down to below 20% space remaining on all of them.  Hard drives slow down as the fill up, so this storage situation is my big problem.

Therefore here's what I've done.  This morning I ordered a new case, 2 more 1TB drives, and a new bigger power supply.  When they arrive (part tomorrow, part Friday or Monday) I'm going to transplant my current system into the new, larger, fancier case (more on that in a moment), add the new drives as an additional photo array and my current collection across the two.  So I should end up with 2 photo arrays which are about 40% full.  I figure that at my current rate of consumption, this should easily last me a year. And since hard drive space keeps doubling, I can just upgrade to bigger faster drives next Christmas for the same price.  That said, the files from my 1Ds3 are twice the size of those from my 5D, so we'll see how well my math holds.

Initially I was thinking of keeping the storage in a separate enclosure and connecting them to the machine via eSATA, but the high end enclosures cost about $500 empty, so I figured I'd be better off just getting a bigger case and doing 7 drives internally.  This giant Lian-Li case was the answer.  Looks about perfect for my usage.

When I finally get paid for the UBS job I did a few months ago, I think I'm going to get myself a little extra treat in the form of an Intel SSD to use as a boot drive.  $600 yes, only 80GB yes, but those who have taken the plunge have said that it's done more to make their computers 'feel' fast, than any other upgrade they've ever done.  Yum.