Just a little more storage

Just a little more storage

I recently got a warning from my hard drive monitoring software that all was not well with one of my external hard drives, and although everything is backed up both locally and to the cloud, I decided to replace it and another that I got at the same time.

They were both 2TB drives that I used to store the RAW files of my pictures on- think of them like the digital negatives from the camera, I use Adobe Lightroom & sometimes Photoshop to edit them and then save the edited files as jpg’s that I can upload and share etc. One was the working files (basically every picture I’ve taken since I got serious about digital photography and started shooting RAW, just under 100,000 files, about 1 1/2 Terabytes), and the other is basically the backup to it, a second copy of all the same files.

Now a 2TB drive is not really a 2TB drive, due to the way bits and bytes are measured in different ways and depending on who’s doing the measuring, so each of these drives actually only has 1.81TB of usable space (if you’re really interested a good explanation of why this is can be found here). This meant that not only was one of the drives starting to show some errors, but they were both getting towards being filled up in the near future (especially since the new Sony A7iii I have on order creates RAW files almost half as big again as those created by my Canon 5Diii). So I decided to replace them with 2 x 4TB drives so I will not only have room to spare for a while, but I can also do a little housekeeping to separate out some of the church pictures from the family stuff (though there is a lot of overlap).

And instead of just getting  pre-packaged external hard drives, I decided to get USB 3 docks that I can just plonk regular desktop hard drives into- this allows me to chose the right drive for each purpose and will make replacement down the line much easier and cheaper. And as I really like the way they look, I did a little rearranging of my office shelves so they are out in the open rather than being stuffed away out of sight- Crispy calls it my “shrine to digital information”, especially as I added a fan to keep the drives cool and a light to show them off 🙂

I got a regular Western Digital drive for the backup but a high-performance Toshiba drive to store the working files on- after testing them against the old drives the read and write speed of this setup is over twice as fast as the old drives, so that should help to speed up my workflow a lot!

It’s crazy when you add up all the storage my computer has compared to the first computer Jackie and I bought- that was a Mac Performa 575 that had a 160MB hard drive. My current Xeon powered HP workstation has 2 x 256GB SSD drives, an internal 2TB hard drive, the 2 new 4TB external drives, and one of the old 2TB external drives (that I’m keeping as a redundant backup as it’s still working OK), as well as access to the 2TB of storage in my NAS (“network attached storage”- 2 x 2TB drives in a RAID array that any of the computers on our home network can access), for a total of 14 1/2TB.  Once you do the math of what that actually comes out as (about 931 gigabytes per terabyte- if you’re not sure why click the link in the third paragraph) it comes to 13.4995TB or 13,499.5GB or 13,499,500MB.

That’s a staggering 84,371.875 times more than the Performa we had 24 years ago! Yes, you read that right- my current computer has nearly eighty-five thousand times more storage than my first one- wow!!!

And if you want to run the rest of the specs for the fun of it, the processor in the Mac was a single core 33MHz, the Xeon in my workstation is 3.5GHz with 4 cores and 8 threads, so each thread is 106 times faster and as there are 8 of them it is 848 times faster overall; and the Mac had 4mb of RAM, and my workstation has 32GB of RAM, 8,000 times more. Those are pretty impressive numbers, but I still can’t get over the 85,000 times more storage! We still have the old Mac in our storage room- it might be fun to pull it out and see if it will still boot up…




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