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Thread: Got my imaging workstation sorted in the end....

  1. #1
    [Ex]Admin Duncan's Avatar
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    Default Got my imaging workstation sorted in the end....

    Following on from this thread, I realised I hadn't posted a subsequent 'update' for anyone that 'may' have been interested.

    After several people, both on and off the forum, recommending HP instead of Dell, after looking at the HP kit in more detail I decided to go for that. So I ended up with an xw6600 workstation.

    Main spec is...
    • Quad Core™ Intel® Xeon® 5420 (2.5GHz, 2x6Mb L2 cache 1333 MHz FSB) processor (option to add a second processor)
    • 8Gb (4 x 2Gb) DDR2 PC2-5300 (667Mhz) ECC fully buffered memory
    • 250Gb SATAII primary drive (came as standard)
    • 80Gb SATAII secondary drive as Photoshop scratch disc. Didn't need to have oodles of Gb of storage in the workstation as all my data is on a RAID5 Terabyte NAS.
    • NVIDIA Quadro FX 570 (256 MB) graphics card.
    • Windows XP 64 bit edition
    • 3 year next day onsite warranty
    Plus the usual plethora of USB sockets, Firewire on the front, PCIe/PCI slots, GigaBit ethernet etc. and a LightScribe DVD/CD burner. It's also all in a very neat mini-tower, only 17cm wide and 43cm tall.

    Whereas before my previous workstation was also used for the day-to-day stuff as well, this one is used soley for imaging side of things and I'm very, very happy with it and came just at the right time. Had it a good few weeks now and it absolutely flies through the RAW processing and Photoshop is a dream to use now.

    A nice upgrade path for the future is that with the motherboard being dual-processor I can stick in another processor and have eight cores! Also with only four out of the eight memory slots being used I can stick in another 8Gb (4x1Gb) without having to ditch any of the current memory - or I can have 32Gb by getting all new memory (8x4Gb) but that'll be huuuugely expensive and I'm not sure if even XP x64 would take advantage of it - so the second processor would be the first upgrade.

    So with that one being used for just imaging, I got another HP desktop to use for the day-to-day office stuff. Nothing as meaty as the workstation, but still a decent spec - Intel® Core™2 Duo processor E8400 3.0Ghx, 6Mb L2 cache 1333MHz FSB / 2gb DDR2-Synch DRAM PC-6400 / SATAII 250Gb / XP Pro 32bit and again the usual plethora of connections and a LightScribe DVD/CD burner.

    All I really added to it was a separate graphics card in place of the onboard stuff so that I had a DVI connection for the monitor. A friend had an Nvidia GeForce 8600GT (512Mb) that they had going for £20, so I got that and stuck it in.

    I stuck with the monitor mentioned before - Eizo CG241 24" widescreen - the quality of which is simply absolutely stunning! Calibration all done by a gizmo that plugs into the monitor. So both PCs are connected into that as it has two DVI inputs and the Logitech USB cordless mouse and keyboard going through a KVM switch to keep it all neat with just one keyboard and mouse.

    As I'd been working on dual-monitors previously (19" CRT and 15" LCD) I had thought about having a second (cheap 17") monitor to dock all the Photoshop palettes etc. on, but the main monitor is managing quite nicely in terms of having everything on the same screen - so if I can manage like that without taking up desk space with a second monitor then that'd be good. I'll see how it goes for the moment - I may end up still going down the second monitor route again.

    So, I think that lot will keep me going for a good while before I need to change anything. It'd better 'cos I'm skint after what it all cost!!

    I'd just like to thank JuzzyD for a lot of useful info he gave during the process, and for initially steering me down the HP path and also to carteg for similar useful info. Cheers chaps!

    D

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    Regular Member JuzzyD's Avatar
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    I'm so envious lol! One day...

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    Regular Member Perry's Avatar
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    Most of that went woosh, but judging by all the numbers etc it must be pretty inpressive

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    Regular Member Penfold101's Avatar
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    Must get round to finishing modding./building mine so I can post up the specs on here...

    And FYI Duncan, Windows Vista Ultimate can address up to 128Gb or RAM...

    I'll stick to 8 or now.......

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    [Ex]Admin Duncan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perry View Post
    Most of that went woosh, but judging by all the numbers etc it must be pretty inpressive


    Quote Originally Posted by Penfold101 View Post
    And FYI Duncan, Windows Vista Ultimate can address up to 128Gb or RAM...
    Ah right - cheers. The workstation came with Vista Business with an option to 'downgrade' to XP Pro 32 bit - but as I wanted 64 bit I had to get an OEM version of that separately and I didn't want Vista - still not convinced about it. I wasn't sure what XP 64 bit could address in total, but seeing as Photoshop CS2/CS3 (being 32 bit apps) can only address 4Gb any more than 8Gb any more would be pointless. What 'may' make me get Vista 64 bit is that the latest version of Photoshop just released (CS4) is 64 bit - but only in Vista 64 bit, not in XP 64bit.

    So, until I'm convinced about Vista then I'll be sticking with XP. The performance increase between Photoshop in 32 bit and 64 bit is 'only' around 10% ish, so not exactly a huge difference.

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    Sounds like a great bit of Kit Duncan!

    For reference I am running Vista 64 on my box, with LightRoom 2 and CS3. So far all is well and aren't the colours just stunning on the Eizo :-)

    Andy

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    Ex Vec-C Admin & Founder Graeme's Avatar
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    PRETTY MUCH woosh for me too

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    [Ex]Admin Duncan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bandrew View Post
    Sounds like a great bit of Kit Duncan!
    Quote Originally Posted by bandrew View Post
    For reference I am running Vista 64 on my box, with LightRoom 2 and CS3.
    You'll be able to take advantage of the 64 bit in CS4 then if you upgrade. I'm looking at getting LightRoom 2, but I'm waiting until my RAW software is compatible with it. It's a plug-in in the RAW software that can pull in selections etc. from Lightroom. It (the RAW software) only works with v1 currently. As v2 has only been out a short while I'm sure they'll sort that out soon enough.
    Quote Originally Posted by bandrew View Post
    ...and aren't the colours just stunning on the Eizo :-)
    Oh yes indeedy! You got one too?

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    Yeah, got the Eizo and a Lacie, the Lacie is used for album edits, the Eizo for all the colour work in LR2. What cameras you using that LR2 can't handle? PhaseOne backs?

    Off to New York in a few weeks to get 2 5d MK II's

    Andy

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    [Ex]Admin Duncan's Avatar
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    Blimey, sounds like you've got more kit than I have! The same model Eizo?

    It's not that Lightroom can't handle my cameras. My RAW software (DxO Optics Pro) has a plug-in that lets it talk to Lightroom and pull in selections that have been done in Lightroom, but it currently only works with v1 of LightRoom. I'm sure they'll get a plug-in for v2 soon enough.

    I'm very interested to see a 5D Mk II in the flesh - sounds very nice. What sort of $ (body only) are they selling for over there? At some point next year I'll probably get one and then the 5D will become a spare body/backup. Hasselblads 40% price cuts are making the price of their entry level stuff very close to the hi-end 35mm stuff though! That sort of kit (the Hasselblad) would then make my medium-format film camera completely redundant!

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