Hardware upgrades, software upgrades, and new LCD

My desktop

I finally gave in and ordered the Dell U2410. My basic thought process was that the HP equivalent was too new and didn't offer anything persuasive above the Dell. The 27" and 30" versions were perhaps more expensive than I'd like. And if I didn't like the U2410 because it had banding or a color split, I could take it back.

Thankfully, mine seems to work just fine. A breath of fresh air compared to the CRT's decaying state. I'm incidentally glad that I skipped out on all of the earlier, nastier, smaller, and lower quality LCD displays because I had a perfectly good CRT.

So, that's the result of all that pondering...

I've been joking, without being especially serious, that I really ought to upgrade away from Photoshop 5.0 now that CS5 is out. But, given that it's so damn expensive, I'd not been bothering too much. I also figured that, instead of just getting Photoshop, I really ought to get a decent percentage of the suite.

Yosemite Monolith

Now, I've been running out of disk space. I don't actually fill up drives as fast as most other photographers because, while I'm shooting film and scanning it as full-resolution TIFF files, it's not practical to shoot 500-1000 frames of film in each and every shoot. But I had 2 500gb drives and a 160gb drive and they were all full. And the oldest drive, over 5 years old, is my 160gb drive, which has my software and email and other things like that. So it was really starting to be time for a rebuild and upgrade.

I decided, somewhat randomly, that I really ought to upgrade my computer if I'm going to go through the trouble of reinstalling everything from scratch. So I got a new Core i5 CPU that's the same GHz as the Pentium 4 it replaces, except that it's 4 times as fast. And I got a pair of 2 TB drives in a RAID 1 array for the new system drive.

While rebuilding, I went in with my data-vac and canned of compressed air to get all of the accumulated dust out of my system. It turns out that, while doing that, I managed to get dust into the video card fan's bearings. So when I put the new system together, it was impressively quiet.... but that's because the video card fan wasn't spinning properly. Which was causing mysterious crashing that confused the heck out of me. I wiggled the fan a bit and got it to spin, so it's fine... for now.

While researching video cards, I checked what video cards were supported by CS5 as a guide for what I'd want. I don't really game anymore but I figured I might as well get something useful for editing. And that's when I discovered that CS5 is 64-bit only (I'm not prepared to bother with a version upgrade of the OS.. I'm still on XP).

To make a long story short, my wife managed to find me (at a price I was prepared to pay and less than CS5's retail price) one of the few remaining copies of the Production Pro bundle of CS4.

But I still need to get a video card. Given that I've been doing audio stuff again as well as photography, I'm trying to figure out if I should get one of the fanless video cards or if I should get a quiet video card with a fan. I think that the chassis for my system is fairly giant and probably has enough ventilation already for a fanless card...

I spent a few hundred bucks on the upgrade. I agonized over every penny of it, too. Now, the topic of switching to a Mac has come up. I've got (although I didn't pay for it) an iPad. My wife has a MacBook and an iPhone. I use a MacBook Pro at work. I've got a Linux box and a Linux web server. But I look at what sort of a Mac I'd want to have as my "main" machine and I'd pay far more that way. Even if I were to get an iMac instead of a standalone display.

And then, as one of my photographer friends demonstrated when his G5 tower started to get unreliable, I'd have to spend that money again in a few years once it was obsolete. Instead of gradually swapping and tweaking like I tend to do.


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