Hard Drive Advice: Speed and Security.
Here’s a quick tip on increasing the speed of your computer as you churn through all those files. At the same time, you will also increase your protection against data loss and drive failure. Here it is: use two hard drives, rather than one. If you are on a desktop, you can install a second internal drive into your computer, if you are on a laptop, you can use an eSATA or Firewire connection to an external hard drive. This second drive will act as your “working drive” on which you will store all of your image files. All of your programs, etc will go on the original drive. My drives are simply named “Macintosh HD” and “Working Drive”. There are several advantages to a multiple drive system, including, faster operation, minimizing drive failure and simplifying backup.
Traditional hard drives work much like a record player with an arm that must move back and forth between different tracks on the disk to access information. The only exception to this is a solid state hard drive; solid state drives have no moving parts, but have less space and are very costly at the moment. When using only one drive, the reader must move back and forth from one position to another when accessing the program and system files and to a completely different area on the disk to access the photos. Each time it has to move, there is a slow down in the operating speed of your computer. The less it has to move, the faster your computer will be. By separating the photos onto a completely different hard drive, you are allowing the photo access to be done by one hard drive and the system and program access to be performed by a completely different hard drive. This means that both hard drives can work simultaneously one accessing information and feeding it to the computer. Your computer can now operate twice as fast.
Minimizing Drive Failure:
As described above, the hard drive has moving parts. The more the moving arm on the reader has to move, the more wear and tear on the arm increases and the more opportunity there is for drive failure. Drive failure is a scary thing that can potentially cost thousands of dollars to fix. BY using a second drive to house only your photos, you will decrease the required wear and tear on both your program drive and your “working drive”. This will give you extended longevity on your hard drives.
By housing all of your photos on a working hard drive, you can mirror that drive with a backup drive of the same size for ultimate data security without having to backup gigabytes of programs and such that you do not necessarily need to back up. Your “working drive” backup will simply be backing up all of your current jobs and nothing more. This is a clean, space conscious way to backup everything that is in process in your studio. Using a backup software program (which usually comes with any hard drive like a LaCie drive) to “mirror” the drive. When you mirror a drive you are only backing up the changes to that drive, so each backup is very quick because the photos and files on your working drive are not changing all that much from backup to backup.
If you are using only one hard drive in your current system, weather you are using a laptop or a desktop, I highly recommend adopting a two drive system for the three reasons I have just detailed. It is simply a better system: faster, safer and cleaner.
By: Pictage Member and Phoenix Wedding Photographer Jared Platt.