As such, this is not a typical 'photo' post so do skip if your are already feeling drowsy.
I bought my computer from Chillblast and it is designed for photo-processing, if you are interested, you can see more here
mine is the Photo Lite version from a few years back. One of the things it boasts is RAID of which I had no idea what it meant and what it does. Subsequently I learned that the computer has two identical hard disk drives (HDD) and that in 'RAID 1' one drive is the mirror of the other so that if one fails, your data is protected. All well and good but... the data on the one drive got corrupted and not being picked up by Windows, the corrupted data was copied onto the other drive it seems and so I had a backup of corrupted data. Motto of this story is even with RAID protection, an external back up is still essential.
Replacement Hard Drives
The old HDD was 1TB which was nowhere near enough with all the system 'junk' let alone all the pictures I take. Accordingly I thought I would upgrade and I ended up putting in 2x WD Green 4TB drives.
However, I may have made a mistake here (as Iearned when I continued to investigate my computer's inner workings). The speed of HDDs is heavily impacted by their rotation rate (rpm). Ideally you want 7200rpm, but guess what? On the slower drives they don't tell you what the rpm is - I think it is 5,400rpm but it does seem to work okay, but more of that later. There is a wide range of drives available, and of course, better drives cost even more. On the plus side, the Green drives are energy efficient reducing power consumption and heat build up in the PC.
Now that I had the back off and was having a poke, I thought that to turbo-charge my computer, maybe more RAM would be a good idea and for about £100 I bought 16GB of RAM to upgrade the computer from the existing 16GB to 32GB. However, I subsequently learned that Windows 7 Home Premium only supports 16GB for reasons only know to Microsoft so the upgrade is useless... for now. However, with Windows 10 set for release on 29th July and free upgrades available for existing users, I'll get the full benefit of the extra RAM in later this month.
While your processor and RAM seem key to the speed of your computer, experts also suggest that data transfer rates to/from your hard drive are more often the bottleneck.
Cunningly, my computer like many PCs these days features two distinct hard drives (not meaning the RAID 1 thing above). Rather, while the HDD stores your luggage as it were, a separate drive, a Solid State Drive (SSD) runs the operating system, and SSDs are much quicker. So why not make the whole thing a SSD? Simply because they are also a lot more expensive.
With the SSD also getting full I decided to upgrade that as well from 120GB to 256GB with the new SSD costing about the same as the 4TB HDD! After I installed it however, I thought I would run the comparative read/write speeds for the drives. There's lots of software readily available to do this. I am using Samsung Magician which came with the SSD.
First, the traditional hard drive (HDD) which has a read speed and write speed as shown below.
My new plan then is to store my photoshoots on the traditional HDD but when it comes time to edit the shoot, which may be 1,000+ pictures, to move the folder with the RAW files to the SSD first so that Lightroom can work at super speed as I move through the images. Also, as indicated, some of the slower speed might be due to a wrong choice of HDD (I should have opted for Red or Black it seems; Red is also better for RAID configuration - oh well, live and learn).
Not everything then has gone smoothly with the transition and there were times when I wanted to kick it. There were times when I thought I had broke it. Even now I am still finding the odd hiccup, but it seems to be running well enough. Time will tell.
That said, the upgrade to Windows 10 is going to be the next big thing and it's not so far away. Fingers and other body parts crossed that we all survive the transition.