The Ever Changing World of Digital Photo Processing

July 12, 2015  •  1 Comment

As photography gear has progressed in the world of camera bodies and lenses available to us as photographers, so has the world of computers, networking, cloud storage and software available to us.  It's an ever changing world of gadgets and mobile devices as well.  The introduction of more and more mobile devices has led us on yet another journey in our photography as I began looking at our processing workflow.  Not only are we working from home but we are able to work remotely now as well.  I will cover more about that in a later blog, but for now I wanted to touch base on my core processing system.  

Recently as I was downloading over 1500 images from one of our events I realized I was losing valuable photo editing time waiting for everything to download to my computer before I could really dig into the processing side of things.  It's not that the computer I had couldn't handle it, but there was a definite drag on the system as I would try and multi-task and do probably more than I should all at once it became more of a nuisance than anything.  I'm a little impatient when it comes time to dig in and work.

I thought to myself.... hmmm, maybe its time to look at a new computer system. It had been over 5 years since I built the last computer and computers have come a little ways since then as I started to look at what was new on the market.  Gone were the days of quad-core processors and memory limitations.  I thought to myself that maybe someday I will have to probably consider an upgrade.

Well a couple of weeks back I got an email from HP and they had some promotional things going on for their computers systems.  I cautiously opened the email to see what kind of deals they had.  At first I thought, oh its just the standard computer's on sale.  Nothing what I was really looking for, but then I looked a while later and got re-directed to another page that I hadn't seen before. BEHOLD... the world of custom built and Octa-Core Processors!  New to the market just a few months ago, they have now made it into production machines. Did you hear me?  EIGHT PROCESSING CORES!  A new world in pc computing for sure!  Sorry Apple lovers, you don't have them yet.  You're still stuck with quad-cores! (What's a computer review without a little PC vs Apple love?)

I began building a custom configuration just to see how much this new photo processing beast just might cost.  As I worked my way through all the options I soon realized that it was more than just the processors that had changed.  I now had many more options.  Memory?  What is this? 32 GB of ram?  Unheard of before the new chipsets and motherboards had arrived.  I continued to build my next dream machine... one component at a time.

As I headed to the shopping cart to check on the damages I soon realized that HP was running a pretty kick butt promotion.  The custom configured system not only was on sale but there was an additional 30% off savings.  Now, how could any tech geek pass up a deal like this?  Well I sat on it for a few days and thought about whether or not I wanted to make the upgrade.  The more I continued to process photos and each second that I waited for things to happen as I worked through my thousands of images I realized it was time for a change.  Every second counts when you're behind a computer for many, many hours at a time processing images and I decided that I just can't afford to waste anymore valuable time while I processing images.

And so... I pulled the trigger!  Thank you for your order it said!  And now I had to wait a couple of weeks for it to arrive.  I kept busy and didn't think to much about it.  The two weeks went by and HP delivered as promised.  Upon unboxing I made to sure to check out the internals of course.  And it was nice to see a clean and compact build design.  The video card took up half the space as she is sporting an Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 video card with lots of onboard memory to give us a boost with the new Adobe GPU processing capability.  As I worked my way around I had to admire the new newest chipset by Intel as well.  An OCTA-CORE beast known as the i7-5960x Extreme.  It comes liquid cooled and sporting a very cool radiator system to pumped the heat away from the chip as its chugging through thousands of images in Lightroom and Photoshop.  I plugged it in and began to breathe life into the newest member of our family.  YES... computers are family.  We live on them more than we spend with real people some days so they might as well become family. We talk to them, smack them when they get out of line and even shout a few choice words from time to time.  How can they not be like family?  

So after an hour of re-cabling and getting everything ready to go and connected to the network I spent the next 12 grueling hours getting all the system updates, software installations and fine tuning completed.  I never like this part as its pretty intense and lots of things to do but I know in the end its all worth it.  You just gotta keep at it!  She's now up and running and all I can say is WOW,  what had I been missing?  I immediately launched Lightroom CC and imported some photos. How much faster could it possibly be, right? Well let's just say... ALOTTTTT! Importing and DNG conversions along with image previews chugged away at an astonishing rate.  Minutes instead of hours of waiting to complete the task!  

I thought I was done being impressed at this point and then I switched to the develop module in Lightroom and WOWZERS... I was again blown away at the GPU accelerated processing that Adobe released in the latest CC version of Lightroom.  I immediately saw the bonus of running a graphics card with extra on-board memory to really boost the overall performance.  As I switched between standard and accelerated it literally gave me twice the speed flipping through images and rendering them.  This thing is CRAZY FAST!

I still have a few things to tweak as I get back into my full workflow processing images again and then I will give a final review of the system.



For any of your techno geeks out there.  Here are the specs:

Windows 8.1 Pro
Intel i7-5960x Extreme Octa-Core Processor
32GB DDR4 Ram
512 SanDisk Solid State Drive (SSD)
2TB Secondary Drive
Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 4GB GDDR5 FH GFX Video Card
SuperMulti DVD Burner
802.11 with Blutooth Wireless Network Card
Bang & Olufsen Sound Card




Milton Findley(non-registered)
You have a souped up version of a Dell 8900 series computer. Well done.
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