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My Photo Editing Setup: Disks

I use Lightroom and Photo Mechanic as my primary photo processing tools. If I’m editing in the field everything happens on my Macbook Pro laptop. But if I’m editing at home I will use a Mac Pro 8-core Nehalem with a main disk and two backups. I recently reconfigured the disks to get more space and improve performance. My setup involves 3 sets of disks onsite and another disk offsite:

1. Main disk that Lightroom accesses for the images and catalogs is a 1.5TB Raid 0 strip set that’s made with 2 x 750GB disks.

2. Primary backup is a 2TB Western Digital Caviar Black disk. This disk is a top performer in the non-enterprise disk sector

3. Secondary backup is a Drobo (1st gen) with 2.3TB of capacity that’s expandable to 5.5TB of storage

4. Offsite disk: Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB 7200RPM

When I come back from any shoot I load all the images onto the main disk from the CF cards. I don’t delete the images from the CF cards until after editing. I do the selects and upload them to the wire service. Then I copy the images that haven’t been discarded to the primary backup and secondary backup. using a simple app called SilverKeeper.

The Raid 0 disk array is made with Apple’s Snow Leopard operating system. No special hardware. The write speed is stunning. 230MB per second or twice that of the primary backup disk. When I run out of space I will probably swap the 750GB disks with 1.5TB ones and double the capacity. The risk of a Raid 0 is that a disk failure will take down the array so that’s why I backup immediately after every editing session. A small price to pay for the speed.

Here’s a snapshot of the disks:

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