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Thread: Computer system for processing & storing 8x10 scans?

  1. #1

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    Computer system for processing & storing 8x10 scans?

    What computer system specs are required to process 8x10 16bit 2400dpi colour and neg scan files. The files themselves could have anywhere up to 50 layers in Photoshop.

    Additionally, what is the best storage system once the files have been scanned and processed?


    Please outline a mac and a PC option if you can along with approx price.

    Thank you.

  2. #2

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    581

    Re: Computer system for processing & storing 8x10 scans?

    I used to use a Mac Pro but I switched to a Dell Precision Mobile workstation for my 8x10 scans. Price varies with configuration but averages about $2-3K. You wouldn't need the top Quadro cards for photography. I have 32GB RAM installed and Photoshop handles the files just fine (which routinely go over 2GB in size).

    I have 5 backups which rotate on various HDDs. One of those backups exists abroad, rotating every 6 months.

  3. #3
    Preston Birdwell
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    Re: Computer system for processing & storing 8x10 scans?

    If you have an idea as to how large the files in GB are, talk to Puget Systems. These guys know their stuff about building high performance custom machines (PC's). Also, their customer service is the best I've seen for a computer vendor. If you tell them what you are planning to do with the computer and what level of performance you expect, they will guide you to a solution without trying to up-sell you on a bunch of stuff you don't need.

    I have two of their computers: An Obsidian desktop and one of their Traverse 15" laptops. Both are great machines. I can open a 2 GB 16-bit PSD file in about 7 seconds.

    I suggest that you go with an SSD for your OS drive, and regular HD's for storage and back up. You can put your OS, programs and working files on the SSD with all other stuff being stored on regular drives.

    I have no affiliation with the company, other than being a very satisfied customer. Tell them I sent you.

    --P
    Preston-Columbia CA

    "If you want nice fresh oats, you have to pay a fair price. If you can be satisfied with oats that have already been through the horse; that comes a little cheaper."

  4. #4

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    Re: Computer system for processing & storing 8x10 scans?

    Oh, only Dell and HP provide onsite technician visits worldwide in the warranty for business machines if that's important to you. W/ Lenovo and Fujitsu it's country dependent.

  5. #5
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Computer system for processing & storing 8x10 scans?

    You can build a top-notch system for around $1k (monitor not included). i7 processor, good motherboard with plenty of SATA ports, 16GB RAM, SSD for Windows/programs, and all the accouterments, and you're ready to roll.

    It's really not that hard. I built my first custom rig when I was 15.
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  6. #6

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    Re: Computer system for processing & storing 8x10 scans?

    Quote Originally Posted by Corran View Post
    You can build a top-notch system for around $1k (monitor not included). i7 processor, good motherboard with plenty of SATA ports, 16GB RAM, SSD for Windows/programs, and all the accouterments, and you're ready to roll.

    It's really not that hard. I built my first custom rig when I was 15.
    It's true that you can buy good spec components cheaply, but remember that they haven't been tested together. a big name pc will have been thoroughly tested to ensure that air flow to critical components is correct, that heat sinks are correctly specced etc. etc. This does make a difference.

  7. #7
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Computer system for processing & storing 8x10 scans?

    Except they've recently started to really standardize the parts and their designations. You can buy, say, an "X-15" (just made that up fyi) motherboard, which will have the same basic specs from Asus, Intel, or any of the component manufacturers.

    A quick Google search will give you a synopsis on what others' experiences are with XYZ company's version of "X-15" and how it interacted with ABC company's RAM, or video card, or whatever.

    With a couple hours of deciding on parts and then Googling any compatibility issues, you are pretty safe from problems. It's a lot easier to do this for such a simple computer like one needed for editing scans - compared to computers that need to run dedicated hardware like for audio/video systems and the like, which I have a lot of experience with as well.

    In fact, you can just Google up entire system configurations that work perfectly together and have been tested by hundreds of builders, and then just order those parts. Slap them together like Lego and you are ready to roll. Even if you are totally unprepared to do that, there are probably dozens of experienced system builders in any city or town that would be happy to build the system for a modest fee. I've built dozens of custom rigs for local folks, both for simply doing office work all the way up to complex audio workstation systems. I've never had a serious incompatibility problem between two components.
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  8. #8
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: Computer system for processing & storing 8x10 scans?

    Quote Originally Posted by MisterPrinter View Post
    This does make a difference.
    ,,, in the price, but not in performance.

    I've been building personal computers since 1973, ten years before the IBM PC was introduced, for
    both "personal" and "business" uses, including some very large computer-controlled systems.

    There are only two critical factors:
    1) Buy only name brand products with a proven track record for reliability and customer service, and
    2) Install every fan that the housing can hold, both front and back. High temperature will kill any PC.
    Run all fans at full speed, disabling any "speed control" in the PC BIOS or system configuration.

    If at all possible, arrange high-volume airflow directly over the hard drives. Those dudes generate a
    lot of heat. They're much happier if you help to get rid of it.

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

  9. #9
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Re: Computer system for processing & storing 8x10 scans?

    In a perfect world you'd want photoshop to have around 5X the memory of your largest typical file size. This will vary depending on your editing habits and prefered settings (cache size, memory states, etc.)

    If you're really going to be working with that many layers on files at that resolution, no system is going to be fast. 32GB ram is where most systems top out, and it's not enough. You will do a lot of waiting.

    I don't think you have to worry so much about storage, considering the typical workflow volumes with 8x10. And considering that there aren't enough hours in a year to work on huge numbers of files of that size and complexity. Storage speed is not as big an issue as you might think. When opening and saving layered PSD files (or compressed TIFs), the compression routines are all single-threaded. So the processor, not the drive, is the bottleneck. Annoying as hell, but I've been assured by engineers at Adobe that there's nothing to be done about it. You could, of course, save your files as uncompressed TIFs, but that would be trading gluttony for one kind fo punishment for another.

    You don't have to worry at all about video cards. Photoshop currently does very little image processing in the GPU. Just a couple of odd filters, and some display acceleration.

    I'd suggest keeping an archive copy of your raw scan and doing the work on a somewhat lower resolution copy. At 2400 dpi you are greatly oversampling the finest detail likely to be found in an 8x10 neg. People don't like to hear that, but I can almost guarantee it. Unless you're working with selective focus at fairly wide apertures and can nail the focus with that camera (and don't have issues with film sagging, etc..) either diffraction or slop will act as powerful, money- and memory-saving low-pass filters.

  10. #10

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    Re: Computer system for processing & storing 8x10 scans?

    Quote Originally Posted by Leigh View Post
    ,,, in the price, but not in performance.

    I've been building personal computers since 1973, ten years before the IBM PC was introduced, for
    both "personal" and "business" uses, including some very large computer-controlled systems.

    There are only two critical factors:
    1) Buy only name brand products with a proven track record for reliability and customer service, and
    2) Install every fan that the housing can hold, both front and back. High temperature will kill any PC.
    Run all fans at full speed, disabling any "speed control" in the PC BIOS or system configuration.

    If at all possible, arrange high-volume airflow directly over the hard drives. Those dudes generate a
    lot of heat. They're much happier if you help to get rid of it.

    - Leigh
    You pays your money, and takes your chance. I co owned and ran a computer maintenance company catering to the UKs biggest newspapers for 18 years, I saw a lot of failed machines in that time.

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