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03-17-2009, 09:15 PM   #1
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Memory storage- what do you recommend ?

I have a Pentax K10D which has a 10.2 mega pixel sensor and is a DSLR. I take a lot of pictures and have been storing them on my Toshiba Satellite Lap Top computer.

I am not technologically literate and I realize I've been taking a chance at losing all these pictures if my computer crashes.

This morning my wife was checking on our computer to determine why it was going so slow. One of the big reasons is that I am using a really big chunk of the computer's memory to store my pictures.

I shoot at the maximum JPEG, but am thinking about doing some RAW.

I realize I should have some external memory storage and I guess further , separate storage if the external hard drive crashes.

I've got some really good pictures, IMO, that I'm afraid I'll lose.

Should I get an external hard drive, what memory, what brand, etc. ? I'm looking for something easy to install and then transfer pix from the computer to the hard drive. I would like to get something that is right up there in terms of reliability...I don't want to lose any pictures.

Should I further back up using CD- R for photo. I am starting to do this, but it takes forever. I have a Fujifilm CD-R for film...hope this is a good one.

Help? Thanks.

03-18-2009, 02:43 AM   #2
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Definately get an external hard drive (or two). I like Iomega and have never had a real problem with their stuff. (I just had a power cord problem with a 1TB drive that I use for back up at work. New power cord (as recommended by Iomega tech - good service) and the problem is gone.) I recently picked up a Western Digital 750GB "My Book" drive for my photo storage (great sale price). I don't keep any pictures in my laptop drive at all anymore. I was just warned by someone on another list that I should back up my external drive to something else as well. That's why I added the (or two) in my first sentence.
Brian
03-18-2009, 05:04 AM   #3
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You definitely should add at least one external hard drive, better two. The internal hard drive not only is used heavily by your computer and is thus prone to fail earlier (losing all data), it is also needed to actually run your system. In general I would say, that app. 30 % of the dsik capacity should be free to allow optimum speed of the computer (for caches, scratch partition etc.).

So I would do the following:

Add two external hard drives (firewire or USB 2.0) of the same capacity, make a RAID 0 (mirroring) - your operating system allows that with onboard means - and copy all images there. If you verified, that you did not lose anything during the copying, you can delete the files on your internal disk, giving your laptop space to work.

Currently hard drives seem to be the best option for storage: fast, easily accessible and reliable. Nevertheless you would need some additional backup, as you workplace can be lost (fire, water damage etc.) and all your images will be too, then. Burn all images on a set of DVDs and store them in another location for that purpose - keep that backup-set current, by adding DVDs every now and then.

I have lost a couple of hard drives over time, recently mainly Samsung drives. Needless to say, I don't buy Samsung anymore. Western Digital produced loads of inferior drives in the past, but seem to be better today (as I don't buy WD anymore, I can't say). The best drives over time in my personal experience where IBM drives and later Hitachi ones (they bought the IBM hard drive business).

My own storage system is a networked RAID 6 4TB enclosure, which makes me feel comfortable - but I still burn three DVD backup-sets for external storage.

Ben
03-18-2009, 05:13 AM   #4
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Hi lesmore49

Re your query

QuoteQuote:
Should I further back up using CD- R for photo. I am starting to do this, but it takes forever.
But the tedious fact remains that correctly stored good quality branded CD-R's/DVD's are probably still the most secure & cheapest method of archiving your pictures at present. If you're a betting man, simply ask yourself whether or not you're ultimately prepared to take the chance of losing thousands of irreplaceable images should your hard disc
go belly-up ? The charming computer acronym MTBF relates to hard drives and stands for Mean Time Between FAILURE and hence the likelihood of never seeing all your photos again ! Which is more important to you, risk or safety ? The choice is yours…….

Best regards
Richard


Last edited by Confused; 03-18-2009 at 06:54 AM.
03-18-2009, 09:03 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Confused Quote
Hi lesmore49

Re your query



But the tedious fact remains that correctly stored good quality branded CD-R's/DVD's are probably still the most secure & cheapest method of archiving your pictures at present. If you're a betting man, simply ask yourself whether or not you're ultimately prepared to take the chance of losing thousands of irreplaceable images should your hard disc
go belly-up ? The charming computer acronym MTBF relates to hard drives and stands for Mean Time Between FAILURE and hence the likelihood of never seeing all your photos again ! Which is more important to you, risk or safety ? The choice is yours…….

Best regards
Richard
Richard, especially CD-Rs and to a slightly lesser extend DVD-Rs are considerably more frail than hard drives. That has been proven often in recent times. CD/DVDs get affected by many factors like light/UV, air pollutants etc., which have much lesser or no effecvt on hard drives. Nevertheless all currrent digital storage media have a tiny lifespan compared to film, so storing images on several different media, and having backups for all these is sensible.

If you look-up "digital dark age" you will find quite a few scientific reports on the lifespan of those media.

Ben
03-18-2009, 10:14 AM   #6
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In a post a couple months ago, Wheatfield warned about DVD's "dying" and spoke from unfortunate experience. Optical media are far from perfect and definitely aren't archival. I had a Western Digital 500 gig external harddrive crap out last week. Still waiting to see if my computer whiz service guys can retrieve the images. Luckily only had a couple thousand pics on there and have DVD's of everything. Presuming the DVD's still work...I get to start all over (the DVD's are burned straight from the SD card so haven't had any captions, keywords, categorizing or anything). Hello Lightroom Library!

Someday I may get smart enough to do the mirrored RAID thing, but for now it's just making sure to have multiple "saves" somewhere in the process.

One of my computer service techs recommends flash memory over hard drives--he feels the 500 gig and 1 terabyte drives are cramming too much on the same little drive the industry has used for years. This doesn't factor in costs obviously. Anybody care to comment as I'm currently very open to suggestion...
03-18-2009, 12:30 PM   #7
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I was very sorry to hear about Ron's Western Digital 500 gig external hard-drive crapping out recently, but that kind of perfectly illustrates my point about the inherent fragility of such electro-mechanical devices. Trust me when I say that I'm in no way complacent about the longevity of either CD-R's or DVD's as a 100% long-term archival solution and to be fair I never actually claimed that they were.

What I actually said was:

"probably still the most secure & cheapest method of archiving".

This situation may well change in future as new/better technologies become available, but one has to start somewhere. As many of us are all too aware, both transparencies and prints can fade alarmingly if exposed to strong sunlight for lengthy periods, as I believe can the recorded surface of both CD-R's & DVD's, which is why I initially said "correctly stored".
Incidentally, many professional recording studios have recently found to their cost that certain brands of open-reel archival master-tape are quite fragile and often liable to shed alarming amounts of ferrous oxide when replayed nowadays, so photographers aren't entirely alone in the worrying respect of secure archival storage.

Best regards
Richard

Last edited by Confused; 03-18-2009 at 12:43 PM.
03-18-2009, 12:34 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ron Boggs Quote
In a post a couple months ago, Wheatfield warned about DVD's "dying" and spoke from unfortunate experience. Optical media are far from perfect and definitely aren't archival. I had a Western Digital 500 gig external harddrive crap out last week. Still waiting to see if my computer whiz service guys can retrieve the images. Luckily only had a couple thousand pics on there and have DVD's of everything. Presuming the DVD's still work...I get to start all over (the DVD's are burned straight from the SD card so haven't had any captions, keywords, categorizing or anything). Hello Lightroom Library!

Someday I may get smart enough to do the mirrored RAID thing, but for now it's just making sure to have multiple "saves" somewhere in the process.

One of my computer service techs recommends flash memory over hard drives--he feels the 500 gig and 1 terabyte drives are cramming too much on the same little drive the industry has used for years. This doesn't factor in costs obviously. Anybody care to comment as I'm currently very open to suggestion...
Ron, the SSD drives have a limited lifespan, too. In fact they are aimed at 100,000 per cell read/write cycles, which is much less, than a good hard drive. In fact, SSD manufacturers now claim, they are "approaching" the lifespan of hard drives - so nothing superior there, except their ability to withstand mecahnical shocks better.

As a sound solution for non-pro users I personally would buy a Netgear/La Cie/Tera etc. enclosure for 4 or 5 hard drives, fill them with server-grade drives and run that as a RAID5 system. That's cheap, reasonably fast and reasonably safe. It doesn't make externally stored DVD-backups obsolete, but at the workplace, that's okay.

What I would currently not buy is a Drobo, I confess. It sounds good on paper and when it works, its fine. But it has a severe safety problem in so far, as it has no RAID safety during the most critical operating phase, namely, when you insert a new or exchange a too small drive against something bigger. During the following rebuild, your data are vulnerable - and as this rebuild puts the most strain on the drives, it is exactly the phase were one of the drives could fail - and all data would be lost.

In my experience, using server-grade HDs is anyway a good idea, as they are produced to higher specs (not only selected from the main production run).

Ben

03-18-2009, 12:45 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Confused Quote
I was very sorry to hear about Ron's Western Digital 500 gig external hard-drive crapping out recently, but that kind of perfectly illustrates my point about the inherent fragility of such electro-mechanical devices. Trust me when I say that I'm in no way complacent about the longevity of either CD-R's or DVD's as a 100% long-term archival medium and to be fair I never actually claimed that they were.

What I actually said was:

"probably still the most secure & cheapest method of archiving".

However, one has to start somewhere. As many of us are all too aware, both transparencies and prints can fade alarmingly if exposed to strong sunlight for lengthy periods, as I believe can the recorded surface of both CD-R's & DVD's, which is why I initially said "correctly stored".
Incidentally, many professional recording studios have recently found to their cost that certain brands of open-reel archival master-tape are quite fragile and often liable to shed alarming amounts of ferrous oxide when replayed nowadays, so photographers aren't entirely alone in this respect.

Best regards
Richard
Richard, CDs have a average lifespan of perhaps 10 years under optimum storage conditions, but many will fail earlier on (I speak from experience). DVDs are not that much better. This is a well-researched problems, because it affects not only the marginal photography community, but large archives, corporate and governmental users even more.

I myself use DVD-R as backup media, but write three sets and store them in different locations. Even yet I have unreadable DVDs from time to time, but thanks to my multiple sets, I could always find at least one working copy and rebuild my backupsets. But the backbone of my archive is hard disc-based. The nice thing is, that even if a hard drive fails, it can be replaced and no data are lost. I do not even need to search for my copies, as the system rebuilds itself.

The problems with magnetic tape have long been known. There were large batches of tape manufactured even back in the 1970s (BASF had some problems then) for VCRs and reel-to-reel machines, where the magnetic coating simply fell off after only a handful of years. It was a disaster and many live recordings (tv mainly) of that time have been lost, due to that problem.

Today we still have inferior tapes out there, which have a tendency to get sticky and the tape binds together, which makes it impossible to play, without destroying it. But there are (luckily) also cures, which at least enable a single playback to make a copy on another media, in most cases.

BUT there is one big difference between modern digital media and old analogue recordings: If you have a high level of bit-failures and noise on a digital medium the whole information is lost. If you have the same amount of dropouts and noise on an analogue medium, you usually can still recognize the contents (though of poor quality) - so the information is still valuable and useable.

Ben
03-18-2009, 07:08 PM   #10
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QuoteQuote:

This morning my wife was checking on our computer to determine why it was going so slow. One of the big reasons is that I am using a really big chunk of the computer's memory to store my pictures.

File storage does not use up memory.

External hard drive is a good intermediate backup. Making DVDs may take a while but you don't have to sit there and watch them. I store on ext HD and make 2 DVD copies from time to time and keep on at home, one at work.
03-18-2009, 08:16 PM   #11
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I just wanted to echo what Special K just said.

You have MEMORY in your computer, and HARD DRIVE space.

The following isn't a perfect analogy, but it will work for our purposes.

The memory is like your short-term memory. The hard-drive space is like your long term memory. When you put pictures on the computer, they are loaded into hard drive space. When you pull the picture up on the screen, it's loaded into memory, but only long enough to display it on the screen. When you close the picture that memory is able to be used for something else.

Ok, another imperfect analogy...

Imagine you are working on a project and you need to keep track of lots of information. You install white-boards in your shop, and you have bookshelves too.

The white-boards are like the memory in your computer. The bookshelves are like hard drive space. The memory stores what you are working on now. The bookshelves store things you need to keep, but don't need at this very second.

So why does your computer go slow?

The common thing is that your memory is full. It's full of Anti-Virus programs and WeatherBug and all the other programs you're trying to use, or that load automatically when you turn the computer on.

You only have so much space on the white boards (memory). When that's full, what you end up doing is copying information from the white-board (memory) into notebooks (hard disk space) and then pulling other information out of the notebooks (hard drive space) and onto the white board.

Sometimes you notice this if you have a lot of programs open. If you have your internet program open, and then you try to switch to an email program, the computer may have to "think" for a minute, and while it's thinking you might hear it "thinking" or "chugging" ... I used to do tech support and I've heard it called all manner of things. I think you know what I am talking about.

The noise you hear is your hard drive, as it frantically tries to swap information from the memory to the hard disks and back.


Unfortunately computer companies always ship their computers with too little memory. I've seen lots of computers totally choked on memory, but only using maybe 10% of the available hard drive space.


So whilst I completely and whole-heartedly back all the recommendations here for you to get an external hard drive (backup backup backup!)...I also think you probably need more memory too.


The first thing I do whenever I get a new machine is put in as much memory as it can take. Memory is pretty cheap now days, and it's 1 upgrade you'll never regret. I am typing on my new MacBook Pro. It came with 2 gig of RAM and I promptly upgraded it to 4, the max. Checking my current system status, with several programs open (Safari, Mail, iCal, iTunes, OmniFocus, Stickies, Adium, and Preview), I am using about 3 gig and I have about 1 gig free.

For what it's worth, on my hard drive I am using about 300 gig, and have about 20 free. But I'm a file-pack rat, and I fully expect you to have much more HD space free!
03-19-2009, 01:58 PM   #12
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Thanks all, I bought a LaCie Hard drive external storage...1 TB and I use Fujifilm CD-R for Photo as a second backup. Hope it works out well.
03-19-2009, 03:47 PM   #13
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Here's something no one has mentioned. Although you can certainly lose data to a hard drive failure, you should also consider fire and theft. There are a couple things to help thwart this type of loss that will also suit the original request.

1). Use off line storage. You can rent space and upload/download via the web.

2). Use an external drive and store it off premises when not in use. This is kind of what I do. I have a 1TB My Book external that gets locked in my safe when I'm not here.
03-19-2009, 05:06 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom S. Quote
Here's something no one has mentioned. Although you can certainly lose data to a hard drive failure, you should also consider fire and theft. There are a couple things to help thwart this type of loss that will also suit the original request.

1). Use off line storage. You can rent space and upload/download via the web.

2). Use an external drive and store it off premises when not in use. This is kind of what I do. I have a 1TB My Book external that gets locked in my safe when I'm not here.
That's exactly, what I meant, when emphasizing the importance of externally stored backup-sets. Thanks for underpinning that.

Ben
03-19-2009, 06:46 PM   #15
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QuoteQuote:
1). Use off line storage. You can rent space and upload/download via the web.
That would be online storage.

(Your friendly terminology czar)
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