Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Tech Thursday – HP Z420 Workstation

Windows Workstations

It may sound strange in this day and age, but I am a PC guy. Almost all of my photographer friends have machines that run some version of Mac OSX, but I remain a Windows user. Since college, I have assembled my own computers from parts that I select for no other reason than for fun! It used to be a nice hobby to hand select parts, put them together, tweak all the settings to get the most out of the hardware, and enjoy until the upgrade bug hits again. This has served me well. I have not had to rely on “geek” companies to keep my PC running. The internet has so many enthusiast communities that allow you to troubleshoot your own computer, and better search algorithms allow you to search for your specific problem easily.

 HP Z420 Workstation


Now, my PC is more than just my email and hobby machine. I need it to run software essential for my business – design, office, financial programs. Additionally it need to run the Adobe Creative Suite that I primarily use for editing photographs.

Apple makes great products. I have a number of iPads to show photos at events, as well as an iPad and iPhone that I use daily. But when it comes to the back end, I prefer using machines that I can tinker with when things start to act funny. Unfortunately, I no longer have the time to work on my PC as a hobby. I need a professional workstation that is built to work on complicated projects. Also it needs to remain online with multiple applications running simultaneously.

My last PC was a home-built machine with an Intel Core Q9550 processor from a few years ago. After lots of specs comparison, I decided to become an HP guy. They had a monitor that was rated well for editing photos. So I decided to pair that with a machine from their Z Workstation line, the HP Z420. It is based on an Intel Xeon E5-1650, 8GB of RAM, and I added a Samsung 840 SSD as a boot drive for Windows 8.

Adding the drive was so easy as getting inside the case was as easy as pulling the big handle on the side to open (see first photo). As my first upgrade in quite some time, this workstation runs Adobe Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 4 much faster which is sorely needed as I go through the thousands of ballroom dance photos every year. Let me know you have any questions on the hardware choices.

HP Z420 Workstation

 TimeLine Media –

New setup

I have been going through a huge upgrade phase – partly for my business, and partly because it was just time. Being that it has been a while since I changed my technology, I have had a lot of time to think about the new setup. I last upgraded the desktop PC in 2005, and it was starting to choke on all the ballroom dancing pictures! So, I have a new Core 2, 64-bit system that is running well for the last month. It took some time, but I figured out a good backup scheme for all the data I’m accumulating. It involves a Windows Home Server which was made from the previous computer and other excess drives lying around. I feel a lot more secure – I hope that it lasts!

Today is a good day to put in a blog entry – It is the 4th wedding anniversary for me and my wife! I can’t believe that it has gone by this quickly. We have been through so much – almost all good things through these four years that the time has really flown by. I wonder if she feels the same way! Well, I thank her for all her support in trying this new career, and I’m trying my best to make it work for the both of us! Happy Anniversary!


First week

I have worked my first week with a working professional photographer in downtown Washington D.C. It has been a lot of work, looking at images, reviewing, converting, uploading, ordering. Not only do I have to do these tasks, but I have to learn the workflow of someone else. Being that she is a very successful photographer with a lot of jobs to work on, I am getting into the groove as quickly as I can. There is much more to do on the back end than I thought, a little overwhelming actually!

A new (used) Nikon D200 arrived today. This was a needed tool for me to continue my new career path. My aging D100 is no longer acceptable as a “professional” tool. I hope the new body will serve me as well as the old! I downloaded a freeware program, Opanda IExif to see that the used D200 only had 1400 actuations on the shutter prior to my receiving it. Good news as I need practice with this thing before my next wedding!

Although I have not heard comments on my images that they are not professional, sometimes you need to upgrade your camera gear if that is holding you back. Presently, the new job has given me the funds to invest in a new camera body. With this purpose in mind, it will hopefully be a good investment as I can get more work soon. Subsequently, I may have better images to post to the blog soon!


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