Three weeks ago I got a new desktop computer to replace my “old” one.  Both were custom built machines, both made by Primisys, a small IT company in Oregon.  My “old” computer was built just over five years back and at the time was pretty much state of the art.  32 GB RAM, a one TB solid state drive for programs, and two 2 TB internal spinning drives for data.  All my images were kept on an external JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Drives) connected by via an eSATA card.  Of course, all the images were backed up — two copies — on other standalone drives.

But…it was getting a bit slow when faced with stitched Nikon D850 files, the graphics card needed to be undated, and the JBOD concept was giving me some worries about future compatibility.   Well, OK, to be brutally honest I just wanted to indulge myself with a new computer.

A few facts:  I’m not a gamer and I don’t do video and have no plans to indulge in either.  Consequently I wanted a computer primarily for running Lightroom and Photoshop, and one that would easily handle very large files.  I wanted a graphics card with enough VRAM for some of the newer third party software based on AI (such as Topaz’s DeNoise AI), and discrete drives for (a) programs, (b) the Lightroom catalog and its ever-growing file, (c) data (stuff from Office 365, my downloads folder, teaching programs, etc., etc., etc.), and (d) recent images.  And I wanted a quiet machine, since I would be sitting close to it in my office.

After a good bit of discussion with Aaron Welliver at Primisys we agreed on the specs.  I said “do it,” went off on a shoot for two weeks, and got home to the new box.  OK, for the other computer nerds out there — notice that I count myself in that group — here is a list of what I got.

Gigabyte Z390 Aorus motherboard
64 GB Corsair Dominator Platinum RAM
Intel Core i7-9700k processor
OS drive: 1 TB M. NvMe solid state drive
Lightroom drive: 2 TB NvMe solid state drive
Three 6 TB Western Digital Black 7200 RPM drives (one for data, two for images)
Nvidia Quadro 4000 Pro graphics card with 8 GB RAM
Seasonic Prime Titanium 650 watt power supply
All of this in a Fractals Design Define R6 case
Windows 10 Pro

I have the same wireless keyboard and monitors connected (two NEC PA 27-inch displays), just as before.

I’m extremely pleased with my new computer.  It’s exactly what I wanted; it’s fast, powerful, and very quiet.  The only hassle was reinstalling programs and transferring data, which took a couple of days.

I rarely need to open any of my older digital images, so these are now on a couple of standalone USB3 drives.  If I would need access to one of those files, my Lightroom catalog would tell me the image was off-line and all I would have to do is plug in the correct drive.  No big deal for the few times I might need to do so.  I file all my images in a year/month/shoot organization, and the standalone drives are labeled.  After cleaning out my old “data” drives, I realized that I really had less than three TB of “data” that I needed to keep.  Consequently, my new 6 TB “data” drive is now subdivided into two folders, one for “data” one with about two TB of “images.”  I ended up with roughly eight TB of images copied onto the new computer, with the third 6 TB drive totally clean to start 2020.  And, it goes without saying, it’s all backed up (and before you ask, I use ViceVersa Pro, a Windows-only program, for file comparison and backup).

Primisys Computers & Network,


  1. Paul Beiser November 15, 2019 at 1:53 pm #

    Hi John! Thanks for the update, one quick question… Is your Lightroom drive *just* for your Catalog and Previews, and all of your images (and backups) are on the 7200RPM hard drives?

    Thanks again..

    • John November 16, 2019 at 9:02 am #

      The “Lightroom” drive is just for the catalog and previews, nothing else. Recent images (the last few year’s take, the images I need to access the most frequently) are on the 7200 RPM drives with older files on standalone drives, plugged in and turned on only when needed. Backups of everything, “data” and images, are not kept on the new computer, but are on other standalone drives. I have two complete sets of these backup drives, one set stored in my house and one set stored off-site. Yeah, lot of drives, but then lots of files. One thing I learned long ago: backup, backup, backup. Plan for the best, prepare for the worst.