Building my own computer as a creative professional

On the flip side of technology-rich cameras that we have been wielding on our shoot days,  the other 90% of the time are spent in front of a computer working on those same images for our clients.

I have always had a love for computers and have purchased custom computer systems from ultra high-end builders like Boxx Computers and Digital Storm computers.  Although they build fine computers, I was itching to build my own system this time around.  Overall, it has been an incredible experience and now I am armed with a very capable system for pushing a lot of pixels around my screen.

As a photographer, you actually don’t need much computing power to run around inside Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom.  However, we recently added video service for our clients which gave me all the excuses in the world to build a system that was more than capable.  I also happen to house 12 hard drives internally (expansion cards!), because we eat through hard drives like candy.  Each event we photograph or video is around 1-3 TB of data, and by the time we are satisfied with the backups-backups-backups-backups-backups-backups-backups-backups-backups, it’s easily 9-16 TB of data spread around the world.

Here are some of the key components of my build:

  • The Brain – Intel Core i9-9900K Turbo unlocked Processor
  • The Mothership – GIGABYTE Z390 DESIGNARE – this motherboard natively integrates two Thunderbolt 3 connections which allows for fastest data transfer speeds as of this writing.  Majority (99%?) of the motherboards seem to be marketed towards gamers, so I appreciated Gigabyte’s effort in making a motherboard for the creative professionals.
  • Samsung SSD 970 EVO 2TB – NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSD for the fastest way to drive my OS and Adobe software.
  • All important RAM (Random Access Memory) for OS and application programs CORSAIR DOMINATOR PLATINUM 64GB
  • NVIDIA Quadro Graphics cards are built specifically for creative professionals, and these bad boys can easily push pixels to match our vision PNY NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000
  • I spent a lot of time looking for the right computer case – some of the requirements were to house 10-12 hard drives internally, USB-C port on the front panel, and of course it cannot be ugly.  Sweden based Fractal design achieved this – Fractal Design Define R6 USB-C

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