Tag Archives: apple

OWC Aura Pro X2 SSD Preview

The OWC Aura Pro X2 1.0TB NVMe SSD Upgrade for the Mac Pro 6,1 (Late 2013)

The Mac Pro (Model identifier: MacPro6,1, late 2013) is a frustrating machine in some professional environments. On the one hand, it’s a genius piece of design, with a radically revolutionary cooling system which works wonders, very quietly, in a form factor which is truly unique.

The Mac Pro (model MacPro6,1 – late 2013) with the outer case off, showing the standard 256Gb Apple SSD. August 27, 2020. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

On the other hand though, it’s an extremely limited machine that allows for extremely little internal expansion; something which frustrates many professional users, myself included. Around five years ago though, I had to take the jump and reluctantly got a middle specced machine. My two previous Mac Pro machines had been the affectionately known as the cheese grater chassis. Hugely expandable, with four internal hard drive bays, several expansion slots and dual optical bays that many, including myself, converted to housing SSDs. However with the need for more video and larger raw files, the time came and I got my Mac Pro (3.5GHz 6-core Intel Xeon).

I these expandability terms though, the 2013 Mac Pro though, is extremely limited. One of the big problems is single internal hard drive; in this case, a blisteringly fast NVMe SSD, which is tiny in physical size, and unless you have sizeable funds, is also small in capacity when bought from Apple.

I made do with the built in 256Gb SSD for around 4 years. Moving my Desktop and Document files to my iCloud kept things manageable, but I could only ever have around 22Gb of free space, which would occasionally fill up with cache files (no idea from where, as everything configurable was always assigned to an external SSD attached via Thunderbolt 2 for scratch disk purposes) and constant system messages telling me to clean up my Macintosh HD. Super frustrating, a time waster when on deadline and impossible to do as there was nothing to throw away or configure differently.

I’ve been a huge fan of OWC, having used their various SSDs, RAM and external drive boxes for probably over a decade. In fact, this very machine’s RAM was upgraded as soon as I bought it from the standard 16Gb, using the 64.0GB OWC Memory Upgrade Kit.

The OWC Aura Pro X2 1.0TB NVMe SSD (heatsink attached) for Mac Pro (Late 2013) with some of the supplied tools. August 27, 2020. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

In the end, my frustrations pushed me to looking into upgrading my Mac Pro 6,1’s internal, Macintosh HD, SSD. After a few days of thought, I realised the sweet spot, both for usability and financially, would be opting for the 1Tb size. I also decided to go for the kit, which includes an external case called the Envoy, to house the Apple 256Gb SSD and use as an external drive. So I headed to OWC’s European shop and ordered the Aura Pro X2 SSD for Mac Pro 2013 1TB Kit. The other capacities available are 240Gb, 480Gb and 2.0Tb.

The Apple SSD has been removed and the OWC Aura Pro X2 1.0TB NVMe SSD for Mac Pro (Late 2013 – on the right) is ready for insertion. August 27, 2020. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

As with everything from OWC, all the specialist tools you need are supplied, along with superb instructions on their website. Upgrading the SSD is very straightforward and most should be able to do it. One crucial thing to check is that you’re running macOS High Sierra 10.13 or later. This is an absolute must, as with High Sierra onwards, the firmware of the Mac Pro 6,1 is updated automatically, which will allow for support of the OWC SSD.

Although I have a Time Machine backup that runs constantly, for extra safety, I formatted a Samsung T5 SSD and made a fresh Time Machine backup onto this (you can have multiple Time Machine drives). I also got another external drive and using Carbon Copy Cloner, cloned my Macintosh HD. Always better to be safe!

As with anything computer related, switch everything off and never touch any part of any circuitry. The static charges that we can build up can fry circuitry, so take your time, be careful and don’t touch anything that’s a circuit or a connector. Once the outer case is remove, you simply unscrew the one retaining screw for the Apple SSD and slide it upwards and out. You need to carefully attach a small heatsink onto the OWC SSD to allow it to cool properly. Whenever attaching a heatsink, its always paramount to make sure you don’t touch the surface of the chip, to ensure it’s clean of any grease or debris. This allows the heatsink to adhere fully and properly, aiding in removing heat to maximum efficiency. Then install the OWC SSD card (firmly yet gently, making sure it’s seated completely in the socket on the motherboard), secure it with the supplied retaining screw, put the outer case back on, lock, attach your cables and you’re almost ready.

OWC Aura Pro X2 1.0TB NVMe SSD for Mac Pro 6,1 (Late 2013) is fitted and the retaining screw is in place. August 27, 2020. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

I opted to use the Time Machine backup on the Samsung T5 to restore my Mac onto the new OWC SSD. On power up, I held down the Cmd-Opt-R keys until a startup screen appeared. Then formatted the drive using Disk Utilities to APFS. Once done, I chose the Restore From Time Machine Backup option. Chose the Samsung T5 as a Restore Source, then chose the new OWC SSD as the destination, which I had named Macintosh HD in Disk Utility on the previous step and clicked on Restore. There are full instructions for formatting the OWC Auro Pro X2 SSD and the various ways of installing or restoring your data on the OWC website. With every step, you have a helping hand. Just make sure you make a couple of backups as I did, as a safety and peace of mind measure.

I went off to get some dinner, but I think in under an hour the “new” Mac was up and running. As always after a restore, you may need to log back into a few things, but apart from this, everything was running smoothly and perfectly.

OWC Aura Pro X2 1.0TB NVMe SSD for Mac Pro 6,1 (Late 2013) is fitted and the retaining screw is in place. August 27, 2020. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

I’ve been using my Mac Pro with my new 1Tb OWC Auro Pro X2 SSD for thee days now. I haven’t switched off the machine and it’s been purring along, speedily and without any errors or space issues. With the mightily impressive new Mac Pro (2019 model, MacPro7,1) being so ridiculously expensive and priced well out of the single creative professional’s budget, many of us will be looking at upgrading our current machines to get more out of them. Apple Macs have in my decades of experience, shown that they work well for many years; much longer than one would expect a computer to work. However with more demands from us with bigger raw files, heavier bit rates and ever larger video pixel sizes, our machines need the occasional boost.

Even with the upgradeably challenged form factor of the affectionately called Dustbin Mac Pro, changing simple things like the SSD and upgrading the RAM to 64Gb (128Gb is possible, but from my research for most workflows won’t bring much if any improvements over 64Gb – your needs may vary though, so do your research), can bring a new lease of life and usability. Plus, it comes with a five year warranty. Its a no-brainer!

British Life Photography Awards 2018

Winning Image, “Life At Work”

Thrilled to start the new year with some wonderful news! I’m extremely happy to share that the photograph “Love Your Job” has won the Life At Work category of the British Life Photography Awards 2018.

A heavy downpour of rain soaks pedestrians as they pass an illuminated advertising sign saying “Love Your Job”. Hammersmith, London. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian
  • Leica M9
  • Leica 35mm Summicron ASPH

The good news continues as the judges have very kindly commended three of my other photographs.

A child runs around whilst bathed in rays of sunlight in the turbine hall. Tate Modern, during a heat wave bank holiday. Bankside, London, UK. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian
  • Panasonic Lumix G9
  • Leica DG 50-200mm f2.8-4.0
A portrait of model Jordan Ebbitt. London. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian
  • Olympus OM-D E-M1
  • M.Zuiko 12-40mm f2.8PRO
Behind the scenes as Sotheby’s prepares the Gunter Sachs Collection for sale (2012). Sotheby’s will be offering close to 300 works of art from the prestigious single owner collection. Allen Jones’ mannequin furniture (1969) from Gunter Sach’s bedroom in St Moritz. Each individual piece is estimated at £30-40,000. Hatstand and Table are unwrapped by the technicians. Sotheby’s, New Bond Street, London. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian
  • Leica M9
  • Leica 35mm Summilux (FLE)

Exhibition

Many congratulations to all the winners; there are some truly beautiful photographs selected by the judges. The winning and commended images will be exhibited in a travelling exhibition, which I hope many of you will be able to see. A book of the selected images from 2018 will also be published (but is not yet listed, so keep an eye out on the website).

  • Mall Galleries, London 18th to 23rd February 2019 
  • Banbury Museum, Banbury 16th March to 12th May 2019 
  • The Garden Rooms at Tennants, Leyburn, North Yorkshire 20th July to 3rd September 2019 
  • Redbrick building, Glastonbury, Somerset, 14th September to 13th October 2019

The post processing of the images were done on my Apple Mac Pro using Eizo CG monitors, using Adobe Lightroom (and finished in either Alienskin Exposure or Nik Collection Silver Efex Pro plugins).

Cooling Fans

Keeping Your Hard Drives & Computer Cool

The warmest room by far in most  homes is the home office, mainly because that’s where the computer and the hard drives live. Any creative will generate loads of data (pictures, video or audio) which means loads of hard drives for storage and backup. Even though some external hard drives have fans to keep things cool, once these pile up, pockets of hot air form and have an effect on both the active (fan) and passive (heatsink) cooling of hard drives. Excess heat can result in hard drive failure and on computers erratic behaviour at best or failure of internal components at worst.

A powered USB hub and a pair of USB fans cool down my hard drives. July 18, 2015. Photo: Edmond Terakoian

A powered USB hub and a pair of USB fans cool down my hard drives. July 18, 2015. Photo: Edmond Terakoian

Server rooms in offices have specific air-conditioning installed to keep the storage arrays cool, but alas most of us won’t be in a position to do that. Next best thing is to move the hot air away from the drives and also to cool the air falling upon and into them.

A powered USB hub and a pair of USB fans cool down my hard drives. July 18, 2015. Photo: Edmond Terakoian

A powered USB hub and a pair of USB fans cool down my hard drives. July 18, 2015. Photo: Edmond Terakoian

A very simple and cheap solution is to install a powered USB hub and plug in some USB fans. These will cool down the air and also move the air around. Simple, cheap, easy and effective.

A USB fan cools down the air before it get's sucked into my MacPro. July 18, 2015. Photo: Edmond Terakoian

A USB fan cools down the air before it get’s sucked into my MacPro. July 18, 2015. Photo: Edmond Terakoian

Another use for the simple USB fan is to have it cool down the air that’s sucked into your computer by it’s own internal cooling fan. By cooling the air outside the computer, the computer’s internal cooling system has a more effective job of keeping the CPU, GPU and internal hard drives cool. Incidentally, having a fan blow cooler air towards the air intake on your laptop will have the same effect (on Apple MacBooks it’s the hinge between the screen and keyboard. On PCs it’s sometimes the same place and sometimes on one of the sides).

Naturally, on hot days, the same technology can be used to cool you down too!

Good places to source this equipment will be Scan, Amazon or Dabs.

Apple Drops Aperture

Aperture Will Cease To Be Developed

Sadly, Apple announced on June 27th, 2014 that it was no longer going to develop Aperture. It is indeed a sad announcement and one that was upsetting in many ways. Aperture has been my platform of choice for over seven years, for all my image processing, organising and archiving. Even my video and audio work go through Aperture. The news even resulted in a  sleepless night; I must have woken up five times and every time I awoke, I was thinking about how my workflow is going to cope with the loss of my favourite software.

A screenshot of Aperture v3. Photos © Edmond Terakopian /2014

A screenshot of Aperture v3.5.1. Photos © Edmond Terakopian /2014

The announcement from Apple:

“With the introduction of the new Photos app and iCloud Photo Library, enabling you to safely store all of your photos in iCloud and access them from anywhere, there will be no new development of Aperture,” Apple said. “When Photos for OS X ships next year, users will be able to migrate their existing Aperture libraries to Photos for OS X.”

The Future For Aperture Users

The good news is that there’s no need to panic and take immediate action. When Yosemite, the next version of Apple’s OS X is released this coming autumn, I’ve been told that Aperture will be updated to work with it. Also, as the raw updates are OS based, all new raw updates will work within Aperture. What this means is that after launch, Aperture will carry on functioning fully for a 12-18 month period. So no need to panic and take drastic action. The new Photos App is set to release early 2015.

Apple's new Photos App for OS X Yosemite. Photo: Apple

Apple’s new Photos App for OS X Yosemite. Photo: Apple

Apple and Adobe are working together to come up with a way to help Aperture users who wish to move over to Lightroom, the logical choice, to migrate their libraries of images over. However, the biggest problem and one which seems insolvable (at least for now) is that Aperture adjustments won’t translate into Lightroom adjustments. Hopefully all metadata, library structure, versions of files and naturally all the raws will come across ok.

Another upgrade path for those Aperture users who aren’t professional or advanced enthusiasts, is Apple’s own forthcoming Photos App. Certainly the first version of the App seems to be very much consumer. However as Apple updated and upgraded FCP X, maybe Apple will do the same with Photos and it will on later releases have Aperture’s functionality? This is pure speculation and hope on my part.

Personally, my course of action is going to be waiting to see what and how the migration tool(s) will work. I have an Aperture archive of well over half a million images, spanning decades of work, so any decision I make cannot be done lightly and without research. Apart from migrating my libraries of work, I also have to update all of my onsite and offsite backups to work with whatever my new system will be. It’s highly likely to be Lightroom, but it does all depend on how things pan out. It’s worth keeping hold of your Aperture libraries for now, just to see how the Photos App develops; who knows, perhaps future versions will be of professional spec?

I’ll also be writing to Apple to explain why I think dropping Aperture is a bad idea and hope they may reconsider; I would urge others to do so too. You can feedback via this LINK.

Lastly, please share this article to help Aperture users from realising there’s no need to panic and there is time to plan a perfect strategy for each user’s needs.

Further Reading

Aperture Expert

DSLR bodies

 

1 Sixpence 1 Play

Rode Reel Entry For 2014

Two days of shooting, many days of editing; a collaboration with the assistance of Magda Rakita, who also shot the “Behind The Scenes” film and the talented Neil Patience, from TAP TV, who gave direction on the editing, and our new short documentary film is done.

It’s a story on James Millham who is a pinball enthusiast. A collector and renovator of machines from a pre-Space Invaders era, James says the best thing about his hobby is playing the games.

We shot this film for the Rode Reel 2014 competition. Part of the competition is the People’s Choice prize. If you liked our films, we’d really appreciate your support. Kindly take a few seconds and vote for us; we’d be tremendously grateful!

CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR “1 Sixpence 1 Play”;

Thank You!!

Preparing a pair of Olympus OM-D E-M1s for the first shot of the day. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

Preparing a pair of Olympus OM-D E-M1s for the first shot of the day. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

"Action". 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

“Action”. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

A Rode VideoMic Go on an Olympus OM-D E-M1. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

A Rode VideoMic Go on an Olympus OM-D E-M1. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

Testing the Rode NTG3 is connected properly to my Roland R26. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

Testing the Rode NTG3 is connected properly to my Roland R26. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

Magda Rakita filming the behind the scenes action. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Magda Rakita filming the behind the scenes action. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

Gitzo carbon fibre tripod and fluid video head keeping things nice and steady. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

Gitzo carbon fibre tripod and fluid video head keeping things nice and steady. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

Editing the piece on FCP X and a pair of calibrated Eizo CG277 monitors. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Editing the piece on FCP X and a pair of calibrated Eizo CG277 monitors. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Editing the piece on FCP X and a pair of calibrated Eizo CG277 monitors. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Editing the piece on FCP X and a pair of calibrated Eizo CG277 monitors. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Canon & Apple To The Rescue

Helping Out Photographers

Recession. Photography market devaluation. Lack of commissions. Extortionate equipment prices. Sound familiar? It’s the market for the majority of professional photographers. Things have become so bad in some segments of the market, that the money made from a picture sale sometimes doesn’t even cover the money spent on parking!

One of the problems as I mentioned is also extortionate equipment prices. Professional grade digital cameras and the pro lenses have just multiplied in cost to often ridiculous levels, with most pros bewildered as to how they are going to upgrade the tools of their trade.

There is some good news though on this front.

Canon 1DX. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

Canon 1DX. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

Canon

For those needing to get Canon’s amazing flagship camera, the Canon 1DX, there is some good news. As long as you buy the 1DX with one of Canon’s ‘L’ lenses, you can take advantage of 24 months interest free credit. No big deposit either; the cost is just spread over 24 months (interest free deal ends on January 31st, 2013). Personally I’ve found this deal extremely helpful and it allowed me to get a 1DX and upgrade my 70-200mm f2.8L IS to the new MkII version (saving £160 witht he cashback on the lens!), from the fabulous folks at Fixation. There’s even more good news; Canon are offering cash back on some of the ‘L’ lenses, and I managed to save some money too (offer until January 24th, 2013).

Apple

Apple are very helpfully also offering interest free credit, this time over 10 months. So if your MacBook Pro’s looking a little worse for wear and you need a Retina display, spreading the cost will probably be helpful!