New Computer – Falcon Northwest

Ron Niebrugge California, Miscellaneous, Photos, Travel, Wildlife 12 Comments


I had always heard that best way to bring attention to a blog is to write something controversial.  Little did I know, my decisions to replace my digital darkroom with a PC instead of a Mac might be controversial, but 24 comments and a bunch of links later, it was by far my most active posting.  There actually was a lot of valuable feedback in that post from many people and I really appreciate it. 

So now that I have used my new Falcon Northwest digital darkroom for a few weeks, I thought I better provide an update to that threaed.  And since I’m sitting on a plane – what a perfect time to write!

First off the computer was packaged beautifully, and arrived in great condition.  They could have saved a couple of trees – it arrived in 5 separate boxes – and I didn’t even buy a monitor!

In one of the boxes, was a nice large case with all my documentation including specifications and test and benchmark results for my exact system.  It was very complete!

Attached to the side of the computer was one of those diagrams that comes with most computers describing what each of the ports on the front and back is used for.  The difference was, mine didn’t have a lot of ports that included the word “optional”.   No my diagram was exactly for my computer and showed the exact layout of my computer.  The top of the form was even personalized with my name on it – cool touch.

The case its self was beautiful – it was a very solid, metal case with heavy metal doors – I could park our car on this thing. 

The computer, not surprisingly is very fast, and the entire experience with Falcon Northwest has been a joy.  I still can’t get over how nice it is to call them up and have a knowledgeable human answering the phone and questions!

Now to my biggest concern, and that was my decision to opt for the 64 bit version of Vista.  I did this so that I could utilize 8 GB of ram – having plenty of memory is important when working large files.

At the same time I purchased my computer, I also purchased an 8 port switch to add to my router – I really thought I was looking for trouble adding these things all at once, but that is what I did.  I connected my old Windows XP computers, and my new computer running Vista 64 to the new switch, and turned the whole mess on and to my pleasant surprise – everything worked!  The Vista 64 computer found my network and old computers, and I was off and running!

My next concern was drivers for my existing monitors, printers, monitor calibration devices etc.  I went on-line, downloaded the latest drivers for all those devices, and so far everything has worked perfectly.

I had forgotten about our off-site SimpleTech external hard drives – we brought those home for updating before this trip, and even they were plug and play. 

I also had concerns about some of my software since I use a number of programs created  by basically a one person operation including IMatch, BreezeBrowser and FotoBiz and FotoQuote.  So far they have also worked without a hitch.

I might add, I like the Vista interface, but there isn’t a single feature or function that seems like an improvement over XP, and a few things are not as fast such as copying between folders.  But what I have gained is the 64 bit capability.

So in short, I’m feeling pretty good about my decision.  Not a single crash or hang-up – maybe that has to do with the requirement of for signed drivers, I’m not sure, but so far, so good!

Comments 12

  1. Hi you two,

    Thanks for the great write-up!!! Maybe we will go that route next time. We also use PC’s.

    Also, the shot above is really beautiful!!!

    Have a great time in Southern CA and AZ !!! (I love !!! too. Ha Ha)


  2. You made it to So. Cal – the weather has been great for the past week! I know you probably miss the snow, but shorts in Feb. – NICE! Hey, I think I still owe you a beer.

  3. Ron, I have heard nothing but good things about Falcon, and your experience just adds another. Glad to hear everything is working out. It is quite a pleasant surprise when you just plug things in and they work like they are supposed to without any fiddling around. Usually my experiences are quite the opposite, but it is like a breath of fresh, mountain air when it happens.

    I was hooking up my MacPro last night, a bit nervous about how it would connect to my home network setup by my PC – and whatdayaknow – the PC showed up right there on the Mac – I browsed some shared drives on my PC, it was really surprising.

    I will eventually have to decide if I also want a Windows install on another drive…. Vista still has me nervous. 64 bit is definitely tempting because I eventually plan on having quite a bit of RAM. I probably would only install a Windows partition for games, so I am still a bit undecided.

    BTW, killer shot!!

  4. Ron,

    Thanks for using our SimpleTech drive, and glad everything worked out well for you.

    I can’t tell everyone enough to backup, backup, backup your content and beautiful photos. Being in the storage industry for almost 10 years now, I’ve heard tragic stories of people losing their cherished digital content… all it takes is one unfortunate incident and they’ll never let their data go unprotected again. Glad to see you’re ahead of the game.

    Like most photographers, I see you’re on the road a lot…Maybe you need a Black Cherry, Kiwi, Blueberry, Cool Mint, Bubblegum or Marshmallow Portable USB 2.0 Drive –

    Take care, and here’s wishing you good exposure, interesting vantage points and lots of storage!

    Erin Hartin
    Corporate Communications
    Fabrik, parent company of SimpleTech, G-Tech and Joggle

  5. Hey Ron,

    I thought you were kidding. You really bought another PC? Not a Mac? No wonder you raced off to the ‘outside’ without showing your face up here. 🙂 🙂

    Seriously, congrats on the computer, and best of luck with it. I know a new toy is always a treat.

    Have a good and safe trip.



  6. Post

    Hey thanks everyone for the comments!

    Erin, great to hear from someone from SimpleTech! We have a bunch of those external drives – 3 of them at three separate locations each! I think I will do a separate post on the topic – I have never had a single problem with one of your drives – I like to talk up good products!

    Carl – You don’t think the cold had anything to do with me slipping out do you 🙂 Thanks bro.

    Mark – I wondered how networking a Mac and PC would work – glad it went so smooth and that you are so happy with your new machine!

    Rick – I will never pass up a beer!

    I really appreciate the kind words.

  7. now I’m looking at the Falon Northwest website right now too. My Dell crashed for the 2nd time in a week today and won’t reinstall this time. after 6.5 years I guess its time for a new one. 🙁 My hang up is that Windows Vista scares me from what I have read on NPN.

    Ill have to read your other post to get some ideas for what I need.

  8. Post
  9. maybe I should have been and this wouldn’t have happened… I’ve been looking into Dell XPS / Precision v.s. Alienware. The XPS is more to my price liking but don’t really like the limited options namely the video card and the Vista. I do like the duo Intel chip though. Alienware is popular among gamers too but i’ve read some good and bad reviews on the net about their service. too many choices.

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