Hi Mark, moving up to a faster drive should help you, because the base (and edited) images themselves are large in your case. So even if you have plenty of RAM and plenty of cores, you're likely limited by how fast you can read the darn file off the disk (and write it back to the disk).
Thanks Eric, good point. If I wait long enough maybe I'll be able to get good SSDs in a high-powered desktop. That should be awesome.