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Author Topic: Separate SSDs for Lightroom and Photoshop  (Read 1233 times)

David Eichler

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Separate SSDs for Lightroom and Photoshop
« on: January 26, 2018, 06:40:34 PM »

Is there still a significant performance advantage to using separate ssds for cache/scratch if you have a modern well-spec’d machine with a large, very fast internal ssd? If so, does that apply even if the other ssds are external via thunderbolt or usb3?
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Farmer

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Re: Separate SSDs for Lightroom and Photoshop
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2018, 08:28:23 PM »

"It depends".

What you don't want to do is to have the application and/or the operating system or some other application trying to access the same drive at the same time, even with a fast SSD.  It's worse on spinning media, of course, but the principle is the same with an SSD and there is a a potential performance hit if you have access clash.  The point of a dedicated drive is two fold - make it fast (and often it was smaller so that the speed/price combination wasn't outrageous) and make it exclusive to avoid access clash.

Even with a fast machine and SSDs, if the OS decides to swap out to drive from memory or is reading or writing data for whatever reason (the file itself, the catalogue, and so on, depending on which application you're talking about) then you can have a performance hit.

Of course, the real world impact of that performance hit is really the important question.  If it's not affecting your ability to do what you want to do, then that's all that really matters unless you're trying to benchmark.

Personally, I have my catalogue on a very fast M.2 drive which also serves as scratch disk if I'm using PS (I'm not going to be doing disk intensive things with both applications at once), and this works really well, but I doubt very much that using the OS fast SSD would seriously degrade performance in any real-world way.
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Phil Brown

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Re: Separate SSDs for Lightroom and Photoshop
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2018, 10:36:48 PM »

All images on external SSDs
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digitaldog

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Re: Separate SSDs for Lightroom and Photoshop
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2018, 12:17:28 PM »

"It depends".

Personally, I have my catalogue on a very fast M.2 drive which also serves as scratch disk if I'm using PS (I'm not going to be doing disk intensive things with both applications at once), and this works really well, but I doubt very much that using the OS fast SSD would seriously degrade performance in any real-world way.
My experience as well. Dedicate a drive for just images, LR catalog, previews etc.
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Andrew Rodney
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David Eichler

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Re: Separate SSDs for Lightroom and Photoshop
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2018, 01:03:40 PM »

My experience as well. Dedicate a drive for just images, LR catalog, previews etc.

Even if an external drive that is slower than the internal one? My internal ssd rates at over 2,000 mb/s for reads and writes. My external SSD via Thunderbolt 2 rates at between 400 and 500 mb/s for reads and writes.
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Farmer

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Re: Separate SSDs for Lightroom and Photoshop
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2018, 03:10:07 PM »

Even if an external drive that is slower than the internal one? My internal ssd rates at over 2,000 mb/s for reads and writes. My external SSD via Thunderbolt 2 rates at between 400 and 500 mb/s for reads and writes.

How often are you accessing how many images of what size?

It's like printer printing speed.  For a production house doing proofs or print-for-pay, then speed probably does come into it.  For an individual photographer, it doesn't really matter if the dozen prints take a total of 30 minutes or 60 minutes (as examples).  So it comes down to whether or not you want to pay a premium to make it as fast as possible, or a relatively lower price to make it as fast as it needs to be (i.e. where it doesn't hold up your workflow).

My system, with very fast SSD for OS, M.2 for scratch/catalogue, and USB3.1 connected DAS with a collection of spinning hybrid drives in RAID 5 for local image files is far more than I need, speed-wise, to work without delays or lag in Ps or Lr, feeding a hexcore i7 and 64GB of fast RAM.  It might not suit others, of course.  If I have a bulk processing job on lots of files, I can even put them on a RAM drive for the duration of the processing and then move them back to other storage (this can work really well, but is rarely needed and in the long run obviously takes extra time for the movement back and forth, but in terms of watching how fast an app can perform, RAM drives are faster than any other storage so it looks impressive :-)

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Phil Brown

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Re: Separate SSDs for Lightroom and Photoshop
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2018, 12:01:29 PM »

Even if an external drive that is slower than the internal one?
Yup. Plus the internal is an SSD at 500 gigs while the external is 8TB USB-C. Lots and lots of space for photo's, catalog, etc. If and when an 8 (or even 6)TB SSD is available and doesn't cost as much as the Mac, I'll go that route.
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Andrew Rodney
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David Eichler

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Re: Separate SSDs for Lightroom and Photoshop
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2018, 05:33:17 PM »

OK, to sum up, I have the following main hardware storage resources: 500GB SSD in a 2018 iMac that is extremely fast, 500GB Sandisk SSD in an OWC Thunderbay 4 enclosure via Thunderbolt 2 (via adapter), image files in a hard drive Raid 5 in OWC Thunderbay 2 enclosure via Thunderbolt 2 (which is backed up to other JBOD hard drives in another enclosure). I currently have LR catalog/previews, LR/ACR cache and PS scratch on the computer's internal hard drive (though I used to have these on the external SSD when working with another, slower computer). Also, I import the images to the computer's internal ssd and process them while there. When processing is finished, I move the images to the RAID for long-term storage. Based on this setup, how would you distribute the various processing operations?
« Last Edit: January 28, 2018, 05:43:53 PM by David Eichler »
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Joe Towner

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Re: Separate SSDs for Lightroom and Photoshop
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2018, 10:55:50 AM »

I'd keep doing what you're doing.  The internal is more a NVMe drive, not a SSD, so it's much faster than the SSD.  You're also losing a bit of speed with the 500gb Sandisk in the OWC, but it's fine out there 99% of the time (at some point you may want a usb3.1 enclosure for it).  As long as the photos make it to the external OWC before the cards are erased, you're fine as is. 

The only use case I'd be worried about is if the Mac up and dies mid-edit, and that you still have access to all the original photos on non-internal disks.  I hate Murphy, but if you plan for the worst, you'll be covered.
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David Eichler

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Re: Separate SSDs for Lightroom and Photoshop
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2018, 02:35:51 PM »

I'd keep doing what you're doing.  The internal is more a NVMe drive, not a SSD, so it's much faster than the SSD.  You're also losing a bit of speed with the 500gb Sandisk in the OWC, but it's fine out there 99% of the time (at some point you may want a usb3.1 enclosure for it).  As long as the photos make it to the external OWC before the cards are erased, you're fine as is. 

The only use case I'd be worried about is if the Mac up and dies mid-edit, and that you still have access to all the original photos on non-internal disks.  I hate Murphy, but if you plan for the worst, you'll be covered.

Thanks. That is what I thought. Btw, I back up the internal drive too (I did not list all of the backup drives before) , and do not reformat the cards until I have finished processing the images.
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