SSD for Photoshop?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by anthony_bez, Jul 13, 2014.

  1. Hello,
    I am setting up a workstation.... 2 x Intel Xeon E5540 Quad-Core, 36GB RAM, Nvidia Quadro FX 580 512MB.
    I will be running Windows 7 with NX-2, CS6, NIK collection.
    It has two WD 1000GB 7200RPM spinning drives fitted, but I intend to have four internal drives.
    My first thought was to add a 240gb SSD just for Windows, editing software, and a 120gb SSD scratch disk. Then change the two 1000GB spinners to 3000GB 7200RPM versions for image storage.
    But looking on Adobe's website they state "SSD's only affect start up time for photoshop, the best benefit of SSD's is for a scratch disK". But they go on to say if you have enough RAM you will not gain much benefit.
    So my question..... for photo editing is it worth fitting SSD's? or should I save money and just keep the original 1000GB spinners. One for OS and software, and the other as a scratch disK.
    Then add the two 3000GB drives for image storage.
    Cheers
     
  2. That is a seriously powerful work station. Perhaps even a bit of overkill but what the heck.
    You will love an SSD as your boot disk. My machine boots to full ready in about 30 seconds. This allows me to shut it completely off as often as I like and save some electricity. Not to mention the other benefits of a clean boot. I would never go back to a spinner for my operating system again.
     
  3. I'd keep your software and your OS on a single drive and make that drive an SSD. From experience you might consider
    getting a larger SSD than 240/250Gb in order to keep enough room for expansion in the future.

    For SSDs I like these http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/SSD/OWC/
     
  4. Both Rick and Ellis are right! As a boot disk, it's fast which is nice when you reboot (how often that is, is another story). But for Photoshop, big, fast scratch disk is key so you might want to dedicate for that sole task.
     
  5. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    I don't think you will use that amount of ram with your
    CPU choice or with mechanical hdd's.

    I've been using ssd's on two desktop builds as well as
    my MacBook Pro. Yes, one ssd for OS and applications.
    Keep your adobe cache and LR catalog on it as well. The
    second ssd is for importing and exporting your current
    files. The Samsung Evo is the best choice imo. Go 256 or larger.

    I'd use W8.1 for the increased speed and security.
     
  6. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    I haven't noticed a Windows machine use/need a scratch disk for donkey ages. With a proper computer build like yours Anthony, you wont need to worry about scratch drives as you have so much ram. In 2005 with 32-bit PS and only 2.7gb of ram, we did need one.
     
  7. I like my SSDs for system startup acceleration and such. So I would recommend getting one. Eric's point seems sound - how are you supposed to clutter 30GB of RAM (left over by your OS & ordinary software) with image data under construction?
    Rig your machine up, give it a test run and keep an eye on your task manager.
     
  8. With that much ram, I doubt you need a scratch disk at all for photos. Also, I would get a 500GB SSD and as said above, put your boot up operating system and your programs with your data on the other drives. If you must have a scratch disk than perhaps a another small SSD drive would do the trick. You don't need a huge scratch drive if any at all.
     
  9. For sure a SSD for the OS and applications - a system this powerful would be a waste not to fit one. I think in normal use, you'll notice the speed increase of the SSD a whole lot more than you will notice the second Xeon sitting there (and indeed, I'd argue a second CPU is complete overkill unless this system is also going to do heavy 4k video editing or 3D rendering).
     
  10. If you want to future proof the system for 4K video editing (if video is of any importance to you) or even watching downloaded 4K, you will need a more advanced video card. I'm not sure I'd go with a 512 meg card even for stills. I'm sure it's a given you've selected Windows 7 Pro as an OS vs the home version, which I believe is limited to working with a max of 16 gigs of RAM.
     
  11. You haven't specified what your normal file size is, so any advice given here is more along the lines of guess work.
    How much ram you need depends on your average file size. For regular single shot files in the 25-50mb size you're fine. But I do a lot of pano stitches that easily run into the 500mb + size and the 16gb ram of my present system gets used up real fast. The plan for my next system is at least 64gb (and I'd really prefer 128gb).
    An SSD, as mentioned above, is fine for both a start up disk and scratch disk though you may not need it with average size files. But it's also useful to store really large files since they can be downloaded into PS much faster than from a regular HD.
     
  12. As Mike writes, it depends on file size. Photoshop typically wants 3X-5X file size per image in RAM or it hits scratch disk at which point, SSD would be useful.
     
  13. Andrew, thanks for that information. I am regularly working with 3-5Gb (background+layers) panoramas and this explains
    why, with 16GB RAM installed, I ve been hitting the scratch disk! My sprimary scratch disc is a 1TB partition on an
    internal 3TB 7200rpm drive.
     
  14. I am regularly working with 3-5Gb (background+layers) panoramas and this explains why, with 16GB RAM installed, I ve been hitting the scratch disk!​
    And it's useful to point out that the size Photoshop reports in 2nd place holder is what it is gauging for that size or one can set Efficacity or Scratch Disk to get other feedback. Too bad we can't have multiple readout's on each doc, but you can get Info palette/panel (whatever it's now called) to show all this in one glance.
     
  15. ted_marcus|1

    ted_marcus|1 Ted R. Marcus

    I just added a SSD to my four-year-old Windows 7 computer (Intel i7-860). I migrated the C: partition from my hard disk, which includes the operating system, applications, and application data. (I've always kept my data, including images, on a different partition for ease of backup). I had previously dedicated a partition on a second hard drive for Photoshop scratch. I reset Photoshop to use the SSD for scratch.
    The SSD indeed provides a major improvement to the startup time for Photoshop. It also noticeably improves the loading of fonts, plug-ins, and features like "Save for Web and Devices." Bridge is also more responsive, most likely because it's now caching images on the SSD. I haven't noticed an improvement from using the SSD for the scratch file, mainly because I'm working with 18-megapixel digital images and film scans with only a two or three layers at a time, and efficiency is usually at or near 100% with 8GB of RAM.
    The SSD has sped up a lot of things. But Photoshop processing is not one of them.
     
  16. Thank you for the valuable information everybody!
    The biggest files I process are TIFF's from a H5D-50 and D800. I do stitch images, and have a project that will require focus stacking (hopefully only 5 or 6 stacks).
    My other workstation is Maxed out with 24GB of RAM, and on occasion has to catch it's breath. I settled on 36MB for this build as a cost effective upgrade. The older workstation has two fast 250MB spinners in RAID 0 configuration as a dedicated scratch drive. I am hoping, and expect 36MB RAM, to avoid demanding use of a scratch disk.
    The FX580 came fitted, I don't think my editing makes much use of the GPU so I am hoping that will be okay. The workstation will only be used for still photography editing.
    I am beginning to believe Adobe that SSD's do not help photoshop performance. I rarely shut down, as I normally walk away leaving it performing a batch process. So initial start speed is not an issue.
    I want to avoid going bigger than a 240GB SSD because of cost. I may try a 240GB SSD as a scratch disK, and put my current work on there to see if it speed's up processing.
    As an experiment I may leave the OS and software on a spinner, and fit another 240GB SSD later if needed.
    If anyone can say for sure image processing will be faster, then I would fit one now.
    Cheers
     
  17. You shoot with a 50mp Hasselblad and you're worried about the $162.00 price difference between a 240 and 480gb
    SSD?
     
  18. Ellis,
    Yes you are right it really should not matter..... but my present OS and software is around 120GB total, so 240GB seems plenty.
    I will be fitting four internal disks, I could fit six if needed. Perhaps one of those would be more useful to me as a 480GB SSD.
    The question still is are Adobe right that SSD's do not improve the performance of Photoshop, except for initial start up?
    Cheers
     
  19. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    I am regularly working with 3-5Gb (background+layers) panoramas and this explains why, with 16GB RAM installed, I ve been hitting the scratch disk!​
    ...yes indeed you would when doing so much heavy lifting with so little ram!
     
  20. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    I am beginning to believe Adobe that SSD's do not help photoshop performance.​
    Adobe CS6 performance guide here says otherwise. So do I :)
    You want to avoid read/write conflicts ie. putting everything on one hard drive and having your operating system, photoshop, and your image files that you are opening and saving, all fighting at the same time for access to that one drive. So, most use at least two drives, one ssd for the OS and app's, the other ssd for storing the files that are being worked on that need reading and writing (saving)
     
  21. Eric,
    I respect your opinion, and you have pushed me to go for a 240GB SSD for OS and Software. I will fit another 240GB SSD as a scratch disc.
    For image storage I will run two 3000GB 7200rpm spinners in RAID 0 configuration.
    I will fit more storage drives if needed.
    But it does seem strange that there is no conclusive answer to the performance of SSD's with photoshop.
    Cheers
     
  22. I would even consider a 1TB SSD. They're around $450 now.
     
  23. Anthony, a few considerations not related to the SSD... Since you're building a total powerhouse, it is worth doing it right and putting the money in the right spots.
    36GB is a weird compromise. The CPUs you use are triple-channel, meaning the optimum speed (and stability) would be if you use 3 completely matched DIMMs. That would mean either 24 (6x 4GB) or 48 GB (6x 8GB) - 36GB would be not equally matched and that could dent performance.
    The way things are developing, I would seriously reconsider the graphics card. More and more graphics programs (Photoshop for sure, CaptureOne as well) can make use of the graphics card to speed up specific tasks. However, this typically requires a reasonable recent graphics card with sufficient memory. For CaptureOne, for example, it is 1GB of memory on the videocard. Maybe your current generation of software does not make full use of a GPU (Capture NX2 won't, but that software is a dead-end street!), be sure that the next generation software will use it a lot more. In fact, I think scaling back to 1 Xeon and upgrading the GPU to something serious recent will yield an overall more balanced and quicker configuration.
    The second CPU is not bringing much to the table - 1 CPU offers 8 threads, and there is very little software that effectively scales beyond that. The second CPU will spend a lot of time idling - while you pay pretty dearly to have this second CPU (as dual-socket mainboard cost also a load more). I would get the fastest single-socket Xeon instead.
     
  24. Wouter,
    The second CPU is fitted (riser card) so I have no choice to make..... 36MB is the recommended configuration for 4GB moduals (9 slots) and I have purchased and fitted the RAM.
    I do agree the GPU is marginal, I will probably swap it for the Quadro 2000 fitted to my other workstation. But my present editing needs do not make much use of the GPU memory. If I do migrate to CC and GPU performance becomes a bigger factor I can upgrade then.
    Cheers
     
  25. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Sounds like a really nice fast but complicated system that perhaps might be a bit overkill.

    I tried water cooling and over clocking on my most recent computer. I bought a gorgeous Corsair
    Obsidian (?) case to fit the Corsair water cooler. Simple, maintenance free, and quite! I went with an Asus
    Sabbertooth motherboard and i7 8 core and via the Asus software, bumped it from 3.2ghz to 4.4ghz!
    It's been rock solid for 14 months now. If I was building it today, I'd go with the i7-3770K and water
    cool and over clock.

    Brad brings up a great point. The ssd he suggests is a pcie-e connected ssd and connecting via a
    pcie-e slot is much faster than the conventional sata. That Sucker would really fly with pcie-e ssd,
    much like the new Mac Pro. But, if I was going to run ssd via pcie-e, I'd probably rather get a good
    pcie-e raid controller card and plug a couple Samsung Evo 256 ssd's into it and run raid 0.
     
  26. Eric,
    Yes I intend fitting a PCI-e SSD controller card for the two 240GB SSD's.
    Your system is over-clocked and water-cooled..... but you call my standard workstation complicated?
    Cheers
     
  27. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Lol, I guess that does sound a bit wacked doesn't it? If you
    look at the corsair water cooling units, it's as easy as
    putting a normal air cooled unit on. Temps are always
    stable and never over 58* C. The over clocking is now
    done by simple alterations in the bios and a few minutes on
    a few threads for a walk through, and anyone can do it. I
    think it's remarkable in this greedy age that Intel let's
    you buy a $300 cpu and over clock it to match one of
    their $800 cpu's. If you want a fast PS machine, run your cpu over 4ghz :)
     
  28. Yes I intend fitting a PCI-e SSD controller card for the two 240GB SSD's.​
    Bad plan. Assuming mean you mean a PCI-E card with additional SATA connectors, you usually loose the ability to boot from drives connected to it. If you meant something else: there is no such thing as a SSD controller card.
    SSD drives can be connected in two ways: SATA or PCI-E (which means your drive itself is an interface card); the latter can be a lot faster, but tend to be enterprise class with matching price tags. The SATA ones are more like normal drives - and also these now already exist up to 1GB.
    I'd probably rather get a good pcie-e raid controller card and plug a couple Samsung Evo 256 ssd's into it and run raid 0.​
    I absolutely would not. With a good RAID card booting from the card shouldn't be a problem, but the speed advantages of a RAID0 with SSDs are not that huge, while you keep all the downsides of RAID0 (higher risk of failure, bigger dependency on drivers and more complications when you need to do disaster data recovery). All nice and fun if your hobby is playing with PCs and tweaking maximum performance out of them, but if you need a system to do productive work, keep things as simple as possible. The hardware discussed is more than ample, so speed isn't going to be an issue.
     
  29. I run a 500GB Samsung Evo SSD for my C drive and find it to be amazingly fast on boot and launching applications. I also have a 90 GB Corsair SSD that I run as a dedicated scratch disk. My system is running Win 7 pro with 32 GB of ram and an i7 2600@3.4 GHz.
    Because of the volume of files that I tend to work with at one time I do end up hitting the scratch disk. Having the speed of a SSD as the scratch disk really helps keep the performance where I need it to be.
    After I photograph a show and during the edit phase I will be opening as many as 100 RAW files at a time from my D4 and running batch actions on them. This will go on for 8 to 10 hours a day for as many days as it takes for me to finish the show. That is typically 4 days. I have found my system to be rock solid under this kind of a load.
     
  30. I don't understand why you're skimping on the ram. It's not that expensive anymore and makes a huge difference in operation ease. There are plenty of motherboards on the market that can handle more than 36gb.
     
  31. Wouter,
    You can boot from a SSD connected to a PCI-e card..... but I now agree it does not seem optimal to use one. I am now looking at..... http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=HD-080-OC&groupid=1657&catid=2101&subcat=2199
    Mike,
    I guessed 4GB modules (36GB) would be adequate, I can upgrade to 8GB (72GB) or more if needed. My present editing needs are not that demanding.
    Cheers
     
  32. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    With a good RAID card booting from the card shouldn't be a problem, but the speed advantages of a RAID0 with SSDs are not that huge, while you keep all the downsides of RAID0 (higher risk of failure, bigger dependency on drivers and more complications when you need to do disaster data recovery). All nice and fun if your hobby is playing with PCs and tweaking maximum performance out of them, but if you need a system to do productive work, keep things as simple as possible. The hardware discussed is more than ample, so speed isn't going to be an issue.​
    Not a huge gain with raid 0 but still there, Wouter. And yes, way too much trouble imo for the very small performance gain
     
  33. Anthony,"You can boot from a SSD connected to a PCI-e card"... not all systems can. It really depends on the motherboard (well, the BIOS/UEFI). Verify first, do not blindly assume it can. In similar vein, verify if your system can actually boot from a PCI-E card - again, not all systems can do it. If it can, that revodrive makes a nice choice for sure.
    Eric, we're effectively saying the same thing :)
     
  34. Wouter,
    Thank you for the warning..... yes I had checked my motherboard/BIOS will support booting from a PCI-e card.
    I don't need the revodrive, but it is interesting and if I am buying SSD's I may as well have a fast one.
    But I need to stop pondering as the build is starting to get out of hand. Mike has me doubting my choice of 4GB modules, thinking now I should of bought 8GB (72GB).
    I will stick with 36GB RAM, fit the revodrive for scratch or OS, and a second 240GB SSD. Swap the GPU for the FX2000. And fit two 3000GB 7200rpm spinners for storage.
    Thank you again everyone for your help!
    Cheers
     

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