SSD drive for my photos - it's worth it, right?

Started Jan 30, 2013 | Discussions
rfielder
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Re: SSD drive for my photos - it's worth it, right?
In reply to Sam_Oslo, Jan 31, 2013

To the original question - going from hard drive to SSD might make a huge difference, or it might make only some difference.

If your system is memory contrained, then an SSD will show very little difference.  The last thing you want to do is put an SSD into a system that does memory swapping.  SSD's have limited lifespans - you can only write to them so many times.  A top line SSD should last you around 5 years, but when Windows starts memory swapping it really, really thrashes the hard drives.  That could have a major impact on the lifespan of your SSD.

If your system is not memory constrained, and if there are no other major bottlenecks, and if your hard drive is slow, then an SSD will make a significant difference.

I recently upgraded my main system (i7 860, LGA-1156, 16Gb RAM, GTX-660 2Gb video) from a WD Velociraptor 10,000rpm hard drive to an SSD, and it makes a huge difference in many ways.  Boot time and shutdown time are not significant since the system runs 24x7, but starting all applications and loading datafiles just flies.  Loading images is faster, but not by such a huge margin.

For video editing, upgrading to the GTX-660 made a huge difference.  Sometimes, it is about the processing, not the data transfer.

I also upgrade my main laptop (Fujitsu P770, i7, 8Gb RAM, Intel graphics) to an SSD.  Actually two SSDs, an Intel 520 series 480Gb drive and an Intel 330 series 240Gb drive in holder where the optical drive used to be - pretty cool for a 12" laptop!  Again the SSD made a huge difference to almost everything.  Boot times and shutdown times are much, much faster, and starting apps and loading files is much, much faster.

Please note that the difference between my upgrades and yours is that my systems were pretty much optimized to start with.  That means that any bottlenecks were with the slowest hardware - which, in my case, were the hard drives.  In your case, I think you need another 4Gb RAM, and maybe another 12GB to go to 16Gb total, depending on how many applications you have open, and how much they use memory.  Also, the type of video and the speed of the CPU are potential bottlenecks for you.

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Robert Fielder
Brampton, ON, Canada

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arie
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Clarification: my system = WIN7/PC 4Gig RAM
In reply to Chris Doc, Jan 31, 2013

Sorry, I should have given my complete system specs up front.

All WinExp scores are in the mid 7s except for disk drive 5.2

I agree with you that 250G SSD wouldn't be big enough to hold a lot of large RAW photos + exported jpgs. I was going to store the ones that are "active" on the drive.

But it sounds like more RAM would be a better choice at this point.

Chris Doc wrote:

arie wrote:

Whenever I process RAW photos it takes a long time and my guess is that it would take a lot less time with an SSD drive. Does anyone else use one for their photos? For under $200, it seems like it's worth the extra speed.

OCZ Agility 240g

ADATA XPG 256g

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1500 years ago, everybody knew that the Earth was the center of the universe. 500 years ago, everybody knew that the Earth was flat. And 15 minutes ago, you knew that people were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow. -MIB

The links you gave are for laptop SSDs. Are you using a laptop?

Usually you would configure your SSD to be your operating system (OS) drive and have a large capacity hard drive to hold your pictures. Laptops don't typically have 2 hard drives slots. So I'd say that if you have a laptop and only have space for 1 hard drive then I wouldn't recommend an SSD because it won't be large enough to hold all of your photos.

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arie
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Re: SSD drive for my photos - it's worth it, right?
In reply to Yemble, Jan 31, 2013

Yemble wrote:

arie wrote:

Whenever I process RAW photos it takes a long time and my guess is that it would take a lot less time with an SSD drive. Does anyone else use one for their photos? For under $200, it seems like it's worth the extra speed.

OCZ Agility 240g

ADATA XPG 256g

When partitioned correctly, SSD can make a HUGE difference to the performance of a PC and especially a laptop. I have a mixture of SSD, fast SATA HDs and a Synology NAS with low power WD Red drives. I do all of my photo editing on SSD and then back up to the NAS. I have both OCZ Agility 4 and Vertex 3 SSDs plus an older Crucial S300. The Vertex is probably for PCs, but the Agility is ideal for a laptop.

The price of SSDs is dropping, but IMHO they are worth buying at any price.

Ok, good point. But SSD aren't really for any specific platform (given that they fit). I assumed I could use any SSD on my PC with the same result. I'm aware that different SSD drives have different specs, speeds and reliability.

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1500 years ago, everybody knew that the Earth was the center of the universe. 500 years ago, everybody knew that the Earth was flat. And 15 minutes ago, you knew that people were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow. -MIB

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Yemble
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Re: SSD drive for my photos - it's worth it, right?
In reply to arie, Jan 31, 2013

arie wrote:

Yemble wrote:

arie wrote:

Whenever I process RAW photos it takes a long time and my guess is that it would take a lot less time with an SSD drive. Does anyone else use one for their photos? For under $200, it seems like it's worth the extra speed.

OCZ Agility 240g

ADATA XPG 256g

When partitioned correctly, SSD can make a HUGE difference to the performance of a PC and especially a laptop. I have a mixture of SSD, fast SATA HDs and a Synology NAS with low power WD Red drives. I do all of my photo editing on SSD and then back up to the NAS. I have both OCZ Agility 4 and Vertex 3 SSDs plus an older Crucial S300. The Vertex is probably for PCs, but the Agility is ideal for a laptop.

The price of SSDs is dropping, but IMHO they are worth buying at any price.

Ok, good point. But SSD aren't really for any specific platform (given that they fit). I assumed I could use any SSD on my PC with the same result. I'm aware that different SSD drives have different specs, speeds and reliability.

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1500 years ago, everybody knew that the Earth was the center of the universe. 500 years ago, everybody knew that the Earth was flat. And 15 minutes ago, you knew that people were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow. -MIB

I suppose the point I was trying to make is that laptops are typically compromised in so many ways that they cannot fully utilise the bandwidth of a top flight SSD... so the cheaper Agility series is more than adequate.  A top-end PC mo-bo, on the other hand, can push the SSD to its limits, so the higher spec. Vertex series can make more sense.

Partition alignment is crucial for top performance and not something that you can rely on the OS to get right!  On Windows, it is advisable to use DISKPART and align all partitions to 4096.  You should also ensure that the Windows paging file and temp folders are on SSD, as well as any caching locations, eg. for PhotoShop.

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j900
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bottleneck for RAW processing is the processor speed, not the disk speed
In reply to arie, Jan 31, 2013

SSD won't help here - the amount of data of a RAW file is just a few megs / tens of megs. That amount of stuff is quickly moved around by any hard disk drive. Where you computer suffers is in the processing - you should get a new processor/computer if you want your RAW speed to increase.

I use LR 4 on a 2009 laptop and its age starts to show. I upgraded the drive to a SSD a year ago, speed in LR did not change. However the whole computer experience is much nicer, applications launch faster, the machine is overall more responsive.

Bottom line is: get an SSD if you want a more responsive computer, but this is not going to improve your RAW processing speed.

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