Best harddrive configuration for CS6 - editing from external HDD?

Started Mar 31, 2013 | Discussions
AlexNewstead
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Best harddrive configuration for CS6 - editing from external HDD?
Mar 31, 2013

Hi,

I'm interested in people's thoughts on editing images in Photoshop that are stored exclusively on an external HDD.

I have a new iMac with 32Gb ram and the fusion drive, (3Tb hdd - 128Gb SSD).

The OS and applications such as CS6 will be kept on the internal SSD.  I will not store any other files on the internal drive to ensure the rest of SSD and therefore 3Tb HDD section is kept free. (I simply bought the 3Tb option as it was a good price and will help maintain the mac's value when I come to sell it in the future).

I plan to use 2 external HDD's, both 7200rpm with 32Mb cache.

The 1st would be around 500Gb, (with a partitioned segment for scratch - if neccessary), connected via USB 3 or thunderbolt and would be used to dump my RAW files (just stills - around 20-30Mb) fresh from a shoot. I would then edit the 'keepers' in CS6, from this drive and save the finished files as Jpegs on the 2nd drive, which would be 2Tb, connected via USB 3 where they would stay.  I would back up from the 2nd drive and clear the 1st in preparation for the next shoot.

My other option is to use the internal drive of the mac to dump the RAW files and edit from there before saving to external but I'd rather keep it as free as possible for Photoshop as I probably will not be using a separate scratch disk.

How do people think an external HDD would perform while editing images in PS as stated, would it be much slower than internal drives and would it be much more advantageous using HHD's with 64Mb cache or swapping 1st drive for an external SSD on which to edit from?

It seems to be a case of editing from internal SSD which photoshop is also running on and scratching to, or taking a performance hit using external HDD - but how much of a hit in reality??

Also any suggestions on brands? I've been looking at LaCie D2, WD My book studio or Seagate Backup plus.

Many thanks for your time - I know I  waffled a bit!

Cheers, Alex

jacquelyn
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Re: Best harddrive configuration for CS6 - editing from external HDD?
In reply to AlexNewstead, Mar 31, 2013

I have been doing t his for a long time with my PC. Only keep software on the internal harddrive and everything else on external drive.

In the next few weeks I will be getting an Imac27 and my intent is to do the same thing.

I am a photographer not an IT person, so take my thoughts with that in mind. Have never noticed a lag or any other issues. It is as easy as opening the correct folder.

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AlexNewstead
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Re: Best harddrive configuration for CS6 - editing from external HDD?
In reply to jacquelyn, Mar 31, 2013

Thanks for your reply, you've confirmed my hopes...do you have any suggestions regarding brands or types of drive, hdd vs ssd for instance? Cheers

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jacquelyn
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Re: Best harddrive configuration for CS6 - editing from external HDD?
In reply to AlexNewstead, Mar 31, 2013

Alex,

I have been using Seagate, and Western Digital for years. However, I am not an expert in these areas and  when someone with a lot more "geek" info comes along I would certainly pay more attention

My biggest issues is upgrading as when I first started doing this I wasn't using a big enough drive.

FOr instances just today I was busy catching up with the drive I take off site and discovered it is about full and will need to get something bigger, or just use another to continue forward.

Right now I keep 4 copies for all my files, which is over kill for most. I recommend at least 2 for my students. Best practice indicates 3-2-1  3 copies, 2 media , 1 off site. I stop using cd's and dvd"s long ago when external storage dropped in price.

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webfrasse
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Re: Best harddrive configuration for CS6 - editing from external HDD?
In reply to AlexNewstead, Mar 31, 2013

AlexNewstead wrote:

Hi,

I'm interested in people's thoughts on editing images in Photoshop that are stored exclusively on an external HDD.

I have a new iMac with 32Gb ram and the fusion drive, (3Tb hdd - 128Gb SSD).

The OS and applications such as CS6 will be kept on the internal SSD.  I will not store any other files on the internal drive to ensure the rest of SSD and therefore 3Tb HDD section is kept free. (I simply bought the 3Tb option as it was a good price and will help maintain the mac's value when I come to sell it in the future).

That is a total waste of disk space and performance. Your fastest drive is the fusion drive in your iMac. The only thing that could be faster is an external SSD via Thunderbolt.

I would first try to run with everything on the internal drive and use the external drives as backups. Only when that isn't performing would I investigate other options.

I plan to use 2 external HDD's, both 7200rpm with 32Mb cache.

The 1st would be around 500Gb, (with a partitioned segment for scratch - if neccessary), connected via USB 3 or thunderbolt and would be used to dump my RAW files (just stills - around 20-30Mb) fresh from a shoot. I would then edit the 'keepers' in CS6, from this drive and save the finished files as Jpegs on the 2nd drive, which would be 2Tb, connected via USB 3 where they would stay.  I would back up from the 2nd drive and clear the 1st in preparation for the next shoot.

Useless to partition for swap. It will still be same single disk head working the whole disk. If your looking get higher system IO the scratch needs to be by itself on a separate drive so it doesn't compete for the disk head with other IO on the same disk.

My other option is to use the internal drive of the mac to dump the RAW files and edit from there before saving to external but I'd rather keep it as free as possible for Photoshop as I probably will not be using a separate scratch disk.

How do people think an external HDD would perform while editing images in PS as stated, would it be much slower than internal drives and would it be much more advantageous using HHD's with 64Mb cache or swapping 1st drive for an external SSD on which to edit from?

It seems to be a case of editing from internal SSD which photoshop is also running on and scratching to, or taking a performance hit using external HDD - but how much of a hit in reality??

Also any suggestions on brands? I've been looking at LaCie D2, WD My book studio or Seagate Backup plus.

Many thanks for your time - I know I  waffled a bit!

Cheers, Alex

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Mikael

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coronawithlime
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Re: Best harddrive configuration for CS6 - editing from external HDD?
In reply to AlexNewstead, Apr 1, 2013

With 32 gigs of ram, unless you do video you probably won't ever get to a scratch disk.

With an external HDD, Thunderbolt and USB 3 will both be able to handle the max thru-put of a 7200 rpm drive, so my suggestion would be to go with the cheaper USB 3 unless you start buying external SDD's.

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AlexNewstead
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Re: Best harddrive configuration for CS6 - editing from external HDD?
In reply to coronawithlime, Apr 1, 2013

Thanks again for the info.....

Can anyone confirm that once a file is open in PS the speed of the drive the file is stored on is irrelevant with regard to processes carried out by PS during editing, which is taken care of by ram and disk PS is stored on? Although the speed of drive the image file is stored on would effect the rate at which it is saved after editing, right?

I know my questions might seem a little pedantic but I've spent a fair amount so far and need to get the most out of my system...everyday is a school day at the moment.

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mihama01
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Re: Best harddrive configuration for CS6 - editing from external HDD?
In reply to webfrasse, Apr 2, 2013

Absolutely agree with webfrasse, use the internal fusion disk for all work and the external disks for backups, less used data etc. Don't worry about external scratch disks, use the fusion. Internal disks will always be faster than external, (even thunderbolt) because there is less interface electronics involved and in this case it is going to hit the SSD which will be *much* quicker.

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