One or two SSDs for Lightroom laptop

Started Apr 17, 2013 | Discussions thread
Richard Veteran Member • Posts: 4,858
Get it

stevenmh wrote:

I'm looking at getting the HP 15t-4000 which has 15" 1080p IPS screen, i7, 12GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD.  I have the option for getting a second 256GB SSD in non-RAID configuration where I could locate the catalog, cache, and working RAW files.  However, this option is an additional $270 and I'm not sure whether the difference would be worth it.

If you can afford it, get it. It gives you 2 drives. I would get a spindle drive for the other drive the largest say a 1tb. That is a new computer, make sure it comes with intel rapid storage technology then accelerate the spindle drive or have 2 ssds

The idea is either way you get more space. The other option is to do what I did, dissemble a new computer install the msata drive yourself. It will be around 200 dollars.

I bought this drive and installed it myself, I will say the keyboard on the latpop was difficult to remove and I broke on of the plastic hold in tabs but it had no effect on the keyboard after reassembled.

Since most laptops have only one drive bay, the msata drive in the commuter is a must. If you only use the msata, the computer is ligher and uses less power than having a spindle disk in it. If you add the spindle disk you have that much more storage.

I have a 17.3" which has 2 drive bays, the msata like yours and the DVD bay. They are all filled.

Putting paging files, cache/catalog files on a different drive can improve performance when the computer is trying to hit the two drives at the same time (if this happens on a single drive, you are limited to bus speed and IOPs of the drive itself. Being on two different buses you double bus bandwidth. But it would only come into effect during this time in which you may see only a small effect. Adding SSDs at sata3 speeds we are starting to get closer to the point of diminishing returns.

But I am of the opinion get the msata drive. My bet is the msata drive from hp is slower than buying one yourself because you can pick and choose and review the speed, IOPS, and general performance of the msata drive. It is just a pain to install (at least mine was) but you only have to do it once.

If you are importing several hundred photos in from a usb CF card or from a SD card it will not make any difference. If the images are on the hard drive already and you import you might see a slight improvement based on seconds. The way I see it. I want the fastest computer for the lowest price of good quality to last me so I am not having to upgrade. If you have 1msata SSD and one sata SSD you have speed and extra SSD storage or  one msata SSD and one spindle disk that is 1 TB, you have speed and lots of storage, I have having to drag around an external hard drive. It is the reason I got a laptop in the first place, best to make sure it has plenty of space regardless if Lightroom performance is only a few seconds faster.

I prefer the Msata SSD and a 1tb spindle drive because you can use intel rapid storage to accelerate your spindle drive, similar to the may the hybrid drives work with 16gb of ssd for caching and the rest for your operating system.

I've read this article:

But he only compares single SSD against SSD + mechanical drive.  In all tests SSD by itself beats having catalog/cache/images on a separate mechanical drive.  I would assume if he also tested a pair of SSDs that would be faster still.  The question is whether it would be a meaningful difference that you can feel vs a benchmark bragging right.  I'm not doing this professionally, I might at worst case import a couple hundred RAW files from a G5 at a time, usually much less.

My guess is that having a single SSD will be perfectly sufficient, but if anyone here has compared single SSD vs a second SSD for cache/catalog/images, I'd like to hear your experience.


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