External SSD for Lightroom Catalog?

Started 6 months ago | Discussions thread
Nick5
Nick5 Senior Member • Posts: 1,318
Re: External SSD for Lightroom Catalog?

CameraCarl wrote:

I am running Lightroom Classic on my 2017 5K Retina 27 inch iMac with 24 GB RAM. I have almost 300,000 images in one catalog and my Lightroom Catalog Previews.lrdata file is typically 150-200 GB. Unfortunately my computer's internal SSD is only 512GB, so I find that Lightroom often runs slowly. I have tried periodically deleting my Lightroom Catalog Previews.lrdata, but this is not an optimum solution.

Now that external SSDs are getting less expensive, does it makes sense to move my LR Catalog and previews, etc, to an external drive connected through the Thunderbolt 3/USB-C port?

If so, what size should I buy? Would a 500GB drive be sufficient if all I use it for is the Lightroom Catalog?

And do I need a Thunderbolt drive or will USB-C 3.2 or 3.2 be fast enough?

Thanks and stay well....

Like you I have a 27” iMac, but it has a 2TB Fushion drive. 
My Lightroom Folder on the Desktop has my Catalog, Previews, Smart Previews, which is small and no longer create, Back Up and some other Adobe created folders. 
I have “One Catalog” from 2003 first “Digital point and shoot” through today.

When first converting to Lightroom from Aperture, the biggest hurdle for me, and others was keeping LR “connected”. By that, I mean where was importing and where were the images going. As I Import through LR by DATE, my anal recall allows me to pull up images pretty quickly as the DATE YYYY-MM-DD allows me to add description. 2019-04-02 Opening Day. 
All images are on LaCie 2TB Thunderbolt/USB-C Rugged HardDrives, with the big Orange Bumper Pad. I have 4 of the 2TB drives above with 2003- 2011, 2012-2015, 2016-2019 and 2020-20.. and not to mention each multiplied by 4 for back up. 
the reason for the Rugged Drives is we have a second home which I bring my 27 iMac in a nicely designed Gator Bag for the iMac. Packing and unpacking drives, having the soft Tacky grip design certainly helps in the oops department. Add new images upon Import, just hook up a Copy Drive, and drag over DATE folder of images that aren’t on the Copy Drives. 
all of the drives are are named as the primary drive so I can connect either drive from 2016-2019 and they flow through. A Couple of copy drives remain in each location and the Primary Current drive plus a Copy are in the car driving with me with computer back and forth. Do a quick “Bank Reconciliation Statement”of what’s missing and copy over.

My LR Folder, (Catalog, Previews, Back Up etc) which is on the desk top does go to the cloud as well.
I could buy another iMac for the other home and put the LR Folder which contains the information above on a Solid State drive like you mention and hook up. Certainly much easier than lugging around the big computer. Don’t know if I could have the “ cloud” back up as an option as that part of the computer geek is above my pay grade. 
Some have mentioned that having the LR Catalog on the Desktop has optimal performance, again don’t know compared to a separate External  SSD as I never tried with one. 
For me having back ups of Images, and Catalog through Cloud and Several Time Machine Back UPS is working for me. 
Please let me know if you see any improvements with more empty space on a separate SSD External and improvements in LR as your Computer does have much room for “Social Distancing”.

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