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CS5.5 scratch disk needs?

Jun 20, 2012 11:44 AM

A friend is going to build me a new PC (4 to 8 gigs of RAM) and install CS5.5. on Win 7 Ultimate.

 

I know nothing about SCRATCH DISKS or even how to set that up but  I have the choice of either a single 1TB hdd or two 500GB hdds (or two 320GBs) but don't know what the best set up is for CS5.5 to allocate "scrath disk" space.

 

He said he could "partition" the 1TB drive or install two drives. He's not a Photoshop user (he's an engineer who's built a lot of killer PC's as a hobby for friends) and said to ask some experts what the best case scenario would be for the scratch disk set up.

 

I'll be working on large art files and camera RAW files so any help/advice on how to set up this "scratch disk" thing would be enormously appreciated for the technically challenged like me!

 

Thanks so much in advance for any assistance!

 
Replies
  • Noel Carboni
    23,526 posts
    Dec 23, 2006
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    Jun 20, 2012 12:22 PM   in reply to PSBoston

    Don't partition the drive - that helps nothing.

     

    The basic idea is to try to get multiple drives working at the same time, to improve performance.  The old, sage advice is to put a separate drive in the system for Photoshop's use, separate from the OS drive, so that Photoshop can be swapping to/from its file while the OS is doing its thing with its own swap file. 

     

    But an alternative could be to create a RAID 0 array with multiple drives making up a single volume.  That tends to help everything be faster.  If you have the budget for it, multiple SSD drives making up a RAID array can make for a hyper-fast system, and the fact that there is no seek time means there's essentially no downside to having the Photoshop scratch space and system on teh same volume.  I have four OCZ SSDs in the array that makes up my drive C: myself, and I wait for nothing.

     

    If you do go with SSDs - which of course are more expensive than spinning drives - don't skimp on the space, or you'll end up wasting a bunch of time later when you're constantly fighting disk-full situations.

     

    -Noel

     
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    Jun 20, 2012 12:27 PM   in reply to PSBoston

    The optimal performance is obtained when the primary scratch disk is on a physically separate internal hard drive, separate from your boot or "C:" drive.  A partition volume of the boot drive does NOT help at all, as the Photoshop scratch disk would still be competing with the swap file of the OS for the use of the single set of read/write heads.

     

    Depending on your workflow, numbers of history states, etc., figure on 50 to 70 times, or more, the size of your largest file multiplied by the number of files you have open at any given time.

     

    I keep a dedicated 250 GB internal hard drive as my primary scratch disk, other users have more.

     
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    Jun 20, 2012 12:29 PM   in reply to Noel Carboni

    As you can see, I type a lot slower than Noel. 

     
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    Jun 20, 2012 4:34 PM   in reply to PSBoston

    I agree with Noel and Station_Two.

     

    Depending on the data transfer speed of the disks that you mention, I would go with the 1TB. While PS, as of ~ CS, can use up to four separate disks for Scratch Disk, one does not have to do so.

     

    I go with a minimum of three physical HDD's (like has been said - NO PARTITIONS), but then I edit a lot of video, and following along the guidelines above, separate the I/O (Input/Output, or HDD's), to keep them from being called upon to read/write at the same time. I locate my media files on the third disk. With PS, that really does not make any difference, as even large Still Images are smaller than most video, plus the entire Image file is written into memory (RAM and probably Scratch Disk) anyway.

     

    As a bit of background, the Scratch Disk is "virtual memory," and is used when one does not have enough RAM - with large images and many operations, they will not, so Scratch Disks come into play. Keeping them separate from the OS, the program, and ideally the Windows Virtual Memory (Page File, or basically Windows' Scratch Disk) will greatly speed things up, as there are no I/O bottlenecks.

     

    Hope that helps explain the reasoining with Scratch Disks and their location.

     

    If not, do not hesitate to ask again, or ask for clarification that any of us have said. We'll be glad to restate in a different way, to help.

     

    Good luck,

     

    Hunt

     
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    Jun 20, 2012 6:00 PM   in reply to PSBoston

    I personally like 2 and preferably 3 internal hard drives.  I prefer to have my programs on drive c:, my files on another and a scratch disk on 3rd.  The file disk should be the largest of the 3.

     

    You should also have a seperate physical drive for backup.  This could be on the 3rd drive, or an external.  Hard drive fail and it is important to have frequent backups on some sort of a scheduled basis.

     

     

    The other critical item is the video card.  You do not need a high end one, but it should also not be an Intel on board one.  ATI and Nvidia are the big players.

     
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  • Noel Carboni
    23,526 posts
    Dec 23, 2006
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    Jun 20, 2012 7:26 PM   in reply to PSBoston

    Go with two physical hard drives and 8 GB RAM.  Every penny you save now will cost you time and frustration later.

     

    -Noel

     
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    Jun 20, 2012 8:23 PM   in reply to Curt Y

    I agree with Curt here. A second physical HDD, will benefit you, as it will split the I/O load over two HDD's.

     

    The third could be used for you Image assets, but is more of a benefit with video.

     

    Good luck,

     

    Hunt

     
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    Aug 6, 2012 5:34 PM   in reply to Bill Hunt

    I'm thinking of getting a 2TB Caviar Black as 3rd drive to use for "Adobe Scratch, Cache, Previews, and Exports".  I will however partition it because I will also use this drive for Virtual Instrument (VST) samples and cannot at the time afford an additional drive just for that. Plus I have no idea how much the Adobe scratch and cache needs...

     

    I think what I understood from this discussion is that the adobe cache can be on a partition of a secondary drive, as long as its not on the same drive as where the OS or Adobe program installations are.

     
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