'Tis the season to spend money.
FYI, today on Amazon.com you can get a ridiculously fast 256GB OCZ Vertex 4 SSD drive for only $159.99, which is an unprecedented low price for a drive of this capacity.
It's hard to find one thing besides SSD that can so radically speed up a computer system in general, especially for applications that do a lot of I/O like Photoshop.
No doubt prices will be dropping more in the future, but at this price I suggest ordering 2 or more of these drives and setting up a RAID 0 array from which to run everything. I just ordered one as a gift.
One of my biggest bottlenecks is the cache in Bridge. It seems to be much slower in CS6 than CS5, which makes no sense as it is now 64 bit and should processess faster. As I understand it, Bridge is more processor dependant than memory dependant, so not sure if a SSD would speed up the cacheing procress. I know you do not use Bridge, but do you have an opinion?
I have a seperate physical drive for the cache.
I'd look at Resource Monitor and your drive activity light to see if Bridge seems to be heavy on the disk. Do you hear it madly accessing the hard drive(s)?
A system run from SSD runs faster at just about everything. HDDs, especially with lots of small and relatively random I/O operations, are not at all efficient, as the seek times really add up. Plus, in the cases where there actually IS a big contiguous block of data - e.g., a big raw file on a defragged disk, an HDD still can't even come close to using all the bandwidth of a SATAII link, let alone a modern 6 gigabit SATAIII link.
Just to give an idea, some disk benchmark programs offer what's called a "Random 4K" test, which means the benchmark will generate random small I/O requests to/from various parts of the drive. An SSD-equipped system may be able to sustain tens of megabytes/second of actual data throughput with random 4K operations. By contrast a hard drive may achieve only a twentieth of that or less. That's the difference between something taking 1 second or 20 seconds.
Here's an identical benchmark run on my SSD array vs. my Hitachi 1TB hard drive (which I use for internal backup). Note that the difference is more like 30 to 1.
For fun I just brought up Bridge.
I've hardly ever run it on any of my raw image folders, so I just started it and navigated to a folder I know I've never had it open on before. This folder has 1018 Canon 20D raw files and JPEGs in it.
Instantly upon entering the folder the thumbnails list across the bottom filled in. I scrolled it all the way to the right and it just showed me the thumbnails. Any file I click on in the list of thumbnails comes up instantly in the top pane.
I just did the same thing with a folder of 500 Canon 40D raw files, which are larger than those above. Again, identical functionality. Zero lag, zero wait to see anything. I was watching Task Manager at the time, and I didn't see more than a small blip of CPU activity either.
Is there something specific you'd like me to do to exercise Bridge further? Either I'm not doing the same things with it as most folks or it's just not bogging down as you're seeing it do.
When I replaced my old 160 GB HDD with a 512 GB HDD, I bought a SATA to USB adaptor and it came with Apricorn Data Transfer kit that ran under Windows. I then took the cloned drive and installed it. A few reboots, and I was in business with my new drive.
Are there kits like that that work well with SSDs?
All I did was just restore my latest System Image backup (done from my HDD array) onto the new SSD array. Booted right up.
One thing I did ahead of time was make sure before that backup that the primary HDD partition would just fit on the SSD array (I had to shrink the partition a little, since I was moving from an 1863GB array to a 1788GB array).
Another was to make a bootable System Repair Disc, which contained the array controller driver.
Europe, Middle East and Africa