I use Photoshop CS6 for Image editing.
I just purchased a new Imac 27 inch late 2012 Model with an i7 3.4Ghz Processor plus the following:
1TB Fusiion HDD
24Gb of System Ram
2GB Video Card.
This screenshot shows what I currenlty have as my setttings in the performance pane.
I'd like if possible to maximize the performace given my system spec.
Are these settings I have now optimum?
I have my scratch disc currently set to be my MacHDD
I do have a FW800 Aux1 which is not being used that has 900GB of free space.
Any suggestions on performace would be appreciated
Have you read
Do I understand correctly that you set the system drive as Scratch Disk? That would be a bad idea.
Do you really need 30 History States?
Thanks for your feedback.
Yes, I have my system drive set as the scratch disk. I'm assuming you'd recommend I use one of my external FW800 drives then?
Is it advisible to have more than one drive set as scratch disks?
I've not read the article you linked, but will do so, thanks for the pointer.
First, without describing the kind of Photoshop work you do, no one is going to be able to do more than guess wildly at how to set up your system. There are some general guidelines, some of which C.P. has stated. Do you edit huge documents? Long editing sessions? Bunches of documents at once?
Photoshop does not use multiple scratch disks simultaneously as far as I can tell. It's more of a "this one ran out of space, let me fall back to the next entry in the list" kind of thing. So there's no real performance advantage to specifying two drives as far as I can see - just convenience if you have limited space.
When pushing up against limits, it's good to allow the OS to have full access to the system HDD (e.g., for its own swapping) while Photoshop has concurrent access to its own, separate scratch drive. This way the I/O activity of both doesn't interfere and cause thrashing (lots of seeking, greatly reduced throughput).
What's a "Fusiion HDD"? I ask because C.P.'s "don't use the system drive for scratch" advice, while right on point with a standard HDD, may not be as pertinent with a drive that has near-SSD performance via an SSD caching scheme. Since SSDs have near-zero latency (no seeking), and usually quite a lot more throughput capacity than HDDs, it's less important to keep the OS and Photoshop from interferining with one another.
With 24GB of RAM you're probably not having to do a terribly large amount of scratch file writes/reads anyway. Are you experiencing slowdowns?
Thanks fo your reply.
To give you an idea of my normal usage of CS6, it usually in conunction with LR4, that is doing basic image ajustments in LR4 and some final edits in CS6. Usually my file sizes are large i guess being from 24MP files from my camera.
A Fusion HDD is Apples new technology, that incorporates 120GB of flash/SDD memory along with the !TB HDD. The system automatically (not sure how it does it) allocates the OS and most frequently used programs to the SDD and the rest to the HDD.
Not having slowdowns, but mostly just wanting to get the best performance I can using a newer and faster system.
Would you recommend my staying with my internal HDD for the scratch disk, now knowing more about fusion? Or to switch to my empty FW800. It would seem to me that the former might be a better choice, or to use both.
Fusion then is the same as hybrid for PC. I can see why you would want to use it and as Noel points out, your RAM is so significant that scratch hardly matters. But when it does, even with fusion it could be a problem.
Tests to that end need to be conducted.
I have no personal experience with hybrid SSD-HDD technology, so I can't give you a good, solid answer. As Lawrence says, above, some experimentation is in order.
What I don't know is whether Photoshop, if it were to create a 50GB scratch file and write feverishly to it, would have the advantage of the embedded SSD technology or you'd see more HDD-like performance (e.g., where seeking slows things down markedly).
The thing I did, back when I was trying to figure out the best configuration for my own system, was to mock up some of the Photoshop work I do and record an action that essentially does it over and over a few times - enough to time a run from start to finish. I specifically set the action up to do things that would exceed my RAM space and invoke swapping. Then I timed the runs through different scratch disk settings.
Whether it's something that needs to take your time at all is something you'll need to determine, though. If you're really not seeing your system come to its knees from doing a lot of disk access, maybe you don't really need to make any changes at all. With sufficient RAM the scratch disk access of Photoshop really just becomes an exception that's not done very often.*
*That's not to say it doesn't open scratch files. It virtually always does. But the heavy reading/writing generally only comes in when the RAM resource has become short.
The efficacy of a hybrid with respect to scratch is dependent on what actually in in the flash portion, and how big it is. Eventually the controller will begin to swap out data between flash and HD exacerbating the slowness of HD.
Your setup to test would be a good one to validate the usefulness of hybrid for a composite drive, one that wants to be all things to all programs, as I would characterize it.
No, at present I'm not seeing any slowing at all, in fact since operating on my new Imac PS is much quicker in all aspects.
After reading the posts from all of you here, I think the settings I now have are the probably optimum for my system.
I appreciate all of the very informative suggestions and feedback.
I ask because C.P.'s "don't use the system drive for scratch" advice, while right on point with a standard HDD, may not be as pertinent with a drive that has near-SSD performance via an SSD caching scheme.
I do not pay a lot of mind to developments in hardware so it’s always nice to pick up some news here and correct obsolete preconceptions.
The biggest pair of reasons for keeping Photoshop scratch separate from the system drive are:
SSD brings both virtually no seek time and much higher transfer speeds (depending on SATA connections, up to 250 (SATA II) or 550 (SATA III) megabytes/second).
When I switched to SSD myself, while also retaining 3 internal HDDs as well, I did controlled testing testing and confirmed what I have been saying here. Making RAID arrays of SSDs (as I have done) and using the SSD storage for everything helps increase performance even further. Markedly further.
Interestingly, once you achieve really great I/O performance capability, it becomes clear that other factors limit total performance. I can sustain 1.7 gigabytes / second transfer speeds to/from my SSD array, but I found Photoshop will only write up to about 500 megabytes/second to its scratch files, probably owing to limitations in the CPU/software processing just in getting the data/RAM ready. While this is not slow by any means, that it's not maxing out the drives plus the zero latency means in a practical sense that heavy Photoshop scratch file activity becomes almost unnoticeable. The system just keeps on multitasking smoothly.
I'll get a chance to test this out in the coming months. New contract work generates some extra capital to play.
I doubt that it will include a Xeon workstation, however. I would rather put the money at the front end of the chain, the camera and lens. I haven't even decided what I will do for an upgrade. I may actually try the raid SSD on the present computer configuration first, as a baseline.
OT, but DXO Mark has an interesting concept along the lines of where to put your money. It's short sighted at the moment because it measures only the capability at low light wide open conditions, but it's a good concept.
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