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What is the best way to use a SSD for Photoshop/photo editing?

Mar 26, 2013 11:23 AM

Tags: #photoshop #performance #ssd #scratch_disk #boot #page_file #paging_file

Computer hardware newbie here: I do a significant amount of photo editing work and for a very long time I've experienced Photoshop, Bridge and Photomatix crashing constantly (usually due to insufficient RAM) or just generally taking forever (Bridge took forever to load the thumbnail/preview extractions in a folder full of images, Photoshop took forever to save images and Photomatix took ages to load/merge a set of bracketed photos).  Here are the typical error messages I'd get:


As a professional photographer, constantly running into that sort of thing is quite aggravating, so to hopefully avoid ever having to deal with that again I invested in a new custom built computer.  It's Windows 7 Professional 64 bit with 32GB of RAM and a 240GB SSD; I'm using the 240GB SSD as my boot drive/OS, all of my programs are installed there, and the page file.  My photos and data are stored on several HDDs.  I have yet to install any of my photo editing software (Photoshop CS6 Extended, Lightroom, Photomatix etc) to the new computer yet since I'd like some advice first.


My basic question is this: what is the best way to take advantage of the SSD (and the computer in general) when it comes to my photo editing software?



1. If I have a folder of photos I'm working on, should I move it to the SSD and then work on them from there in order to take advantage of the speed of the SSD?  Would this make any difference in terms of speed if the photos are located on the SSD vs. an internal/external HDD?


2. Most of what I've read online seems to recommend two separate SSDs, one for installing/booting the apps and one for cache/scratch.  Does it matter if I use my 240GB SSD for both?


3. This is a fairly new computer and the SSD is already almost half full (102GB used, 120GB free) *WITHOUT* any of my photo editing software installed yet.  I'm concerned about how fast that remaining 120 GB may fill up.  As it fills up will I lose the speed advantage of the SSD vs. a regular HDD?


4. Sort of similar to #3, but should I bother moving any of my other non-photo editing programs/caches off of the SSD to a HDD and would there be any major difference in the speed/lifespan of the SSD if I did so?  It's mostly Firefox and Chrome and their caches that I'm concerned may be a problem if they remain on the SSD.


Thanks for any help!

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 26, 2013 11:43 AM   in reply to essessdee

    If you have an SSD you can run the cache and programs on the same drive.  However, many recommend a scratch disk size of 100-200 gigs so that will not work here unless you opt for a larger SSD.  Otherwise an internal spinner is recommended that does not contain the program files, or idealy any other files that may want to get acessed at same time (only one read/write head per drive).


    With 32 gig of RAM you may not need the constant use of the scratch drive unless working on large images with lots of layers.  So see no advantage to moving folder to SSD for temp work environment.


    From what I read the new crop of SSD do not have the wear problems of the older versions.

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  • Noel Carboni
    23,455 posts
    Dec 23, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 26, 2013 1:30 PM   in reply to essessdee

    Does your system have RAID capability?


    You *could* consider getting one or more additional SSDs of the same size/brand, creating a RAID 0 array, and running everything from it.  Everything would then benefit from increased performance, and you'd have no space shortage.


    It's what I do (I have 4 x 480 GB, with 890 GB free).  It really works.



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