When it comes to optimizing After Effects (in this case, CS6), should I have my Disk Cache set to an external Firewire 800 LaCie hard drive or should I use my iMac's internal 1TB SATA drive?
The reason I even ask is seems like I keep reading that your cache disk should not be on the same drive as your footage. Neither drive is exceptionally fast (compared to something like an SSD), so didn't know what would be my best option.
Both drives have 100's of GB of free space.
And is there a way to reliably test which setup is faster (some sort of benchmarking software or script)?
It's probably a moot point, anyway, but yes, keep them separate if possible. While I'm sure you can find some harddrive benchmarking software for Mac somewhere, i wouldn't bother, either. These tools usualyl do not reflect what you do while working and unless you let them run very long tests with different patterns (large files with sequentiial writing, small files sequentially, large fiels random, small files random and any flavors inbetween you can imagine), the statistics will be skewed...
I figured that might be the case.
So given that I might as well keep them separate...would you put the cache on the external Firewire drive or the internal drive (and then the source footage on the other)?