12 Replies Latest reply on Sep 29, 2012 10:33 AM by Noel Carboni

    HOW MANY SSDs ARE OPTIMUM FOR USE WITH CS6, AND WHAT SIZE?

    EAGER22

      I HAVE A NEW HPE h8-1241, 16GB RAM, 2TB HD, NVIDIA GE FORCE WITH CUDA.  ADOBE RECOMMEND SSDs, BUT IS INEXPLICIT AS TO SIZE AND NUMBER.  WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND TO BE BEST?

       

      CARL

        • 1. Re: HOW MANY SSDs ARE OPTIMUM FOR USE WITH CS6, AND WHAT SIZE?
          Noel Carboni Level 8

          Personally I put 4 x 480GB OCZ Vertex 3 SSDs into a RAID 0 array using a SATA3 HighPoint 2720SGL RAID controller card.  I boot Windows and run everything off this array (drive C:).  This system screams.

           

          Disk throughput is over 1.5 gigabytes per second in benchmarks, but Photoshop can't sustain anything like that.  Most I've seen from Photoshop do is reads/writes of about 450 MB/second to/from its scratch files, since (I guess) those reads/writes are executing in a single processor thread.  However, doing things like big panorama stitches can see the system reading and writing VERY quickly to a number of big files at once, so the high throughput does help.

           

          My suggestions, if you go with SSD:

           

          1.  Get enough SSD storage that you can run your entire system from it.  Any half-measures, such as relocating data files to less expensive HDDs, just slow things down.

           

          2.  Overprovision your system with SSD storage so that you will have bunches of free space.  Modern SSDs work best when they have a lot of free space to work with internally.

           

          Good luck.  Once you use a system running everything from SSD you'll find it incredibly frustrating to use old tech spinning HDDs.

           

          Here's a quick test to show how much more responsive the file system can be:

           

          • Open Windows Explorer.
          • Navigate to the root of drive C:.
          • Select all files in the right (files) pane.
          • Time this:  Right-click and choose Properties.
          • Determine how long it takes to stop enumerating (counting up) files on your hard drive, then divide the number of files total by the number of seconds it took to count them all.

           

          A good SSD-based system can enumerate 30,000 files/second.

           

          -Noel

          • 2. Re: HOW MANY SSDs ARE OPTIMUM FOR USE WITH CS6, AND WHAT SIZE?
            the_wine_snob Level 9

            I differ from Noel's suggestion, but that might be because I edit video, as much, or more, than I do Image editing in PS.

             

            For me, the ideal would be one SSD (could also be a RAID, but I do not have the need for that), for the boot disk.

             

            The current issue with SSD's is the read/write functions. They are great for reads, but still do not exhibit the greatest longivity, or data throughput, when it comes to writes.

             

            Instead, here is my I/O sub-system:

             

            C:\ OS and programs only (mine is a HDD, albeit fast)

            D:\ fast HDD for my Premiere Projects

            E:\ RAID 50 for my media files (both PrPro and PS)

            F:\ RAID 0 for my Scratch Disks (both PrPro and PS - used slightly differently, per program)

            G:\ RAID 0 for my Exports

             

            All RAID's are controlled via an Areca, dedicated RAID controller card, with 4GB cache.

             

            I am also not a fan of any software RAID, and not a fan of most MoBo hardware RAID, but that is just me.

             

            Were I to build today, I might be tempted to exchange C:\ for an SSD, and by next gen. would be even more inclined.

             

            Good luck,

             

            Hunt

            • 3. Re: HOW MANY SSDs ARE OPTIMUM FOR USE WITH CS6, AND WHAT SIZE?
              the_wine_snob Level 9

              For additional discussion on RAID, this article might offer some insights: http://forums.adobe.com/thread/525263?tstart=0

               

              Good luck,

               

              Hunt

              • 4. Re: HOW MANY SSDs ARE OPTIMUM FOR USE WITH CS6, AND WHAT SIZE?
                Noel Carboni Level 8

                Bill Hunt wrote:

                 


                The current issue with SSD's is the read/write functions. They are great for reads, but still do not exhibit the greatest longivity, or data throughput, when it comes to writes.

                 

                That info is actually a bit dated now, Bill.  Just within the last year in-drive controllers with wear-leveling capabilities have come out.  This pushes the "wear out" time in all but the most stringent database server type use to many years.

                 

                Of course, spreading the load across multiple drives in a RAID array divides the write load.  My system could sustain 2 terabytes a day of write load 365 days a year and still last 10+ years.  My actual usage is typically less than 10% of that.

                 

                -Noel

                • 5. Re: HOW MANY SSDs ARE OPTIMUM FOR USE WITH CS6, AND WHAT SIZE?
                  the_wine_snob Level 9

                  In the recent PPBM benchmarks, that still seems to be holding in a real-world situation. Take a look at the PPBM site, and then Sort By the I/O, and see what people are actually getting for their throughput: http://ppbm5.com/DB-PPBM5-2.php

                   

                  There have been tons of theoretical throughput results shown. but many do not hold up in a real-world situation.

                   

                  Hunt

                  • 6. Re: HOW MANY SSDs ARE OPTIMUM FOR USE WITH CS6, AND WHAT SIZE?
                    Noel Carboni Level 8

                    Ooh, another benchmark.  Thanks for that link, Bill.

                     

                    I'll report back when I've looked it over.

                     

                    -Noel

                    • 7. Re: HOW MANY SSDs ARE OPTIMUM FOR USE WITH CS6, AND WHAT SIZE?
                      Noel Carboni Level 8

                      Aw foo, I don't have Premiere Pro, and no intent to get it.

                       

                      I'd almost be willing to run a trial though...  Is that particularly difficult or intrusive?  As a rule I don't install stuff on this system just for the halibut.

                       

                      -Noel

                      • 8. Re: HOW MANY SSDs ARE OPTIMUM FOR USE WITH CS6, AND WHAT SIZE?
                        Noel Carboni Level 8

                        Bill I reviewed the entries in that page, though it's not clear (without yet having run the benchmark myself) what the numbers mean.  I assume a smaller number is better in the Disk I/O column.

                         

                        Not sure what you meant by "that still seems to be holding in a real-world situation"...

                         

                        My comment above was mainly to refute your comment that SSDs risk "wearing out".  It's hard to imagine my statement could be refuted by a benchmark, so I'm thinking maybe you misinterpreted my comment.

                         

                        Secondly, from what I can see quite a few of the top performers have SSD for both OS and project disk.

                         

                        At the moment I'm downloading Premiere Pro and installing it in a virtual machine.  I realize that won't yield anything like the kind of results it would get on my real hardware, but I want to get to know it and that benchmark a bit and see how intrusive the package is before trying it right on my hardware.  I also don't know whether my ATI card is going to work with Premiere Pro.

                         

                        You should know that I don't trust benchmarks to deliver information that describes real-world results either, and that I've done my own investigation and testing that has led me to the configuration I'm currently using.

                         

                        Lastly, I'm not sure a Premiere Pro benchmark accurately portrays how well a system will do with Photoshop.  Does PrPro use both major brands of GPU equally well, or will it be biased to nVidia?  Edit:  After installing all the software and giving it a run, it seems this benchmark is all but useless for comparison purposes if one does not have a nVidia GPU.  The "Software MPE" setting changes the results to be in a different ballpark entirely.

                         

                        -Noel

                        • 9. Re: HOW MANY SSDs ARE OPTIMUM FOR USE WITH CS6, AND WHAT SIZE?
                          Noel Carboni Level 8

                          Carl and Bill, you might get a kick out of this:

                           

                          QuickCopy.jpg

                           

                          Almost 4 GB of data copied in 3 seconds.

                           

                          Note that D: is an array of spinning drives, and is set up to cache file system writes in RAM, so this copy was limited only by the read throughput from the SSD array.

                           

                          -Noel

                          • 10. Re: HOW MANY SSDs ARE OPTIMUM FOR USE WITH CS6, AND WHAT SIZE?
                            EAGER22 Level 1

                            Noel,

                             

                             

                             

                            This is both humorous and impressive.

                             

                             

                             

                            Carl

                            • 11. Re: HOW MANY SSDs ARE OPTIMUM FOR USE WITH CS6, AND WHAT SIZE?
                              EAGER22 Level 1

                              Noel,

                               

                               

                               

                              My question is, if I have two 200 SSDs, where should I install OS, Photoshop

                              and other photo software, and which SSD should I use as Scratch Disk?

                               

                               

                               

                              Carl

                              • 12. Re: HOW MANY SSDs ARE OPTIMUM FOR USE WITH CS6, AND WHAT SIZE?
                                Noel Carboni Level 8

                                What I'd do with them, assuming they're modern drives (e.g., with Sandforce or Indilinx controllers inside that do wear-leveling) is to set them up as a RAID 0 array, then install Windows on the array and run everything off the one big drive C:.  That's what I do with my 4 drive array. 

                                 

                                I also have spinning drives in my system and after a lot of testing I found that because the SSD array offers near-zero latency as well as gargantuan throughput, it's best to run everything from it - Windows system, swap file, Photoshop application, Photoshop image files, Photoshop scratch. 

                                 

                                This seems to go against the advice you find all over to use a separate volume for the Photoshop swap file but SSD simply changes the rules.  Now with a RAID array you will have your maximum throughput and all your free space available at once for anything that needs it, and THAT is precisely what speeds your entire computing experience up.

                                 

                                Plus, if you find the space you've allocated restrictive in the future, you could add drives to your array in the future.  At that point you could either restore a system image onto the larger array and expand the partition, or reinstall everything to take advantage of the additional space.  Or you could stretch yourself a bit and add more drives now, to make your system more future-proof.  Systems always run best if you don't fill up all the space available (i.e., have a lot of free space).  You never know when Photoshop is going to create a 200 GB scratch file (I've seen it happen)!

                                 

                                Some motherboards have the ability to build RAID arrays using on-board SATA connectors, and indeed some people do that.  The Intel ICH series of controllers in motherboard chipsets can deliver impressive performance.  However, because my motherboard only offers SATA2 (3 gigabits/sec) connectors, I chose (after some research) a HighPoint 2720SGL PCIe RAID controller, because it's fast and (more importantly) it's rock solid reliable.  I'm not sorry I chose that part.

                                 

                                Not long ago it was ridiculous to think of building a system around a multiple SSD array, but the prices have fallen so far - even in the past months - that it's practical.

                                 

                                Just now I looked:  You can buy an OCZ Vertex 4  256GB drive for $185.99 at Amazon.com.  That's one of the fastest drives I'm aware of now, and needs the least special care.  You just plug it in and use it.  A 512 GB array would be $372, and a 1TB array would be $744.  Give them a few months more and the prices will probably be well under 50 cents a gigabyte.

                                 

                                -Noe