24 Replies Latest reply on Nov 24, 2012 12:48 AM by thislooksgreat

    Samsung SSD 256 Gb vs 1 Tb HDD Scratch Disk

    thislooksgreat Level 1


      I want to upgrade my computer and I want to know if I should go for a SSD 256 Gb vs 1 Tb HDD as a scratch disk. I already have 16 Gb of RAM. I searched quite a lot, but other than different opinions, I didn't see any articles or tests regarding this issue.

      What do you guys think?

        • 1. Re: Samsung SSD 256 Gb vs 1 Tb HDD Scratch Disk
          Lundberg02 Level 3

          What bus does your computer have SATA, SATA II, SATA III? What does the SSD have" What does the 1 TB have?

          • 2. Re: Samsung SSD 256 Gb vs 1 Tb HDD Scratch Disk
            Noel Carboni Level 8

            256GB is just enough for scratch, and it will give you a big improvement in Photoshop scratch performance over a hard drive.


            But consider how much more performance you'd get if you built a RAID 0 array of SSDs to replace drive C:.  Then everything you do will be boosted into turbo speed.  That's what I did.



            • 3. Re: Samsung SSD 256 Gb vs 1 Tb HDD Scratch Disk
              Hudechrome Level 2

              Let me get this straight. 1TB for scratch? 256G "just" enough? What are you folks doing, a stitch of planet earth from the perspective of an ant?


              FWIW, I have 39G partition for scratch. (I partition it because that assures no fragments to slow things down). At the moment, I have a 72M file open. Scratch is 3.1G (which I consider phenomenal, but that's another story!). That's about a 43:1 ratio, scratch to file size. At that proportion to use 256G, your file would be5.9G.


              Approaching an ant's perspective on the world?


              How many drives in your RAID, and what sizes? Noel. I know you mentioned it elsewhere, but this would be a good time to bring it up gain. SSD's are not cheap.


              Stripe size has some effects, although true for HDD, less true for SSD's. Smaller stripe size shows increased performance but  at the cost of some cpu utilization. This for your setup is a no-brainier.


              Just going to an SSD  will itself give a huge performance boost.


              OTOH, some of my best ideas for the next step in massaging an image as arrived before a step has been completed. Hurry is only important if one is impatiently waiting for one operation to finish and another to commence. (I realize that come clients are not amused at this waiting bit, but so be it!)


              One of the great discoveries in Chaos Theory came about because the computers (in this case, a hand computer) was slow in iterating.


              What's the hurry?  Even my computer does really well at certain operations, like flattening a big file.

              • 4. Re: Samsung SSD 256 Gb vs 1 Tb HDD Scratch Disk
                Noel Carboni Level 8

                I've personally seen Photoshop scratch files grow to over 200 GB.  I believe I was stitching about twenty 25MP raw files together at the time, so maybe you're right about the ant's perspective.  But hey, I didn't write this software, I'm just reporting what I've seen with images taken by little ol' me.  It's not altogether what you'd call efficient.  But if I've seen 200 GB you might too.


                If you're planning for the future, do you buy just enough storage for the normal stuff you do today, or do you overprovision so the spare capacity will be there when you need it for exceptional work, or bigger imagery in the future?


                Another thing:  SSD drives really do work best if you leave a fair bit of free space free.  That goes against the desire to buy just enough because they're "expensive".  News flash:  They're cheaper per gigabyte today than electromechanical drives were just a few short years ago.  And Windows works best when there's sufficient free space as well.


                I have four OCZ Vertex 4 480 GB SSDs in a RAID 0 array, controlled by a HighPoint 2720SGL PCIe controller that has the capability to directly control up to 8 drives.  At the moment I still have a bit over 1 TB of free space on C:.  That space is available for scratch, additional applications, additional data, other temporary files, other permanent files, and it aids the SSD in maintaining a sufficient quantity of pre-erased flash internally so that the performance is very fast when it's needed. 


                Back just earlier this year when I bought these drives I spent almost double what you'd have to spend today for the same storage in actually faster drives.


                I also have a number of spinning drives for storage of backup data, downloads, and other low-access stuff I don't use moment by moment.


                Trust me, if you want to kick Windows performance for EVERYTHING you do into orbit, an SSD array drive C: is the way to do it.  The system becomes an absolute pleasure to use.


                And it's all so nice and silent. 





                P.S., as an exercise, try this:


                1.  On a fresh Windows bootup, open an Explorer window and navigate to the root of drive C:

                2.  In the right (files) pane, select all (control A).

                3.  Right-click on the selected folders/files and choose Properties.

                4.  Time how long it takes to enumerate and count all the files in your file system.


                If you have a hard drive, you'll probably see the enumeration rate at maybe as much as a few thousand files per second, and the whole operation will complete in a minute or two.


                If you have SSD the rate jumps up to 20K-30K files per second, and the whole operation on the entire volume completes in a few seconds.


                That shows PRECISELY how well SSD storage supports Windows file system operations.



                • 5. Re: Samsung SSD 256 Gb vs 1 Tb HDD Scratch Disk
                  Curt Y Level 7

                  Don't know what it is based on but have seen the figure that the scratch drive should be 100 times larger than the largest file you will be working on.  This seems to fit with what Hudechrome reported with 43:1, plus a 2X saftey factor.

                  • 6. Re: Samsung SSD 256 Gb vs 1 Tb HDD Scratch Disk
                    Hudechrome Level 2

                    Dang! I'm still not being notified of new updates here!


                    As to scaling scratch, I'll bet that it isn't a linear scale, that is there is a basic load which shows up as an inordinately large startup file in scratch.


                    Noel, I do know about the need for more space left for an SSD vs an HDD. That drives the practical cost up indeed. Look at what I posted about my system on another post. C drive is a 148G drive with 40% head room, even after loading it up with InDesign, Audition, Lightroom etc. I've used it for several years.


                    Going to SDD, the 128 is practical until you consider head room and now it's at least 256G or more. A Samsung 256 is $214 at Amazon and a Mushkin 240 is $170 or so. Both are highly recommended for graphics work. I find it hard to spend at this point to pick up a few seconds. Remember that flattening test you provided? My system flattened that file faster than your older dual Xeons, and only 2 sec slower than your new one. That's practical testing, not counting the seconds to enumerate files in explorer, which I did. That overhead was only true from the cold start. Afterwards, mine was damn fast.


                    In any case, my new 2TB WD Green HDD cost $106. And it's hard to consider spending 2x that amount to save a few seconds when I suddenly cannot save my work!

                    • 7. Re: Samsung SSD 256 Gb vs 1 Tb HDD Scratch Disk
                      Lundberg02 Level 3

                      SSD are fine for massive read/writes, but file transfers are limited by the SATA speed of the computer and drive. It's easy to arrive at the the approximate file transfer speed. You just add the speeds as if they were capacitive impedances, for example 1/3000+ 1/6000= 3/6000, then invert and get 2000 mbps, if you have a SATA II computer and a SATA III SSD. Of course if you have an unlimited budget you can gang SSDs in RAIDs, and I'll confess I don't quite understand whythey transfer data faster over the same internal SATA speed bus (and I don't real ly care because it is highly unlikely I'll ever buy more drives for speed).

                      • 8. Re: Samsung SSD 256 Gb vs 1 Tb HDD Scratch Disk
                        Hudechrome Level 2



                        This Jive product is getting worse and worse. Now all my notifications are coming from a dujdujoux, someone that hasn't posted afaik, on this forum.

                        • 9. Re: Samsung SSD 256 Gb vs 1 Tb HDD Scratch Disk
                          Noel Carboni Level 8

                          Lundberg, you don't actually have any personal experience with SSD storage, do you?


                          A SATAII (3 megabits/second) link can actually support a maximum transfer rate on the order of 260 megabytes/second.  That's what real systems see when an SSD is connected to a SATAII port.


                          A SATAIII link is double that at 6 megabits/second.  SATAIII-connected SSDs actually see 500+ megabytes/second maximum throughput.


                          Adding multiple drives via RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) allows you to essentially add up the speeds of all the SATA connections, which will be working simultaneously.  There's some overhead, but it's surprising how well the speeds add up.  This is similar to the concept of having Photoshop scratch on a separate drive, so the SATA links can be working simultaneously.


                          But what you don't see by doing simple additions is how they work dynamically.  Not every data transfer can happen immediately, nor can it saturate the full SATA link speed.


                          An operating system provides a file system that causes information to be placed in different blocks all over the disk.  For example, to read a file at a particular path, the OS has to read the disk to find the root directory, then work its way through subdirectory records, and finally to the file data, which may not be contiguous and require several different reads from different places.


                          On a spinning disk drive, this could mean seeking the head all over to different tracks, waiting for those blocks to rotate into position, then finally for the data to pass under the read head.  Add those things up, which may take only a tiny tiny fraction of a second in and of themselves, multiply by it being done many different times, and you sense sluggishness.


                          Plus, most spinning disk drives today can't sustain a transfer rate of much more than 100 megabytes / second even when the data is in huge contiguous blocks, and no matter what SATA port they're plugged into.  That's just how fast the drive itself can handle the data.


                          Now, by contrast, an SSD eliminates the seek time, as well as maximizing the link throughput because the technology to read and write the solid state memory is just hugely faster.


                          So now instead of seeking, waiting on rotational latency, reading, and repeating that again and again, the data is just addressed and read almost instantly.  What might take 6 milliseconds for a hard drive to do takes 0.06 milliseconds for an SSD.  When you group such operations together - such as what happens when you just use your computer for stuff - what takes a lot of time with a spinning hard drive becomes instantaneous with an SSD.


                          For example, if you open a Finder window (Explorer for PC users), you might sense a little delay as the system goes out and seeks the information on the hard drive, then once it's all together the window opens.  That delay is gone with SSD - the window just opens, right now.


                          Lawrence mentions things becoming "damn fast" the second time - that's because his computer cached the information in RAM, and the next time he did the same things it was able to read it immediately.  They all do this, and it eases the pain of waiting on spinning disk drives a good bit, but you need a lot of RAM for this to be effective.  If you've filled the RAM with Photoshop data it's just not going to be available for caching.  And we all know Photoshop doesn't give RAM back to the OS.


                          Thing is, in normal day to day things we DON'T access the same data again over and over again, and RAM for cache isn't always available, so it's important to be able to read data "damn fast" from places that haven't been read lately and/or are no longer cached.


                          I figure it like this:  We have these amazing supercomputer processors that can do literally tens of billions of operations in a second.  Why make them wait an eternity for the data to work on?


                          SSD is the future.



                          • 10. Re: Samsung SSD 256 Gb vs 1 Tb HDD Scratch Disk
                            Level 7

                            Large chunks of non-volatile memory are the future.


                            SSDs are just a bridge to get us there (why have all that interface crap in the way of what is effectively slow RAM?).



                            The whole history of computing is "just add another level of cache before the really slow memory."



                            (and yes, I have real apps that saturate file IO around 8 GB/s and need something faster than SATA or PCIE)

                            • 11. Re: Samsung SSD 256 Gb vs 1 Tb HDD Scratch Disk
                              Noel Carboni Level 8

                              I have to agree with that.  My statement should be taken in the context of ''SSD (vs. spinning hard drives) is the future''.


                              I didn't actually say how far into the future. 



                              • 12. Re: Samsung SSD 256 Gb vs 1 Tb HDD Scratch Disk
                                Hudechrome Level 2

                                Well, just as I was commenting on being damn fast (the second time around), things have suddenly slowed down. Where, for instance opening Bridge to an image adjusted in RAW was practically instantaneous, (1/2 sec), now it's taking a second or two. Everything (and I mean everything) seems to have slowed down by a factor of 2 or more. Another instance: doing a bit of checking, I opened AMD Vision Control center...it just refused to deliver any images and took several seconds to even open. It's speeded up now but whut?


                                Strange that I should have redone my storage and now it's slow, even as the disks running the show are still the same and not reconfigured.


                                I suppose if I go SSD it will be SCD...stage coach delivery!


                                I have some checking to do.


                                I'm still not getting messaged by e-mail, especially any of Noel's . I got Chris, but not yours in my e-mail.



                                • 13. Re: Samsung SSD 256 Gb vs 1 Tb HDD Scratch Disk
                                  Noel Carboni Level 8

                                  I avoid the subscription process entirely.  My inbox gets too much traffic as it is.


                                  Offhand, have you had Photoshop up and running for a long time, and as such has it used its quota and filled your RAM?  That could affect the ability for your OS to use otherwise unused RAM as disk cache.


                                  Could be a glitch from non-ECC RAM I suppose...    All in fun!



                                  • 14. Re: Samsung SSD 256 Gb vs 1 Tb HDD Scratch Disk
                                    Lundberg02 Level 3

                                    Noel, I appreciate your tutorial.  I like knowing how things actually work. I 'm fully aware that in practice there's a lot of overhead. In that vein, no one should expect fast data transfers through Thunderbird. It ain't gonna happen. Thunderbird is for video. I have practical experience with Thunderbird and eSATA. I don't need the speed you do and can't afford RAID SSDs. I skipped an SSD internal in my new mini and got the 7200 rpm 750GB instead. Cost/performance ratio for me is heavily weighted in favor of cost.  I might get that Thunderbolt to everything adapter, though, when it's half price. Still not quite clear how RAID uses the bus simultaneously.

                                    • 15. Re: Samsung SSD 256 Gb vs 1 Tb HDD Scratch Disk
                                      Hudechrome Level 2

                                      You respond rather quickly. How do you know you have a response?


                                      It appears you are the only one from whom I do not get notice from Adobe.


                                      So far as my slow down, no it isn't filled ram. I stopped leaving PS and Bridge minimized when I started having problems. I have a suspicion and I'll check it out.

                                      • 16. Re: Samsung SSD 256 Gb vs 1 Tb HDD Scratch Disk
                                        Noel Carboni Level 8

                                        Hudechrome wrote:


                                        You respond rather quickly. How do you know you have a response?


                                        Arguably too great an obsession with reading this site, owing to a passionate interest in Photoshop and all things graphics and computers. 


                                        I tend to use the Your Stuff - Discussions link/menu first to see if someone's responded to threads I've participated in. 


                                        And of course when IE just comes up instantly and this site displays in a second or two, it's not too intrusive to check, and check again. 



                                        • 17. Re: Samsung SSD 256 Gb vs 1 Tb HDD Scratch Disk
                                          Hudechrome Level 2

                                          I leave e-mail open and I get notified in a kind of IM, that is if I am actually watching for the flag!


                                          My sign in went away and averything showed up as either Warren Hart or Noel Carboni, all designated as staff. After signing in, all is better.



                                          • 18. Re: Samsung SSD 256 Gb vs 1 Tb HDD Scratch Disk
                                            Noel Carboni Level 8

                                            There are spooky things going on with the site, that's for sure.


                                            We've been assured (over in the forum forum) that it hasn't been hacked, but what's worse?  Someone causing havoc, or the site just acting this chaotically on its own?



                                            • 19. Re: Samsung SSD 256 Gb vs 1 Tb HDD Scratch Disk
                                              TLL... Level 3

                                              "Let me get this straight. 1TB for scratch? 256G "just" enough? What are you folks doing, a stitch of planet earth from the perspective of an ant?"


                                              Well, actually yes (or close to it)! And in a production environment, where time is money the faster is ALWAYS better, once all the details are figured out. While I don't run smok'in hot bleeding edge system like some people (ahem, Noel), I do boot from a SSD and often run up multiple scratch files adding into the 100's of GB on my 10k 300GB Raptor drive. With 24GB ram this set up is a pleasure to run.


                                              While I don't think I could convince our IT dept to set me up w/a 4 SSD raid I know that my next machine (in 2014 if the capital equipment budget is correct) will have 2x 6 cores, SSD boot and at least 64GB ram as starters...

                                              • 20. Re: Samsung SSD 256 Gb vs 1 Tb HDD Scratch Disk
                                                Noel Carboni Level 8

                                                Actually, I'm not right out on the bleeding edge.  I buy last year's bleeding edge, which is on deep discount this year.  Turns out outfitting such hardware with top-end options usually nets a system that often actually runs better than this year's bleeding edge, unless equipped with stratospheric options.


                                                Consider this benchmark comparison between my system (red) against a brand new next generation Dell workstation (blue) nicely equipped (to the tune of 2x to 3x the price of mine):





                                                • 21. Re: Samsung SSD 256 Gb vs 1 Tb HDD Scratch Disk
                                                  Hudechrome Level 2

                                                  If you are stitching from the perspective of an ant, of course. Go for it. However, using that as a general purpose argument for justifying such a large investment (future proofing, I think some call it) I disagree. Besides, the future is not going to sit still. and go the way one surmises as the logical way it will. Someone somewhere is inventing the next "hi k" (so to speak) material and change the whole viewpoint.


                                                  I follow the pov that if I have money to burn, put it first on equipment closest to the acquisition point, like a lens before a new printer,  microphone before a new speaker etc.


                                                  There is a new D800 (or at least 600) waiting in the wings. I'll be sticking with Win 7 and HDD's for a while yet.

                                                  • 22. Re: Samsung SSD 256 Gb vs 1 Tb HDD Scratch Disk
                                                    Noel Carboni Level 8

                                                    Then when you start processing those huge 36 megapixel images at upsampled resolutions (because the quality of the data can stand up to it, and you want the absolute best looking wall-sized prints of course) you're going to want to upgrade to that SSD. 


                                                    I know different people's perspectives differ, but I didn't think a few hundred dollars (e.g., the price of a 256GB SSD) doesn't quite reach the realm of "such a large investment".  That's what people pay for a new smart phone and also what they pay for a couple month's service on that sucker.



                                                    • 23. Re: Samsung SSD 256 Gb vs 1 Tb HDD Scratch Disk
                                                      Hudechrome Level 2

                                                      It is for me.  So I either work with what I have or quit.


                                                      Edward Weston's darkroom.




                                                      ...and I already worked with a 6 panel stitch from the D800. Slower than mine for sure but if the alternate is not to go there because of perceived speed requirements...


                                                      I stand for longer hours waiting for the right light. And that's not to decry progress. I don't use the 8x10 any more either.


                                                      One does what one must at the time. I'm sure I'm not alone.


                                                      Message was edited by: Hudechrome

                                                      • 24. Re: Samsung SSD 256 Gb vs 1 Tb HDD Scratch Disk
                                                        thislooksgreat Level 1

                                                        I didn't reply for quite a while since I had my computer in service for about a month and a half. They replaced 1 stick of RAM which was bad, replaced motherboard and video card.

                                                        Current configuration:

                                                        Hard disk Samsung 1 TB SATA-II 7200RPM 32MB PMR Spinpoint F3

                                                        Memorie KingMax 4x4GB DDR3 1333MHz

                                                        Seasonic M12II-620 Bronze 620W

                                                        Cooler Scythe Ninja 3

                                                        LCD DELL U2311H 23 inch wide black

                                                        Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H

                                                        Intel Core i5 2500K 3.30GHz OC at 4.3 GHZ

                                                        SSD OCZ Agility 3 Series 60GB SATA-III 2.5 inch 1 x 554,15 554,15

                                                        7950 video card

                                                        Azza Toledo


                                                        Free Space: 15 GB left on the SSD, 224 Gb left on the HDD. The latter is set as the scratch disk.

                                                        Other important information: Win7 64 bit, I'm using 20 history states, I create website designs, a project has from 10 to 100 Mb, usually about 20-40 Mb depending on how many images/smart objects. I opened 2 projects, selected "scratch sizesc" from the bottom left and I have 8.8Gb/13.6 Gb. What does this mean?

                                                        My efficiency is curently at 100%. I did go down to 80% for a bit when I opened them but nothing major.


                                                        The problem: After some times, the system seems to "tire down". I'm constantly opening multiple PSDs, have 20-30 tabs in Chrome, open 2-6 projects in Illustrator. I can see the zoom effect not working as it should, I can see the system thinking a bit when I'm doing certain things. Not happy. I want to upgrade my storage, partly because of this issues, partly because my current SSD is an old one.


                                                        Decision: Having considered everything, should I go for 840 SSD PRO 250 Gb @ ~ $350 in my area or should I go for 840 SSD BASIC 500 Gb @ ~ $503?

                                                        My PSDs will most likely remain on my HDD. My OS and other programs will be on the new SSD. Not sure what to do with my current SSD since I can't get any value from it if I sell it. I know someone suggested to keep my OS on the old SSD but I'm not too happy doing that.


                                                        What do you guys think and can you explain the scratch size?