Oops, Learning, not 'learing'
I've heard of people adding separate hard drive, dedicated to scratch and paging files.
With today's modern, very fast computers, I think it's overkill. It certainly won't give you a dramatic increase in Premiere Elements performance.
There was a time with all of these configurations mattered -- as well as overclocking processors and stripping down the operating system. And maybe it still does for hardcore gamers.
I'm not going to fight anyone who insists on doing it. But, seriously guys, an i7 computer has thousands of times the computer power that took astronauts to the moon. Among consumer camcorder video, including AVCHD and cell phone HD video, most typical off the shelf computers can edit it without working up a sweat.
How much firepower do you really need?
Steve, I can't begin to tell you how *relieved* and pleased I am to see that, wow! Thanks. I'm off to take a trip round the moon.
Glad I could help give you a bit oof peace, Brian. I really do prefer simpler solutions. Especially since, between Windows 7 and Mac OSX, multi-core processors and 64-bit operating systems, with their expanded RAM use, the world of off-the-shelf computing power is pretty impressive! No need to turn every desktop into a starship.
First, there are major differences between what Adobe Photoshop/PSElements refers to as "Scratch Disks," and what Adobe Premiere Pro/PrElements refers to as "Scratch Disks." The discussion below, refers to a Windows machine ONLY, as Mac's might well be very different and I do not know Mac's.
In the Photoshop family, the Scratch Disks (often only one file, but can be multiple in some instances) are almost exactly like Windows Virtual Memory/Page File. A .TMP file, or files, is/are created in the set desitnation drive (Edit>Preferences>Scratch Disks), and it is used as an overflow for any memory, that does not fit into RAM. It is dynamic, in that it will grow, as needed, though doesn't really shrink that much, until one exits from the program, when it should be Deleted. It is a bit of a holdover from when computers had limited RAM, and especially on 32-bit OS's, where the RAM was limited to 4GB, with ~ 3.5GB used fully. Still, and even on machines with 64 - 128GB of RAM, the Scratch Disk can come into play with certain functions, like stitching very large panoramas, HDR processing, Liquify, etc.. Just like the Virtual Memory/Page File for Windows, there will be reads/writes to/from the HDD, where the Scratch Disks are located. With a mechanical HDD, this reading and writing can create a bottleneck, if the Scratch Disks are located on the same HDD, as the OS, the program, and the Windows Page File, as there can be many requests going through one controller, and the heads of the HDD can only be in one position on the platters, at one time. The read/write requests are queued up, and each in line has to wait for the previous operation to finish. SSD's are much, much more efficient at allowing multiple read/writes simultaneously, and are becoming very popular for System drives, and for Scratch Disks, especially if in a RAID configuration. When speaking strictly of HDD's, it is the bottleneck with the mechanical transfer of data, that one hopes to eliminate by spreading the I/O (Input/Output) load over multiple HDD's, through separate controllers - reads/writes to one HDD are totally unaffected by reads/writes to another HDD, so long as the CPU can process the data efficiently, and as Steve says, an i7 can do a great job of this.
Using external HDD's for Scratch Disks can be a good plan, BUT the weak link is the connection. IMO USB 2.0 is too slow. IEEE-1394a is too slow. IEEE-1394b is getting up where the connections speeds need to be. USB 3.0 looks like a viable plan, along with eSATA, which is almost exactly like a SATA internal HDD.
Years ago, I benchmarked an old Toshiba laptop (fast for the day) w/ single 80GB HDD and Photoshop, probably about CS. The Windows Page File was obviously on my System HDD, along with my OS (probably XP, but cannot recall now), my programs, and my Photoshop Scratch Disks. I set up an Action that made heavy use of the Scratch Disks. I plugged in a 7200RPM USB 2.0 external, and moved my Scratch Disk location to that external, then closed and relaunched PS. The processing time for that very involved Action took about 9 sec. longer with the USB 2.0 external. I repeated with an IEEE-1394a (FW-400) external, and the results came in at about 8 sec. slower. I repeated with an IEEE-1394b (FW-800), and the time to process that Action was only about 1 sec. slower. Conclusion - nothing to be gained from any of those externals, for Scratch Disk, and in the first two, there was a noticeable loss in performance. I did not have eSATA to test, and USB 3.0 had not been introduced.
OK, now lets talk about Premiere Scratch Disks. They are actually a group of different files, and they do not provide any "virtual memory" to the program. What they do, however, is allow for the creation of various "working files," that Premiere will use, when editing. They range from the Media Cache, where one will find the Conformed Audio files (CFA's), the Waveform Display files (PEK), and MPEGIndex files. There are Captured Audio and Captured Video, along with Render Files (created to provide smoothest playback of a Timeline), etc.. Depending on what operations are being perfromed, such as an Export/Share, or authoring a DVD/BD, other files will be generated. Many of these files are write once/read many, so they are not accessed at the same level, as with PS's Scratch Disk. Again, and depending on the operation being performed, some do see a lot of read/write activity.
Where one normally sees the biggest performance improvement is by separating their OS, programs and probably Windows Page File onto one HDD, and then the Projects and media (Assets), onto another. Note: with a 64-bit OS and 16 - 32GB+ of RAM, the Windows Page File will see less use, than with a 32-bit OS and only 4GB of RAM, so if one has a 64-bit OS, with a good allocation of RAM, the performance increase by splitting the I/O load over two HDD's, will be diminished some, but still be there. With SSD's, and especially in a RAID, the performance increase might not be noticeable, if there is any. The idea is to split the I/O processing load over multiple HDD's and controllers, so that requests for reads/writes are not queued, but are happening simultaneously, and the CPU is not waiting for them. Some users take it several steps further, by locating their output files on another HDD (often a RAID), their Audio on another, their Video on yet another (often a RAID), and the Projects and Premiere Scratch Disks on yet another. Performance will increase, the more that one splits the I/O load, BUT the increments of increase will drop down, and the impact will be much less, than just splitting the Projects and Media from the OS, programs and Page File. Users have observed (I feel mostly by general "seat-of-the-pants" observation vs real benchmarks) about a 50% increase in performance, just by splitting the Projects and Media onto another physical (do not use, or think about partitions here) HDD's. That falls, as to an observable % of performance, the more splitting one does, but true benchmarks show that there is an increase, however small it might be with multiple splitting. For this reason, I recommend at least two physical HDD's for a video-editing rig. I have not tested with large, SSD's (RAID, or not), so cannot directly address their use.
The Assets can have an impact on performance too. Where DV and HDV (plus some other formats/CODEC's) are heavily I/O intensive. AVCHD (and any flavor of H.264) are more CPU intensive. Still, and even with the H.264 material, there are I/O intensive aspects, such as with the CFA Audio files, and then the Export/Share, or authoring operations - just less than with DV/HDV type material overall.
Personally, I feel that Adobe should have used a different term, than "Scratch Discs" for Premiere's working files, as that term applies to something different in Photoshop, and has from day one. I might have gone with something like "Working Files," but no one asked me. Using the same term for two different sets of files is very confusing, if one has both a version of Photoshop and a version of Premiere.
Good luck in the quest,
I THINK Bill is saying the same thing as I did.
In the real world, when you're editing DV, HDV and AVCHD camcorder video on a home computer, all that nitromethane just isn't necessary.
Yes, you and I are close on that. I do feel that a 2x HDD I/O setup is very useful (totally necessary? Not really, but very useful.) for ease of editing. We both agree completely (or I think we do), that with H.264 material, an i5 is about the real-world minimum for smooth editing, with an i7 being so much better, read "smoother."
One CAN get by with a 1x HDD I/O, but will likely appreciate the performance improvement just by adding a second physical HDD, and allocating the I/O load appropriately. Lot of B-F-B (Bang for the Buck) there. With more HDD's, and more splitting of the I/O load, the B-F-B will diminish, and almost exponentially. There ARE performances increases, but whether one will notice them is debabable. Like spending really big $'s on a stereo amp/pre-amp. There will likely be an improvement in the sound, but can one actually hear it?
I think a physical separate dedicated video drive is not overdone.
Many people do not own a i7 (or even if they did).
And AVCHD can be though to handle.
Even the new very popular Gopro has proven to be a bit difficult.
Before I would be forced to buy a Windows 8 computer, I bought the strongest laptop I could find. It has an i7, 16 GB of RAM, a fast HDD, USB 3.0 ports, a graphics card and a really fast SSD.
I read a few articles about spreading out the assets on multiple drives and tried it. Then I tried putting everything to do with a given project in one folder on the SSD named for that project. My SSD is smaller than my HDD and it has most of my software on it, so I need to manage the space.
The idea is that I can work on a project on the SSD and move the entire folder to the larger HDD or an external drive for storage.
I'm working on family reunion video shot on AVCHD cameras that is an (unbearbly) long 70 minutes! Outputing to an mp4 file yesterdat was faster than watching the video. I've got more checking to do, but it took less than an hour!
I'll be preview for errors, editing and transcoding a few more times and trying different output settings. Then I'll see how long it takes to made DVDs and Blu-Rays.
The performance of the i7, lots of RAM and SSD combination appears, so far, to be better than I had hoped for.
Bill, thanks very much for that detailed reply which seems to me to complement what Steve was saying earlier. First, it's 1:20 am in the UK here and you wont get much sense out of me (I've been editing several clips, about which I'll start a new thread 'cos I've run into a quite different problem).
To be perfectly honest, much of it is above my head (tho I do look up the acronyms etc!). I'm very grateful for the clarification of the Photoshop / Premiere differences in the meaning of 'Scratch Disk'. They seem very different animals, a bit like calling a dog a cat or something.
You've sent me (yet again) to consult the specs of my pc and I'll copy them here only so as you or Steve can help me be clear in my mind as to whether I really re-allocate my ext HDs or simply depend on the internal HD.
Form factor: uATX - 24.4 cm (9.6 inches) x 24.4 cm (9.6 inches)
Chipset: Intel H67
Memory sockets: 4 x DDR3
Front side bus speeds: 100 MHz DMI (Direct Media Interface)
Processor socket: LGA 1155
1 PCI Express x16
3 PCI Express x1
1 PCI Express mini card x1
Intel Core i7 2600
Operating speed: 3.4 GHz (up to 3.8 GHz turbo)
Number of cores: 4
Bus speed: DMI (Direct Media Interface) - 2.5GT/s
Figure 5: Hard drive
Image of hard drive
Size: 2 TB
Rotational Speed: 5400 RPM
The fact that it's SATA -- does this mean I could (if I wanted to) connect what I only heard about yesterday, an e-SATA? Judging by what you and Steve are saying, I'm not sure I'd cut off more than a few seconds (if that) from the (apparent) expense(?)
My two Top I/O USB ports are 3.0 (there are 4 more (2.0) in the front and several more at the back). My two ext HDs at the moment are used for storing backup copies of my photos, stuff like Deke McClelland's, Steve Grisetti's, Scott Kelby's, Jan Ozer's, Chris Orwig's, Ole MacDonald's, and Uncle Tom Cobley an' All's lessons. I always have the feeling it's better to keep as much stuff off the 'C' drive as possible -- less defrag? faster working? But with 2 TB should I really be worrying??
Does it mean if the ext HDs are connected with USB 3.0, I could clear both of them of backups, and dedicate one to video, the other to audio for Premiere Elements 11? But again, from what I understand you to be saying, I'd not get *that* much advantage.
I'm terribly aware of my relative ignorance about all this stuff. I'm even regretting that I partitioned my HD in view of what Bill says about maybe slowing things down (slightly?).
I guess I should get some sleep, but I want to start the other thread about this other prob I've just met.
Thanks again all you guys.
See you in the morning.