6 Replies Latest reply on Nov 30, 2016 9:23 PM by Sanpanza

    Hardware setup for catalogue, previews and RAWs?


      Hi all.


      For the past 2 years I have been running a retina 27" iMac with 512gb SSD as it's main drive.

      My catalogue, previews and RAWs have all been on a USB3 connected 1tb SSD and backed up using time machine to a 2tb USB3 HDD.


      Now all 3 of my drives are at capacity.

      Historically I shot with a D800 the D810 so the raws were huge. I'm now moving to an X-T2.


      The easy answer is to upgrade the SSD to a 2tb SSD and the TM drive to a 4gb ext USB drive, that should buy me a few more years.

      Perhaps another option is to invest in a 4-bay NAS, stick 4x4gb drives in and use the lot for TM backup and image storage.


      What do you guys think? even though i'm running an i7 processor and 32gb RAM, images still sake a second or 2 to appear in my current setup, I don't really want them to appear any slower. It was suggested that I could move all images older than 1 year to the NAS and keep the catalogue, previews and latest images on the 1tb SSD.


      Interested to hear other ideas and setups that work well.


      Many thanks in adv.


        • 1. Re: Hardware setup for catalogue, previews and RAWs?
          Just Shoot Me Adobe Community Professional

          Since you are using a fairly new Mac it must have a thunderbolt port if not 2 of them and you could also add a USB 3 hub to connect more drives to your present setup. I see no point in adding larger drives and retiring the older smaller ones. Just add another 2 drives of the same capacity. You can also get rid of some of the older Time Machine backups to free up space on the drive you have set up for Time Machine.


          AFAIK 99% of the multiple drive (Bay) NAS boxes are that way to setup a RAID array. Which would limit the overall storage capacity of that box.

          Also the LR catalog file must be on a drive connected directly to the computer and not on a networked drive.

          • 2. Re: Hardware setup for catalogue, previews and RAWs?
            Sanpanza Level 1

            I have a similar issue. I recently purchased a 27" 5K iMac and have a four bay thunderbolt jbod box where I store my images. I plan in moving my LR catalogue to an SSD drive on the jbod box and I have a 2TB drive dedicated for a scratch disk.


            How much perfomance gain would I get if I purchased a RAID array for my content (picture) drive?


            How much performance gain would I get if my catalogue and image previews were on an SSD RAID?


            I thought LR would receive no gain on a RAID array.

            • 3. Re: Hardware setup for catalogue, previews and RAWs?
              ManiacJoe Adobe Community Professional

              The RAID array will not give you any speed performance. RAID is about data redundancy in the case of individual drive failure.


              One thing to be careful about is how the RAID system is connected to the computer. If the computer thinks the RAID array is a network drive, Lightroom will not allow the catalog to be used from the RAID array.

              • 4. Re: Hardware setup for catalogue, previews and RAWs?
                Sanpanza Level 1

                Thanks ManiacJoe, that was my general impression as well but I recently read Adobe's guide to "Optimize Lightroom Performance" under "Use a Fast Drive" https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom/kb/optimize-performance-lightroom.html  . It states " For more demanding workflows consider a raid array." 


                It also implies that placing the catalog, previews and images on an external drive will slow your workflow down which is not my understanding of how LR works.


                Then in another Adobe adobe article  it stated that moving the catalog to an external SSD drive would speed things up. So I am not sure which way to go.

                • 5. Re: Hardware setup for catalogue, previews and RAWs?
                  ManiacJoe Adobe Community Professional

                  By "more demanding" Adobe is not referring to speed regarding RAID arrays.


                  For an internal drive, SSD is marginally faster than a spinning drive, but not enough that you are going to notice.


                  An external drive is slower than an internal drive. USB3 is quite fast, so you may not notice. Yes, putting the catalog and cache is going to slow you down. How much is open to debate. If you need to share a catalog between machines, putting the catalog and cache and images on an external drive is an good option.


                  My LR catalogs and cache are on my internal spinning hard drive. Some of my images are on a different internal spinning drive. Some of my images are on an external USB3 spinning drive. The LR cache covers any performance needed by the library module. Loading the full file off the external drive for the develop module is a little slower than the internal drive but not enough to worry about.


                  Performance of LR comes from high end CPUs and lots of memory. If you have a 4k or 5k monitor, you may see some improvement in speed if you can get the GPU optimization working correctly.

                  • 6. Re: Hardware setup for catalogue, previews and RAWs?
                    Sanpanza Level 1

                    OK, thanks ManiacJoe,


                    looks like I am optimized then:


                    iMac 27" 5K on 1TB SSD drive. 32 GB of RAM

                    Images reside on USB 3.0 JBOD box on 7200 RPM SATA III drive

                    Radeon R9 Series graphics card.


                    Sound like I am stressing over nothing here. Just trying to get as much processing speed as possible.


                    Your answer is helpful.