13 Replies Latest reply on Feb 17, 2012 1:51 AM by lesnicole

    External Hard Drive choice help

    lesnicole

      I need to upgrade my equipment this year as CS5 and LR3 start getting real slow on my iMac 2.8 ghz intel dual with 4 GB RAM (maxed out) Even with LR set to 32bit.

       

      Even getting a new system, it may not be a bad idea to have a dedicated scratch disk.

       

      I was reading in this article on optimizing performance that I should get a Solid State Disk for a scratch drive. What is a SSD? Will a Fire wire external disk be sufficient?

       

      I need this dumbed down a bit! Thanks. ;-)

        • 1. Re: External Hard Drive choice help
          PECourtejoie Adobe Community Professional

          Hello

          An SSD is a Solid State Drive, one that's made out of memory chips, rather than a Hard Drive, that uses a Magnetic Disk.

           

          Using an SSD in Firewire, even Firewire 800 would limit its peak speed, I don't think it would be a wise investment.

           

          Unfortunately, it seems that replacing the internal disk with an SSD, (and use it as a scratch disk) is an operation that would void your warranty... (You need to remove the screen!)

           

          If you want to keep your current machine, I'd look into maxing out the RAM (are you sure that the iMAC would not accomodate 8Gb? (You'd need to sell the two 2Gb sticks)

          • 2. Re: External Hard Drive choice help
            pf22 Level 2

            lesnicole wrote:

             

            I need to upgrade my equipment this year as CS5 and LR3 start getting real slow on my iMac 2.8 ghz intel dual with 4 GB RAM (maxed out) Even with LR set to 32bit.

             

            Even getting a new system, it may not be a bad idea to have a dedicated scratch disk.

             

            I was reading in this article on optimizing performancethat I should get a Solid State Disk for a scratch drive. What is a SSD? Will a Fire wire external disk be sufficient?

             

            I need this dumbed down a bit! Thanks. ;-)

             

            Hi lesnicole

             

            The new iMacs can be configured with both an SSD and a mechanical drive, the SSD would be for the Lion OS plus your programs, the mechanical drive - I think you can go up to 2TB - would be for your data files, and could also be assigned as the scratch.

             

            One thing to realize about SSD's is that although they give blistering performance, I'm using 2 of them in my new Win7 build, they do have their drawbacks, the major one of which is that they wear out, just like an old LP record or video tape, and what wears them is writing to them. Reading from the device has no impact on its life whatsoever, so the ideal use for the drive is for your OS + Apps as outlined above, as once you've installed all your programs, the vast majority of the activity on the drive will be reads. This is a really good article that should give you an understanding of the core technologies and processes behind the devices.

             

            As I mentioned, I've just built a new system with 2 SSD's, one for my OS + Apps, and the second, which is an older one from my previous system, that I have "recycled," and given to Photoshop as a scratch disk... I'm interested in seeing how long it will last! LOL!

             

            Another alternative, and one that I would personally favor, even though the new iMacs are pretty incredible, is the Mac Pro tower because you can have up to 5 drives in there; there are 4 drive bays as standard, plus you could install an SSD for your OS + Apps in the second, empty. Superdrive bay. Hopefully we'll see a new Mac Pro sometime this year which will include the Thunderbolt port!

             

            Good luck!

            Paul

            • 3. Re: External Hard Drive choice help
              lesnicole Level 1

              Yes, I'm sure my RAM is maxed out. I checked the specs for my computer before I bought. In fact, I had to send my first purchase back, because I discovered I had an earlier iMac than I thought.

              • 4. Re: External Hard Drive choice help
                lesnicole Level 1

                Thanks for your info on the hard drives. I'll go read that article. I'm sure the Mac pro tower would be great, but then I would also need to buy a new monitor and the price will be much more expensive than a new iMac. Perhaps if my business keeps growning I can do that, but I may have to settle this year for something that is just better than what I have. This machine is going on 4 years old and you know computers age in dog years!

                • 5. Re: External Hard Drive choice help
                  lesnicole Level 1

                  Just went through the Apple site looking at the iMac specs. I'm going to Max get the top iMac maxed out with the ATA and the SSD drive.

                   

                  So, back to my initial question though, I'm still not sure what I should use for the Photoshop Scratch Disk in the meantime?

                  • 6. Re: External Hard Drive choice help
                    Curt Y Level 7

                    Best to keep the scratch drive internal.  If you need more space move some of the other data you have to an external.  Be aware that this can cause slower access and permission problems.

                    • 7. Re: External Hard Drive choice help
                      pf22 Level 2

                      Hi Lesnicole

                       

                      If you have an iMac with just the one drive, I'm afraid there's not much you can do. Putting Photoshop's Scratch Disk on an external drive is usually considered a waste of time because the connection, Firewire/USB2, becomes a massive bottleneck.

                       

                      The best thing to do is to hang-in there 'til you can get the new iMac with its SSD + HD, and in fact, the new Thunderbolt I/O port may well change the rules as far as using an external disk for scratch is concerned!

                       

                      All the best

                      Paul

                      • 8. Re: External Hard Drive choice help
                        gator soup Level 4

                        Check out

                        http://www.newertech.com/products/voyagerq.php

                         

                        try their tech support if it is worth installing an eSATA card in your iMac or laptop (for eSATA speed) or just using FW800 until you upgrade

                         

                        note it also fits small mechanical HDD and SSD drives, and full size HDDs (SATA)

                         

                        i use one across several Macs and most highly recommend it...

                        • 9. Re: External Hard Drive choice help
                          pf22 Level 2

                           

                          gator soup wrote:

                           

                          Check out

                          http://www.newertech.com/products/voyagerq.php

                           

                          try their tech support if it is worth installing an eSATA card in your iMac or laptop (for eSATA speed) or just using FW800 until you upgrade

                           

                           

                           

                          Unfortunately you can't add any cards to the iMac, and only the 17" Macbook Pro now has the ExpressCard slot which will accept an e-SATA adapter.

                          • 10. Re: External Hard Drive choice help
                            gator soup Level 4
                            >> you can't add any cards to the iMac

                             

                            dont know if it is a card on the imac, but OWC appears to have an option on adding esata on imac

                             

                            Picture 1.png

                             

                            Add External eSATA Port
                            http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/turnkey/iMac

                             

                            Upgrade options:

                            Add a High-Performance eSATA Port

                            http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/turnkey/iMac_2010_27

                             

                            also don't know much about their laptop esata cards except my powerbook G4 didnt have the correct slot

                             

                            may be worth a call because esata is a lot faster than FW800 that will run on any FW800 Mac, and the Voyager external even has USB3...

                            • 11. Re: External Hard Drive choice help
                              pf22 Level 2

                              Wow, they're actually modding the iMac, and voiding the Apple Warranty at the same time - see the attachment below - but that looks like a VERY cool option!!!

                               

                              OWC Mod Warranty.JPG

                              • 12. Re: External Hard Drive choice help
                                lesnicole Level 1

                                This may be part of my problem then. My image archives are on an external Firewire drive as well as my Lightroom catalogs. I did this as it was highly recommended to put my databases on an external drive - by something I read about Lightroom. I should look again at this info and see if perhaps this is not the case.

                                 

                                I have no room to put my massive archive of images on my main hard drive. I so need new equipment!

                                • 13. Re: External Hard Drive choice help
                                  lesnicole Level 1

                                  I have a 2008! iMac, so it looks as if that e-sata conversion thing wouldn't work for me. Thanks though.