Professional Web Applications Themes

Optimizing Hard Drives in New Computer - Adobe Photoshop 7, CS, CS2 & CS3

I am currently planning to build a new PC for myself and would like it to be optimized for PS usage. I plan to base it on an Intel P4 3.0Ghz CPU and a motherboard that supports both RAID and SATA (up to 4 drives, one pair with a Promise controller and one pair with an Intel controller)and allows RAID usage with SATA drives. I have thought of a few possible options and would like to get some help with what would be the best setup for PS. Also, if there is a better choice than these options please let ...

  1. #1

    Default Optimizing Hard Drives in New Computer

    I am currently planning to build a new PC for myself and would like it to be optimized for PS usage. I plan to base it on an Intel P4 3.0Ghz CPU and a motherboard that supports both RAID and SATA (up to 4 drives, one pair with a Promise controller and one pair with an Intel controller)and allows RAID usage with SATA drives. I have thought of a few possible options and would like to get some help with what would be the best setup for PS. Also, if there is a better choice than these options please let me know also. I am willing to buy two of the 10000RPM Western Digital SATA drives which, unfortunately at this point, are only 36 GB in size as well as one larger SATA drive that would be 7200RPM. I know the 10000 RPM discs are going to be coming out as 72 GB, but that is not until Nov and at an unknown cost.

    Some possibilities I have thought of:

    1) Two 10000RPM SATA drives (non-RAID) with the OS and PS on separate partitions on one of the drives and the scratch disc and other non-PS applications on the other 10000RPM drive and a third 7200RPM drive for long term storage of images. In this situation would putting the PS program itself on the slower of the SATA drives improve performance by putting the OS and PS and scratch all on physically distinct discs, or do you lose that edge by using a slower disc?

    2) Two 10000RPM SATA drives in a RAID 0 array with the third slower drive as a non-RAID SATA drive. Arrange the partitions on the RAID discs as in number 1. In this setup the OS sees the RAID array as one large disc. What I am uncertain of in this setup is what happens when you partition the RAID system in terms of the scratch disc. The partition would, as I understand it, span both discs with writing of files to both discs essentially simultaneously. So ,in a sense, part of PS, the OS and the scratch discs will physically reside in part on both discs. Does that negate the benefit you get from having physically different discs for the PS program and the scratch disc? I suppose that conceivably I could set up 2 distinct RAID 0 arrays as the board has two chips that each control a pair of SATA drives and that I could have 2 RAID 0 arrays with PS and OS on one and scratch and apps and files on the other...but then things start to get complicated! (especially for a first time computer builder).

    So with all options being open what is the best way to configure a system to optimise PS??? It does get confusing!

    Howard Grill
    Howard_Grill@adobeforums.com Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: Optimizing Hard Drives in New Computer

    What size image files do you typically work with? If you have plenty of RAM, disk performance becomes less of an issue as to how fast you can work. I would suggest that RAID 0 can be immensely frustrating if reliability is an issue.

    Gary
    Gary_Hummell@adobeforums.com Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: Optimizing Hard Drives in New Computer

    My image file size can get up to about 500 MB but I presume could get higher with the new PS version supporting 16 bits. I plan to use 2GB RAM in the system. I am leaning against RAID because of reliability issues and the risc of data loss with drive failure in a RAID 0 system.

    Assuming no RAID, but the ability to use up to 4 drives, what would the optimum configuration be? Specifically, would having the OS, PS program, and scratch disc ALL on 3 physically separate discs significantly improve performance compared to having the OS and actual PS program on one disc and the scratch disc on a physically separate disc? If it would help significantly to have 3 physically distinct discs, how much would performance dcrease if the PS program itself were on a 7200RPM HD with the other two discs being 10000RPM (as opposed to all 3 discs being 10000RPM)?

    Thanks.

    Howard
    Howard_Grill@adobeforums.com Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: Optimizing Hard Drives in New Computer

    I worked the other way around. I am using my system for both Photoshop and Premiere.

    Drive 1 (720O RPM IDE 133 drive) for PS and OS
    Drive 2 (2x 120GB 7200 RPM SATA drives, combined in RAID 0) for data

    Works fine so far (but the system is only runnign for a week now), but considering changing Drive 1 also to a raid 0 or 1 configuration (depending what will frustrate me more drive-speed or data-loss ;-).

    Asus has a motherboard (P4C800 Deluxe) which support to sets of RAID: 1x S-ATA and 1x IDE133 (but am sure Asus is not the only one)

    Just my 2 Euro-Cents

    Nils
    nils@kijkuit.com@adobeforums.com Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: Optimizing Hard Drives in New Computer

    dear Howard-

    obviously RAID 0 is the fastest hard drive setup (and with SCSI drives to boot) but you really won't see huge PS performance increase with this-

    PS is all about RAM -when it runs out, yer done. if you're doing 500MB files you will definitely run out of RAM, and sadly, theres nothing you can really do about it. the application limit for 32 bit procs is 2GB, and PS won't even give you the full 2gB to use, on my system, i have 4gb of RAM but PS's will only actually use 1777MB.

    now, i did tests to see if changing the scratch disk would help. putting scratch on a separate hard drive as your OS, any hard drive, will definitely be faster, but the actual SPEED of that drive is irrelevant -ie putting your scratch on a SCSI drive as opposed to an IDE has no real difference. I even tested putting the scratch on a ramdisk, but it wasn't that much faster. for those big files what u really need is a 64bit version of PS AND a new 64 bit chip AND a 64 bit version of windows -then PS could use more RAM and those 500MB files would fly -perhaps in 2004 sometime?

    the only thing u can really do now is to work with one large file at a time, lower history, and hope u dont use up that RAM. performance drops i'd say some 800% when PS runs out of RAM. fast drives will NOT help at all, although windows and PS will load and run better on a nice SCSI setup. RAID and SCSI are really more helpful for video.
    ellen_devito@adobeforums.com Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: Optimizing Hard Drives in New Computer

    I am planning to use 2 GB RAM, realizing that PS will not be able to use all of it. I am not sure why drive speed and RAID 0 will not help with the scratch disc. After reading the prior post I was thinking that perhaps it would be worthwhile to set up a RAID 0 array with two 10000RPM discs to serve as the scratch and also hold image files currently being worked on while having PS and the OS on a separate disc. Since when RAM runs out PS must use the scratch disc why will increasing the read/write speed to the scratch by using faster drives in a RAID 0 not improve speed. I would think that by increasing read/write by as much as 40% with faster dives and RAID 0 should improve the manipulations PS must do to the scratch to use it. Why is this not the case?

    As far as 64 bit systems I have agonized over this for a while..build now or wait...of course there is always something else to wait for :>)

    I think it will be some time until Microsoft has a 64 bit OS that is out of beta testing AND PS has a 64 bit version AND even then putting in gigs and gigs of RAM can get pricey!

    Howard
    Howard_Grill@adobeforums.com Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: Optimizing Hard Drives in New Computer

    you have a point: i too thought that "in theory" there should be a way to maximize scratch disk usage, but the gains are minimal. Chris Cox said a ramdisk wouldnt help, so i did an experiment:

    tested 3 setups:

    one with scratch on the same drive -C:/
    one with the scratch on a different drive E:/
    one with the scratch set to a RamDisk of 1.5 GB called drive R:/

    now, once PS runs out of ram, it should use the scratch, and since the OS is "tricked" by the ramdisk to think of the extra ram as a separate hard disk, the speed you would think should at least APPROACH what it was when using memory -but i only noticed improvements of some 10-20% using the ramdisk -and remember, ram is like a thousand times faster than the fastest SCSI raid setup u could ever create. so, while i have not tested it, i can only assume that if a ramdisk does not help, why would RAID? on all 3 setups, times were IDENTICAL when PS had enough RAM to use.

    interestingly, just putting the scratch disk on the diff drive resulted in performance gains I'd say of somewhere from 200-300%: the ramdisk only added some 10-20%. the real problem is that once PS runs out of RAM, it runs some 700-800% WORSE. for whatever reason, i dont think PS uses ram and scratch efficiently, my conservative estimates showed that PS wanted some 16 TIMES the file size for both Ram and scratch, thus, when I had ressed up a file say from 50-500MB, I had used up all the Ram (1777MB) and had a scratch temp file that was over 5 GB! this is 64 bit territory now.

    didn't write PS for sure, but for some reson, PS "uses" the scratch disk much more innefficiently than it uses RAM -even when the scratch actually "IS" RAM! seems PS is all about RAM, not aboud hard drives. they tell me that video editing: ala After Effects, and Avid, is exactly the reverse: files are so huge its all about hard drive speed, and not much about RAM.

    SCSI or RAID may make sense for you anway though, if so, do some tests and let us know. my setup proved to me that PS would simply rather have a separate drive (any separate drive), even when that drive (an IDE) is twice as slow as the one you have the OS on (SCSI).
    ellen_devito@adobeforums.com Guest

  8. #8

    Default Re: Optimizing Hard Drives in New Computer

    From what I've gleaned here from Adobe people is that RAM does cache or buffer what is written to the scratch space, and the more RAM it has to work with, the more it can wait before writing from RAM to the cache. I've got Windows on one drive, programs and Windows swap file on another, and Photoshop scratch on a RAID 0 partition. It works well for me. The largest images I work on start out in the half-gig range and get reduced from there. I do have to wait, but rarely enough to go to the kitchen for another cup of coffee.
    Tim_Spragens@adobeforums.com Guest

  9. #9

    Default Re: Optimizing Hard Drives in New Computer

    Ellen,
     [/ref]

    That's not how Photoshop works. Under most conditions* Photoshop uses the
    Scratch file as its PRIME memory. It uses RAM as a Cache for the scratch
    file. So it is not a case "once PS runs out of ram" at all. You will ALWAYS
    has a scratch file, regardless of how small the image or how large your
    amount of available RAM.

    * Some filter operations are carried out entirely in real RAM


    LenHewitt@adobeforums.com Guest

  10. #10

    Default Re: Optimizing Hard Drives in New Computer

    Tim, I know there is marked benefit to having a physically seaparate scratch disc, but is there a benefit to putting Photoshop on a physically different disc than the OS (ie having a three disc setup with OS, PS program, and scratch all physically separate)??

    Also, is there benefit to having the Windows swap on a physically different disc than Windows itself, as compared to, say, a separate partition on the OS disc?

    Howard
    Howard_Grill@adobeforums.com Guest

  11. #11

    Default Re: Optimizing Hard Drives in New Computer

    Len, if that is the case regarding PS always using the scratch disc, then doesn't it also follow that the faster your ability to read/write from the scratch (ie a faster hard drive or a RAID array) the better PS performance should be?
    Or, as suggested, is there some reason that the faster scratch access doesn't help??
    Howard_Grill@adobeforums.com Guest

  12. #12

    Default Re: Optimizing Hard Drives in New Computer

    It seems that the OS or the applications in use are always going to want to be going back to disk for some library or another, and that may be stored under the OS umbrella, or with the application. I've been curious, but I don't have a tool to watch which disk is being accessed at any particular moment. Intuitively, it would seem that having separate disks for OS, App, OS page file, App scratch would be ideal. If you're going to gang two of them together, it might be better to have OS and App together. Maybe someone who know more about the hardware workings will jump in.

    A side question, is the memory assigned to Pshop shared between the application and the data, or is it just dataspace?

    As to your question to Len, that's why I put a RAID 0 together, for the fastest access for Pshop to scratch.
    Tim_Spragens@adobeforums.com Guest

  13. #13

    Default Re: Optimizing Hard Drives in New Computer



    Len, if that is the case regarding PS always using the scratch disc, then
    doesn't it also follow that the faster your ability to read/write from
    the scratch (ie a faster hard drive or a RAID array) the better PS performance
    should be?




    Yes.

    A side question, is the memory assigned to Pshop shared between the application
    and the data, or is it just dataspace?




    I think I recall Chris saying it's shared.
    dave_milbut@adobeforums.com Guest

  14. #14

    Default Re: Optimizing Hard Drives in New Computer

    Howard,

    Yes, that follows, but Photoshop will attempt to use 'free time' to
    write/read the scratch wherever possible, so faster drives won't always show
    the improvement anticipated.

    If all accesses can be made during 'free time' you wouldn't notice any
    improvement in having a fast raid, whereas with very large images with
    multiple layers you may notice a considerable improvement.


    LenHewitt@adobeforums.com Guest

  15. #15

    Default Re: Optimizing Hard Drives in New Computer

    ellen - part of what you're missing is the OS gets involved in reading and writing to disk. And windows likes to cache things in RAM (which makes RAM disks UGLY).

    Also, if you're going to do RAID -- get a dedicated RAID controller card, don't just use the OS.
    Chris_Cox@adobeforums.com Guest

  16. #16

    Default Re: Optimizing Hard Drives in New Computer

    Chris, this particular motherboard is new and has on board RAID so it will be a hardware, as opposed to software RAID...so am I correct in assuming that you believe a RAID 0 scratch will speed things up?

    Howard
    Howard_Grill@adobeforums.com Guest

  17. #17

    Default Re: Optimizing Hard Drives in New Computer

    Howard - yes.
    Chris_Cox@adobeforums.com Guest

  18. #18

    Default Re: Optimizing Hard Drives in New Computer

    Chris...since you are listening :>).....is there any advantage to putting the PS program on a separate disc from the OS and scratch (3 discs) or are the gains to be had from this miniscule (particularly if the OS disc is 10000RPM and the program disc 7200)?

    Thanks.

    Howard
    Howard_Grill@adobeforums.com Guest

  19. #19

    Default Re: Optimizing Hard Drives in New Computer

    Miniscule gain.

    The biggest gain is having the scratch on a fast drive, different from the OS swapfile volume.
    Chris_Cox@adobeforums.com Guest

  20. #20

    Default Re: Optimizing Hard Drives in New Computer

    looks like I stand corrected on a few things.

    you guys got me thinking, so i did some new tests with the same action.
    remember, I have 3 hard drives: 1x 15K SCSI and 2 x 7200 IDE drives:

    once again, all times were identical until RAM ran out, then:

    SETUP #1>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>SETUP #2>>>>>>>>>>>>>>SETUP #3>>>>>>

    OS on SCSI>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>OS on SCSI>>>>>>>>>>>>>OS on IDE
    PS on the same SCSI>>>>>>>>>PS on diff IDE>>>>>>>>>PS on diff IDE
    Scratch on a diff IDE>>>>>>>Scratch on same SCSI>>>Scratch on diff SCSI

    21.2>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>30.3>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> >40
    35.3>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>40.5>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> >39.6
    42.3>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>52.3>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> >56.4
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    98.8 seconds >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>123.1 seconds>>>>>>>>>>136 seconds

    so maybe you guys can explain this: with my test here, the "slowest" scratch drive won! (setup #1)

    it seems PS prefers both the OS AND PS7 itslef to be on the fastest drive, whether the scratch itself was on the fastest drive -seemed LESS important.

    I would have thought setup 3 would be the fastest, since all 3 are on totally diff drives, and the scratch was on the fastest SCSI; but no, in my little test here, it seems ironically that the speed of the scratch disk is actually less impt than the speed of your OS or PS drive.

    my rankings then for the most impt performance factors then is:

    1)free RAM -under 1777MB, PS blazes away -but when this is all used up:

    2) then having a separate hard drive for scratch
    3) speed of your OS and PS drives is NEXT most impt
    4) finally, speed of scratch disk -the least impt!

    any takers on my rankings here? look, I'm certainly not going to match wits with Chris Cox here, but my results seem to contradict his last post: in my scenario, with only 1 fast drive, you should make it your OS and PS program drive, NOT your scratch.
    ellen_devito@adobeforums.com Guest

Similar Threads

  1. Swapping hard drives
    By Ralph in forum FreeBSD
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: March 7th, 09:15 AM
  2. listing hard drives from c program
    By novalidname in forum UNIX Programming
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: August 31st, 06:40 PM
  3. Question on hard drives
    By Rick \Nutcase\ Rogers in forum Windows XP/2000/ME
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: July 20th, 03:31 PM
  4. Serial ATA hard drives
    By Ronald J Marchand in forum SCO
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: July 15th, 06:25 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139