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Thread: Solid State Drives & Photoshop

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    Ausphotography Regular Hawthy's Avatar
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    Solid State Drives & Photoshop

    Most likely, this has been covered in earlier posts. However, I am lazy by nature and thought that I would throw this out again. I have an older computer that is going along quite well but have realised that I can expand the RAM from 4GB to 8GB at the huge cost of $32 - courtesy of a major online retailer. Those sticks are on their way.

    My internet wanderings inevitably lead me to Solid State Drives. For a couple of hundred bucks, I can get a drive with no moving parts. By loading my operating system and programs to that drive I should speed my computer. The current set-up is fine for web-browsing, office stuff, etc. It does slow down when I am doing more complicated things in PS CC.

    System details are:

    Processor: Intel Core i3 550 @ 3.20 gHz
    Motherboard: supports SATA300
    Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 5450 1Gb physical memory

    Any thoughts?
    Last edited by Hawthy; 26-06-2017 at 7:50pm.
    Andrew




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    I’m running Win 10 Pro, 32GB RAM with the OS and all apps on a 512GB SSD. I have a separate 500GB SSD Scratch Disk for PS and Adobe Cache, with all other data on an internal WD 4TB HDD. Processor is Intel i7 3.6 Ghz 4 cores and nVidia Quadro M2000 graphics card.

    My previous build was similar but with Win 7 Pro, no SSD Scratch disk. I haven’t really noticed any difference with the new build. Love the quick start up with the OS on an SSD.

    I understand that 8 to 16 GB RAM is an effective way of improving PS performance.

    Cheers

    Dennis

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    Ausphotography Veteran Claire M's Avatar
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    Hi Hawthy,
    I do recommend using SSDs for stability/reliability, and quick loading of the Windows OS.
    What Windows version OS are you using?, and approx. how much Gigs of storage space have you already used on your current HDD?

    I have a Toshiba laptop with Intel i5 CPU, 4 GB of RAM, with Radeon HD 4500 graphics, and a Samsung SSD EVO 256 GB, and I use Windows 7 Pro 64 Bit OS. Yes, this laptop is getting pretty 'old' now, and I have had to have the HD drive replaced twice within the first 3 years from when I purchased it new !!! (not good), until I decided (as I couldn't afford a new computer for my arts/music part-time business) to replace the HDD with an SSD and finally, I now have had a stable system for the past 2 and a half years and I do have a few 'heavy' CPU usage programs for music creating (DAWs), 3D drawing/creating software (Bryce 5.5, DAZ), and software for photography/art (use to use both Corel and Photoshop, but now use Affinity Photo, which is VERY similar), as well as several other software for video/movie making, poster/graphics/desktop publishing software, art software, GIF creating, Karaoke, and DJ software,...and so on...... and Microsoft Office. All is running smoothly.
    Along with purchasing a SSD, you should also receive software for it, to maintain and keep your system running it's ultimate best, similar to Windows System Tools, however, VERY IMPORTANT - You do not run the Windows Disk Defragmenter once you have a SSD installed, as it may damage the disk, instead the software that should come with the SSD will have an appropriate 'Performance Optimisation' for cleaning up the files, and OS, etc.
    Cheers!

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    Hawthy, if you are running 32-bit Windows (any version: 7, 8, or 10), the system will not recognise or use the extra RAM. If you are running 64-bit Windows, just plug it in and away you go.

    An SSD will make a huge difference. Repeat huge. There are two ways you can go:

    (a) Clone your existing install onto the SSD using appropriate software. Some SSDs come with that software free. Seagate provide an excellent one for you to download, for example. The situation with Western Digital is muddy: they recently bought Sandisk but (last time I tried it, which was a couple of months ago) the free WD drive cloning software (which is, like the Seagate one, a rebadged Acronis) refuses to work with the SSD because it "isn't a Western Digital drive". Presumably they will sort this SNAFU out sooner or later. In the meantime, if you want free cloning software, buy a Seagate, or some other brand that provides it.

    Cloning can be very easy, or can get you into pretty deep water pretty fast. Do you feel lucky? The good thing about it is that it preserves all of your software and settings. The bad thing about it is that it preserves all of your software and settings. (If your system was loaded down with the accumulated cruft of use, it still will be.)

    (b) Fresh install. You will HAVE to do it this way if your existing Windows is 32-bit. Your existing licence covers you for your choice of 32-bit and 64-bit versions, provided that you load the exact same version in other respects: e.g., Windows 7 Home Premium OEM, Windows 8.1 Professional Retail, and so on.) You will need to find the appropriate installation disc (you can borrow one: that's perfectly legal) and install using your own licence key. In general you can also download the installation media from Microsoft by providing your valid product key and/or your Microsoft ID and password, but it's tricky figuring out which version to get and where to find it. (They go out of their way to make it difficult 'coz they hope you'll get confused and just buy a new one.)

    The good thing about it is that it does not preserve any of your software or settings. The bad thing about it is that it does not preserve any of your software or settings. These have to be recreated by hand.

    If you want the job done expertly by an experienced professional, it costs $85 (not including parts) and I need the system overnight. The only tricky bit there is that you have to call before November 2016, 'coz as of that date I am officially retired.

    PS: be very, very wary of make-your-system-faster software. It almost never works, and it often causes problems, not least slowing your system down. The number of times people have brought systems into me 'coz they are running slow, and gone home happy with a nicer system after I did not much apart from removing 7 different make-your-system-faster packages ..... Mate: if I had a dollar for every time that happened, I'd be a wealthy man. Well, actually I did have a dollar for every time that happened. But I spent it.
    Tony

    It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards.

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    Thanks everyone. Great advice, especially from Tannin. My HDD is 1TB and I am running 64-bit Windows 10. I have only used about 400GB so a 500GB SSD should be plenty big enough for the operating system and programs.

    I am thinking about a Samsung EVO 850 500GB SSD. I googled how to instal this one and it looks easy enough. It comes with software for cloning the HDD. Plus at around $250 it is not a huge investment.

    Thanks again for the advice. Will let you know how I go.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    Samsung EVOs are very good drives in my experience, Hawthy. You could get a 240GB one and save a few dollars - there will be plenty of room on your old drive to keep seldom-used stuff, so 240GB would be plenty for a boot drive - but I think the price difference is quite small now, so you might as well go the 500 and be done with it. Good choice.

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    Ausphotography Veteran Claire M's Avatar
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    Hope all goes well Hawthy with your new SSD installation. Cheers!

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    When I cloned my OS from an Intel SSD to a Samsung SSD the Samsung SW (came on CDROM) allowed me to migrate the OS from the Intel to the Samsung SSD. I think the Samsung SW will only recognise/work with a Samsung SSD in the mix, so there has to be a Samsung SSD present in the clone "From-To" operation.

    I understand that with SSDs, "write" operations gradually "deteriorate" the read/write cells, as electrical charges are applied to write the bits of information and these "electrical" writes eventually "wear out" each memory cell location. However, the SW resident on the SSD constantly monitors these operations and quarantines "bad" cells.

    Modern SSDs are much more resilient than the 1st generation models and my Samsung SSD (Pro version) has a 10 year warranty which might be an indication of how confident Samsung is in the current technology. The Pro SSDs are more expensive than the EVO SSD's because I believe they are less "dense" in terms of the memory cells that store the data and are therefore more resilient.

    Cheers

    Dennis

    EDIT:
    My original Intel SSD had a 3-year warranty and it looks like the EVOhas a 5-year warranty, with the Pro at 10 years, so from a consumerperspective, there is no reason to go Pro.

    I understand that the MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure) forthe EVO is 1.5 million hours with the Pro specified at 2 million hours soagain, the EVO looks like the way to go for us home users.

    The main difference I can see is that the EVO uses athree-layer cell technology whereas the PRO is fabricated with a two-layer cell process, which maybe of interest to heavy data centre users?

    Cheers

    Dennis
    Last edited by nardes; 28-06-2017 at 7:19am.

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    The Solid State Drive is installed and the difference in system speed is quite unbelievable. Super fast. Not a hard job at all.

    So, I now have a clone of my original hard drive under my SSD on C Drive and the old hard drive is under G Drive. I assume that I can delete all the photos and other stuff off my C Drive and just store everything on the G Drive?

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawthy View Post
    The Solid State Drive is installed and the difference in system speed is quite unbelievable. Super fast. Not a hard job at all...
    Cngs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawthy View Post
    So, I now have a clone of my original hard drive under my SSD on C Drive and the old hard drive is under G Drive. I assume that I can delete all the photos and other stuff off my C Drive and just store everything on the G Drive?
    Not "only" but "also". You don't mean to have only one lot?!!
    Last edited by ameerat42; 29-06-2017 at 4:59pm.
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ameerat42 View Post
    You don't mean to have only one lot?!!
    No way, AM. I also have an external hard drive that backs up my files. So my thoughts are:
    1. Use the Solid State Drive as my operating system.
    2. Use the old hard drive as a back-up for the operating system and for storing files (it is 1TB versus the 500GB of the SSD).
    3. Back up files to the external hard drive.

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Sounds K.

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawthy View Post
    No way, AM. I also have an external hard drive that backs up my files. So my thoughts are:
    1. Use the Solid State Drive as my operating system.
    2. Use the old hard drive as a back-up for the operating system and for storing files (it is 1TB versus the 500GB of the SSD).
    3. Back up files to the external hard drive.
    Good plan with one weakness: you must have more than one external drive. (Possibly you already do.) Imagine an undetected virus infection that deletes or encrypts your fines. (A common enough thing.) You plug in your external to make a fresh backup (or, worse, are too lazy to have unplugged it from last time) and ...

    Zap!

    You have lost everything. No way back.

    Or imagine a bad power surge, be it from lightning or any other cause. It can take out all three drives in one go. (I once had a customer lose everything, back in dial-up modem days, when Telstra mucked up some task at the exchange and put 22,000 volts up the phone line. No joke. I still have the blackened remains of her modem as a keepsake. And they blankly denied everything even though we had hard physical evidence of their negligence, and point-blank refused to pay one single penny after the thousands of dollars damage they caused. We are talking about a surge bad enough to physically explode a telephone off the wall, leaving a blackened mess of scorched plaster. Lucky she wasn't using the phone at the time as it would probably have killed her. Not one cent. Not even an apology.)

    Or a burglary. Or a fire.

    In short, never, ever have all your data connected up at the same time. You need multiple backups. External drives is easiest and cheapest. Three is a sensible number.

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    Couldn't agree more, Tony. And one of those HDDs should ideally live at a trusted neighbour's or friend's house.

    The other one should be kept in a fire-rated safe when not in use.

    Having too many backups is a contradiction in terms - like having too many friends, or too much good health! As an aside, it is possible to have too much money ...

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John King View Post
    it is possible to have too much money ...
    Not when your hobby is photography.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tannin View Post
    Not when your hobby is photography.


    Just look at the problems it has caused for (e.g.) someone called 'Gina' ...

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    Hmmm...The wife is already agog that I have three hard drives. Not sure how she is going to look at an additional two. Maybe look heavenwards to the cloud?

    Tannin, you know about this tech stuff...the installation guide told me to go into the BIOS to change IDE mode to AHCI mode. It was set at RAID mode so I changed it to AHCI. I rebooted and received a Windows error "Inaccessible Boot Device". I just switched it back to RAID and everything is peachy. I think that my processor doesn't support AHCI. I checked to see if I could upgrade the BIOS but HP do not provide any support for Windows 10 for computers sold prior to 2013. Am I missing anything major by using RAID rather than AHCI? A split second or two doesn't worry me.

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    The short answer is don't worry about it.

    The longer answer is that there are three common modes.

    (All of the following remarks are in the context of desktop home systems. They don't really apply to servers and other exotic uses. So if anyone is tempted to say "Yes, Tannin, but you are talking about RAID 0, none of that applies to RAID 10 which is great because reasons", well sure it doesn't. But that discussion is not relevant here.)

    • IDE mode. This is an old mode commonly used up until about 2008. It is significantly slower than AHCI.
    • AHCI mode. This is the one to use for almost all purposes.
    • RAID mode. This is a bit of a weird one. It is designed to allow the connection of multiple drives at the same time and share the data between them in such a way that each file is split between two drives. The advantage is that both drives can be read at the same time, almost doubling the data transfer rate (DTR) . The disadvantages are many. (a) DTR is not very important performance-wise: for almost all tasks, access time is way, way more significant, and RAID does nothing at all to improve access times. (b) The (very small) performance advantage is in any case utterly lost when you compare it to the huge performance gain of a solid state drive. (Nobody would bother RAIDing SSDs. Nobody sane, anyway.) If a standard mechanical drive has a performance of 100, two identical drives in RAID might score something like 103 or 108, and a single SSD would score in the thousands. Two SSDs in RAID achieves little because you are probably already swamping the ability of the system to absorb so much data. (c) Normal home RAID systems are very, very prone to catastrophic failure. If either drive has a problem, you lose the lot. (d) RAID implementations vary and reading the data from a RAIDed system after it has had some sort of trouble is problematic. (e) Freaked-out teenagers with zero social skills, too much money, pinned eyeballs, and near-record high shoot-em-up scores think RAID is cool. You might consider paying attention to their view in about ten years time, after they have learned how to shower, get out of bed before 2PM, and dress themselves without help.


    The three modes are NOT cross-compatible. If you set a drive up, for example, in a system configured to AHCI mode and then try to read it in IDE mode, it won't work. (More often it will sort-of work, giving you just enough signs of life to encourage you to keep on trying to revive it and "fix" it, but you never will. If it's set up for AHCI, you need to use it in AHCI. Worse still, you can't set the drives in your system individually. Say you have two drives. You can set them both to IDE or both to AHCI or both to RAID, but you can't set one to AHCI and the other to IDE. This causes endless difficulties in the workshop when we are transferring peoples data onto their new computer systems, or doing major repairs to (say) replace a faulty motherboard. There is no way to directly transfer the data!

    The easiest workaround is USB. If you connect a drive via USB, it doesn't matter whether it was formatted under IDE or AHCI. So the normal procedure in the workshop, when the modes are incompatible, is to install the new drive using AHCI (because that's faster) and remove the old drive, placing it temporarily in a USB-SATA caddy: effectively turning it into a temporary external drive. Transfer the data, then (if desired) replace the old drive inside the new system (where it will be accessed under AHCI), wipe everything off, and start afresh.

    For some ridiculous reason, someone (probably Hewlett-Packard who are very good at ridiculous) set your system up in RAID mode instead of IDE or AHCI. There is nothing at all stopping you from switching it to AHCI, other than the fact that you'd have to wipe both drives clean and start again. Your system will certainly be AHCI compatible, it's just that your drives were formatted under a different mode. Wipe them clean and they will work perfectly. (Big job by the time you back everything up and restore it all.)

    On the other hand, your HP's RAID mode is probably around about about as fast as AHCI, and if you just keep on using it, your performance loss (if any) will probably be too small to notice.

    The one worry with doing this is that, if your system ever dies, it may be difficult to read the data off your drives. Most other systems either won't have a RAID mode, or will have a different, incompatible one. The USB trick which works so well for IDE - AHCI conversion may or may not work. (I don't think I've ever had to try it.) Probably it will be OK. And if you have good external backups, then you have nothing at all to worry about.

    (Sorry for the long answer. We are getting into some fairly deep water here. Short answer: do nothing, make good backups, be happy.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tannin View Post
    Short answer: do nothing, make good backups, be happy.)
    I am happy. Thanks. Great advice to switch to SSD.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawthy View Post
    Hmmm...The wife is already agog that I have three hard drives. Not sure how she is going to look at an additional two. Maybe look heavenwards to the cloud?

    Tannin, you know about this tech stuff...the installation guide told me to go into the BIOS to change IDE mode to AHCI mode. It was set at RAID mode so I changed it to AHCI. I rebooted and received a Windows error "Inaccessible Boot Device". I just switched it back to RAID and everything is peachy. I think that my processor doesn't support AHCI. I checked to see if I could upgrade the BIOS but HP do not provide any support for Windows 10 for computers sold prior to 2013. Am I missing anything major by using RAID rather than AHCI? A split second or two doesn't worry me.
    AHCI support isn't a processor based setup, it's a driver config issue.

    You have to follow a predetermined set of steps to use AHCI when going from IDE mode.

    That is, you need to delve into the registry, change the data that tells the OS that it's supposed to use AHCI BEFORE!!! you change it in the BIOS on the hardware side.
    Once you have affected the registry change, as it doesn't change until you reboot, at this point you're still operating.

    Then you reboot the computer, but you need to delve into the BIOS before bootup and then change the BIOS to use AHCI mode from IDE or RAID mode.
    Then reboot again, and you should be good to go.

    Easiest way to switch from IDE to AHCI mode is if you do a fresh reinstall of the OS.
    So before you start installing windows freshly, you'd want to change the BIOS to AHCI mode then start installing.

    I remember seeing a 50% speed increase on my old motherboard in switching from IDE mode to AHCI mode on my previous PC. But it used spinning disks.

    Nowadays the latest and greatest hard drive controller system is called NVMe. It's supposed to be better optimised for SSDs, whereas AHCI is optimised for spinning disks.

    There may possibly be a BIOS update for your laptop for it to make use of NVMe, but in my experience HP are usually less likely to do so.
    Their update support(for new features) is usually lacking.
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