Hardware advice for optimal Photoshop performance

LN
Posted By
Luis_Navarro
Jul 27, 2008
Views
541
Replies
20
Status
Closed
I’m looking to build a new system (X48 motherboard, Q9450 quad core proc, 8GB ECC RAM, Vista64). I’d like to run with only 2 drives to keep the system relatively quiet but realize that a 3 drive config would be better for Photoshop performance. I do some photo editing and Web work with Photoshop so I’m not working with very large files but I do tend to have a lot of files and apps open at the same time.

QUESTION: If you look at my two options below, will the 3 drive option be a little faster or a lot faster than the 2 drive option? Or are there other options I should consider?

2 DRIVE OPTION:

Velociraptor 300GB:
C: OS, Programs & Swap

WD Black 1TB:
D: Photoshop Scratch (30GB)
E: Data (Rest of disk)

3 DRIVE OPTION:

Velociraptor 300GB:
C: OS, Programs & Swap

Velociraptor 300GB:
D: Photoshop Scratch

WD Black 1TB:
E: Data

How to Improve Photoshop Performance

Learn how to optimize Photoshop for maximum speed, troubleshoot common issues, and keep your projects organized so that you can work faster than ever before!

BL
Bob Levine
Jul 27, 2008
All things remaining equal I’d go for the three drive option but ECC RAM is unnecessary.

Bob
LN
Luis_Navarro
Jul 27, 2008
Thanks Bob – but can I expect a significant increase in performance with the 3 drive config? If the difference is small, I’d prefer to stick with 2 but if I’m likely to see a good-sized jump, I’ll go with 3.
L
LinusF
Jul 28, 2008
Has Photoshop CS3 been fully tested in multiple processor systems? I wonder what the experience is with others on the Forum with multiple cores and CS3? I ask because I have discovered that my Elements 6 does not run to specification with multiple processors (see <http://www.adobeforums.com/webx?128@@.59b518a6)>. At the same time, on the same machine, brand new, I am having unexpected trouble concerning the lack of certain functions. My older machine has no trouble with them; the new machine does not even have them on the menus. The older machine beats the newer machine hands down on Adobe products at this point. Sigh. I’d sure like to figure out the solution(s).

Both machines run under up-to-date 32 bit Win XP.

The older has AMD Athlon 64 2800+, ASROCK K8 mobo, Apollo GEFORCE FX5500 video, 2 GB RAM, one 250 GB and one 500 GB hard drives, running all those below and a looong list of other things

The newer has INTEL Core 2 Quad Processor, Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS4 mobo, XFX GF8800GT video, 4GB RAM (only 3 GB addressable), two 750 GB SATA drives, running only CS3, PSE6, and (soon) a GIS.
BL
Bob Levine
Jul 28, 2008
That new system is almost identical to mine. I’ve got eight gigs or RAM and Vista Ultimate 64.

Bob
L
LinusF
Jul 28, 2008
I’ve been on the cusp of going 64 bit and then going 64-bit Vista but there are just too many things I would have to give up. Good printer, two great scanners, a bunch of software. facing Vista issues. Having to change the whole network to the new standard (if Vista chosen). Now I find out just going to multiple cores knocks off at least one and maybe two of the my key apps.
F
Freeagent
Jul 28, 2008
Luis,

can I expect a significant increase in performance with the 3 drive config

According to the experts (Jeff Schewe) no, not in operation, but you might see a little longer open and save times if you’re working with large files. But it’s important that the PS scratch partition is the first (outer & faster) partition.

I have 2 drives and 8 GB RAM. I sometimes work on 25 megapixel images, which can drive scratch sizes up to 6 or 7 GB in no time, and I can confirm the long save times. It can be a bother.

Linus,

Vista comes with native support for a surprising number of printers. And 64 bit drivers are usually available from the manufacturers sites.

There shouldn’t be multi-core issues with Photoshop. Sure the problem isn’t elsewhere?
JJ
John Joslin
Jul 28, 2008
The lack of drivers may have been a problem when Vista was first released but it is certainly not a problem, now, even for 64 bit systems.

I moved over fully expecting to have to get some new peripherals and even software. Neither has been necessary.
N
nospam
Jul 28, 2008
"John Joslin" wrote in message
The lack of drivers may have been a problem when Vista was first released but it is certainly not a problem, now, even for 64 bit
systems.
I moved over fully expecting to have to get some new peripherals and even software. Neither has been necessary.

Yikes. Project much?

Good to hear you didn’t run into driver problems with Vista. Millions of others haven’t been as lucky. Everything from video capture cards to certain audio cards to printers to even some video cards, Vista users are shit outta luck on both 32 and 64-bit systems.
BC
Bart_Cross
Jul 28, 2008
Linus: If you get Vista Ultimate, it includes both 32 & 64 bit versions. You can create a dual-boot until you are comfortable that the 64 bit version will have all the support that you need.

I ran a dual-boot for two months then went 64-bit, the only thing that didn’t work was my Agfa T1200 DuoScan, so I have that on a separate machine running the dreaded XP.
BL
Bob Levine
Jul 28, 2008
Linus: If you get Vista Ultimate, it includes both 32 & 64 bit versions.

I only for retail versions. I went OEM which includes one or the other.

Bob
F
Freeagent
Jul 28, 2008
As a side note, I’m personally not too happy with the Intel P35 chipset, especially regarding memory handling. I went from AMD K8 to Intel C2D/P35, and immediately had a number of ram stability issues that I’d never seen on the AMD platform.

I’m currently on Vista 64 with 8 gigs, but I had to "downclock" the ram to 667 MHz at latencies 5-5-5-18 to get the system stable, even though both the mobo and the chipset itself claims to support 800 MHz at CL 4. Which it does, in a way, but only up to 4 GB, above that all bets are off.
BC
Bart_Cross
Jul 28, 2008
Freeagent:

I have an Asus P5K Premium P35 Chipset mobob and I use Mushkin RAM at 800Mhz, 4-3-3-10 without any stability issue. So, there is something else amiss.
F
Freeagent
Jul 28, 2008
So, there is something else amiss.

OK, I’ll keep looking. Funny, I always advise people to not make any assumptions, and there I did it myself. But it’s nice to know there are no inherent system-level limitations.

I have the same mobo. Haven’t tried Mushkin, though, only Corsair and Crucial.
L
LinusF
Jul 28, 2008
Problem certainly may be elsewhere, since I’m just getting familiar with the new machine. BUT,

A) for sure PSE6 does have multicore issues. See <http://www.adobeforums.com/webx/.59b53a81/>

B) The upgrade issues started before Vista (Vista upgrade for me is just another time sink, I’m not knocking it per se.) But the kernels in MS 64 bit systems and with Vista do not accept 8 bit installers (for security reasons). And therein lies the rub.
BC
Bart_Cross
Jul 28, 2008
Asus has a forum just for that board, have a look around, there are a myriad of settings for RAM on that board and you have to know how to tweak it.
F
Freeagent
Jul 28, 2008
Bart,

thanks, I’ll look into it.
LN
Luis_Navarro
Jul 28, 2008
Getting back to the original question, are there any other thoughts on whether a 3 hard drive config would be *significantly* faster than a 2 drive config?

(Bob and Freeagent – thanks for your feedback!)
BL
Bob Levine
Jul 28, 2008
Depends on your definition of significantly.

Bob
BC
Bart_Cross
Jul 28, 2008
luis: The only way you will get ‘significantly’ would be to go with a RAID setup, but having a JBOD configuration will make a difference. I personally use 5 HDs, each with their own usage so that the apps are on one drive, the client files on another, the OS on another, and temp/swap on the a fourth, that way you can have simultaneous read/writes.

The slowest part of a system are the HDs and you should get the fastest possible and the faster, the more costly. There is no ‘cheap’ way of doing this.

Simply, three will be faster than two, but that depends on how you configure them.
BH
BILL_HUNT
Jul 31, 2008
Luis,

Given the stated images, with which you’ll be working, I doubt that you’d notice much in the way of speed improvement. Have not spec’ed your board, but how many SATA channels does it have – that’s channels and not connectors. You would possibly get a little boost, if you fed one HDD from the MoBo and then added a separate PCIe SATA controller for the other HDD. Would it be worth the $ ? I doubt it.

I do stuff like that, but I’m dealing with gigantic files and also SD video, so I need plenty of large, fast HDDs.

Two things that you should take into consideration, and maybe I just missed it in your specs., is your PS (bigger IS better, just like American housewives say) and cooling (cooler is better too). Some of the liquid systems are looking very promising from the old days, but I still have a ton of large fans. As mine is a full tower, and below the desk, I have no problem with noise, though I do not think I’d attempt to do VO recording, without a blimp, or similar. Also, I’m usually editing with noise-cancelling headphones on. Maybe it sounds like a 767 to people elsewhere?

Still have not embraced 64 yet, but will probably build a new system, when I get around to purchasing CS4. My builder is already doing stability tests on some configs now, with CS3. When the time comes, I hope he be currant on what is working and what is glitching, as I always need to hit the ground running, and have no time for tweaking much. Also, by then, most of my legacy peripherals should have been replaced, or migrated downstairs to a retired machine.

Good luck, and please give reports on what you end up with, and how well it works.

Hunt

Must-have mockup pack for every graphic designer 🔥🔥🔥

Easy-to-use drag-n-drop Photoshop scene creator with more than 2800 items.

Related Discussion Topics

Nice and short text about related topics in discussion sections