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Scratch disk: what size?

Discussion in 'Photoshop & Editing Chat Forum' started by Miqs, Nov 23, 2016.

  1. Miqs

    Miqs Active Member

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    I have never had a scratch disk before and thinking of creating one on an old 500gb USB external drive. I want to partition this drive to create the scratch disk but don't know what size to make it. I use photoshop extensively and some images are very big 250mb+ and realise it would help to have one. I have a new iMac with 8gb ram and hope it will help this when file swapping but unsure if I will benefit with a USB drive. Any advice please? Thanks.
     
  2. balami

    balami Always on Premium Member

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    Personally I would never use a USB-connected drive as a scratch disk (or any other type of online disk.)

    The slowest thing in a computer is a disk drive (either mechanical or solid state). USB transfer speeds aren't great and you will just slow things down further.
     
  3. Miqs

    Miqs Active Member

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    As I thought! So what do you recommend? I have 1TB internal hard drive so should I partition this and use that as scratch? I was advised that a scratch disk will be faster in processing the photoshop data.
     
  4. gaelldew

    gaelldew Always on Premium Member

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    Look in the Preferences /performance in Ps, it recommends a range there, I have about 4000mb which is quite close to the top figure on mine is 4900mb. I think the recommendation is to keep scratch discs on the same partition as Ps, not certain about that.
     
  5. balami

    balami Always on Premium Member

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    I've no experience with playing around with scratch disks for PS, I only speak from experience on industrial strength disk subsystems. But yes, an internal disk using an internal bus will be a lot faster than a USB connected disk (and an SSD would be a lot faster than that, but perhaps overkill.)

    Others on this forum will be along shortly to comment on the benefits for PS..........
     
  6. Miqs

    Miqs Active Member

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    Yes thanks I have already looked here but PS only shows an external backup volume I have plus my internal HD. The disk I was thinking of using is not connected now so won't show. Also I agree that PS needs to be on the same scratch disk. I was recommended to do this by a friend who has a Windows PC and who fitted an internal drive, which being an open PC he could. Obviously I cannot!
     
  7. gaelldew

    gaelldew Always on Premium Member

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    What size is your HD in the machine? that you need an external drive, besides being a backup.
     
  8. Miqs

    Miqs Active Member

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    My internal HD is 1TB of which I have used approx 180GB. I have a 2TB backup volume that I use Mac Time Machine for backing up. The old external HD is 500GB and full so I would have to clear it to partition.
     
  9. gaelldew

    gaelldew Always on Premium Member

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    TBH I cant see why you need an external drive just run from your HD then back up to the other drive, I am on a Pc with a 1Tb and 8 gig ram running Ps cc without any problem only used 20% of my drive with load of other programs.
     
  10. Minor Problem

    Minor Problem Always on Premium Member

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    I use my internal drive as scratch disk for photoshop, I don't use it for storage just OS, software and scratch disk. I too have an iMac, mine has a 1tb fusion drive to speed things up a bit. You'd notice quite an improvement upgrading RAM to 32gb if you are dealing with big files in photoshop. 250gb isn't all that big though, my average processed psd is between 1-2 gb!
     
    gaelldew likes this.
  11. SeanNeedham

    SeanNeedham Ol' Sparky Honorary Life Member

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    Same as Barry above, I use separate disks for storage and the main fast disk is only operating system, software and cache files (in one way or another).

    My machines I put them up from 4GB to 16GB (they're Macbook Pro, so tad different from the iMac) and Photoshop rattles along very nicely with files of up to 10 - 12GB on there... Just a bit slow saving though for some reason (even on to SSD). As for anything heavier, I don't know as I've never had to contend with anything bigger than that.
     
  12. A2DTransit

    A2DTransit New Member

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    "If your startup disk is a hard disk, as opposed to a solid-state disk (SSD), try using a different hard disk for your primary scratch disk. An SSD, on the other hand, performs well as both the primary startup and scratch disk. In fact, using an SSD is probably better than using a separate hard disk as your primary scratch disk.

    The following guidelines can help you assign and manage your scratch disks:

    • Scratch disks should be on a different drive than any large files you are editing.
    • Scratch disks should be on a different drive than the one your operating system uses for virtual memory.
    • RAID disks/disk arrays are good choices for dedicated scratch disk volumes.
    • Defragment drives with scratch disks regularly."
    From here - https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/kb/optimize-photoshop-cc-performance.html
     
  13. balami

    balami Always on Premium Member

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    I wonder why they say that "RAID" disks are a good choice for scratch disks.

    Firstly, they don't specify which RAID format they're referring to. As such, different RAID formats exhibit different characteristics for read or write operations.

    RAID is primarily there for protection against hardware failure and I don't see too much benefit for scratch disks in that respect, if it's exclusively a scratch disk with nothing else on it.
     
  14. paulmag

    paulmag Always on Honorary Life Member

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    They also say not to defrag an SSD drive
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
  15. SeanNeedham

    SeanNeedham Ol' Sparky Honorary Life Member

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    I agree with you there John, given that a scratch disk is just a posh name for a place to store transient cache files; I'd reckon a RAID system as a cache storage would be a tad slower because not only would it be limited to the speed of the slowest disk in that array there'd also be the overhead from the controllers to take in to it. Then for redundancy, I don't see the reason for throwing multiple disks at it because it's short term nature to start with; it'd be like photocopying yesterday's newspaper before throwing it in the recycling.
     
    balami likes this.

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