Editing in CS6 off an external HDD??

Discussion in 'iMac' started by AlexNewstead, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. AlexNewstead macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2013

    I'm interested in people's thoughts on editing images in Photoshop that are stored exclusively on an external HDD.

    I have a new iMac with 32Gb ram and the fusion drive, (3Tb hdd - 128Gb SSD).

    The OS and applications such as CS6 will be kept on the internal SSD. I will not store any other files on the internal drive to ensure the rest of SSD and therefore 3Tb HDD section is kept free. (I simply bought the 3Tb option as it was a good price and will help maintain the mac's value when I come to sell it in the future).

    I plan to use 2 external HDD's, both 7200rpm with 32Mb cache.

    The 1st would be around 500Gb, (with a partitioned segment for scratch - if neccessary), connected via USB 3 or thunderbolt and would be used to dump my RAW files (just stills - around 20-30Mb) fresh from a shoot. I would then edit the 'keepers' in CS6, from this drive and save the finished files as Jpegs on the 2nd drive, which would be 2Tb, connected via USB 3 where they would stay. I would back up from the 2nd drive and clear the 1st in preparation for the next shoot.

    My other option is to use the internal drive of the mac to dump the RAW files and edit from there before saving to external but I'd rather keep it as free as possible for Photoshop as I probably will not be using a separate scratch disk.

    How do people think an external HDD would perform while editing images in PS as stated, would it be much slower than internal drives and would it be much more advantageous using HHD's with 64Mb cache or swapping 1st drive for an external SSD on which to edit from?

    It seems to be a case of editing from internal SSD which photoshop is also running on and scratching to, or taking a performance hit using external HDD - but how much of a hit in reality??

    Also any suggestions on brands? I've been looking at LaCie D2, WD My book studio or Seagate Backup plus.

    Many thanks for your time - I know I waffled a bit!

    Cheers, Alex
  2. benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    You're not going to have any performance problems. You probably won't notice the difference. Most tasks in Photoshop are going to be instant, for 30Mb files. Saving a 30Mb file is going to be very quick anywhere.

    The days of asking "is the computer good enough for X" are nearly behind us for most standard tasks. The things that people do with computers have stayed pretty constant, while computing power has got faster and faster. Photoshop is getting to be a trivial task, unless you're using huge images and applying massive numbers of Adjustment Layers.

    You've bought it: you might as well use it. The Fusion drive works well. You're not going to harm its resale value by having used it.
  3. Outrigger macrumors 68000


    Dec 22, 2008
    I'm sorry but I really don't understand the point of not using the internal HDD and how it affects resale value.

    At the end of the day, a computer is a tool and not a work of art that will appreciate in value. It is a mass produced item like anything else thats meant to be used. Its like buying a new car but keeping it in the garage cause you're afraid using the wheels will affect its resale value.
  4. AlexNewstead thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2013
    I understand the nonsense in getting the 3tb fusion instead of the 1tb and not using it in hope a computer holds its value...would be a bit ridiculous.
    As it happened I got a great deal on the 3tb drive and my logic was that perhaps when I come to sell it in a few years I'd get a better resale value..and based on what I currently see older, higher spec'd models sell for used, my decision was not that nuts.
    I got a little nuts though listening to people talking about having to use scratch drives for PS, keeping OS and apps isolated from other files, while editing from multiple external disks, not mention all the raid configurations....I'm just trying to put something together that won't frustrate me when crunching through Gb's of images with deadlines to keep.
    I certainly appreciate all your replies and can't blame people for wondering why the overkill.
    I will use the fusion drive to edit from but don't want to store a lot internally, unless I learn how to tell the OS to keep the ssd clear from files I want kept exclusively on the hdd part. My understanding so far is that files are automatically moved onto ssd as I access them? If I access multiple large files PS's performance would surely be effected as I fill the ssd, which at 128gb isn't hudge. So my only alternative seems to be to use fusion just to edit off and store files on external?
    If I've got this all round the wrong way forgive my ignorance, I'm learning!

    Cheers, Alex
  5. Outrigger macrumors 68000


    Dec 22, 2008
    I would just get a large 3 or 4TB external USB 3.0 drive such as WD or Seagate and use that for your media storage. Unless you're going to be using 7,200rpm drives in raid or use SSD via Thunderbolt, you're not really going to benefit a Thunderbolt single drive as its speed isn't really faster than a single USB 3.0 drive.

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