Portable, affordable solution for intensive photography work

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Phrasikleia, Dec 7, 2011.

  1. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #1
    My photography work involves a lot of large Photoshop files--lots of layers, usually including multiple smart objects per file, so file sizes of about 1GB :)eek:)are not uncommon for me. I also work in Lightroom 3 and do a lot of round-trips between it and Photoshop CS5.

    Since I split my time between two continents (about half of each year in each location), I need an airplane-friendly computer; buying a MacPro or iMac is completely out of the question. Right now I'm using an early 2008 model MacBook Pro with 4GB of RAM. It has a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 3MB on-chip shared L2 cache. I keep my working files on a couple of FW800 7200rmp external drives.

    IT IS DOG SLOW!!!!! Seriously, I'm growing old at an accelerated rate using this computer. The tasks that take the most amount of time are saving Photoshop files and running Photoshop plug-ins. A 1GB file takes eons to save, so I often just work on a really low-res file to figure out how I want to proceed, and then I have to go recreate all of that work in the hi-res file. Using brushes in Lightroom is also far from smooth. It is also very slow to preview anything in the finder. These are the things I would like to improve.

    1) So: would a Mac Mini Server with 8GB of RAM provide me with a substantial performance improvement? I already have monitors, keyboards, and mice duplicated in both of my offices, so I don't need to travel with any of that. A Mac Mini Server would be a lot cheaper than a new MacBook Pro, and for the difference, I could get an iPad for my day-to-day mobile tasks, which do not involve working on Photographs.

    2) A secondary question: would using an SSD drive make a big difference for me if I don't keep any of my working files on that drive? I bounce around a lot between files and don't want Lightroom to have trouble keeping track of them. And besides, I need terabytes of space for my working files, which cannot be accommodated by any SSD drive anyway. So I would have maybe the OS and my software applications on it. Would it really be worth paying nearly half again the cost of the computer?

    I would really appreciate some advice! Many thanks!

    (P.S. I do no video work and have no desire to get into it. I don't do any gaming either.)
     
  2. alph45 macrumors member

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    #2
    1. any new mac will be much faster than your 2008 mbp. i5 is the baseline and will run circles.

    2. SSD's are only going to improve launch times for apps. when using a scratch disk. They're not half the cost of the computer though, my upgrade cost for an apple 120BG SSD was $100 for my current MBP (early '11).
     
  3. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #3
    My laptop is comparable to yours, it's a late 08 (not unibody) 17 in with a 2.5 Ghz C2D. I run A3 and PhotoShop CS3 on images much smaller than what you are creating at 20-50 MB. Using iStat Pro to watch my system performance I noted that I never used more than around 50% of processor power, but sucked up 90% or more of available ram.I bought a 4GB ram upgrade (those machines max out at 6GB usable ram) and did an upgrade myself and it really helped files to open and export faster.

    My first suggestion is to download iStat Pro if you don't already have it. Start a process that slows your system down and open Dashboard. The CPU and memory readouts will tell you a lot about where the bottleneck is.

    SSD drives will help speed the access to external files, but only to the limit allowed by FireWire 800. The eSATA card slot on the left side of your computer has a faster throughput than FW 88. You can use drive docks like the one in the following links.

    Good luck.

    eSATA card
    Dual Drive eSATA Dock
    Single Drive eSATA Dock

    Dale
     
  4. fireman32 macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    I just replaced my 2006 MBP with a 2011 13" MBP with the 2.7 i7 processor and 8gb of ram and it flies. I am new to Photoshop but with with Lightroom 3 and Photoshop running at the same time i have not seen any lags at all. At home i hook ut up to my external monitor and use it as a desktop. I say go for a MBP.
     
  5. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #5
    The one I'm looking at is i7, so I guess that will run even bigger circles? The reason I wonder is because the MacMini Server has a 2.0Ghz quad-core i7, and my current laptop has a higher speed, 2.4Ghz, but with an older processor (and only two cores). It should be obvious by now that I'm completely clueless when it comes to hardware. Bigger numbers are better, right?

    Only launch times or also scratch disk access? Those are two very different things. I launch an app maybe once every three days (I keep my computer running most of the time), but I reckon that Photoshop is accessing its scratch disk pretty much all of the time.

    As for cost: this is the premium for the BTO with the SSD drive: "750GB Serial ATA Drive @ 7200 rpm + 256GB Solid State Drive [Add $495.00]". The darned computer only costs $979. So, yeah, it is half again the price of the computer.

    OK, that istatpro check is probably a good idea, but it sounds time consuming. I was hoping that other photogs here would already have some sense of where performance gains can be had most easily. I probably should try out that utility, though. Thanks for the tip.

    Well, that was what I had always expected I would do, but then it occurred to me that I really don't need the little glossy screen, keyboard, and trackpad. Nor do I need the extra weight when flying (the MacMini weighs 2.6lbs less than a quad-core MBP--that's a big difference, especially when the carry-on allowance on most flights is about 17lbs and I have a ton of photo gear to schlepp on board with me). The MBP is also a lot more expensive, nearly double the price. As I said above, an iPad would suit me even better for my daily mobile needs, and for the difference, I could get one of those too.

    BUT...I most certainly don't want to buy something that won't really improve things for me, hence this thread.
     
  6. thekev, Dec 7, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2011

    thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #6
    1GB files are nothing. Let me know when you start having to save using .psb rather than .psd. Then we'll talk about large files ;).

    Okay here are some things to help. You don't sound like you have independent scratch disks. That should change. 2.5" HDDs are painfully slow for this stuff. Assuming you're using at least CS5, you can go way past 8GB of ram if you're working with big files. If 16GB is doable go with that. Otherwise you won't be happy without something like an SSD as a scratch disk. You may not be cpu bound at all. I have a feeling you're just waiting on the drives half the time. 4GB of ram is nothing for that stuff these days, so you're hitting slow ass laptop drives with gigabytes worth of scratch data. Over time it'll keep getting worse. Disk Warrior helps keep it a bit faster, but an SSD would be better if you can't go past 8GB of ram. The only really cpu intensive stuff is going to be dealing with smart objects, saving, liquify, warp, puppet warp, stuff like that. The basic brush work you won't be cpu bound at all. You'll be IO bound.

    On your settings, don't set ram allowed above 70% or so. It slows down system caching. If you're saving 16 bit per channel images and you're cpu bound on the save times (activity monitor will tell you) you can disable layer compression to fix that. Limiting your history to 15 states or so will help if you can't go beyond 8GB of ram or so. Turn off all thumbnails too as they eat ram like crazy. Just keep your layers labeled. If you deal with big composites they're a mess without proper labels anyway. when I say thumbnails I mean all of them. Close out navigator and the mini histogram, choose no thumbnail for every palette including paths and stuff. Don't set cache levels above three or so. If you're still having trouble after that, provide me with many details.

    There are some other plugins you can use to help improve performance too depending on what version you're using, such as disable scratch compress. Beyond what I mentioned I'd need details. once you do some of that stuff. Even the computer you're currently running is very capable with the right settings. Like I said, 1GB is nothing. I can put comped images from scratch.


    By the way, here's a more cost effective SSD option if you go with the mini server specifically. Buy the normal mini server, remove one drive, and buy a 40-60GB SSD as a scratch disk. Note that I would still go with at least 8GB of ram. Ram and scratch disks are the biggest slowdown in photoshop for most people. OWC has a 30GB one for around $50, but it scares me to suggest such a small drive. You'd be filling quite a lot of its capacity each time you work on a large image, which may not be good for long term performance. I'd "personally" go with something along the lines of a 60GB scratch drive. Even that is only $125 (again OWC). There might be better options from other vendors too. If you want to test if this is really where your bottleneck lies, I'll go over some testing methods.
     
  7. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #7
  8. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #8
    re: Bigger is better.

    That's what I always thought, but using iStat Pro shows that what I do doesn't even begin to tap the power available on my dual core chip. And iStat is just a widget. A tap of the F4 button shows what is going on.

    Exporting a Library in A3. Note that there are about 2 GB of ram free out of 6.
     

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  9. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #9
    Here's the thing about that. You are right and all, and lightroom is definitely more cpu intensive, with the other thing being some of the smart object adjustments, but large files were doable even in the G4 to G5 era. The OP may have a weird workflow, or he may just be hitting a wall on IO. Photoshop really isn't terribly cpu intensive. It just pushes around massive amounts of information. The few things that are cpu intensive are easy to work around.

    Oh I remembered the other issue. The other thing that can slow it down is if Spotlight is actively indexing the drive where photoshop is writing scratch data. If you put the system folders under privacy, and possibly your storage drives, it takes care of yet another issue that can slow it to a crawl. Spotlight is one of Apple's biggest failures of all time (I should make that my signature).

    Forgot to add this yet again. If it turns out the OP isn't cpu bound, swapping the optical drive for a small scratch drive and maxing the machine on ram would give him better responsiveness. I hate lightroom so that's the one area I can't comment.
     
  10. Laird Knox macrumors 68000

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    #10
    Lots of great information in this thread.

    Yes and no. When I was putting together a Photoshop box I couldn't find any real evidence that the i7 gave much of an improvement over the i5 when running Photoshop. The Sandybridge chips are much more of an improvement over the previous processors.

    As stated above RAM and drive speed are what will give you the biggest bang for the buck. I just picked up a 120GB Corsair Force 3 for $119 and will be installing it as a boot/app drive tonight. :)
     
  11. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #11
    What a great reply! Thank you so much!

    Yes, I do work with 16-bit files. My "ram allowed" has been at 50%. My history states were at 20, so I just dropped it to 15 per your suggestion, but I have only 4GB of RAM and that is the max this computer can take. My cache level was at 4, so I've just dropped it to 3.

    I don't want to close out navigator and the histogram, though! I use them! I can do without the layers thumbnails, I suppose. I do name all of my layers habitually, even the adjustment layers, in order to remember why I included each one (I'd get completely lost, otherwise).

    Anyway, I tried mucking about in Photoshop with a 1GB file and watched the "% User" figure in Activity Monitor, under the CPU tab. That number never exceeded about 50% while saving, flattening layers, or running a Nik plug-in (actually just opening the plug-in interface took longer than applying the settings I chose within it). I did get it up to about 80 while doing something with another file, but I've already forgotten what it was.

    So are RAM and the HDD scratch disk my main bottlenecks, then? The Mac Mini can't take more than 8GB of RAM, as I understand it, but that is twice the max of my current computer.

    My number is much lower, only about 200MB.

    The only unusual aspect of my workflow might be the jumping around I do. I don't necessarily start a project, finish it, and then move on. I'm often working on a number of photos at any given time. I like to work on them, then sit on them for a while and then return with fresh eyes, sometimes as much as a year later. I also have requests coming in for photos that could be several years old, and sometimes I want to revisit the processing on them before delivering. So I have a couple of terabytes of working files, plus more archived on HDD drives that are stored away from the computer.

    I just want to emphasize that I cannot use any SSD drive for the working files; they need to remain on the larger drives where Lightroom can stay linked to them.

    ----------

    OK, so the consensus seems to be that I need more RAM and better drive speed, but I can't go investing in a big,heavy RAID array because that's not going to be airplane friendly. And I can't put my working files on a little SSD drive because there are too many of them.

    So maybe I don't really need a quad-core computer at all? Maybe I just need a lower-end Mac Mini with an SSD drive in it?
     
  12. Laird Knox macrumors 68000

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    #12
    From my experience and what I'm reading above it is not that you need to put your files on SSD but rather use the SSD for your PS scratch drive. That and more RAM is always a good thing. ;)
     
  13. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #13
    So do you think that 8GB of RAM would be enough? The Mac Minis can't take more than that, unfortunately.
     
  14. Designer Dale, Dec 7, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2011

    Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #14
    RAM is killing your machine. Based on 200MB free out of 4BG, that's something like .05% free. 99.95% in use is sick (in the old term).

    The Mini server sounds like a good option. Use a small SSD for your apps and scratch disk and as much ram as you can afford. There are two slots in that machine and they ship with a pair of 2GB chips. 8GB (2x4GB) is cheap. Jacking it up to 16 would cost around $400, but of all the add-ons it would provide the most in performance. These machines have Thunderbolt ports, too. When drives for them get to market at decent prices most of your worries will be over. For the time being...:) Then Canon will introduce a medium format DSLR and we can start this conversation all over again.

    Dale

    Edit: Apple says 8GB max for the Mini, but Other World Computing has proven that it will take 16GB.

    Specs on the Mac Mini Server from Everymac

    Edit 2: A bus powered RAID you don't have to "lug" around. OWC Elite RAID Portable

    Edit 3: You might want to think about an $80 upgrade to 6 GB of ram first. 4 gig ram stick at OWC
     
  15. thekev, Dec 7, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2011

    thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #15
    On the SSD you misunderstood me completely. I'm not suggesting you get rid of any of your current drives. I'm suggesting you add in an SSD as well for a scratch disk "only". It would do nothing more than give photoshop a place to dump data. Combined with disabling VM buffering so that it won't cache to ram (you're kind of low on ram for that), this would improve your stability immensely, especially when combined with my spotlight tips. This might run you a little over $100, and your machine would no longer crawl. If you hear a lot of seeking noise on your firewire drives, my suggestion is disk warrior. It's helped me many times. Any of this advice can also be applied if you do go forward with the purchase of a new mini, but if course that requires a display, keyboard, and mouse or tablet or whatever, so the base weight isn't all you'd be carrying.

    Under photoshop preferences you would set scratch disks to the new disk I mentioned (the SSD). If you can get something around a 60GB drive for this, you'll be very happy. I'm not sure which macbook pro you have. Some of the 2008 ish ones can go to 6GB of ram, but I think you need a scratch drive, and I'll bet you're being slowed down by spotlight too. Under system preferences-->spotlight-->privacy, you should consider adding at the very least all of your system level folders. Basically you don't want it indexing scratch data as it's written. If you obtain a dedicated scratch drive, keep that one in privacy under system preferences. That damn histogram lags things up quite a bit as it's constantly updating, especially if you have a ton of adjustment layers and you're doing a lot of painting like me. Most of my time is spent shading and tweaking bits of color here and there.

    Applications/Adobe Photoshop CS5/Plug-ins/Extensions folder

    Go to that folder. You're not using a lot of ram. Ensure that you have the disableVMbuffering plugin. If the forceVMbuffering plugin is there, drag it to the trash or use the ~ to disable it. You're working with large files and not a lot of ram, so you do not want the system buffering to ram. You do want dedicated scratch space as I mentioned.

    I would also use the disable scratch compression plugin. This way it doesn't compress the data to save space. It merely writes it as fast as possible to disk, but again you'd want a dedicated scratch disk for this.

    Okay on saves I can't think of how to disable layer compression on .psd files. You can save as a tiff and opt for no compression. This should help. The system still has to scratch data somewhere when saving. This is another bottleneck you were probably having. I'm glad I can help though. I like to see people get as much life out of their machines as possible. I think there's a plugin available for that too now. I can't remember.

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other+World+Computing/DDAMBS0GB/

    Something like that is what I meant regarding putting an SSD in the optical bay. I don't use OWC but a lot of people on here like them. A few have had major complaints. That tray looks like one of the nicer kits I've seen.

    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/internal_storage/Mercury_Extreme_SSD_Sandforce/Solid_State_Pro/

    Again there are other vendors too. I was suggesting something like one of the smaller drives listed here + that sled as your scratch drive.*The only reason I'm not suggesting a SATA III SSD is that they've had controller problems, so I don't want to suggest something of questionable reliability.

    If you do go with a new mini server, I'd just say to remove one of the two drives that come installed in it. Format the remaining drive to your boot drive, and use an SSD for a scratch drive. Damn that took a while to write. I type pretty fast but it was a lot of info to get through and check.



    You need to look at how much is actually wired or active.

    http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1342

    Note the link. Wired is application critical. Active is recently used. Those are the two that matter, along with pageout frequency. Pageouts can make it unresponsive. And on medium format dslrs, I wish to buy a hasselblad or phase one setup once work picks up again. I need something super high res to photograph things for bump maps and compositing elements (yes I'm a big nerd). :D
     
  16. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #16
    So they can (unofficially) take up to 16GB. Very good to know! Thank you!
     
  17. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #17
    Thanks again, thekev. You must have missed the bit where I said I have monitors (IPS displays), keyboards, and mice already duplicated in offices on both continents. I do not need to travel with them, so the "base weight" I would carry on the plane would be only the laptop or Mac Mini.

    I did misunderstand you about the SSD, not only regarding what I would put on it, but that I could install one in my 2008 MBP. Hmm. Then I'm still stuck with the RAM problem, which is a quite bad, however.

    Great advice. I will look into my Spotlight settings. If my MBP can go to 6GB of RAM, then it can do so only unofficially.

    Same here. That is how I spend most of my time in Photoshop. I'm a slave to the histogram, though. I use it a lot.

    Oh, so now my 1GB files are large? A few posts ago they were "nothing"! :p Seriously, though, thanks again for this advice. I will try all of this first thing in the morning (it's late here now).

    No, I don't want to save as TIFF. That will mess up my workflow with round-trips between PS and LR.

    I am so very appreciative that you took the time to be so helpful. Seriously: thank you so much. I have my work cut out for me tomorrow with all of the advice and links you've provided.

    Regarding the SSD drive in the Mini...isn't it major surgery to put one of those in? The BTO option is very expensive, so maybe the surgery would be worthwhile, but I'd hate to void the warranty on a new machine.
     
  18. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #18
    I did miss that. Now I'm curious what you photograph.

    It used to be a much bigger problem, but I've seen people have spotlight issues even under lion. You really have no reason to search system files most of the time (aside from preference files) unless you really know what is safe in there. The mini histogram isn't even that accurate. It's an approximation. You can tell a little from it, but I don't find it that helpful. Making the other changes will reduce its impact. 6GB is nice and all, but it definitely won't alleviate the need for faster scratch space. Oh and are those drives firewire 800 or 400?

    It's a little different on a laptop with limited ram :p. Digilloyd and OWC both posted tests showing how much faster photoshop could be with more ram on larger files. Their test image was 15000 pixels high or so (I think). That's large even for me, but it happens on occasion. Their tests also showed how with more ram, an SSD makes less of an impact.

    I know how frustrating photoshop lag can be. If you're still experiencing issues, I'll help track down whatever bottlenecks remain. It's not that photoshop can't benefit from faster cpus at all, but if activity monitor isn't showing any really high readouts in its cpu history, it points to what I've suggested which was likely anyway. Your hard drive is just getting crushed :D. Note all of the settings are important. They keep spotlight from chasing itself, it will prevent photoshop from caching scratch data to ram since you don't have very much of it, and it will prevent cpu time being diverted to scratch compression as you'll be using a dedicated scratch disk with very high write speeds.

    Fair enough on tiff format. Perhaps I can find how to disable compression on layered psds again. That would ensure it would save in about 15-20 seconds over firewire 800 (on the 1GB files which would now be larger). I can't remember the command for it. It might not be that big a deal anyway. It's just if it's tied up with cpu calculations saving, it would be due to time spent compressing data.

    http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Installing-Mac-Mini-Mid-2011-Dual-Hard-Drive-Kit/6275/1

    It looks like a bit of surgery yeah. I know you can do it on the mini server. I didn't pay attention to which one is shown in the link. The base mini and mini server are probably the easier ones. I don't own one personally.
     
  19. mackmgg macrumors 65816

    mackmgg

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    #19
    I've got a 2007 MacBook Pro and faced similar problems. I doubled the RAM (2GB to 4GB in my case), and now it can handle 500MB+ PSDs pretty quickly. I don't usually keep both Lightroom and Photoshop open at the same time, other than the few seconds after Photoshop opens and before I close Photoshop so I can get back to Lightroom. I also generally close Safari and any other running applications, so trying all that could improve your situation. Your PSDs are almost double the size of mine, but doing all that should help.

    I feel like just upgrading the RAM on your current MacBook would do you wonders, in your case more than a better processor. Since you're dealing with such huge files, keeping it all on the RAM and not going to swap is hard, but still important. If you increased your MacBook's RAM to 6GB you would probably see a pretty big jump in performance, and that's not a very expensive upgrade. Also, I've got a 5200RPM HDD (very slow, but I need the capacity), so swap is very bad on my computer, yours shouldn't be as bad.

    An SSD would help if you're going over the RAM requirements too. It's not as good as getting more RAM, but it does mean the swap will be much faster. Since it can access the SSD almost as fast as the RAM, you won't notice as big of an issue when the computer runs out of RAM. I'm not sure how fast your current HDD is, but even a 7200RPM drive feels slow when you're using swap, let alone a 5400 or 5200RPM drive
     
  20. LumbermanSVO macrumors 65816

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    #20
    I have the slightly older version of this with only the FW800 and USB connections. So far the device has been very reliable and quiet. There is only one problem I have with it, the FW800 connector itself. The cable pops out of the MBP very easily, though it has never popped out of the external case. I took a pigtail off an ethernet cable and taped it to the FW800 cable to try and create some form of positive lock with the computer, it works ok-ish. I would just use the supplied USB cable, but the USB connector doesn't supply enough power.

    I asked OWC if they were working on a ThunderBolt version and they told me they couldn't comment on future products.
     
  21. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #21
    The link in my signature will take you to a gallery containing some of my pictorial photos, but the bulk of my photography is museum work.

    I just found this warning from Adobe regarding that plugin: "It will have no effect on machines with 4GB or less of RAM." So much for that idea.

    Thanks for the link, but my model (an "Early 2008") is not on the list of compatible devices.

    Are we talking about the same histogram? The Histogram Palette, right? If that's not very accurate, then what is?

    Would 16GB of RAM alleviate the need for faster scratch space? My FW drives are 800.

    Once again, thanks to thekev and everyone else who has replied in this thread. It has been enormously helpful in getting me researching in the right direction.
     
  22. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #22
    It's really beautiful work. I'm going to look at it more later. 16GB of ram can help, but some people go even more. Now assuming that your firewire 800 drives can store all your data, you can always go with an SSD to replace the boot drive, although you'd want a significantly larger one, especially as it would be written over quite a lot without being formatted here and there.

    You were considering going to 6GB as I recall (although you said early 2008 so I don't know if that can take it). If you did I wouldn't want photoshop to cache to ram. Rather leaving extra ram for lightroom/OSX would be ideal. That was all part of a bigger setup anyway though.

    If possible I don't really suggest the firewire drives for scratch space, especially as you're using them for storage too. This can produce a lot of undesirable results especially if the disks ever get kind of full and your scratch space becomes fragmented, but 80MB/s isn't that fast for scratch space and that's the upper limit. It's doable but not so much ideal. I found a good article on scratch space and stuff. My suggestions were based upon your current situation with ram/drive stuff. I may need to adjust them a little if you're going with 16GB of ram.

    I just found this a few minutes ago. It's a good article and he agrees with me on some things, but some bits of info are a little dated (SSDs have improved in more than two years since the article and it's not like raided 3.5" drives are a real travel option, the other thing being that the bigger tiles plugin is no longer a plugin).

    http://macperformanceguide.com/OptimizingPhotoshop-Intro.html

    Other than that most of the article information is still pretty current. Since he mentions efficiency, it's basically at 100% efficiency the current image state is completely held in ram, which does not mean it's not paging anything to disk.

    Last on the histogram pallette, you'll notice there's a little refresh button for a perfect redraw. It is an approximation otherwise, and it likes to tell you it has gaps or is losing information at times that it isn't.

    Normally I'm not that big on SSDs, but if ram doesn't go far enough, that's your next best option. A 256GB SSD for a boot drive can work if you try to keep it clean other than applications and system data. You could still probably get strong performance from that, but ram and drives are such a big factor on laptop photoshop performance simply because it pushes around big chunks of data. If you're on CS5 considering you're low on ram, 32 bit mode might be an improvement. I hesitated to suggest that as I haven't tested it for this purpose. I need to figure out if it's possible to save psds uncompressed like I thought, because I'm pretty sure that's the one area where you are partially cpu bound or will be once the IO problem is resolved (which would give you 12-15 second saves or so on 1GB files although they'd be larger now so maybe 20).
     
  23. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #23
    thekev, thanks for you compliments on my work. :) And for your continuing generosity with helping me to sort out this problem!

    everyone else: thanks to you too!

    OK, so I've done a bunch of research in the directions suggested by this thread. It's clear now that CPU and GPU options will not make a big difference for my needs. RAM and I/O for my scratch disk are most important (in that order). I have therefore decided to go with the following:

    • Mac Mini Lion Server 2011
    • 16GB RAM
    • 120GB SSD + 500GB HDD (7200rmp)

    I'm thinking of partitioning the SSD to have half allocated as a scratch disk and the other half for the OS and some apps.

    Bad idea? Should I keep the OS and apps on the 500GB HDD?
     
  24. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

    Joined:
    May 28, 2004
    Location:
    In a false sense of reality...My Mind!
    #24
    I was going to do a similar route however I went with having the OS & Apps on my SSD and keeping the rest on the second hard drive which is slower but it's just for my saves/storage of artwork. I think you will be happy with the Mini since you have all the rest.
    Good luck and enjoy once it's all said and done :D
     
  25. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #25
    Huh? You confused me. It sounds as though you did exactly what I am proposing doing, except that I would partition the SSD first. May I ask how big your SSD is and if all is well with however much RAM you have?
     

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