Scratch disk? Yes or No?

razer

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 24, 2010
121
0
London
So my nMp is now up and running and im using Lightroom and Photoshop more and more.

My photo Libraries etc are Stored on a NAS drive and while the nMP has a 500GB SSD i would like to know if there would be any benefit in getting a external (Thunderbolt?) scratch disk. I dont fully understand SSD technology but would like to reduce wear and tear where possible to extend longevity. From a speed perspective i guess you cant beat an internal drive but i cant imagine a external thunderbolt drive would be noticeably slower.

So, would an external drive be of benefit? If so does anyone have any recommendations? Also i have a couple of redundant 80GB WD 7200rpm drives lying around which could be used.
 

VirtualRain

macrumors 603
Aug 1, 2008
6,304
114
Vancouver, BC
So my nMp is now up and running and im using Lightroom and Photoshop more and more.

My photo Libraries etc are Stored on a NAS drive and while the nMP has a 500GB SSD i would like to know if there would be any benefit in getting a external (Thunderbolt?) scratch disk. I dont fully understand SSD technology but would like to reduce wear and tear where possible to extend longevity. From a speed perspective i guess you cant beat an internal drive but i cant imagine a external thunderbolt drive would be noticeably slower.

So, would an external drive be of benefit? If so does anyone have any recommendations? Also i have a couple of redundant 80GB WD 7200rpm drives lying around which could be used.
I would try and set it up so your entire workflow is on the internal SSD... Scratch and current project files. That will give you maximum performance. However, if your 512GB internal is not enough (besides scolding you for not buying larger) I would definitely suggest an extra TB SSD... But it doesn't need to be dedicated to scratch... You could use it for your project files and still use the internal for scratch.

You don't need to worry about SSD wear and tear. Studies have shown they will likely long outlast the life of the computer (and maybe even the user) in all but the most extreme write intensive conditions.
 
Last edited:

razer

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 24, 2010
121
0
London
I would try and set it up so your entire workflow is on the internal SSD... Scratch and current project files. That will give you maximum performance. However, if your 512GB internal is not enough (besides scolding you for not buying larger) I would definitely suggest an extra TB SSD... But it doesn't need to be dedicated to scratch... You could use it for your project files and still use the internal for scratch.

You don't need to worry about SSD wear and tear. Studies have shown they will likely long outlast the life of the computer (and maybe even the user) in all but the most extreme write intensive conditions.
Thanks, just this moment found your other scratch thread about degradation etc.

Any recommendations for an external TB scratch if i go that route?
 

thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
6,674
1,766
Thanks, just this moment found your other scratch thread about degradation etc.

Any recommendations for an external TB scratch if i go that route?
You should push as much of it to ram as possible. Apart from that just leave some space on the internal drive.
 

jblongz

macrumors member
Feb 26, 2013
82
3
NYC
I agree with using as much ram as possible, but I'd also recommend a scratch drive. You can get a 2.5" 1TB 7200rpm and a separate enclosure for a good price. If you prefer premium warranty, Glyph makes a Studio Mini, which I use two of for audio and video scratch. Comes with 3 year warranty which includes data recovery. Save you internal SSD write cycles...you awareness and concern is a good habit. :)

USB 3 is should offer plenty of bandwidth for photo work.
 

rezwits

macrumors 6502a
Jul 10, 2007
635
324
Las Vegas
Scratch Disk

There is nothing wrong with having a two disk setup.

Usually if you have projects where you read from one and write to another it's especially helpful.

Video encoding can take advantage of this the most.

I don't know how much batch processing you are going to do, or how many filters or effects you are going to do per image, but one thing is for sure, if you use a non-ssd drive for scratch, it's going to be slower, but you will have less wear and tear on your internal ssd, and if you only use your ssd for the final write location you should be fine.

A couple things to consider is some effects can take place in just RAM depending on the size of your files anyway and by the video card. And we don't know how much the internal SSD of the nMPs can saturate the RAM and Processor... I.E. can the SSD provide enough work as fast as the chip can process it!

But if you have a 256 GB of SSD, I would go for the Scratch...
 

deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
8,110
1,259
I would try and set it up so your entire workflow is on the internal SSD... Scratch and current project files.
that is an gross over simplification. If both fit and there is very significant amount of free space left over then fine. You don't have to treat a SSD with kid gloves. It will hold up to loads generally expected out of HDDs.

Taken to the extreme... "drag as much as possible" onto the SSD is a flawed idea. There are different underlying reasons why filling up a SSD to the brim as about as bad as filling a HDD up to the brim but both are not a good state for high workload drives. If workload presents as needing several 100's GB of scratch capacity then HDDs can be more cost effective. The capacity sizes are a significant component to what is the more effective fit.

That will give you maximum performance.
Filling a SSD to the brim? Not.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6489/playing-with-op


However, if your 512GB internal is not enough (besides scolding you for not buying larger) I would definitely suggest an extra TB SSD...
Buying the largest possible SSD isn't necessarily cost effective. As others have mentioned in this thread, RAM is better than storage scratch if images/video/data is spilling onto storage drives for intermediate processing states. If blow up budget on biggest possible SSD, then probably eating into RAM budget.


You don't need to worry about SSD wear and tear. Studies have shown they will likely long outlast the life of the computer (and maybe even the user) in all but the most extreme write intensive conditions.
The notion of SSD are fragile is overblown, but this notion that they are going to outlast the actual solid state components is equally as deeply flawed. That so called "study" has a number of experimental design flaws.
From non-real world "torture" writes (which probably amount to pitching slow pitch softballs to the major league batter in the Samsung flash controller), to minimized write amplification and finally to the limited error measurement they were doing.


Even the "study" dials back on the kool-aid (if only temporarily) :

".. With an average lifespan of 75 years for the TLC memory chips, consumers have absolutely nothing to worry about. It doesn't mean the SSD will actually last 75 years, ... "

TLC chips in normal conditions probably aren't going to last 75 years.


The primary reason for two local ( vs NAS storage) drives is likely going to driven by that local stuff is going to be faster process than the stuff farther away. The core issue is separating out stuff that is primarily in archival status from stuff might actually need to do some processing on.
 

jerryrock

macrumors 6502
Sep 11, 2007
429
0
Amsterdam, NY
The scratch disk has to equal or exceed the speed of the internal drive with the operating system and programs to be efficient. Image files can reside on a slower external drive.
 

VirtualRain

macrumors 603
Aug 1, 2008
6,304
114
Vancouver, BC
Scratch disk? Yes or No?

that is an gross over simplification. If both fit and there is very significant amount of free space left over then fine. You don't have to treat a SSD with kid gloves. It will hold up to loads generally expected out of HDDs.

Taken to the extreme... "drag as much as possible" onto the SSD is a flawed idea. There are different underlying reasons why filling up a SSD to the brim as about as bad as filling a HDD up to the brim but both are not a good state for high workload drives. If workload presents as needing several 100's GB of scratch capacity then HDDs can be more cost effective. The capacity sizes are a significant component to what is the more effective fit.



Filling a SSD to the brim? Not.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6489/playing-with-op




Buying the largest possible SSD isn't necessarily cost effective. As others have mentioned in this thread, RAM is better than storage scratch if images/video/data is spilling onto storage drives for intermediate processing states. If blow up budget on biggest possible SSD, then probably eating into RAM budget.




The notion of SSD are fragile is overblown, but this notion that they are going to outlast the actual solid state components is equally as deeply flawed. That so called "study" has a number of experimental design flaws.
From non-real world "torture" writes (which probably amount to pitching slow pitch softballs to the major league batter in the Samsung flash controller), to minimized write amplification and finally to the limited error measurement they were doing.


Even the "study" dials back on the kool-aid (if only temporarily) :

".. With an average lifespan of 75 years for the TLC memory chips, consumers have absolutely nothing to worry about. It doesn't mean the SSD will actually last 75 years, ... "

TLC chips in normal conditions probably aren't going to last 75 years.


The primary reason for two local ( vs NAS storage) drives is likely going to driven by that local stuff is going to be faster process than the stuff farther away. The core issue is separating out stuff that is primarily in archival status from stuff might actually need to do some processing on.

LOL... We're you away for awhile? I missed your assumptions and ridicule. :)
 

Gav Mack

macrumors 68020
Jun 15, 2008
2,192
17
Sagittarius A*
I've heard conflicting reports that using the onboard PCIe alone in a nMP works great but so does a Samsung 840 pro in a thunderbolt box does too, though old scratch disk habits do die hard from that bloke I am sure of! I run all mine off the single 840 evo via solo x2 in my 3,1 but I've got 32gb of ram - which photoshop loves more than anything else no matter what Mac Pro you own.
 

jerryrock

macrumors 6502
Sep 11, 2007
429
0
Amsterdam, NY
Scratch Disks
Set the scratch disk to a defragmented hard disk that has plenty of unused space and fast read/write speeds (see Defragment the hard disk). If you have more than one hard drive, you can specify additional scratch disks. Photoshop supports up to 64 exabytes of scratch disk space on up to four volumes. (An exabyte equals 1 billion GB.)

If your startup disk is a hard disk (as opposed to a solid-state disk), try using a different hard disk for your primary scratch disk. If your startup disk is an SSD, there is no benefit to selecting a different disk for your primary scratch disk. Using the SSD for both your system startup disk and your primary scratch volume performs well. And, it's probably better than using a separate hard disk for scratch.
http://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/kb/optimize-performance-photoshop-cs4-cs5.html#main_Solid_state_disks
 

thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
6,674
1,766
I've heard conflicting reports that using the onboard PCIe alone in a nMP works great but so does a Samsung 840 pro in a thunderbolt box does too, though old scratch disk habits do die hard from that bloke I am sure of! I run all mine off the single 840 evo via solo x2 in my 3,1 but I've got 32gb of ram - which photoshop loves more than anything else no matter what Mac Pro you own.
The balance of what to buy differs from year to year. When ram was at its cheapest point a while ago with 16GB kits for less than $90, I thought it was an extremely obvious choice. Eve now it's worth going to at least 16GB before considering other options. I've found it to be obvious when a machine is low on available memory even with an SSD.