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Author Topic: Does it matter where we keep our images while editing in LR?  (Read 7906 times)
One Frame at a Time
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« on: June 14, 2012, 03:17:45 PM »
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Hi, 

I'd like to confirm my understanding of what is the best place do keep the source images for LR.  In PS I had a scratch disk that was on a different drive than the program.  I kept the images on that scratch disk too.  I dont seem to remember a set up for scratch disks in LR?  Is there any reason to keep the active images that are being edited off the drive with the program and Operating System?

Thanks,

Paul
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john beardsworth
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« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2012, 03:55:07 PM »
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LR will be calling a lot of raw data into memory, so the files you're using most (probably the new ones) should ideally be on a fast drive, which usually means an internal one.

Have you read http://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom/kb/optimize-performance-lightroom.html ?

John
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kaelaria
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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2012, 07:03:42 PM »
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OS and apps should be one at least one drive.  PS scratch should be on one drive.  Photos should be on one drive.  RAW cache should be on one drive - the apps/os is ok for that as long as it's fast.  In all cases making them as fast as possible (SSD or RAID0) is preferred especially for the working photos.

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One Frame at a Time
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« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2012, 07:20:24 AM »
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John, thanks once again.  I did read that link you posted before. Guess I mis-spoke when i said LR did not have a scratch drive.

Kaeleria, are you saying its better to have three drives?  One for LR and the OS, one for images, and one to run PS scratch?

P.
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Sheldon N
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« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2012, 11:00:45 AM »
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Lightroom is not particularly sensitive to disk speed, as long as you have your photos on an internal SATA drive with a decent transfer rate. Using network attached storage or an external USB/Firewire drive is not a good idea generally.  Most of what Lightroom does involves a lot of CPU calculations (rendering previews, making adjustments in develop tab, rendering the image for display in the develop tab, exporting images) and the time the CPU takes to make those calculations is much longer in comparison to the time it takes to pull the data off of the hard drive.  

In addition, much of what is displayed in Lightroom is a pre-rendered preview already pulled from the original file. If you've rendered 1:1 previews, then Lightroom is just displaying those and isn't even reading the image file off the disk (for viewing in the Library/Grid/Loupe view).  The previews are located within the Lightroom catalog folder, which can be on a different disk than your image files.

IMHO, the one area that will benefit from a faster drive is the LR catalog itself, and to a lesser extent the Adobe Camera Raw Cache files. A drive with fast seek times and high transfer rates (such as an SSD) will help LR to feel snappier in the grid and loupe views. It won't make much difference for the Develop tab function.  Finally, eliminating conflicts between drives (different processes wanting to use the same drive at the same time) will also help keep things moving more quickly.

I've got my computer set up this way:

SSD -> Operating System, programs
SSD #2 -> LR Catalog, ACR Cache
Internal SATA Hard Drive -> Image Storage

Note that Lightroom does not have a scratch disk, that is only Photoshop. Photoshop optimization is totally different than LR. For that you want 1.) Lots of RAM  2.) A really fast scratch disk for when you run out of RAM, and 3.) A really fast hard drive for storage to speed up the amount of time it takes to open and save large image files.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2012, 11:02:41 AM by Sheldon N » Logged

kaelaria
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« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2012, 02:03:12 PM »
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Kaeleria, are you saying its better to have three drives?  One for LR and the OS, one for images, and one to run PS scratch?

P.

Yes.

And yes, drive speed is very important.  LR working speed greatly increases going from a slow drive like an internal iMac (5400 rpm) to a desktop 7200, to a raid0 array.  Anyone that says otherwise never tried it.  It's seen in importing, exporting, rendering and more.  Those are frequently used parts of it and it's well worth it to maximize all parts of your performance.
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Rory
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« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2012, 03:21:19 PM »
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Quote from: Sheldon N link=topic=67953.msg538034#msg538034 date

Note that Lightroom does not have a scratch disk, that is only Photoshop.

What about the ACR cache?
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Sheldon N
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« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2012, 06:05:09 PM »
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Yes.

And yes, drive speed is very important.  LR working speed greatly increases going from a slow drive like an internal iMac (5400 rpm) to a desktop 7200, to a raid0 array.  Anyone that says otherwise never tried it.  It's seen in importing, exporting, rendering and more.  Those are frequently used parts of it and it's well worth it to maximize all parts of your performance.

I have to disagree with some of those statements.  There's nothing wrong with maximizing all the parts of your systems performance, but don't expect dramatic improvements in importing, exporting or rendering by getting a faster drive.  None of those processes bump up against the capabilities of a mainstream internal 7200rpm drive.

Importing? You are capped at the speed of your CF card reader. Even a 1000x card and a USB 3.0 reader won't be faster than 7200rpm SATA drive.

Exporting? You are generally capped at CPU performance. The only time you might run up against drive speed limits is if you are exporting a large number of high resolution 16 bit uncompressed TIFF files. Exporting jpeg files will probably happen at around only 5-10 megabytes per second, where as exporting uncompressed TIF's might reach 80-90mb/s depending on how fast your computer (CPU) is.  Even the latter is within the capabilities of a 7200rpm drive.

Rendering previews? Again, this is limited to CPU power. A fast computer might render 1:1 previews at a rate of 2-3 seconds/preview for a larger DSLR file. This equates to a data transfer rate of only around 10 mb/sec off the hard drive.

And as far as having tested it... I have.

Outputting 16 bit uncompressed TIFFs (1Ds III files) to an SSD vs to a mostly full 1TB 7200rpm drive? Pretty much no difference, both wrote at around 80mb/s, limited by the CPU's ability to export the images. Same results with exporting jpegs, except data rates were only around 7mb/sec.

Importing and rendering 1:1 previews? Exactly the same amount of time, whether the images sat on an SSD capable of 500mb/sec or whether they sat on a mostly full 7200rpm drive.

The only real area where you see performance improvement from a drive change is when the Lightroom catalog sits on a faster drive, especially one with lower seek times. And this doesn't help any of the importing/rendering/exporting processes. It only helps images display faster in Loupe/grid view, making navigation seem snappier.
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kaelaria
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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2012, 07:07:36 PM »
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Tell ya what - do some easy tests.  Take a USB2 ext drive or just a big CF card and make a new cat on it, treat it like a drive.  Put your files on it and do all your normal stuff.  You'll quickly see how important it is and at what points in the workflow the drive is the bottleneck.  I don't personally care if anyone takes my advice, I know better and enjoy blazing performance on my systems Smiley
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Sheldon N
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« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2012, 04:51:04 PM »
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Tell ya what - do some easy tests.  Take a USB2 ext drive or just a big CF card and make a new cat on it, treat it like a drive.  Put your files on it and do all your normal stuff.  You'll quickly see how important it is and at what points in the workflow the drive is the bottleneck.  I don't personally care if anyone takes my advice, I know better and enjoy blazing performance on my systems Smiley

You didn't really read my post, did you?

I advocated putting the catalog on the fastest drive you could, because that makes a difference. I gave some specifics as to when and where you would expect to see performance improvements from hard drive speed, and in what situations you likely wouldn't see improvements.

You gave the following advice:

Quote
LR working speed greatly increases going from a slow drive like an internal iMac (5400 rpm) to a desktop 7200, to a raid0 array.  Anyone that says otherwise never tried it.  It's seen in importing, exporting, rendering and more.

That's misleading and not true. Spending more money on hard drives or moving to really fast RAID 0 arrays for image files is not going to get you any real performance improvement. Going back to the OP's question, it's not going to make a huge difference where you keep your image files, as long as they are on a decent internal drive and you don't do something silly like putting your catalog on a USB flash drive. Smiley
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kaelaria
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« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2012, 05:02:09 PM »
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Even easier. Import a card of images but use add not copy.
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Sheldon N
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« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2012, 10:02:22 AM »
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I'm away from my computer, but am curious what the results are. Would you mind doing the test?

Take 25 or 50 RAW files from a 20+ megapixel camera, put one copy of them on a fast internal hard drive, and one copy of the same RAW files on a CF card via a USB 2 card reader. Use the "Add to Catalog Without Moving" function and render 1:1 previews on import (using your existing LR catalog on an internal hard drive). Use a stopwatch to time how long it takes your computer to finish the entire process of both importing and rendering 1:1 previews.

My guess is that the times will be very, very close if not exacty the same.

The amount of data that is needed to be moved through the slow connection to the CF card is relatively minimal, in comparison to the time it takes the CPU to do the work of rendering the 1:1 previews. The CF card reader only needs to send data to the CPU at a rate of about 10 mb/sec in order to keep up.
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BigBadWolfie
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« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2012, 03:44:24 AM »
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OS and apps should be one at least one drive.  PS scratch should be on one drive.  Photos should be on one drive.  RAW cache should be on one drive - the apps/os is ok for that as long as it's fast.  In all cases making them as fast as possible (SSD or RAID0) is preferred especially for the working photos.
No to highjack this thread, but does anyone know if there are performance penalties to having PS scratch disk and Raw cache on the same disk (eg. SSD) for those who often have both PS and LR open at the same time? I'm currently using a 64gb SSD as my cache scratch disk and raw cache and I'm trying to figure out whether I should divide it 30/30 or just both 60 and have the programs work it out.
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howardm
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« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2012, 07:26:12 AM »
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I'd speculate that it doesn't really matter since you cannot actually be in PS and ACR at the same time so the computer isn't negotiating for resources between PS scratch and ACR cache.

Although, I'm not sure what happens if you have a smart object and then re-open it in ACR.

I dont think partitioning the 60G SSD into 2 volumes is going to make any real world difference.
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Sheldon N
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« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2012, 09:44:05 AM »
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I'd agree with Howard on that. I don't think there's going to be any conflict.

I've got the same setup approach as you... I put my LR Catalog, ACR Cache, and PS scratch disk on the same SSD.

I think that the scratch disk really doesn't matter much anymore though, unless you are working on absolutely massive files. RAM has gotten so cheap that there's not excuse not to max out your machine. 16 GB is only around $90, and 32GB can be had for around $200.
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meyerweb
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« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2012, 10:37:35 AM »
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On the question of internal vs. external disks.  I'm unable to tell any difference in performance between having my catalog and images on an internal fast SATA drive and an external USB 3.0 drive with a SATA drive in the enclosure. And the external drive gives me the ability to move my data between desktop and laptop without issue, and without having to copy or export or merge catalogs.
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BigBadWolfie
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« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2012, 05:29:56 AM »
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I'd speculate that it doesn't really matter since you cannot actually be in PS and ACR at the same time so the computer isn't negotiating for resources between PS scratch and ACR cache.

Although, I'm not sure what happens if you have a smart object and then re-open it in ACR.

I dont think partitioning the 60G SSD into 2 volumes is going to make any real world difference.
Thanks. The reason I allocated 30gb to LR and 30gb to PS for its scratch disk is that I'm afraid something can go wrong if I allocated 60gb to both LR and PS (given that the SSD is 64gb and not 128gb).
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One Frame at a Time
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« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2012, 01:18:45 PM »
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A little off topic but related to our discussion:  I  seem to remember that connecting a usb 2.0 device or hub to a notebook with USB 3.0 capability dumbs anything connected via USB down to 2.0 speeds.  Is this true?  I run a i7 laptop with an eSATA external drive and been thinking of adding a 3.0 HDD; but I may only get 2.0 speeds because of other USB connections I run?  Which leads to another question: Can I daisy chain eSATA drives externally somehow?

Thanks!
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madmanchan
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« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2012, 03:00:50 PM »
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I generally agree with putting the catalog on a fast drive because both the catalog read/write and preview read/write will then benefit.  Browsing thru my Lr library is actually quite a bit faster on my MacBook Pro compared to my (considerably more powerful) desktop Mac Pro for this reason, even though Develop slider performance on my Mac Pro is faster.
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Steve House
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« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2012, 06:29:02 AM »
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There seems to be a lot of attention paid to importing, loading, and exporting images, rendering previews, switching modules, and other essentially file management issues in these various threads on Lightroom optimization but relatively rare are discussions about optimizing performance when making image adjustments in the Develop module.  When one moves a slider or enters a new value in one of the dialog boxes, on my systems at least, there is a very noticeable lag - sometimes on the order of 10 or 15 seconds or more on my old XP system - between entering the adjustment and seeing its effect on the screen.  This makes 'real-time' visual editing very difficult - back in the old days, when I turned the focus wheel on my enlarger the effect on the image was instantaneous and I need similar performance from the software and computer systems in my digital darkroom.  What are the factors that control this behaviour and what are the best 'avenues of attack' to get as close as possible to 'real-time' updating of the screen image during editing?
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