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Is My Southbridge limiting my SSD speed?

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February 25, 2010 2:22:50 AM

I have a laptop that has the Intel GS45 chipset. 2.4GHz C2D and 2GB Ram.

I've set up everything optimally for my SSD. I don't think there are any tweaks left to be done. All drivers and firmwares are up to date.

Benchmarks are pretty good, and boot time is extremely fast. However one that that puzzles is the speed Photoshops and Firefox takes to launch. From the video's I've seen on youtube, they're pop out in a flash. There are also some of those videos where 60 programs are launched at a time. Never tried it before.

I'm wondering if my I/O controller or southbridge, the Intel ICH9R is the culprit or not? Maybe it's inferior in some ways? I'm pretty new to hardware so please explain abit, thanks.
a c 415 G Storage
February 25, 2010 3:50:42 AM

Do you have your home directory on the SSD or on another drive? Firefox has a lot of cache and configuration files in your home directory that will take longer to load if it's on a standard drive rather than the SSD.

And is Photoshop installed on the SSD?
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February 25, 2010 6:55:58 AM

All my files are on my SSD. It's the only drive on my laptop.
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a c 415 G Storage
February 25, 2010 4:25:37 PM

So how long does it actually take to fire up Photoshop? On my Core i7 920 system running at stock (2.66GHz) speed with an Intel ICH10R chipset and an Intel 160GB G2 SSD running under 64-bit Windows 7, 64-bit Photoshop takes about 3 seconds to start, display the splash screen, load all the plugins, and be ready for action. That's the first start since a cold boot, and it's probably about 2-3X faster than when I had the system on a mechanical hard drive.

As another reference, here's a link to a video I made comparing the times to boot windows and start Firefox between a WD Green drive and the 160GB Intel SSD: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTHX0MqVMss
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February 25, 2010 11:19:31 PM

2-3 seconds is way shorter than mine.

Photoshop CS4 take 8.3 seconds from clicking the icon to having full control of it on mine. I've disabled CS4 Service Manager from my startup, but I doubt that accounts for a 5 second difference if any. Please take a look at my boot speed, is it ok?



Thanks
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a c 415 G Storage
February 26, 2010 7:16:09 AM

Your boot time looks pretty good to me, considering it includes shutdown and BIOS time.

Do you have any Photoshop plug-ins? I only have the default ones which are included with Photoshop (actually I'm using Adobe CS4 Web Premiere which includes Photoshop CS4 Extended).

You didn't mention what type of SSD you have. Mine is a 160GB Intel X25-M G2.

Off topic - I'm curious to know if your "Beautiful_Life" moniker has anything to do with the Japanese drama series starring Kimura Takuya and Tokiwa Takako?
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February 26, 2010 8:37:36 AM

My SSD is Intel's X25M Gen 2 80GB with the latest firmware. I've also aligned the partition.

My photoshop doesn't an extra file-format file and also the Polaroid Generator action, both which are very small files.

Yes, "Beautiful Life" is a reference to that drama which I coincidently watched after ended up just like Kyoko. I love that drama, it's nice isn't it?
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a c 127 G Storage
February 26, 2010 10:16:16 AM

Generally the southbridge is the fastest for SSDs. Expensive hardware RAID controllers like Areca (i have Areca ARC-1230) are limited to 70.000 IOps; while even a 2-disk RAID0 with two intel SSDs can go beyond that in synthetic benchmarks.

Still, i would consider the chipset ("southbridge") powered Serial ATA ports to be the fastest and lowest latency you can have on your system.
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a c 415 G Storage
February 26, 2010 4:35:50 PM

It's possible that the plug-ins are slowing down your load. They don't have to be big files in order to take a long time. They could, for example, be slow because they're trying to connect to a web site to see if they have any updates.

According to this page, you can disable a plug-in by putting a "~" in front of it's file name in the Photoshop Plugins folder. You could try disabling the ones you listed to see if it makes a difference.

Another option would be to go into Edit -> Preferences -> Plug-Ins and clear the two checkboxes to see if that makes a difference.

Of all the J-Dramas I've seen, I think "Beautiful Life" is perhaps my favourite, even more than "Ai shiteiru to itte kure"...
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February 27, 2010 9:26:27 AM

I removed the two plug-in that I have and it's still as slow. Nothing even close to 5 seconds.
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a c 415 G Storage
February 27, 2010 3:53:50 PM

Can you describe where the pauses are during the startup sequence? For example, when you double-click the PS icon, how long does it take before the splash screen appears? The splash screen shows each item that's being loaded, does any one item seem to be taking a long time?
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February 28, 2010 12:26:11 AM

The splash screen appears instantly after I click on the PS icon. The are two pauses; when it shows reading preferences and initializing panels.
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a c 415 G Storage
February 28, 2010 1:50:47 AM

How long are the pauses? On my system there are pauses at those points as well, but they're very brief (perhaps 1/4 to 1/2 second).

If you start up Photoshop, then shut it down and start it up a second time, is there a significant gain in speed? Any difference in where the pauses are or how long they take?
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February 28, 2010 5:52:10 AM

About 1sec on reading preference.
About 1/2 sec on initializing panels.

No, it takes the same amount of time even after I start it up and shut it down once.
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a c 415 G Storage
February 28, 2010 10:04:55 AM

OK, so that accounts for about 1-1/2 seconds out of the 8 seconds you mentioned. Is the other 6-1/2 seconds before the splash screen, after, or do all the other plugins and splash screen activity take up most of that time?

The fact that the speed is similar both on the first and subsequent starts probably rules out the disk as the issue, since the first start will put pretty much everything needed to start Photoshop right into your RAM cache. On my system it takes about 3 seconds to start the first time and about 1 to 1-1/2 seconds thereafter.

I'm wondering if some plugin or possibly Photoshop itself may be trying to "phone home". You might try disconnecting your network cable, waiting for Windows to complain that the network link is down, and then try starting Photoshop to see if there's a difference in startup time. If the network is unavailable then anything that tries to access the Internet should get an immediate error code rather than waiting for a timeout period.
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February 28, 2010 11:53:07 AM

The other 6 1/2 seconds is loading other stuff that flashes really quickly. The splash screen pops up immediately after I click the Photoshop icon. "initializing panels" is the last action I see on the splash screen, then the full Photoshop GUI pops out and I have full control of it.

Photoshop doesn't seem to store any thing in the RAM. After I close Photoshop, my RAM usage return exactly to what it was before I loaded Photoshop.

I tried disconnecting my network. No difference. Still takes as long to load.

Thanks for all your suggestions. You're really helpful.
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a c 415 G Storage
February 28, 2010 6:46:04 PM

Photoshop itself doesn't do RAM caching, that's a function of Windows. Whenever you read stuff from disk a copy is stored in any free memory you might have so that it can be delivered almost instantly if it's requested again. Since its stored in memory that's considered to be "free" by Windows, it doesn't show up on the memory graph - but it's there.

Sorry, but I think I'm running out of ideas for why it's taking so long to start. If you bring up task manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc), how busy are your CPU cores while Photoshop is starting?
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March 1, 2010 4:31:36 AM

Processor usage goes up by about 10%. I'm on Power Saver mode set at the lowest clock speed possible 1.6GHz
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a c 415 G Storage
March 1, 2010 4:42:13 AM

OK, well as long as the CPUs aren't at 100% then they're not really a bottleneck.

I'm afraid I'm about out of ideas...
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a c 127 G Storage
March 1, 2010 8:30:06 AM

If you have a specific issue with your Adobe product, why not contact Adobe for support? They probably know their product alot better, and give you ideas of what you might try.
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March 2, 2010 2:14:45 AM

My Photoshop works fine. It's my SSD is slower compared to the majority of the benchmarks and load times posted online. I'm trying to pinpoint the cause. The reason Photoshop's in the discussion is because it takes pretty long to load, so it's more noticable compared to Word which loads fast even on a HDD.
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a c 415 G Storage
March 2, 2010 3:02:53 AM

Is your disk controller set as an ATAPI or an IDE device in your BIOS configuration? I doubt it would account for a big difference in performance, but it should be set to ATAPI.

Warning - if you installed Win7 on the disk with it configured as an IDE device, changing the BIOS configuration to ATAPI will render Windows unbootable. There's an easy fix, let me know if you need it.
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March 5, 2010 12:05:29 PM

I suppose ATAPI means ACHI? My disk controller is set to ACHI.
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a c 415 G Storage
March 5, 2010 3:59:47 PM

Oops, sorry about that! ATAPI really means IDE, I meant to say AHCI.
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April 26, 2010 4:17:48 PM

Just out of curiosity have you guys done any benchmarks on your systems? Being that your comparing an 80gb intel vs its big brother 160gb there is a performance difference right there. The 80gb is listed as 200mb/s read speeds whereas the 160 is 250mb/s.

I would suggest running HDTune or CrystalDiskMark to see where your landing performance-wise if you havent already done so. If you are only landing around 125mb/s with the 80gb then that could be your issue right there.

Sminlal, I have the same setup as you in my desktop but my 160gb is only getting 220mb/s when connected to the ICH10R in my P6T. Have you been able to configure your setupd to reach the maxmimum 250mb/s?
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