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SSD for Photoshop working files

Last response: in Storage
March 12, 2012 5:06:01 PM

Has anyone used an SSD for their working files in Photoshop?

I have a Windows 7 64bit system that I'm happy with and am not too concerned with boot times or start times on programs, but I get impatient when save times for large Photoshop files stretch to the 45 second mark. If I put only my current working files onto an SSD, could I expect considerably faster open and save times?

March 12, 2012 5:16:11 PM

Is that a trick question? Yes, SSDs are faster than HDs at reading/writing files.
March 12, 2012 5:20:20 PM

Yeah, it seems self-evident, but I haven't read much about using them this way, which seems odd to me since it's a pretty significant bottleneck in my workflow.
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March 12, 2012 8:49:30 PM

Should be easy enough to try. But are you talking about setting the scratch disk to the SSD... or moving your working files and saving it to the SSD only, while leaving the scratch disk on a normal HDD? Or do you plan to move the entire PS program to the SSD.. along with the working files, I gather? I am interested on your results for my own build. I too have noticed a lack of information concerning photoshop and use of a SSD for either the entire program v.s. scratch disk usage v.s. moving working files v.s. program and scratch on same SSD v.s. still using separate drive for scratch, even though adobe's own recommendation for separate scratch disk usage originated before mainstream SSD implementation.
a c 257 G Storage
March 12, 2012 11:25:59 PM

Since you mentioned Photoshop, have you visited the official Adobe Photoshop forums? They have some inteteresting information about Photoshop products and solid state drives. Last time I looked they recommended one ssd for Microsoft Windows 7 and Adobe products; a second ssd to be used as a scratch disk; and hard disk drives to store files.
March 13, 2012 1:56:13 AM

Good point, JohnnyLucky--I should check there. However, the setup they suggest, with a hard drive to store files would still leave me with hard drive save and open times. I want to a set of images that I'm currently working on and moving them from an HD to the SSD in order to quickly open them and save them. Generally, I'm fine with the startup time for Photoshop and I have enough RAM that the scratch disc isn't much of a factor. I'll take a look at their forums and see what's going on.
March 23, 2012 2:27:58 AM

So, here's what I found:

*In my situation* using an SSD for working files makes no difference in file save times.

I made a copy of a file of about average size for me (~400MB) to both my new SSD and my HD , added a blank layer, and saved. I didn't use a benchmarking tool, but a stopwatch clocked the save to the SSD at 37s, and to the HD at 36s.

It appears that the bottleneck for saving files is not the HD, but rather Photoshop's insistence on using single-threaded image compression when saving files. For an explanation and a fix (that did speed up my image save times considerably) see this article:

In other, less surprising news, moving the Photoshop installation to the SSD made performance slightly snappier.
March 23, 2012 4:53:17 AM

So I understand your using the SSD for the OS and for PS5 program, and using the HDD for the scratch or the same SSD for scratch? What cpu and how much ram are you using? Specs on the HDD rpm and which SSD your using would be helpful to as I plan to pick up a SSD in the near future. Thanks for the info update.
March 23, 2012 5:41:30 PM


I'm actually *not* running the OS on the SSD, just Photoshop. Here's my setup:

Windows 7 64bit
Intel i7 @2.67GHz
Main HD: Seagate Barracuda 7,200RPM 750GB
Scratch is a SAMSUNG EcoGreen F4 HD204UI, but with 16GB of RAM, it shouldn't really matter.

Again, my concern wasn't with program startup time or responsiveness--both of these were totally satisfactory without the ssd. My concern was saving files. The SSD didn't impact that.

Good luck!