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Catalogs External SSD recommendations ?

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Lightroom Classic version: 11.3.1
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Need to move LrC to external portable drive but confused by selection available. Any advice welcomed...
 

Gnits

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If portability is key, then consider the Samsung T7 range.

Small, good performance, good range of capacities.

Check the port of your Mac, check max throughput.. so performance expectations can be set.

I am actively moving all my devices to USB c format, so I can get rid of a mountain of obsolete cables.
If I have the option I try to get Thunderbolt peripherals and Thunderbolt standard cables.
 

PhilBurton

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Gnits

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Check if you can get various flavours of USB 3.1 or 3.2 .

1655320659210.png


While 3.2 is not as good as Thunderbolt.... it may be a workable option . and a lot better than waiting for the next upgrade cycle. Native Thunderbolt on motherboards is a fairly recent development, so lots of very recent motherboards will not have the option. Boards to accommodate this need to be designed for higher temp and internal bandwidth.
 
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Short answer: A Samsung T5 is an affordable choice that’s fast enough for photography, and works with all current Macs and PCs.

The way I like to break it down is that the commonly available connections on current Macs and Windows PCs are:

USB 3 at 5Gbp/s (gigabits per second) — very common, OK for SSDs, especially SATA SSDs.
USB 3 at 10Gb/s — newer, better for NVMe SSDs with up to 1000MBps (megabytes per second) throughput. Personally I think this is the sweet spot for fast, affordable storage for use with Lightroom and Photoshop.
USB 4/Thunderbolt 3 & 4 up to 40Gb/s — uncommon except for Macs, best for pro NVMe SSDs with throughput beyond 2000MB/s. The reason I don’t jump to storage with this expensive protocol is that I don’t think Lightroom and Photoshop will regularly read/write data that fast, but I wouldn’t mind being proved wrong about this.

I find myself staying away from the USB version numbers/names because they are a total mess. Just go by what speed it is.

Samsung T5 is an older SATA SSD, it does up to around 540GB/sec. It’s fine for photos and videos, and costs less.
Samsung T7 is a newer SSD supporting up to 1000GB/sec. Better for frequent large transfers or more demanding uses like a video editing cache drive.

Actual transfer rate can be lower in daily use due to file system overhead, application limitations, cache size, and throttling after the drive starts to get hot. The better reviews of SSDs look at how much they slow down during intensive use as the SSD’s onboard cache fills up and the drive heats up. Maintaining high speed during intensive use is one thing that separates expensive “Pro” SSDs from cheaper ones in the same class.

I totally agree that you have to check the ports on your computer. If your computer has 5Gbps USB 3 ports and you buy a drive capable of 10Gbps, the port will limit the transfer rate to 5Gbps. But the drive’s full speed potential could be realized when you buy a newer computer, or if it’s a desktop and you put in an expansion card supporting a faster USB standard.

Also keep in mind that the protocol (USB 1, 2, 3, 4…) is separate from the connector (USB-A, USB-C…). For example, USB 3 can run through USB-A and USB-C ports, and both USB 3 and Thunderbolt 3 & 4 can run through a USB-C port as they do on Macs.
 
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For windows PCs, the situation is more complicated. There really are no thunderbolt add-in cards for PCs. You need to buy a PC or motherboard with thunderbolt support builtin, which I did not do to my regret now.
Good to know, but the OP is running a Mac.
 
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Check if you can get various flavours of USB 3.1 or 3.2 .

View attachment 18803

While 3.2 is not as good as Thunderbolt.... it may be a workable option . and a lot better than waiting for the next upgrade cycle. Native Thunderbolt on motherboards is a fairly recent development, so lots of very recent motherboards will not have the option. Boards to accommodate this need to be designed for higher temp and internal bandwidth.
USB4 Gen 3×2 is USB-C port only and can deliver 40 Gbits/Sec. Same as TB 3 & 4. It has been available for about 3 years.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB4
 
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