HDD or SSD for working drive?

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My G-Tech RAID 0 working drive has been doing a great job storing my images since 2014, but it's now showing signs that it could fail. Assuming it's not an electronics issue, I could just replace the two 7200 drives - and have as much storage as I need.

My Lr catalogue and previews already sit on my iMac's SSD, so speed there isn't a problem.

My question is whether putting my RAW files on a big SSD (rather than an HDD) would give me a noticeable speed boost? Not even sure how I would connect the SSD to the Mac to maintain speed levels...

Something tells me that it won't make a difference, but I thought I would check with people here who know better than me how Lr works under the bonnet.

Thanks in advance for your guidance.

Julian
 
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I seriously doubt you would get a "noticeable" speed boost from switching your image library to an external SSD, the only place you might see some gain would be during import when copying from memory card to the external drive (i.e. the write part of the process would be quicker, but that may not amount to much overall). Apart from that, the only time the image files are accessed would be when building previews or exporting, though the CPU processing is the major part of those activities, which makes the read/write speed of the external drive much less significant.
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Some of the contributors here are software engineers with decades of experience, and the stopwatch is always the first place to start when measuring application performance.
Right. I respect that. And I'm not a tester. I don't know which posters on this thread those are or what their experience is with LR (or how current they are with the latest components vs doing their job and writing code or managing projects). I am happy to listen to them and learn.

In fact, I listen to hundreds of "experts" in many photography and PC blogs, forums and publications. Like Maximum PC - the Builder's Bible. I research intensely before every build because a lot of money is sent and decisions have to be made.

But to be honest, I don't always agree with the software engineers or even a friend of mine that designs CPU architecture. I have a friend at Dell who I also don't always agree with. You know who I listen to the most when I build a new rig for photography? The young guys who are serious gamers and build their own rigs because those rigs are also good for content production as long as you get a nice 4K IPS (or better - mini-LED) professional 32 inch 4K monitor instead of a gaming monitor.

To each his own. I'm just sharing ideas, and some of you are resisting what I know you will be doing soon anyway. But some of you are are probably stubborn and set in your ways. You love your spinning hard drives because they have worked so well for you, and if your storage requirements are high, you have no real choice yet anyway.

The OP? He wants to know from us what he should do. I think I told him what to do and he will make up his own mind. If you guys who are software engineers and write code all day don't agree, then just say so. This is an open form of discussion. Note: I may have missed it, but I would like to know what his total size is on his photography files. 1 TB? 2? 4? 6? 10? That has a big impact on any decision made right now.

Again, I moved my raw files to SATA SSD 2 years ago, and I'm about to move them again to a 8TB M.2 PCIe SSD. When I do, I will come on here and seek help from the LR gurus because I know transferring to a new base data disk and linking the LR cat to it is going to cause me trouble. It can be done in a few keystrokes after copying my 6 TB of raw files to the new disk. But one little mistake can make a shambles of your folder system and cause all kinds of angst as you try to clean it up. I wish I had kept exact notes of how to do it in my case. Clete doesn't remember, but he talked me through it two years ago. Even the Queen piped in.
 
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For anyone who uses LrC and has a subscription plan, instead of buying SSDs in preference for HDDs for multi-TB storage, consider upgrading your graphics card.

Of course, if you have an unlimited budget, then build/buy an entirely new system with AMD Ryzen CPU (for PCI-E 4 support) and get a current generation card from either NVidia or AMD and an NMVe SSD that supports PCI-E 4. Either transfer your current HDDs to youw new system or buy a very large NMVe SSD to replace those HDDs. Of course for me such a system is not even aspiratonal. I need to replace my 14 year old Nikon D3.
By the way, Phil, why AMD when it comes to PCIe? 12th Gen Intel Alder Lake supports the upcoming PCIe Gen 5! The 11th generation supported Gen 4. The 10th Generation of Intel Chip supported only PCIe 3. So what you just said was true 2 years ago but not lately. But your point is a good one in that any new build is going to solve a lot of problems because even three years is an eternity in the world of Mac, PC and any laptop. Five years old is the Stone Age and almost unusable for high-end photography work.
 
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Oh dear, I have all of my RAW files (several TB) on a NAS (RAID 6) with just a 1GB connection!! So LrC must run like a dog?

In fact, it's plenty fast enough for my purposes (I am retired) and my >2 year old PC appears to be more CPU (Intel I7, 6 cores, o/c'ed to 4.8/5GHz on all cores) bound than I/O bound.

So I guess I'll just soldier on.

See my earlier post #16


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I built a ver high spec Ryzen based workstation, got the best possible motherboard, built to handle heat and multiple high end flu’s, with the latest Pcie4 and installed the fasted M2 Pcie drives, which had crazy high MB/s performance and 64GB of the fastest memory I could source. I dedicated an M2 really really fast drive for my Lr catalog and for my current years images ( previous years images are stored on a Thunderbolt 4 enclosure).

It was an upgrade from my previous 10 year (high spec at the time) PC. I ran performance tests on the M2 drives. I cannot remember the stats but they were seriously impressive. but…. the improvement in Lr was marginal at best and seriously disappointing.

So. There is not a linear relationship between disk i/o / memory / cpu performance and the actual performance of Lr. In effect performance is dampened by 2 major factors, which are difficult to avoid. The first is the Lr application layer and the second is the SQLite engine.

My build is probably 9 months old now, no doubt I could find ways to tweak its performance , but I have accept that ideal performance, for me, will continue to be aspirational.
 
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I built a ver high spec Ryzen based workstation, got the best possible motherboard, built to handle heat and multiple high end flu’s, with the latest Pcie4 and installed the fasted M2 Pcie drives, which had crazy high MB/s performance and 64GB of the fastest memory I could source. I dedicated an M2 really really fast drive for my Lr catalog and for my current years images ( previous years images are stored on a Thunderbolt 4 enclosure).

It was an upgrade from my previous 10 year (high spec at the time) PC. I ran performance tests on the M2 drives. I cannot remember the stats but they were seriously impressive. but…. the improvement in Lr was marginal at best and seriously disappointing.

So. There is not a linear relationship between disk i/o / memory / cpu performance and the actual performance of Lr. In effect performance is dampened by 2 major factors, which are difficult to avoid. The first is the Lr application layer and the second is the SQLite engine.

My build is probably 9 months old now, no doubt I could find ways to tweak its performance , but I have accept that ideal performance, for me, will continue to be aspirational.
Yes, from this entire thread it seems obvious that LR has some serious work to do because in the coming months and years of USB 4 and Thunderbolt 4 100 Mbps speeds and incredibly fast M.2 PCIe Gen 4 and 5 SSDs, for Adobe to be accessing files at ancient USB3 spinning SATA drive speed (even if its is a M.2 late generation PCIe SSD connected to a 20, 40 0r 100 Mbps port) is completely unacceptable and they will have to fix this fast. I bet Adobe has it as a priority. But of course I don't know that.

But take heart in the fact that your rig does the whole work flow and everything else way better, even if Adobe LR seems to languish on these slow uploads through its program. But that said, LR works pretty darn fast on my gear, so it's not like we are hurting. I guess Adobe needs to do a better job on that one aspect - loading the raw file from disk in the dev module.
 
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You definitely missed the main point of this entire thread. Apparently, according to all the responses by the experts here and the gurus, LR reads the raw file the same with a 10 year old external spinning hard drive connected to an old USB port as a new M. 2 fourth generation PCIe SSD connected to a 40 Mbps new latest hub. That is not good. Doesn't bother me but apparently that is the case. So Adobe must be working hard on that as they ready themselves for USB 4 and DP4 connectivity with a a PCIe M.2 5th Generation SSD.
 
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I have closed this thread because it has been very clearly and accurately answered, with data to back up those answers. There's a difference between theoretical benefits and real-world benefits for a specific purpose. Of course those with a limitless budget may choose to build the ultimate machine, and there are forums out there where people can argue over components to their heart's content, but this is not that forum. We'll stick to real-world here and positive constructive comments.

This forum's rules remind us that "this is a friendly, positive place, and we want to keep it that way." Please bear this in mind when posting.
 
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