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Should catalog and images be on different drives?

OafPokie

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Joined
Nov 8, 2019
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Hello!

Someone in a Lightroom based FB group stated that the LR catalog and the actual image / raw files should NOT be on the same drive as it will cause performance issues. At first glace, it sort of made sense as LR does interact quite a bit with the catalog, previews, cache, etc. Then I realized that LR interacts with actual image files comparatively infrequently - usually just during import and preview creation. I tried researching but could find nothing definitive that says it should be one way or the other. My guess is that it doesn't matter - there are a lot of factors that influence performance, but I don't think this is one of them. Does anyone know for certain?

Thanks!
 
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For the reason that you state, it doesn't matter. Where separating master image files from the Catalog file and Previews does matter when it comes to the space available on the fastest drive. Many computers are coming equipped with a fas SSD Primary drive . An ideal place to host the catalog file. However. this primary drive need to also host the working storage and temporary files in the free space available on the drive. If your primary Drive is 500GB or so It won't take long to fill up that 500GB and with little or no free space, all programs including LR will suffer. You need to keep at least 100GB free on the drive that hosts working storage.
To maximize your SSD functionality, it is recommended that you move your image inventory off to a larger slower drive. Some of these images in your inventory may never be accessed again, why keep them on your most important piece of real estate?

I will import to my primary (fastest) drive and manage my initial workflow on those new images. Once the workflow is complete, I'll move those images (in their folder) to an EHD in LR, Lightroom sees all of the images in all of the attached drives. So, if I need to access one of these older images for a print, or to post it online, the extra time it takes to fetch the original file is not going to slow me down that much.
 

Umberto Cocca

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Hi Cletus, I have seen you referring to the figure 100 GB free memory on main HDD in several posts on this forum.

I have a 128 GB SSD as primary drive, with circa 40 GB free space, and a 1 TB HDD as secondary storage. In addition there are 8 GB RAM and 3 GB dedicated VRAM.

I never encountered any problem, slowing down, freezing, etc. in running windows 10 with any of the software I am using (audio editing, LR, PS, Inkscape, Sketch up, various games...)

Where is this 100 GB requirement coming from?what would require such a large swap space? I haven't found any documentation suggesting that.

Thanks in advance!

Sent using Tapatalk
 
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Where is this 100 GB requirement coming from?what would require such a large swap space? I haven't found any documentation suggesting that.
The rule of thumb use to be 20-25%. Once HDDs got over 400GB that number got huge. With TB drives the rule of thumb needs replacing. Admittedly, 100GB is not based on mathematics but empirically derived by me. Importing large numbers of 40-50mB RAW files would fill up 100GB quickly with intermediate files that LR generates. I have a 128GB XQD camera card that would probably bring your 8GB 128GB SSD computer to it's knees if I tried to import a full card.
 
Joined
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For the reason that you state, it doesn't matter. Where separating master image files from the Catalog file and Previews does matter when it comes to the space available on the fastest drive. Many computers are coming equipped with a fas SSD Primary drive . An ideal place to host the catalog file. However. this primary drive need to also host the working storage and temporary files in the free space available on the drive. If your primary Drive is 500GB or so It won't take long to fill up that 500GB and with little or no free space, all programs including LR will suffer. You need to keep at least 100GB free on the drive that hosts working storage.
To maximize your SSD functionality, it is recommended that you move your image inventory off to a larger slower drive. Some of these images in your inventory may never be accessed again, why keep them on your most important piece of real estate?

I will import to my primary (fastest) drive and manage my initial workflow on those new images. Once the workflow is complete, I'll move those images (in their folder) to an EHD in LR, Lightroom sees all of the images in all of the attached drives. So, if I need to access one of these older images for a print, or to post it online, the extra time it takes to fetch the original file is not going to slow me down that much.
Hi Cletus
I have a 500GB SSD with little remaining space. I would love to move my initial image files, from my SSD, to a hard drive.

I have thought for a while that importing new images to the SSD for the Initial work, then moving them to a hard drive for long turn storage would make much better use of my SSD.

All of my image files are in the pictures folder in the SSD. If I moved them to my hard drive wouldn’t I lose my Lightroom connection?

Can you explain to me how it can be done or point me in the right direction to find the information?

Chris
 
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Hi Cletus
I have a 500GB SSD with little remaining space. I would love to move my initial image files, from my SSD, to a hard drive.

I have thought for a while that importing new images to the SSD for the Initial work, then moving them to a hard drive for long turn storage would make much better use of my SSD.

All of my image files are in the pictures folder in the SSD. If I moved them to my hard drive wouldn’t I lose my Lightroom connection?

Can you explain to me how it can be done or point me in the right direction to find the information?

Chris
I usually use the drag and drop method in my Folder panel. (Not that many folders each month) There is a method to use Explorer/Finder with the Lightroom app closed. This causes a path error in the catalog which LR reports as missing folders and files. You can relink your top level folder in th folder panel to put things right again. Victoria has a blog article describing the latter method
 
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For simplicity any movement of files once imported should be done inside lightroom, drag and drop right there in the folder display.

To some of the original discussion, for Classic, I'm a fan of keeping the preview cache, ACR cache, temp and scratch folder separate from the catalog and images. If you are paging or swapping (using LR) you have too little memory, it should not matter where page/swap is on a properly sized system. Adobe, for reasons lost on me, does not let you easily separate the preview cache from catalog (you can with a symbolic link but if you don't know what that is, it is probably best you not do so).

But my experience is the vast majority of the time Lightroom is limited by the speed of the processor, number of cores, GPU and amount of memory (up to 16gb), not disk. Worry that your disk is reliable, backed up, and does not run out of space. Try to keep everything on local not USB drives (for reliability issues, including human reliability as you will unplug them improperly at some point). Effort and money for performance is best spent on CPU, GPU and memory.
 

Zenon

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Hi Cletus
I have a 500GB SSD with little remaining space. I would love to move my initial image files, from my SSD, to a hard drive.

I have thought for a while that importing new images to the SSD for the Initial work, then moving them to a hard drive for long turn storage would make much better use of my SSD.

All of my image files are in the pictures folder in the SSD. If I moved them to my hard drive wouldn’t I lose my Lightroom connection?

Can you explain to me how it can be done or point me in the right direction to find the information?

Chris
I also have a 500GB drive. This is a good document. Adobe recommends this. An unofficial rule of thumb is 100GB free space.

Working with too little free hard-disk space can cause poor performance. Make sure that the hard drive that stores your Lightroom catalog, previews, and image files is at least 20% free.

 

Zenon

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Victoria has a blog on this. When I took LR lessons one of the first things they said was to move folders around using LR, not the OS. However if it there are a lot of files it is recommended to use the OS and as Cletus said relink them to the catalogue. In my case I would plug in the external drive (ED) and use finder (Mac) and drag the main folder called My Raw Collection to the ED. All the subfolders will follow. After it is done you will see ? beside folders. Just click on the main folder and show the catalogue where that folder now resides.
 

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Chaetura

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To maximize your SSD functionality, it is recommended that you move your image inventory off to a larger slower drive. Some of these images in your inventory may never be accessed again, why keep them on your most important piece of real estate?
It all depends on your workflow, and what parts of it are time sensitive, and what your general priorities are for fast storage, and how much fast storage you want to buy. If you have plenty of terabytes of NVMe SSD storage (in 2019), there's no problem to solve. The more you export or do metadata changes on or move large groups of files, for example, the more important having original images on fast storage becomes. It's also very easy to have some images on fast storage, some on slow, if your images break down in that way between more active and less active sets.
 

Chaetura

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Someone in a Lightroom based FB group stated that the LR catalog and the actual image / raw files should NOT be on the same drive as it will cause performance issues.
A valid point for spinning hard drives. For years, storage speed was the bottleneck for performance. For a system using SATA SSD, doubtful that storage would be the bottleneck, but it depends. Once you're at NVMe SSD, even less likely. As others have pointed out, the question only applies, moreover, to those operations which involve (intensive) access to the original images as well as the catalog, simultaneously.
 
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