HDD replacement advice needed

  olyman 01:33 04 Jun 12

I intend to replace one of my internal HDDs and use it in an enclosure to increase my back-up capacity. I would also like to improve the performance for photo processing which slows down when I process a batch of photos. I wonder if this would be improved by increasing the the HDD cache? A 500Gb HDD would be more than adequate as a replacement for my C drive as I store data on a second internal HDD. It seems that I would need a 1Tb HDD to obtain a 64Mb cache as opposed to the 16Mb of my existing HDD. The new HDD would have a 6Gbps transfer speed rather than 3Gbps. I'm not sure if the higher transfer speed might be affected by other hardware components. Cache size or transfer speed, which if any could improve processing performance?

  olyman 01:35 04 Jun 12

Re above: The Samsung HDD division is now owned by Seagate and I wonder if the Samsung drives on sale might be old stock. I may be on the wrong tack as my graphics card has a small cache of 128MB which may be the bottleneck but I will still need another HDD.

  john bunyan 10:21 04 Jun 12

This may be slightly off subject, but I use Photoshop CS5 , and have a 4Gig RAM, two 500 gig drives plus other external drives.My Video card is a NVidia 7800 GTX with 256 memory. I have set Photoshop to use the data partition of my primary drive to use as a scratch disc, and the second drive as a second scratch disc. For still photos I think 256 is enough for the video card, although if I bought new, I would go for more. If you want a lot of photos open at once, RAM seems more important, IMHO, than cache. What is your system - RAM etc?

  olyman 16:44 04 Jun 12

I have 4Gb Ram, a 500Gb primary drive (400Gb free) and 250 Gb secondary drive for data. Virtual memory is system managed on the primary drive. Photos are processed in the primary drive and only transferred to the data drive after processing. I use W7 32bit so can't increase the Ram without changing to 64 bit but I am reluctant to change as I have a number of old programs which run OK at present (Flight Simulators, AutoRoute and Works - all over 10 years old).The processor is 2.80 gigahertz AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core and the graphics card is a Radeon X1300S.I use Elements 5 which is a bit faster than E6 which is also installed but rarely used. I have found that each version Adobe introduces is slower. I preferred E4 but that doesn't run on W7.

  john bunyan 18:27 04 Jun 12

I am not sure if Elements, in Edit, Preferences, General, Performance (that's what it is in CS5)allows you to allocate scratch discs. This is where Memory is obtained if RAM is used up.Some say it is better to use a drive other than the primary one. I would try setting the scratch disc to your data drive ( Still processing in primary drive) Why do you need so many photos open at once? For batch re sizing I open about 6, but for normal work only have one or two open. I now have W7 64 bit with 4GB RAM, but am no gamer. However many programmes install as 32 bit quite happily.

  olyman 22:10 04 Jun 12

Thanks for your input. I wasn't aware of scratch disks. In fact Elements 5 doesn't have that provision but I find that E6 does. I obviously need to swat up on E6 and ditch E5! Adobe Help says not to use the primary drive or the one which uses virtual memory for the scratch disk. I'll set up a scratch disk on my second drive and see what happens though this is a slower disk than the main drive. Of course that speed deficiency can be rectified when I replace that HDD. In E6 Preferences > Performance shows a scratch disk allocated to my primary drive which might explain my performance problem.I'm puzzled that the available RAM is shown as about half of the actual installed RAM which is further reduced to 55% available for Elements. Looking in Task Manager Performance I see that Physical Memory (RAM) is shown to be about half cached leaving only a half available. I'm not sure what this cache is used for or if it can be varied. I suspect that the scratch disk allocation shown in E6 may also be similarly allocated in E5. I'll uninstall E5 to avoid any conflicts and play around with memory allocation in E6 and see what transpires. Whatever,I still need to buy a replacement HDD to increase my back-up capacity.

  john bunyan 22:50 04 Jun 12

Not sure if the dialogue box that opens in E6 is the same as CS5, but if so in the right hand pane you hover the mouse over the blue cache symbol some information appears in the bottom panel. I have not played with this but it is worth looking at, as are other settings such as the RAM you want to be used. Re your new HD, what I bought was a few SATA removable caddies from Maplin. I have a matching 5ooGig in the one usually in the tower, Another usually away from the PC with a clone and another as a archive back up. You might consider getting a couple of these removable caddies , and getting a new 500 to keep in its caddy in the machine (acts like a slave drive) and put the old drive in another caddy for a back up.I would actually partition my primary drive to about 120 gig for programmes , OS and balance for data. The second drive could be similarly partitioned for a- back up images of the System, b - back up of data, Third - old drive for older archives etc. Or your choice of the above! I will post a link for caddies if you like.

  john bunyan 22:54 04 Jun 12

Here it is caddy

  Number six 23:51 04 Jun 12


To be honest, messing about with your HDs will have very little or no effect on the speed of your photo processing, I'm afraid. Athlon64X2 processors were fine in their day, but are very slow by todays standards. A modern Intel quad core processor will be 3 or 4times faster for video and photo processing. This is the weak point in your system. Sorry if this is not what you wanted to hear! Time for a major upgrade/new computer?

  olyman 13:48 05 Jun 12

John, E6 does seem similar. The performance box which you alerted me to has a number of features that I was unaware of. As well as the allocation of scratch disks and the possibility of varying the amount of memory allocated there are two further items which could well affect performance. Currently the History States for Undo purposes is set to 50 which might well be a memory hog. Cache levels are set to 6. I'm unsure what varying this number will do. Apparently increasing it will improve speed to the detriment of quality. When I installed E6 I concentrated on the tools palette and didn't really explore fully. If Elements is the simplified version I shudder to to think what your professional option is like! Thanks for the caddy information but I'm not sure of the advantage over an internal slave drive in conjunction with external enclosures for further back-up. I never answered your previous question. I am working through a large number of old slides to archive them. Scanned slides need a lot of correction. If I did a few at a time I would lose interest I think.

  olyman 14:06 05 Jun 12

Number Six. You may be right about the processor but apart from the photo processing speed my present set-up meets my current needs. It wasn't my intention to improve this by changing the drives but as I needed increased back-up I wondered if it was worth paying extra for a large capacity drive in order to obtain a large cache and faster transfer speeds. Of course it would always come in handy as back-up when I eventually do succumb to the allure of a new PC!

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