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Seperate Drives for OS/Programs and Photos/LR Catalog?

  
 
csebasti
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Seperate Drives for OS/Programs and Photos/LR Catalog?


I'm building a new PC (see this discussion) and curious what the optimal solution is for storage. When I built my current PC (11+ years ago), I separated the OS/Programs from my data on separate physical drives. I'm sure I read back then that was a good idea, but I honestly can't remember why. Is it still common practice to do this?

I'm currently planning two NVME drives. A 1 TB drive for OS/programs and a 2TB drive for data files, including my current year's photos and LR catalog. Older photos will get moved and backed up on multiple HDDs. Or is there a better way to divide things up?



Nov 20, 2023 at 11:56 AM
Zenon Char
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Seperate Drives for OS/Programs and Photos/LR Catalog?


I'm a Mac user but I'd likely do the same with PC. I keep the LrC catalogue/previews on the HD and everything else as well. I store my files on a powered external drive.


Nov 20, 2023 at 12:08 PM
rscheffler
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Seperate Drives for OS/Programs and Photos/LR Catalog?


csebasti wrote:
I'm building a new PC (see this discussion) and curious what the optimal solution is for storage. When I built my current PC (11+ years ago), I separated the OS/Programs from my data on separate physical drives. I'm sure I read back then that was a good idea, but I honestly can't remember why. Is it still common practice to do this?

I'm currently planning two NVME drives. A 1 TB drive for OS/programs and a 2TB drive for data files, including my current year's photos and LR catalog. Older photos will get moved and backed up on multiple HDDs.
...Show more

I think your plan makes sense though from a performance standpoint, probably isn't that necessary with current fast NVMEs. You could probably buy a single 4TB instead. But not all NVMEs are equal. Some have faster memory and/or larger pseudo SLC cache than others, meaning they can sustain higher transfer speeds for longer. Generally, price is reflective of performance.

It was a good idea back then because OS files tend to be numerous but very small and image/data files tend to be very large in comparison. Mixing both on a spinning HDD meant overall performance slowdowns. It was also a good idea to have a third drive just for 'scratch' where temporary and cache files would be located to reduce read/write slowdowns of the OS and data drives.



Nov 20, 2023 at 02:07 PM
Bruce n Philly
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Seperate Drives for OS/Programs and Photos/LR Catalog?


If you put OS/programs on one drive, and catalog/photos/cache on another, then sum total throughput will be faster as there is less waiting or contention for the traffic lanes in and out of the CPU.

How much difference this makes with these super fast drives and CPU/Chipsets nowadays is ... well let's just say the performance advantage today is less than it was. I have not read any benchmarks on this lately, but it is still a good approach to split up read/write traffic across multiple drives. I used to put cache files on a third drive... come to think of it, I may go ahead and edit my existing apps to put cache on a third NVME drive I have... I use that one as a scratch drive for parking and culling photos etc. Spreading I/O across more drives is always a good thing (assuming they are not spinners), but the big question, is what are the real performance gains. Because we have fast machines today does not remove the advantage of good systems management.

Peace
Bruce in Philly



Nov 20, 2023 at 03:36 PM
RoamingScott
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Seperate Drives for OS/Programs and Photos/LR Catalog?


There's no reason to do this anymore from a performance perspective.

However, it makes reformatting the computer easier in Windows.

I also see zero reason to have a LR catalog on internal disk but files on external. You're simply increasing drive to drive reads.



Nov 20, 2023 at 03:40 PM
csebasti
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Seperate Drives for OS/Programs and Photos/LR Catalog?



You all have some good points. Thanks for the feedback. I think it makes sense from a recovery point of view to have separate them and make recovering/reformatting easier. I like that idea. So whether or not there is a true performance benefit, it seems like it's still worth doing.


RoamingScott wrote:
I also see zero reason to have a LR catalog on internal disk but files on external. You're simply increasing drive to drive reads.


I keep the catalog and at least the current year's worth of photos (the ones I'm most likely still editing) and maybe more if I have room. I'm not actively working on photos that are on external backup drives. If I need to do any work on those, I'll copy over what I want to work on s it's on a fast internal drive. I've never gotten around to upgrading the internal drives to something big enough to keep all my photos on, so this method works fine for me.



Nov 20, 2023 at 06:13 PM
 


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rscheffler
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Seperate Drives for OS/Programs and Photos/LR Catalog?


RoamingScott wrote:
I also see zero reason to have a LR catalog on internal disk but files on external. You're simply increasing drive to drive reads.


It makes sense when your image files consume vastly more storage than available internally. Maybe less of a problem for those who still have systems that allow upgrading internal storage capacity, but at least in the Apple/Mac world, if you're a prolific shooter, chances are high that internal storage will eventually be insufficient.



Nov 21, 2023 at 09:29 AM
RoamingScott
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Seperate Drives for OS/Programs and Photos/LR Catalog?


rscheffler wrote:
It makes sense when your image files consume vastly more storage than available internally. Maybe less of a problem for those who still have systems that allow upgrading internal storage capacity, but at least in the Apple/Mac world, if you're a prolific shooter, chances are high that internal storage will eventually be insufficient.


I didn't say you should keep your image library on internal (I don't and haven't in a long time). I simply said it makes no sense to separate the LR catalog file from the image file disk. Get a very fast external SSD and put everything on there.



Nov 21, 2023 at 09:33 AM
Chris Dees
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Seperate Drives for OS/Programs and Photos/LR Catalog?


Isnít the internal SSD on a Mac about 2x faster than on an external SSD?
My internal SSD has read speeds well above 5000 MBs while my external SSD (Thunderbolt exclosure) tops at about 2700 MBs.

I leave my LR catalog and present year of images on the Mac, all prevous years are on the external SSD.



Nov 21, 2023 at 09:49 AM
Zenon Char
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Seperate Drives for OS/Programs and Photos/LR Catalog?


Chris Dees wrote:
Isnít the internal SSD on a Mac about 2x faster than on an external SSD?
My internal SSD has read speeds well above 5000 MBs while my external SSD (Thunderbolt exclosure) tops at about 2700 MBs.

I leave my LR catalog and present year of images on the Mac, all prevous years are on the external SSD.


My external drive an HD but I'm hoping to get an SSD one day. I don't delete the previews which are also on the system SSD. Opening a file from a few years ago is instant. I don't see any lag while developing and exports are fast but I don't mass edit and export hundreds of files anymore.



Nov 21, 2023 at 10:23 AM
Bruce n Philly
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Seperate Drives for OS/Programs and Photos/LR Catalog?


So....

Just a few items regarding the use of external drives as work drives...

1. This is the internet and just because I or others make a definitive declarative post does not make it true. Just for the record... full disclosure... I am a canine brain surgeon.. no really, I am a canine.

2. I paid a ton of money to have a fast machine for the purpose of fast running applications. In this pursuit of fast, I use two Gen 5 NVME hard drives with OS/programs split from data/catalog. As a canine, I find this the fastest configuration... as is my objective.

3. Hey, you can run a test for yourself. Just configure your system in different ways and try it out. This is not difficult although you must have some equipment to test the alternatives. For me, as a canine, configuring my system in a way that is not the fastest is not OK even if it is "fast enough". Over the many years, I learned that fast today isn't fast... um... maybe even by this afternoon. I just naturally configure things to be the most efficient and fast ways. Apps developers are always pushing the limits of performance... new technology is available to them as well as us and boy do they use it. I just hate dicking with my machine or whatever in six months trying to squeeze out another 1 second of performance when for whatever reason, things just start slowing down... what a waste of my time and energy... I do it right from the start as a matter of course... of course. Arf Arf.

Peace
Bruce in Philly



Nov 21, 2023 at 11:48 AM
Alan321
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Seperate Drives for OS/Programs and Photos/LR Catalog?


One advantage of separating different functions onto separate drives (images, thumbnails, catalogs, caches, OS, other data, whatever else) is to avoid having a single drive doing different things at once, and so potentially speeding things up. This is especially beneficial with HDDs and with SSDs that share PCIe bandwidth. With HDDs, separate volumes are not as beneficial as separate HDDs because they share the same drive heads for all of the data reading and writing.

Another advantage is to speed up backups. Especially cloning of volumes or even whole drives for speedy recovery later on.

The benefits vary with the surrounding hardware. Some hindrances to the good plan are things like motherboard PCIe lane bottlenecks, or having no direct PCIe link between CPU and the relevant SSD(s) with the data. With PCIe links, this stuff is only apparent if you study the schematic of your motherboard.

With HDDs in particular, it may be preferable to avoid mixing any combination of cache data and image files and catalogs because that soon leads to fragmented files and/or non-contiguous files (shuffled files) that cause a slowing down of reads and writes. SSDs greatly reduce those slowdowns simply because there are no moving parts (drive heads) in an SSD, and so there are no delays for physical repositioning to occur. Even "lowly" SATA SSDs can offer a major advantage over HDDs just by eliminating head thrashing. The rest of their advantage comes from just being so much faster.

Another advantage of role separation is the ease with which individual drives can be cloned, externally (in a cloning dock, for example) or internally (using backup software), or simply replaced should the need/desire arise; all without dragging along irrelevant clutter.


While you are planning this stuff you might also consider the merits of having LrC set up to *not* put image metadata in the actual image files, because even the tiniest change to an image file triggers a need for a fresh backup that is far bigger than the change itself. In other words, let the LrC catalog do the heavy lifting instead, without having the OS rewrite whole image files for a few bytes of new metadata. Bit if you do this, don't let other photo software make the changes to image files too, or instead of LrC.



Nov 22, 2023 at 08:18 AM







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