What performance gain would i expect to see when going from a 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM (2+2), 250GB 5400RPM system to a 2.4GHz, 6GB Ram (4+2), 128GB Falcon SSD (230/190mb/s)? (Ram is 1066Mhz)

In particular im talking Photoshop with Large images/many layers. If you have a percentage or some good benchmarks that would be great. I have seen some, but nothing that looks at large photoshop files or ones with many layers.

At this point, what is the bottleneck of my system? Previously I would say that my RAM was, as the RAM would always max out and my pc would lag like crazy (this is when working with large photoshop images).

Would a scratch disk be of much help? I could dedicate a whole 250GB 5400RPM Portable hard drive as my scratch disk connected over Firewire 800. Seeing as the SSD is so fast, is this really beneficial?


It's hard to say exactly 'what kind of performance gain' you could expect, as it's subjective, and depends on a lot of other things that we don't know about.

Generally in Photoshop the images you're working on are loaded into memory, so there's very little disk access. Most of the disk activity will be due to pagefile/scratch disk usage for virtual RAM to support the files.

If the total size of the image(s) being edited are smaller than your available physical RAM (after Photoshop is loaded) there should be almost no disk activity.

You'll need a 64-bit operating system to use more than 4GB of RAM, so if you have that available to you, then more RAM is the better way to go, and I'd say go for as much as your motherboard will support.

Also, if you have lots of RAM, and the images aren't exhausting it, try turning the PS scratch disks OFF -- Photoshop will complain at startup (at least it did in the older versions), but it will force it to only use system RAM and remove potential bottlenecks at the hard drive. Warning - you maybe in trouble when you try and load REALLY big (or lots of) images when the scratch disks are off. ;)

If even with more RAM and no scratch disks it still isn't fast enough, THEN look into getting an internal SSD and put the scratch disks on it.

Unless you have lots of money, then just buy lots of RAM AND a quality SSD drive. :)

Firewire 800 isn't nearly as fast as direct access drives (ATA, SATA, eSATA, SCSI), so generally it's not a good idea to swap out virtual memory (scratch disks) to a 'slow' interface like that.

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