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Memory Upgrades for 2019 Mac Pro - Save Up to 65% vs Factory Costs
Memory Upgrades for 2019 Mac Pro - Save Up to 65% vs Factory Costs

Super-Fast SSD Better for Adobe Photoshop?

TIP: just by clicking a checkbox. you can get 10X to 20X faster save/open speed.

Is a super-fast SSD like the OWC Accelsior 8M2 PCIe SSD a performance-enhancer for Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom?

Turns out that any SSD capable of 1GB/sec is going to run your Photoshop open/save just as fast as one running 6X or 12X as fast.

Photoshop uses only about 1GB/sec disk speed for opening or saving large files.

Photoshop compounds its low performance by enabling caching for file reads, reducing its own I/O performance while needlessly wasting memory on file caching.

I verified this by repeatedly opening 22 files totaling 36GB*. I tried with/without caching—no difference. Photoshop has enough file-open overhead that it performs at a speed far lower than just about any fast internal SSD can deliver.

The reasons for this slow file opening are unclear, but they could relate to internal memory allocation, I/O request size, internal housekeeping, failure to overlap disk I/O with computation, etc. I’d bet that Adobe could do better, but maybe there are inherent file-format limitations that make it difficult—no idea. Making matters look worse, Photoshop allows time-wasting caching to occur.

CLICK TO VIEW: SSDs Capable of full Photoshop Performance

At first I thought it might be speed of first-time memory allocation, but if large files are opened, closed and then reopened then Photoshop has ample memory already assigned to itself. The speed remains the same at about 850MB/sec disk speed, hitting at most 1200MB/sec briefly at times. Pre-allocated memory, cached or uncached—no difference.

In other words, Photoshop file-open performance has nothing to do with I/O speed once the drive can 1GB/sec or so.

* Uncompressed PSD and PSB format for maximum save/open speed. A sudo purge was also done between runs, but it made no difference in how long the opening takes.

Adobe Photoshop disk speed utilization stays in the range of 500 to 1000 MB/sec
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