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markwoods
04-22-2007, 07:42 PM
Dear forum,

I have a few questions, and I'd be very grateful for any input you can offer.
I have read the excellent MacGurus guide to storage acceleration and guide to phototoshop acceleration.

THE PHOTOSHOP WORK I DO:
*wet-mount raw scans of 6x7 cm film using silverfast software on microtek artixscan 120tf 4000dpi scanner: resulting 16-bit TIFF file is typically 550 MB in size.

*working in Photoshop CS2 on same file, adding multiple layers makes file 1 GB to 1.4 GB in size

*my system's limitations show up most painfully when I OPEN a file (this can take five minutes) SAVE a file (this can take more than ten minutes!), when i FLATTEN the image's layers for printing (this can take 5 minutes), and when i CONVERT the file from 16-bit to 8-bit (this can take 5 minutes). most other operations in Ps CS2 are fast enough (not snappy, but fast enough) for me to stay with my current processor for the time being.

THE HARDWARE I HAVE:
*Power Mac G5 dual 1.8GHz, made in 2004, with only 4 slots for RAM (not 8 slots).

(I'm told by Stephen that this has quite limited bus speed, as compared with other dual-processor G5s, and that this hardware will not benefit much at all from adding a RAID array.)

*one internal seagate 80GB 7200rpm SATA drive. this is half-full (it has 39 GB on it): it holds my OS and my Users folder, but NOT my photoshop image files.

*one internal Western DIgital 400 GB 7200rpm SATA drive. this holds my photoshop image files, but not my user folder.(This WD drive turns out to cause the G5 to hang up occasionally, requiring a re-boot; to avoid this, i recently learned, i can connect it with a host card adapter [see below].)
*two 500 GB external firewire drives
*two 300GB external USB drives
*I have 2.25 GB of RAM, but I'm about to buy 2 more GB to max out at 4GB.

THE HARDWARE I'M INTENDING TO BUY:
*2GB of RAM, of course.
*two Hitachi T7K500 500 GB SATAII HD 16MB Cache 7200rpm drives to occupy both internal drive slots in the G5
*a 2-drive external enclosure to hold my old seagate 80GB drive and my old WD400GB drive.
*a seritek host card adaptor for connecting the external enclosure to the G5.

THE PLAN: I'd be very grateful for any amendments or directions you can offer on this topic.

Drive A: first newly internal Hitachi 500GB drive: partition into 2 volumes:
first (faster) volume, "volume A1," of 100GB to hold OS and Users folder but NOT photoshop image files.

(Question: how much space should I leave free on volume A1 for optimum performance? is 50% free of 100GB optimal? is 60% free of 100GB better? Is 50% free of 150GB better still? or does that cut into the other volume's space too much (indirectly cutting into the space of "volume B1" on Drive B, which is to be the WorkDisk/ScratchDisk)?

second (slower) volume, "volume A2" of remainder GB (almost 400GB) as backup for 400GB "volume B1" of the OTHER internal Hitachi Drive, a.k.a. Drive B.

Drive B: second newly internal Hitachi 500GB drive: partition into 2 volumes:

first (faster) volume, "volume B1" of almost 400GB as designated WorkDisk/ScratchDisk for large photoshop image files;
second (slower) partition "volume B2" (exactly 100GB) as backup for 100GB volume 1 (OS volume) of the OTHER internal Hitachi Drive, a.k.a. Drive A.
(Question: how much space should I leave free on this WorkDisk/ScratchDisk for optimum performance? is 50% free of almost 400GB optimal? is 60% free of almost 400GB better? Is 50% free of 300GB just as good, with the additional advantage of indirectly allowing "volume A1" on Drive A to be 150+GB?

Drive C: old Seagate 80GB drive, in external enclosure: disk designated for running the Photoshop Application? How would I set this up? any pitfalls to watch out for? should i partition this drive, or leave the whole thing for Photoshop? or is it better to run photoshop off Drive D?

Drive D: old WD 400 GB Drive: second scratch disk? Storage disk? Both storage and scratch disk? how large should an empty volume on this disk be in order to be useful as a scratch disk? volume 1 or volume 2? if i run the Photoshop Application off of this drive, how large should the volume for that be? should it be volume 1, the faster, outside volume, leaving volume 2 for scratch disk space? or vice versa?

External Firewire and USB drives: i guess i'll just use them for storage/archiving and extra backup? or am i much safer buying more SATAs and Enclosures?

Given that the large Photoshop files are not in my User folder, does it matter whether i keep the User folder (with its MS Word docs and a bunch of PDFs and so on) on my OS volume, "volume A1"? would it speed things up when I'm using photoshop if i moved the Users folder to another drive?

what if i'd like to play iTunes while also working on photoshop? my iTunes music folder (with all the song data) is already on an external firewire drive. but the iTunes Library and iTunes application are, of course, in my User folder, which is on the OS drive. would moving the Users folder to another drive make much difference when i use photoshop and iTunes simultaneously?

But I wonder whether it makes sense to be using volume A2 on Drive A as a backup drive: wouldn't it make more sense to back up my working files to two external drives that can be traded out, one on-site and one off-site, back and forth (not so convenient when one of the backup drives is internal!)? and after all, why would i devote a 400GB volume to the task of backing up another 400GB volume that will never be more than half full? I need to leave a WorkDisk/ScratchDisk half empty for efficient use, but i can back up that 200GB of working files on a 200GB volume, right? so for a backup drive, I might as well use a slow, inexpensive external USB drive that will only be tuned on for backup and will then stay powered off, a drive that's easily transportable on and off site, right? or am i misunderstanding something?

by the way, what backup software do you recommend for backing up back and forth between Drive A and Drive B? I've been using Carbon Cpy Cloner. do you recommend that? or something that does more archiving of progressive states of data?

Regarding your comment on benchmark tests, yes, i guess i should do that. The process of zeroing out a drive, formatting it, and loading it up are all so time consuming that i was hoping to get it right the first time (based on advice here!) before running tests. but i may just have to go through all that!
-------------

I want to accelerate my Mac for the purpose of working in Photoshop CS2 on 16-bit files (from scanned 6x7 cm film) that reach 1.5GB to 2GB after ten to fifteen layers. (With 20 history states enabled, which is my standard number, I suppose this could result in as much as 80 GB of scratch disk space usage, if my last 20 changes affect the entire image. but maybe i'm misunderstanding something there. Anyway...)

I'm planning to buy two new 500GB Hitachi Deskstars to replace my current disks, and I'm unsure how to use them best. here is a rough plan, followed by some questions:

Drive A: 500GB Hitachi Deskstar for OS, apps, and User Folder for small files like MS Word and e-mail, but NOT for image files or music.

Drive B: 500GB Hitachi Deskstar for WorkDisk/ScratchDisk for work on image files before archiving elswhere.

(BTW: I've ruled out RAID, since I've been told that my G5 bus speed is so limited as to not benefit much at all from RAID)

I have been advised previously to leave my drives half-empty for work of this kind.

would i speed things up if i used drive B as a Scratch Disk only, and never saved images to it, instead saving the images to a dedicated external Work Disk of the same speed and size connected via eSATA?

If, instead of buying a third 500GB Hitachi Deskstar, I use an older, slower, WD400GB 7200 drive that i can connect via eSATA, should that be the designated SD? or the designated WD? Or is it fastest to use a single drive as the WD/SD, not separating WD from SD?

Would i be wasting space by using these 500GB drives without partitions?

how large a partition does my OS/apps/small-filesUserFolder Drive need? Currently my OS/apps/small-filesUserFolder collectively take up 32.5GB of space, but if I'm partitioning a new drive for them, I'd like to plan for growth and leave extra space. Even if my OS/apps/small-filesUserFolder grows to be 75GB, will it run faster with 400GB of empty space on an unpartitioned drive than with merely 75GB of free space on a partitioned drive (of one 150GB volume and one 315GB volume, for example)?

I want to give PLENTY of breathing room to both drives, but i don't want to waste too much space via overkill. Thank you for your thoughts,

- Mark

Macaholic
04-22-2007, 11:02 PM
Hello Mark,
I'll jump in to keep the thread alive.
Looks like you have a good handle on what you want/need to do.
You may need to do some benchmark tests with your machine to find the best
partition size etc.
i think external firewire back-up is essential, forget USB for the size of the files you have.
Lots more to digest in your thorough :D post,
Hopefully the real experts will jump in

Dave

unclemac
04-23-2007, 12:27 AM
Hi Mark,

Welcome aboard. First, I'm not a PS guru so I will leave your questions to others. I do think your plan is sound and should net some good results. A couple quick thoughts....

Go ahead and bench what you have now, and bench as you go. What the Gurus (or anybody) recommends does not really matter much if the speed isn't there for you. Only way to really know is to test and retest and prove that the speed is there. Also helps to figure out what is working, and what isn't as you tweak and adjust things. Really good to see and know the effects (or lack thereof) of having your boot and/or scratch disks filled to different levels. All drives are a bit different, so what works for others may not be exactly what's best for your setup.

USB 2 can be almost as fast as FW 400, but it uses CPU resources. FW, by design, does not eat up CPU cycles, because it has it's own dedicated processor. Also why it costs more. If you want to see what your USB transfers eats up, you can watch CPU load with Activity Monitor. FW is also bootable (nice to clone over your OS before tweaks or updates), and you can chain several drives together.

Now, if you only use USB only for off-hours backup, when neither peak transfer performance nor CPU overhead matter, should be OK.....but we always steer folks toward FW over USB if they have a choice. USB is bootable for Intel Macs, so it's not like Apple is trying block USB usage with HDs.

Macaholic
04-23-2007, 09:33 PM
From Superduper's PDF

USB drives cannot be used as a startup drive for PowerPC based
Macintoshes, regardless of the program used. On top of that, USB drives
have a large number of limitations regarding speed and even if USB 2.0
Hi-Speed rated can slow down to USB 1.x speeds when used in
conjunction with slower devices.
So, if at all possible, please get a FireWire drive!


Dave

unclemac
04-24-2007, 12:13 AM
No worries. USB may not be preferred, but it works, and a USB backup is always prefered to no backup, at least for data. Good rule of thumb is always take the two minutes to boot to a clone and test it. Even with FW drives, every once in a while a clone is just not right, so there is nothing like testing if it is supposed to be a bootable, complete system.

Quite alot happens behind the scenes to end up with a bootable clone of an OS X system. We don't have to understand it all.....but we should at least test to ensure it is working. If it doesn't boot, then you can spend your time trying to figure out why, or trying different tools to see if you get better results.

Just the other day I had a compresed .dmg of a boot volume that I had to restore several different times with different tools to get a functioning bootable OS. It happens to us all.

TZ
05-25-2007, 06:20 AM
THE PHOTOSHOP WORK I DO:
*wet-mount raw scans of 6x7 cm film using silverfast software on microtek artixscan 120tf 4000dpi scanner: resulting 16-bit TIFF file is typically 550 MB in size.

*working in Photoshop CS2 on same file, adding multiple layers makes file 1 GB to 1.4 GB in size

*my system's limitations show up most painfully when I OPEN a file (this can take five minutes) SAVE a file (this can take more than ten minutes!), when i FLATTEN the image's layers for printing (this can take 5 minutes), and when i CONVERT the file from 16-bit to 8-bit (this can take 5 minutes). most other operations in Ps CS2 are fast enough (not snappy, but fast enough) for me to stay with my current processor for the time being.

THE HARDWARE I HAVE:
*Power Mac G5 dual 1.8GHz, made in 2004, with only 4 slots for RAM (not 8 slots).
-------------

I want to accelerate my Mac for the purpose of working in Photoshop CS2 on 16-bit files (from scanned 6x7 cm film) that reach 1.5GB to 2GB after ten to fifteen layers. (With 20 history states enabled, which is my standard number, I suppose this could result in as much as 80 GB of scratch disk space usage, if my last 20 changes affect the entire image. but maybe i'm misunderstanding something there. Anyway...)

I'm planning to buy two new 500GB Hitachi Deskstars to replace my current disks, and I'm unsure how to use them best. here is a rough plan, followed by some questions:

Drive A: 500GB Hitachi Deskstar for OS, apps, and User Folder for small files like MS Word and e-mail, but NOT for image files or music.

Drive B: 500GB Hitachi Deskstar for WorkDisk/ScratchDisk for work on image files before archiving elswhere.

(BTW: I've ruled out RAID, since I've been told that my G5 bus speed is so limited as to not benefit much at all from RAID)

I have been advised previously to leave my drives half-empty for work of this kind.

would i speed things up if i used drive B as a Scratch Disk only, and never saved images to it, instead saving the images to a dedicated external Work Disk of the same speed and size connected via eSATA?

If, instead of buying a third 500GB Hitachi Deskstar, I use an older, slower, WD400GB 7200 drive that i can connect via eSATA, should that be the designated SD? or the designated WD? Or is it fastest to use a single drive as the WD/SD, not separating WD from SD?

Would i be wasting space by using these 500GB drives without partitions?

how large a partition does my OS/apps/small-filesUserFolder Drive need? Currently my OS/apps/small-filesUserFolder collectively take up 32.5GB of space, but if I'm partitioning a new drive for them, I'd like to plan for growth and leave extra space. Even if my OS/apps/small-filesUserFolder grows to be 75GB, will it run faster with 400GB of empty space on an unpartitioned drive than with merely 75GB of free space on a partitioned drive (of one 150GB volume and one 315GB volume, for example)?

I want to give PLENTY of breathing room to both drives, but i don't want to waste too much space via overkill. Thank you for your thoughts,

- Mark

First, I really wanted to bring your question over to a new thread, and tag along with your earlier questions and responses.

The Quad G5 has PCI Express and excellent support for PCI bus and drives.

Backup drives can be 75-80% full safely.
Boot drive should have free space.
RAID is fine. I boot from a pair of 10K Raptors.
The 10K Raptor is an excellent small fast drive for booting and for Photoshop users.

Pick up a PCIe eSATA controller that supports direct and "Port Multiplier" for your scratch disk/raid, data files, backup.

You could RAID your two 500GB drives internal for boot drive. Just make a backup. Keep backup current with CCC and you'll be fine.

RAM is hugely important. Then boot drive, scratch.

The G5 1.8 was limited in performance.

Seeing you just bought (new/used) Quad, surprised you didn't go with Mac Pro.

Are you updating to CS3 later, or just stay with CS2 as it meets your needs?

markwoods
05-25-2007, 03:07 PM
TZ,

Thank you for moving my question and for replying to it!

to reply to your post:

I didn't ever buy a new or used G5 Quad: i still have the same G5 Dual 1.8, made in 2004, with only 4 slots for RAM. are you confusing me with someone else?

It was Rick who, on the phone, told me that this particular G5 Dual has such limitations (in bus speed, i think?) that it would not benefit much at all from RAID--certainly not enough to justify the expense or complication, he said.

this particular G5 also has a compatibility problem with certain Western Digital drives, including my 400gb drive and the Raptors. this is described on the WD site. the only workaround they know is to use a PCI card. and i've heard i should not use a drive attached that way as my standard boot drive.

you say "Boot drive should have free space."

but can you recommend more specifically for my work and my setup how much free space i would benefit from? is keeping the outside 150 GB boot disk partition of a 500GB Hitachi half-empty just as fast as using the entire 500GB Hitachi as a boot drive, unpartitioned, and using only 75GB of it? And What about my SD/WD? half-empty for fastest results, or some absolute number of GB empty?

Thanks!

Mark