Photoshop. SSDs for scratch disk?

  hssutton 11:04 22 Jan 2013

I'm about to load all my programs on my new build, Asrock P67 pro motherboard. Intel Ivy Bridge i5 3330 + 32Gb ram. The question is should I use my 240Gb SSD as a scratch disk and load all my programs on my Sata 3 500Gb Hard drive or vice versa.

At present on my old machine I'm using the SSD as the 'C' drive, but have read conflicting reports regarding the use of the SSD as a scratch disk when using photoshop/Lightroom. Would appreciate your thoughts.

  Ian in Northampton 11:07 22 Jan 2013

From the little I know, you should be using your SSD for programs, from which they'll load much faster. I don't think SSDs are really designed for multiple read/writes, which is what I understand a scratch disk to be there for.

  hssutton 11:51 22 Jan 2013

Ian. That is how I've always understood it, however as I mentioned I am reading conflicting reports on this. The speed of loading of Photoshop is not important, it's the speed of processing large image files that matter.

  john bunyan 12:13 22 Jan 2013


Jealous of your new rig! About to get CS6 as an upgrade. I would put the system files including Photoshop on the SSD and keep data on the SATA, as well as using it as a primary scratch disc. I think you can have a secondary scratch disc so maybe the SSD could fulfil that. With the amount of RAM you will have I would have thought the scratch disc use would be light.I have a 500 gig primary SATA, partitioned 100 for programmed and balance for data, as well as a second 500 gig SATA in a removable caddy for data back up. I specify the data partition on the primary HD as thefirst scratc disc and then the slave HD as the secondary scratch disc.

  Ian in Northampton 13:38 22 Jan 2013

As John Bunyan says, with that amount of main memory, the need for a scratch disk should be minimal. Note, by the way, it wouldn't just be Photoshop that would load faster - just about everything you do on your PC is a program (or what we old uns used to call a subroutine...) so your whole PC would be sped :-) up.

  hssutton 14:43 22 Jan 2013

A point on image size even a basic Tiff image has a file size in the region of 100Mbs. I also do a lot of macro work which often requires has many as 10 x 100Mb files being 'Stacked' to improve DOF (depth of field).

I've been scouring the web for info on SSDs and I found the following on the Adobe site. I also found on the Adobe site a total contradiction. Maybe I'll spin a coin:) Whichever way I go it will be tonight. have also just installed a USB3 cardreader, will also see what difference that makes.

Solid-state disks

Installing Photoshop on a solid-state disk (SSD) allows Photoshop to launch fast, probably in less than a second. But that speedier startup is the only time savings you experience. That’s the only time when much data is read from the SSD.

To gain the greatest benefit from an SSD, use it as the scratch disk. Using it as a scratch disk gives you significant performance improvements if you have images that don’t fit entirely in RAM. For example, swapping tiles between RAM and an SSD is much faster than swapping between RAM and a hard disk.

If your SSD doesn’t have much free space (the scratch file grows bigger than can fit on the SSD), add a secondary or tertiary hard disk. (Add it after the SSD.) Make sure that these disks are selected as scratch disks in the Performance pane of Preferences.

  hssutton 15:08 22 Jan 2013

Sorry, forgot the link Adobe Also please forgive the basic spelling error. often requires has as many as 10 x 100Mb files being 'Stacked' to improve DOF (depth of field).

Read more:

  Ian in Northampton 15:33 22 Jan 2013

What is the Adobe 'conflicting' view? What you've quoted above seems very positive about using SSDs for scratch disks.

  john bunyan 16:07 22 Jan 2013


Why not compromise? Normally one would not partition a SSD, but in the case of a 240 gig one, perhaps it would be worth making 2 partitions - 120 should be enough for programmes and the other for data. Then you could use Acronis or whatever to make images or clones to an external HD of the primary partition to save updates etc to programmes, and put data on the other,using a programme like Freefilesynch to make mirror images ,say daily,of your data to your SATA drive.Then you could tell PS to use the data partition of the SSD as primary scratch disc, and the SATA as a second scratch disc. Maybe someone with more experience of SSD's will comment.

  Ian in Northampton 16:44 22 Jan 2013

I've done a little research on this (funny how some topics fascinate me, given that I'll never use Photoshop with an SSD...) From everything I can make out, the recommendation against using SSDs for scratch disks is because the large number of writes shortens their lives. However... That's relative. It seems that, typically, you might shorten its life to 5 years. That, in computing terms, is close to eternity. As such, I'm not sure that's a good reason not to go for an SSD as a scratch disk. However: reports seem to vary among Photoshop users as to whether there is a worthwhile performance gain. I'd say that just about the majority say there is. However, your experience may be different. I really can't comment on the partitioning thing, though. On balance, I'd say "Go ahead and try using an SSD as a scratch disk - the worst that can happen is that you won't see a performance increase, and you might end up replacing it sooner rather than later."

  QuizMan 17:16 22 Jan 2013

hssutton - you and I have identically-sized SSD and hard drive (but you trump me in RAM & motherboard). I bought my SSD from Yoyotech as they had a good offer. I went into their London shop to buy it as there were a couple of questions I wanted to ask before proceeding. Their advice was only use it for programs and DO NOT patition it or use it for data. I don't use Photoshop, but I do use Elements and I have my scratch disk set up on my HD. It works well for me and, as others have said, with your amount of RAM, I doubt that much use would be made of the scratch disk anyway.

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