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one SSD or two SSD's for media editing performance

Posted on 2012-04-09
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Last Modified: 2012-04-16
I am purchasing a new computer for a user that users a couple of the adobe suites and will be doing heavy video rendering soon. We read that with large file media editing, it is best to have two drives. One for the OS and one for data. I can see that being true with HDD's. We are going to purchase SSD's though. Would we see the performance increase if we had two SSD's or will we see the same performance with just one SSD?

Thanks,

Justin
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Question by:JustinGSEIWI
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Expert Comment

by:xema
ID: 37825312
JustinGSEIWI
I think you'll get an improvement, as you have when using two HD. I remember that with adobe photoshop the recomendation was to have the swap file on a different disk. So the total gain will also depend on the application setup.
Also get the most powerfull CPU you can and the most memory that suits the applications.
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by:Gary Case
Gary Case earned 800 total points
ID: 37825497
The most significant benefit of using two drives is to avoid disk "thrashing" -- i.e. seeking between different places on the disk.     SSD's effectively eliminate this as an issue => the typical access time for an SSD is on the order of 0.1ms vs. 10-12ms for a rotating platter drive ... over 100 times as fast.

So there's VERY little benefit from using two SSDs.
... unless, of course, you use two SSDs in a RAID-0 array, so the transfer rate is also improved.    But the reality is the system will perform VERY well with just a single good SSD.
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by:Callandor
Callandor earned 800 total points
ID: 37827269
With video editing, a lot of the time will be spent converting the video to a compressed format, so one SSD will suffice.  The cpu you choose will make a bigger impact, so selecting one that excels in this will be a bigger factor - the i7-2600K or higher would be my pick (http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html).  Video files tend to be very large, so the added expense of large SSDs will give you less bang for the buck there.
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Author Comment

by:JustinGSEIWI
ID: 37844693
The real question is this.

Is it better to have two SSD's, one for data and one for OS, or will we get equal performance with just one SSD?

Thanks,
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by:xema
xema earned 400 total points
ID: 37844741
JustinGSEIWI
As I stated before, if the aplication recommends the use of two drives I'll go with two drives.  However you'll get an improvement just by using an SSD.
Also as the sizes of SSD are relatively small the use of one specific for data may prevent the lack of space on the medium term
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Gary Case earned 800 total points
ID: 37845060
"... Is it better to have two SSD's, one for data and one for OS, or will we get equal performance with just one SSD? "   ==>  You'll always get SOME benefit by having operations spread across two disks ... but with SSDs this benefit will be VERY minor ... almost certainly not noticeable.       As I noted earlier, the key benefit to using two drives is to eliminate the thrashing of the heads when multiple threads (e.g. the OS and your video editor;  or multiple threads in the editor accessing source, destination, and scratch files)  are accessing different parts of the disk.    This issue is GONE with SSDs, since there's no head movement to contend with.     There IS a VERY small settling time to access different sections of the SSD ... but this is typically on the order of 0.1ms -- compared to 12-15ms for a traditional drive's seeks (e.g. well over 100 times as fast).

With two SSDs, you could share off these extra 0.1ms delays -- but it's VERY unlikely that the total time saved would be enough to notice.    But the technically correct answer to your question, is that No, you won't get "equal performance" with just one SSD.      Effectively, however, the answer is Yes, the "feel" of the system will be the same with one unit.
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by:Callandor
Callandor earned 800 total points
ID: 37845338
Instead of spending a lot of money on two SSDs, get one and use the balance on something that will actually make a difference in time spent.
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Expert Comment

by:David Brugge
ID: 37845397
Just weighing in. Follow garycase's sage advice and Callendor's expert follow up. You will not be able to tell if you have the program on an SSD, Photoshop just doesn't go back to the well that often. The real action is swapping those bits back and forth and crunching the numbers.
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