Does a higher spec external hard drive matter?

Community Beginner ,
Apr 05, 2022 Apr 05, 2022

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Hi,

 

I use Lightroom Classis (V11.2) and PS (whatever the most up-to-date version is)!.  I work from an external hard drive so I can switch between my Imac and my Macbook Pro by plugging it into which ever I want to use.  Is there any advantage in using an external hard drive with faster transfer rates?  I read somewhere it doesn't make a difference as it uploads them to a cloud and works from there?  Other folk are saying a faster rate will help.  Can someone tell me for definite which it is so I know whether to upgrade my hard drive, internet (or maybe both) please?!

 

I have a pretty decent Imac which I mainly use (I think): Processor: 3.2GHz 6-core intel core I7, 32gb memory.  I know the M1 chip is the future but I only got this a couple years ago so don't want to be upgrading just yet!  I get a lot of spinning even when doing simple universal tasks in the basic panel and also get a pixelated images that take 20-30 seconds to show correctly.  I use a Nikon D850 so appreciate they are a decent file size but wouldn't expect to be seeing spinning and pixelated images.  

 

If a faster hard drive is the way forward, suggestions would be welcomed.

 

Thanks in advance, Mo.  

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Adobe Employee ,
Apr 05, 2022 Apr 05, 2022

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Hi Mo,

 

Thanks for reaching out. That topic can be confusing, and I'd love to help you figure that out.

 

Lightroom Classic v11.2 is almost offline/computer-based, and having faster storage platform like Solid State Drive (SSD) will give you an upper hand in terms of response rate and overall performance. Consider the type of connection you use: USB A, USB C, or Thunderbolt port.

There are a series of suggestions related to hardware & software optimization and other in-app operations you can do to optimize Lightroom Classic's performance in this article, and please give this a detailed read through: https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom-classic/kb/optimize-performance-lightroom.html

 

Let us know if this help,

Thanks!

Sameer K

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 05, 2022 Apr 05, 2022

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This article helps address most of the issues. Please read

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 05, 2022 Apr 05, 2022

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Most definitely a faster external drive with lots of free disk space will greatly benefit performance. When you work with LrC it reads and writes to the Lightroom Catalog file and to other support data based files and previews files.

Recommended, minimum or 25% free did space preferable SSD e.g. For a 1TB drive at least 250 GB free space.

LrC syncs smart previews to the Adobe Cloud Storage which is used to share with Lightroom Ecosystem.

 

Regards, Denis: iMac mid-2015, 5K 27”, GPU 2GB, Ram 24GB, HDD 3TB, macOS 11.6.5,; LrC 11.4, Lr 5.4, Ps 23.3.2-ACR 14.4,; Camera OM-D E-M1.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 05, 2022 Apr 05, 2022

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Putting your catalog and previews on a fast external hard drive or better still an SSD will help, but your photos less so. Note that I didn't write no difference/improvement. I'm saying this as someone who used a 12TB Raid 0 disk array for photos with close to 400MB/s read/write and more recently an 8TB Raid 0 SSD array and noticed zero difference in LrC performance. Fortunatley, my reasons for switching to SSD for photo storage was to avoid continual spin downs that plague M1 Macs and noise.

 

BTW, if your iMac is fitted with one of Apple's hybrid Fusion Drive, then I'd certainly be looking to move the catalog/previews to a conventional hard drive or SSD.

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LEGEND ,
Apr 05, 2022 Apr 05, 2022

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quote

 

I use Lightroom Classis (V11.2) and PS (whatever the most up-to-date version is)!.  I work from an external hard drive so I can switch between my Imac and my Macbook Pro by plugging it into which ever I want to use.  Is there any advantage in using an external hard drive with faster transfer rates?  I read somewhere it doesn't make a difference as it uploads them to a cloud and works from there?

 

This part is incorrect. There is no upload to cloud to enable you to work with photos.

 

Speed of the disk drive where the photos are stored has only a small impact on the overall performance of Lightroom Classic.

 

So, it seems as if you are having performance issues. Why don't you describe the issues instead of picking a solutoin that may have no impact on your specific issues?

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 05, 2022 Apr 05, 2022

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I did describe the issues: I get a lot of spinning even when doing simple universal tasks in the basic panel and also get a pixelated images that take 20-30 seconds to show correctly.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 05, 2022 Apr 05, 2022

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@MoLongfellow wrote:

Is there any advantage in using an external hard drive with faster transfer rates?…and also get a pixelated images that take 20-30 seconds to show correctly. 


 

The advantage depends on what you use and how you connect it.

A good, affordable external volume would be a solid-state drive (SSD) connected using USB 3. That should be fast enough.

What are you using now?

 

If you are currently using an external hard disk drive (HDD), or any kind of external volume connected using USB 2, then there is room for improvement in speed. But if you are already using an SSD connected by USB 3, you are already most of the way there and there is not a lot of room for improvement. For example, you could spend more money on the fastest available external SSD connected by Thunderbolt, but that probably won't be much faster in real world use.

 

If you are already using an SSD connected by USB 3, that should be fast enough that the performance problem is not with the external storage, it’s somewhere else.

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 05, 2022 Apr 05, 2022

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I'm currently using an old WD 'my passport for mac'.  I think I really just needed to know if there is benefit from upgrading and it seems the answer is a resounding yes.  Happy to take suggestions on SSD usb3 hard drives - there seems to be a lot out there!

 

Thanks for your help, Mo.

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LEGEND ,
Apr 05, 2022 Apr 05, 2022

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Resounding "NO" from me. It will make some difference, but not a big difference. Your performance problems, whatever they are, and likely from other sources. Again, it would definitely help if you described your performance problems, rather than just assume its the disk, as many peformance problems in Lightroom Classic are unrelated to disk speed. Do the research first, identify the likely cause of the performance problem, and then if it points to disk speed (and only then), upgrade the disk.

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 05, 2022 Apr 05, 2022

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I get a lot of spinning even when doing simple universal tasks in the basic panel and also get a pixelated images that take 20-30 seconds to show correctly.

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LEGEND ,
Apr 05, 2022 Apr 05, 2022

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Problems with "simple universal tasks in the basic panel" of the Develop Module have nothing to do with disk speed. Once the photo is read into the Develop Module and a preview is generated, the speed of what happens after moving a slider is based upon CPU and GPU, and at this point, the disk is not used at all.

 

Please check your GPU settings in Lightroom Classic. Try turning them off to begin with and see if that helps. Preferences->Performance->Use Graphics Processor. If that doesn't help, try the other settings under Use Graphics Processor.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 05, 2022 Apr 05, 2022

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@MoLongfellow wrote:

I'm currently using an old WD 'my passport for mac'.  I think I really just needed to know if there is benefit from upgrading and it seems the answer is a resounding yes.


 

The WD Passports tend to be good for backups, but the speed can be on the slow side for production work. Copying what’s on there to an external SSD could improve things somewhat, but if it’s taking 20-30 seconds to load an image like you said, just switching to an external SSD is unlikely to eliminate that entire delay. Something else is going on…I agree with dj_paige on this.

 

As far as what to get, these are not endorsements because they aren’t even the brands I actually have, but the Samsung T5 and SanDisk Extreme external SSDs are widely used by creative professionals.

 

You may also see the Samsung T7 and SanDisk Extreme Pro; those are technically faster, but whether the extra expense will actually make a noticeable difference with Lightroom Classic is not clear.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 05, 2022 Apr 05, 2022

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As Conrad C  has already mentioned, the WD Passport is fine for backup but dog slow for production use.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 05, 2022 Apr 05, 2022

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What we need to know is what kind of internal hard disk you have and how much free space there is on it. 20-30 seconds of beachball spinning is NOT normal for that machine with D850 images. Yes that external disk is very very slow but that shouldn't cause this behavior as long as you don't put your catalog file on it.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 05, 2022 Apr 05, 2022

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At Jao, you stated “as long as you don't put your Catalog file on it”

Isn't that what the thread all about, the Author indicates he wishes to use / share his desktop image files to work with his Desktop and his Laptop to achieve that the image files and the Lightroom Catalog including all supported data files need to be on the external disk.

 

Quote from the original post “ I work from an external hard drive so I can switch between my Imac and my Macbook Pro by plugging it into which ever I want to use.“

 

 

 

Regards, Denis: iMac mid-2015, 5K 27”, GPU 2GB, Ram 24GB, HDD 3TB, macOS 11.6.5,; LrC 11.4, Lr 5.4, Ps 23.3.2-ACR 14.4,; Camera OM-D E-M1.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 05, 2022 Apr 05, 2022

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You are absolutely right! I read it too fast. Yeah if you have the catalog there it will be incredibly slow. The 20-30 seconds still makes me think the internal had disk is too full too to store the camera raw cache files and it might be paging like crazy if it has too little internal hard disk space but completely agree, trying to run the catalog from a old very slow spinning disk like a WD Passport will be an excercise in patience.

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LEGEND ,
Apr 06, 2022 Apr 06, 2022

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Even an extremely slow external HD shouldn't cause 20-30 second delay in the DEVELOP MODULE when you move a slider. When you move a slider in the DEVELOP MODULE, there is almost no disk access.

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