I am in the process of upgrading my 12 year old PC. During my research for the optimum PS PC I came across some workflow suggestions that recommend a system/programs disk, a scratch disk, a project disk and a storage disk.
Forgive my ignorance, but would someone please explain the idea of a project disk? I am a serious amateur photographer working only with stills and my current workflow is to keep all my image files on one disk, with both raw files and edited files in separate folders on that disk.
Should I be keeping my edited files (projects) on a separate disk, then after editing move to long term storage?
I suspect the recommendation you found boils down to:
• one should ideally only keep OS and applications (and related resources like fonts, ICC profiles, presets etc.) on the System Drive
• one should, if possible, use a dedicated Scratch Disk
So the »project disk« would simply be a disk different from the OS and the Scratch Disk.
Aside from that backing up one’s data regularly is certainly recommendable.
Long term storage may also benefit from having a back-up.
I did not mention my backup workflow.
I use a program called Allwaysync for automated backup for all important non system files including desktop layout every few hours. Backups go to two separate external USB drives, so I actually have 3 copies of my data. Unfortunately I am not in a position to have offsite backups.
The beauty of Allwaysync is it creates working files and only backs up changed files. That way I don't have to rely on a propreiory program to extract/recover files from a database or single large file.
I think such proposals are justified, since sooner or later many come to a similar configuration. The use of different disks for different stages of work is advisable both from the point of view of protecting data from loss and from the point of view of selecting the optimal components depending on the tasks.
In my understanding:
Just as @c.pfaffenbichler rightly noted, regardless of the configuration of the computer, it is desirable to provide a backup of all critical data. Ideally, your data should be backed up to another device (so that a total computer crash doesn't leave you without your files). NAS or DAS type devices are ideal here. The backup policy is individual - for me, for example, the system disk and storage are backed up to NAS once a month, the disk with projects is backed up every day (I use cloud storage for this). Once a quarter, I completely clear the disk with projects, transferring part of the data to the storage, and writing the rest immediately to NAS backups.
I used to never delete my raw files (source), well almost never! This has resulted in a lot of duds filling up my hard drive. I am currently going through my back catalogue of nearly 30,000 images and keeping only the very best or ones associated with past projects.
Having said that, that thinking is changing slightly as I am scanning hundreds of vintage family black and white images, some dating back close to 100 years. For those, once I have a final output, most likely as jpg, the working psd files will probably go as I still have the film negative. Then again, I might not want to reprocess a neg, so maybe the psd will stay.
It depends on your checkbook. Ideally, you have fast SSD storage, either NVMe or Thunderbolt 3/4, and separate drives/RAID for everything with dedicated external (and possibly cloud) backups. That can get costly in a hurry, though.