Question Seeking advice on buying a disk for caching (Adobe, etc.)

Dec 6, 2021
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Hello,

I'm looking for an SSD or NVMe that I can use for caching in Adobe software and other media creation software. I would like to keep this under $200. I've done some googling but every website and youtube video has different suggestions and hypocritical advice. Plus, I can't tell if they are promoting products just because the get affiliate sales.

My main questions are:
  1. Based on my system (specs below), what is realistic in speed/bandwidth? I don't want to put tires rated at 1000 Mph on a pinto.
  2. NVMe or 3.5 SSD?
  3. I read that putting an NVMs caching disk in slot one increases the R/W speed because slot one is connected directly to the CPU. Is this difference noticeable in everyday use? Let's just say rendering 5 minutes videos that pull in AE and PS files using Premier and Media Encoder.
  4. If I relocate the OS drive from slot one to slot two, what would the overall impact be on OS performance? Is it noticeable?
I'm looking at:
PNY XLR8 CS3140 1TB M.2 NVMe Gen4 x4 Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) with Heatsink - M280CS3140HS-1TB-RB (goes to PNY website)

Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated. And thank you.

Specs:
  • CPU: AMD RYZEN 9 5900X 12-Core 3.7GHz (4.8 GHz Turbo)
  • CPU Cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H100i GTX High Performance 240mm, extra quiet Liquid Cooling System
  • Motherboard: GIGABYTE X570 AORUS ELITE AM4, DDR4, X-fire, USB 3.2, GB LAN
  • Video Card: GeForce RTX 3060 TI 8GB PCI EXpress 3.0, up to 4 monitors, HDMI+display port
  • Sound Card: M Audio 196|14 (External)
  • RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 64GB (2x 32GB) DDR4 3200(PC4-25600) C161.35V Desktop Memory -Black
  • Internal Storage: 512GB m.2 Solid State Drive, SATA3 , 550MB/s (Team Group)
  • Power: Thermaltake Smart 750W ultra quiet ATX Power Supply (6+2pin)x2
  • Win 10 Home
 
Dec 6, 2021
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Thank you.

I'm new at PC components in a post Y2K world. I built many in the 90s but then went Apple.

When looking for a disk in this scenario, is there anything other than speed I look for? The EVO looks good, though.
 

USAFRet

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Thank you.

I'm new at PC components in a post Y2K world. I built many in the 90s but then went Apple.

When looking for a disk in this scenario, is there anything other than speed I look for? The EVO looks good, though.
Are you planning to have multiple drives in this?

Some people like one single drive for everything. Makes things easier...don't have to worry about drive lstters, etc.

Other people (me), like multiples drives. 1 for the OS and applications, other drives for other things.
 

Lafong

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Dec 2, 2021
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Thank you.

I'm new at PC components in a post Y2K world. I built many in the 90s but then went Apple.

When looking for a disk in this scenario, is there anything other than speed I look for? The EVO looks good, though.
Consider return privileges from the vendor and/or manufacturer.

Consider your blood pressure if you have to deal with Customer Service, pardon the expression.
 

USAFRet

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When looking for a disk in this scenario, is there anything other than speed I look for? The EVO looks good, though.
Reliability and warranty.

Raw advertised speed is one thing. Most drives in a certain protocol will have similar benchmark speed.
Where the difference comes in is reliability and warranty.

For instance, a couple years ago, one of my SATA SSD's died.
960GB SanDisk. No idea why. Sudden death.

It was 33 days past the 3 year warranty.
I knew it, Sandisk knew it, they gave me a new one anyway. other manufacturers might have said "So sad, too bad"
 
Dec 6, 2021
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I'm ok with multiple drives. I would actually prefer to have a separate physical drive for caching. Windows mapping and pointing the software to look at said drive isn't an issue.
 

USAFRet

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I'm ok with multiple drives. I would actually prefer to have a separate physical drive for caching. Windows mapping and pointing the software to look at said drive isn't an issue.
As said above, just about any solid state drive will work.

If budget allows, a 500GB NVMe (if that second slot is otherwise unused)
Or, something SATA III. Samsung 860 EVO, perhaps.
 
Dec 6, 2021
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Understood about the blood pressure and no worries about the expression.,

I do have a free NVME slot but now I don't know if I want to use that slot for software plugins or caching.

For example:
After Effects install: c: (NVME slot one (os drive))
Element 3D , Luts, Izotope pluigins, etc. : Second NVME drive
Cache: SSD drive

Am I thinking too much about this? I have a problem with overthinking.

EDIT - Thank you, by the way. I appreciate your help with this.
 
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Lafong

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Maybe over thinking. You and me both.

On the other hand......

Maybe you lean toward NVMe if there is some chance this drive might later be used in some other way that might benefit from speed....such as a boot drive.

If that isn't so and this drive will likely only be used for auxiliary purposes like caching or storage in the future, maybe you stick with 2.5 inch SATA.....particularly if M.2 ports are in short supply or if budget is a consideration.
 

USAFRet

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Understood about the blood pressure and no worries about the expression.,

I do have a free NVME slot but now I don't know if I want to use that slot for software plugins or caching.

For example:
After Effects install: c: (NVME slot one (os drive))
Element 3D , Luts, Izotope pluigins, etc. : Second NVME drive
Cache: SSD drive

Am I thinking too much about this? I have a problem with overthinking.

EDIT - Thank you, by the way. I appreciate your help with this.
1 drive for the OS and all applications.
1 drive for plugins and working files.
1 smaller SATA SSD for cache space.
 
Dec 6, 2021
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I feel that I am causing some scope creep to this thread.

Getting back to my original question, I think I'm going to with @USAFRet and grab this:

Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-7TE250BW)
 

USAFRet

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I feel that I am causing some scope creep to this thread.

Getting back to my original question, I think I'm going to with @USAFRet and grab this:

Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-7TE250BW)
No.....

The 840 EVO is several years old.
I use mine, because that it what I have. At one point in the distant past, that was my OS drive.

Get an 860 EVO instead.
Similar performance, but current model.
 
Jul 12, 2021
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Hey man

You should try some Art/Photography/Video style or more field specific forums too - ask people who do this for a living.

Wetcanvas is one I know of with a really friendly super helpful community... Deviant forums etc?

And don't forget you could RAID for speed - up to 4 drives to 1? I think... more???? I'm not certain on the details - these guys will know.


Please keep in mind; While I’m trying to help – I’m no expert on this stuff!

Wouldn't it be better to get an M.2 SATA instead of regular SSD?... aren't they supposed to be better functionally/longevity wise and similar prices now ?

If you didn't have enough m.2 slots at the moment you could put it in an external enclosure with an esata (i think?) or just use an interal sata cable somehow... or just stick inside somewhere if that's something you can do (eg how they do with SSD's on the back side of cases?) Or use a pcie card to use more m.2 pcie nvme or sata drives (they have x16 for up to 4x drives).

Have you checked your specific motherboard and CPU support the m.2 pcie 4.0 at FULL x4 speed? Not all do! Some at only half, some not at all for some gens.

My understanding is the only advantage to having the m.2 go straight to CPU is that you’ll never have to worry about having to share PCIE lanes with your other stuff on/in your board? EG nothing can dilute its ull x4 speed.

I know I’ve seen people talk about sometimes choosing specific drives because they are particularly specialised to be really good at being written to and written over again and again and again (in a way that other drives aren’t soo good).


So they’ll last longer with super heavy use and work better over that life time. Of course you’ll still want to balance that factor with best speed.

I don’t remember the term they used for this but someone will know… I think it had a 3 letter abbreviation?


Maybe just have a superfast separate Project Files drive instead of separate Scratch Disk just for caching. Only have files on it you’re actively working on – move everything else off to storage to keep clear/emptyish and save money on buying a bigger drive than necessary.


I have no idea if this is overkill – but since you’re trying to speed things up have you considered getting faster or more ram? Or overclocking it?

  • Internal Storage: 512GB m.2 Solid State Drive, SATA3 , 550MB/s (Team Group)
Is this your System Drive? Wouldn’t hurt to put that on a much larger faster PCIE 4.0 NVME for starters since you’re doing such heavy work. I would have thought that’d be way more important to do that first before thinking about a scratch disk?

I’ve heard you can easily clone your system drive and whack it on another disk and it’ll work as normal now?


I would try to ask experts who do this stuff for work – what’s the maximum transfer rates you might need for the realistic maximum size/bitrate of files and CPU/RAM usage rates etc you will be using?

No point in getting something waaaay faster than you actually need if coin is an issue!

You might want to ask others if you should get a better quality and large power supply too? I’ve heard people say get at least 1.5x the size you think you need for headroom?

Have you considered moving up to Windows 11 to see if it speeds things up? Could always try a dual boot for a while on another drive (partition it and use the rest for storage or Project Files etc) and delete it later if you don’t like it – leaving the storage etc intact?

Just check you have a TPM and whatever you need for Win 11? I’ve heard you can still get it free as an upgrade – just kind of hidden?

The other option is to just get one LARGE System drive and have your Project files on there. Maybe it’s a questionable idea but at least it won’t have to lose time/grunt seeking/writing files from a different physical drive? Then just use your current drive as storage (or backup only if it’s pretty old and been used heavily eg don’t rely on it)

Have you considered OCing the CPU in some form? If you do - make sure you still have adequate cooling.


I do have a free NVME slot but now I don't know if I want to use that slot for software plugins or caching.

Have you double checked that spare slot is full x4 speed and not x2/x1? Same with checking all your m.2 slots speeds. And are you certain you know which slots use pcie nvme And/Or m.2 sata?
This is what I've learned to look closely at while I'm researching a new motherboard.


good luck.
 
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Jul 12, 2021
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When recommending a RAID thing, details matter.
A lot.

Don't recommend things you've not used. (tone?)

Dude - I could not have been more clear in my post that I'm no expert - which is why I said ask these guys instead!

And BTW I have seen videos and articles about people Raiding 4x nvme's together to function as one drive for speed (in one case even using a PCIE adapter)... so what exactly did I say that was wrong?

Your judgemental tone is completely unnecessary - There is nothing wrong with suggesting possibly useful ideas and encouraging them to hunt down the experts for the details. And I don't need you're permission to make a suggestion.
 
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USAFRet

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Dude - I could not have been more clear in my post that I'm no expert - which is why I said ask these guys instead!

And BTW I have seen videos and articles about people Raiding 4x nvme's together to function as one drive for speed (in one case even using a PCIE adapter)... so what exactly did I say that was wrong?
Yes...RAID 0 with solid state drives shows huge benchmark numbers.
In actual user facing performance, not so much.
And brings all that complexity and fail potential.

Outside very niche use cases, RAID 0 + SSD is a non starter.
Such use case might be if we were a movie production house, and needed to move large blocks of sequential data between 2 similar configured arrays, over a 10Gbe LAN.

From several years ago:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/samsung-950-pro-256gb-raid-report,4449.html
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-raid-benchmark,3485.html


If you have some other tests, please share with us.
 

Zerk2012

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I used a old 64GB Samsung 830 for years for a scratch drive close to the same thing when it got close to full just secure erase and keep using it depends on the space you need as to how big.

I would recommend Samsung either MVME or SATA if time is money probably get a NVME the bit of extra speed can't hurt.

EDIT AS ABOVE Raid SSD's to me is a absolute no not worth it at all.
 
Dec 6, 2021
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So, to throw another wrench into this, I do have an older PNY 240GB 2.5 Optima SSD that I found in a used PC (unhooked and sitting there) that I bought for my kid for Covid at home schooling. I yanked it because it was sitting there and everything else worked ok.

I hooked that thing up via an adapter cord to my MS Surface and slow-formatted it+optimized it and no errors produced. Is this still a viable drive in 2021?

I'm looking at the cache drive as a throw away drive, honestly. Good for a good time, but not a long time. If I have to shell out $100 every couple of years, I'm ok with that as a replacement.

Why is this so complicated? lol. I build websites for congress and none of them have brought the confusion this has.
 

Lafong

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Dec 2, 2021
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Why not use the PNY?

I'm using a 6 or so year old Crucial MX100 SSD 128 gb as a boot drive and continue to believe any money I spent on a replacement would be better spent on some other component....perhaps toss that saved money (maybe 80 or 100) at a more powerful CPU (i7 rather than i5) the next time I upgrade.
 
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Would that be a viable solution? Until 15 mins before I posted my previous post, I was unsure it even worked.

I guess I need to just try it. I need to get a drive for my plugins/vsts and the such so I'll just run the wheels off of this.
 

Lafong

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Dec 2, 2021
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You can run benchmarks on it. Do a lotta writes to it while observing temps.

What would "viable" mean?

Suppose you use it. How would you know if performance would have been better with some other drive?

Do you know whether caching will help you do your job 4% faster? 25% faster.

Or is this all speculation at this point?
 

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