Ssd for photshop and video edit scratch/temp


Jun 18, 2012
I am trying to make a decision about SSDs to be used as photoshop and video scratch/temp volume on a mobile platform (power requirements need to be low enough for bus powered on usb3, thunderbolt I understand has more than enough available).
 Interface available is usb3.0 or thunderbolt (trim pass-through might be a problem? GC solution?). I wish to get a 240 or so Ssd for that purpose.
Could someone give some advice please. 
First pick an SSD. 240-256GB should be enough space for this application.

There are 2 different methodologies to take on getting a drive.
The first is to go with something super high quality that will last forever. Stick with Intel, Samsung, or Crucial for these types of applications as the flash is of better quality. Less failures means less down time for projects, and if you are a professional who does projects on an at least weekly basis then this is the route to take.

The other method is nearly the exact opposite; Get the cheapest drive you can find (mushkin or OCZ), and rely on the 3 year warranty on it, or purchase an extended replacement warranty. The idea behind this is that SSDs (in general) are pretty reliable these days, and an SSD with 240+GB of space on it is going to have plenty of room to hide bad sectors over it's natural lifespan. SSDs are also still a relatively young technology which have a ton of room for improvement (while compressed data flies through at 550MBps, 'normal' uncompressed data is still in the 150-250MBps range, which could be faster). In just 2 years time (when even cheap drives are still under warranty) SSDs will have improved so much, and cost so much less, that it may be worth upgrading again at that point. Obviously, I would not put any 'mission critical' information on such drives as they are made with vastly inferior parts, but as a cache, or render drive where the information is transient and temporary in the first place, it may be worth considering (you can buy 2 OCZ drives for the same price as a single Intel drive).

After you have the drive sorted out, then you need to select your enclosure.
Something like this should work:
Just be sure that your laptop or mac has USB3 external power available

Looking around it seems that most external drives are still on SATA2, which will still work with a SATA3 drive, but will be capped out at ~300MBps. that is still faster than what most drives can do with uncompressable information, but it may bottleneck some compressible streams a little. But for what you are doing it is a moot point because you are looking at the low latency for video editing, not raw throughput.


Jun 18, 2012

Thanks CaedenV, I already have the SATA III to USB 3.0 bridge (yes, SATA 6gbps)
I am actually located in MAdrid, Spain but got that from a friend in the US.
This is the fastest bridge that I could find, and even if not originally bus-powered I modded it by bringing the 5V from the USB 3.0 port to the SATA power on the same board. It works on the USB 3.0 on my desktop with a Samsung 830 256GB that I had at hand. I will mod an old enclosure I have at hand to adapt this bridge to so I have something neat. I also have some older OWC SSD RE 100GB at hand and they work also, but slower a bit.

There was some technical things about my question that I still wonder: if I use USB 3.0 I presume trim is not passed through it so any SSD that has no GC on board might end up getting very slow because a lot of data will be written to that drive, much more than typical use. I do not care about lifespan of the drive. I care about performance. In theory, because of that, a SandForce would be better than the Samsung 830 but Sandforce is not that great with uncompressible data so I loose on that side, do I? This is really my question right now.
correct, USB does not pass on TRIM, but all modern SSDs have their own internal GC that works independent of the OS, so it will be fine provided you have the drive powered but not doing anything for a while to let the internal GC do it's thing.
Any SSD will have issues if run heavily 24/7 because even TRIM requires a bit of down time to work. I do not know just how much idle time a drive needs, but suffice to say that my SSD has had no problems, and it should not be getting trim commands because the mobo is set in RAID mode (picked up a cheap 240GB Agility 3 on sale a while back).

To be honest I have not had a chance to bench a non SF SSD yet to see how it runs, but I have the cache for Premiere 5.5 set to my Agility 3 and have had no problems with it so far. Here is the difference I had:

Old setup:
i7 2600 3.1GHz
500GB system drive
1TB documents/scratch drive
1TB video/source drive
-Could only push CPU to ~60% load on renders (largely due to older 1TB drives)
-Long load times for both program and project

Current setup
i7 2600 Turbo OC sits at ~4GHz under full load with 8 threads
240GB SSD system/scratch drive
500GB documents/backup/export drive
1TB RAID1 for source materials
-CPU load now consistently up in the 90+%, while at ~3.8-4GHz
-Much faster program load time and export
-Turbo boost aparantly works just fine with multiple thread loads... provided that you keep the CPU frosty
-Still slow project load time due to older slow 1TB HDDs housing the source material, but once it is in Ram the projects fly, and I feel much better about the RAID1 redundancy for my project files, nothing would be worse than telling a client that their project is lost :/

Obviously the workflows and times for export vary wildly depending on exactly what the project calls for, but seeing that CPU usage jump from ~60% to a consistent 95% speaks volumes to the usefulness of a SSD. And that is a cheap Agility 3, I could only imagine the performance from a better quality device.

Other system specs:
Win7 home 64bit
16GB DDR3 1333 (considering moving to 1600, but not sure it would make much difference as I am already capping out the CPU on export and editing) (I have only had one project so far that used up all of the ram, sadly I cannot jump up to 32GB unless I get expensive 8GB sticks, and move up to Win7 pro)
GTX 570 to help speed up color correction and other transitions within premiere
Hyper 212 Evo CPU cooler with 2 silent Enermax fans in push/pull. Idle temp is 1C over room temp, full load on Intel Burn test hits 3.9GHz and 58-61C (depending on the core you are looking at)

Hope that helps :)