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  #1  
Old November 24th, 2010, 01:15 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Default High Performance Internal SSD RAID Array for Mac Pro

So, wondering whether to upgrade to a faster computer. chances are that the bottle neck is not the processor but rather the read and write speeds of your scratch disk and also the capability of the graphics card. So here comes a very reasonable solution. for just $1,499 one can increase editing speeds about 360% ... in theory. Would like to see actual Photoshop data! but here at least is the companies description!


To prepare yourself, first read Digiloyd's Mac Performance guide here,: "Using solid state drives (SSD) for Photoshop scratch"




Apricorn: PCIe board with 4 MLC 128GB WD SSDs
  • Ideal for video editing and image processing applications
  • Increases your Mac Pro's performance by up to 10x
  • Easy install - takes just minutes
  • Uses a single PCIe x4 slot
  • Fully configurable can be used singularly or in tandem for greater performance
  • Formatted w/ four high performance WD SSDs Total of 512GB
  • Breakneck speeds reduces video render times by up to 80%
  • 360% increase in image processing performance
  • Pre-configured with Mac BIOS and RAID 0 (striping) for maximum performance

The instal you tube video is here.
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Last edited by Asher Kelman; November 26th, 2010 at 07:51 PM.
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  #2  
Old November 24th, 2010, 03:41 AM
John Angulat John Angulat is offline
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Yes, but when it is all said and done you're configuring your priceless data in a RAID 0 configuration.
There's no redundancy in RAID 0.
True, your images will load and subsequently save faster but that's not what RAID is all about.
It's about security of data. Here you have none.
Just my two-cents worth.
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  #3  
Old November 24th, 2010, 04:45 AM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Angulat View Post
Yes, but when it is all said and done you're configuring your priceless data in a RAID 0 configuration.
There's no redundancy in RAID 0.
True, your images will load and subsequently save faster but that's not what RAID is all about.
It's about security of data. Here you have none.
Just my two-cents worth.
Hi John,

I agree. It makes sense to first analyse which percentage of a given operation is related to disk IO, and how much to CPU bound processes. Then calculate a weighted sum of what real speed increase one can expect.

The SSD raid is nice for faster disk IO, at a reduced reliability against catastophic failure, but that just means that one will simultaneously need to automatically soft mirror copies of one's work to other disks, and have a clean mirror copy of the OS and applications partition standby, for when things go wrong.

The reality check is of course, how fast can one edit a file or cull a series of new Raws, and how much time loss is Disk IO related?

Cheers,
Bart
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  #4  
Old November 24th, 2010, 11:26 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post
The SSD raid is nice for faster disk IO, at a reduced reliability against catastophic failure, but that just means that one will simultaneously need to automatically soft mirror copies of one's work to other disks, and have a clean mirror copy of the OS and applications partition standby, for when things go wrong.
I use a Drobo for backup.



The SSD RAID array is just meant for Scratch. A simple SSD can be used for the operating system and PS.

Asher
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  #5  
Old November 24th, 2010, 12:09 PM
John Angulat John Angulat is offline
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So, we'll use a 4 disk SSD RAID array that really isn't a "RAID" but cost 1500 bucks...just to open a file a bit faster?
And we haven't even discussed all the reported negatives with SSDs in general (the biggest being performance degradation over time, esp. in access times).
I don't see any reasonable ROI.
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  #6  
Old November 24th, 2010, 03:58 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Angulat View Post
So, we'll use a 4 disk SSD RAID array that really isn't a "RAID" but cost 1500 bucks...just to open a file a bit faster?
And we haven't even discussed all the reported negatives with SSDs in general (the biggest being performance degradation over time, esp. in access times).
I don't see any reasonable ROI.
Not so, John!

For me, the job of working with large files means a lot of waiting around. So the $1500 is far cheaper than a new Mac! The processor is not the hold up as much as reading and writing and the ability of the Graphics card, at least for aperture, CS4 and CS4 and Autopano giga.

Even without going to that expense, just 2 small SSD cards striped together would make an enormous difference and that could be anywhere from $100 to $400, a much more modest outlay.

As far as stability of the Drives, OWC has pretty well taken care of that with their software and redistribution of load and taking out bad sectors. The have 50 GB held in reserve for 200 GB available. The best drives are the enterprise class of OWC drives.

In fact, just having one SSD for the boot drive will make a long in the tooth Mac virile again!

Asher
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  #7  
Old November 26th, 2010, 02:56 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Let me add another interesting option appearing online.


It's the Super Talent USB 3.0 RAID Drive! With the latest firmware, PC at least, transfer rates can hot 37MB/Sec. making a great scratch drive. But we still need an adapter. HMaybe there's a USB-3 to Express Slot adapter around? That would be great for my aging 17" Macbook Pro!

Read more here and see the video. Of course, currently that's not specified. If it comes to Mac OS X we'll still need a USB 3 port!

Given that Photoshop sings with a great scratch disk (and graphics card), such SSD devices may help speed up burdensome and sluggish editing in photoshop without requiring a far more costly computer upgrade!

For a PC, for it's a simple process and fairly painless just $123.37 for the 32GB version from Amazon. $50 more gets one a card for the computer and the necessary cables.

Asher
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Last edited by Asher Kelman; November 26th, 2010 at 07:05 PM.
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  #8  
Old November 26th, 2010, 05:50 PM
John Angulat John Angulat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Not so, John!

For me, the job of working with large files means a lot of waiting around. So the $1500 is far cheaper than a new Mac! The processor is not the hold up as much as reading and writing and the ability of the Graphics card, at least for aperture, CS4 and CS4 and Autopano giga.

Even without going to that expense, just 2 small SSD cards striped together would make an enormous difference and that could be anywhere from $100 to $400, a much more modest outlay.

As far as stability of the Drives, OWC has pretty well taken care of that with their software and redistribution of load and taking out bad sectors. The have 50 GB held in reserve for 200 GB available. The best drives are the enterprise class of OWC drives.

In fact, just having one SSD for the boot drive will make a long in the tooth Mac virile again!

Asher
Ahhh.. "I see" said the blind man!
I'm know, I'm dense and stubborn at times (ok, oftentimes...).
This looks pretty good in concept althoughI do have to admit $1400.00 isn't going to fly well with Maud.
I just spent a dear amount of $$ having a Core i7 PC built to order, so I've not much negotiating room.
However...since I don't edit massive panos and such maybe a single SSD might work well for me.
That's an easier sell.
Thoughts?
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  #9  
Old November 26th, 2010, 06:35 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Angulat View Post
I just spent a dear amount of $$ having a Core i7 PC built to order, so I've not much negotiating room.
However...since I don't edit massive panos and such maybe a single SSD might work well for me.
That's an easier sell.
Thoughts?
John,

In that case a smaller raid will work wonderfully for the scratch drive. Let's go back a step.

One can use a small OWC SSD for the startup drive.



OWC (Macsales.com) diagram. Source of data I think is from digilloyd.com but this needs to be checked out

This, for $95 will make a nice fast 4GB startup drive and hold Photoshop. It's not raid, of course, but t's fast and trustworthy. Call OWC for the correct mounting tray for the Core i7 PC. t could be this, depending on your model.


The start up drive should have ~ 40GB of free space. So the use of a 40 GB SSD drive seems O.K. A 60 GB at $139 gives more leeway to be able to load a few other critical program that are worth speeding up. For me it would be just Autopano Giga, PTGui and Finalcut pro. Then i'd go for the $120 GB drive at $235.

Asher
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  #10  
Old November 26th, 2010, 07:13 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Next, the raid. As a start, everyone should read "Optimize Photoshop performance | CS4, CS5 | Mac OS"here as there are choices depending on your file size, version of Photoshop, 32 BIT v. 64 BIT processing, Graphics card helping out, (GPU assignment), history states and more. In rough terms, if you do a series of processes in layers to a 100 MB DSLR file, you should have 10X to 50X the scratch disk size in un-fragmented feee space!

For most folk, an SSD scratch disk of 50 GB is going to be fine. That will run $189.99 plus some adapter. for a Macbook Pro with a Express Card slot, there's a SATA card with two inputs here at almost giveaway prices.



Apiotek eSATA card inserted in a Macbook Pro

Note that of the latest Macbook Pro models, only the 17" has the express card slot. The others use an SD slot! so check first before buying the card. For me, getting my older Macbook Pro to move faster by upgrading to an internal SSD and an external scratch is the cost saving way to go. So for my Macbook Pro for under $200 I get a very fast SSD scratch disc!

There's one disadvantage of this Apiotek eSATA card is that one cannot boot Mac OS from the drives. If that's an issue, there are other cards available for you at Macsales.com I like this particular eSATA port because it also supports port multiplication in case you want to add a 5 Bay eSATA drive storage box from Sonnet or any other MFR. It's also optimized for RAID setup, if you wish to go even faster!

Asher
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  #11  
Old November 26th, 2010, 07:49 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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So, John, without resorting to using the $1500 RAID drives I introduced in the beginning of this thread, one can increase one's PS work by about 200% or more with just the SSD card for the OS and Photoshop. When one adds in a scratch disk, I just guess it will go like a bat out of hell!

All this for about $100 to $400 total.

Not bad, I think!

Asher
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  #12  
Old November 27th, 2010, 04:55 AM
John Angulat John Angulat is offline
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Asher,
Thanks very much for all the research.
This is certainly an intriguing possibility although I'm a bit hesitant to move PS.
I'm running CS5 Master Collection and there's so many interwoven CS programs already populating my primary drive. Adobe (to the best of my knowlege) doesn't allow for the independant installation of various CS components in more than one location.
Hence, I can't re-install PS (only) onto the new SSD.
I could purchase a larger SSD and de-activate and re-install everything to the new SSD but I'd rather not.
So, it seems the best alternative is to purchase a single SSD for the scratch disk.
It will certainly help!
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  #13  
Old November 27th, 2010, 08:40 AM
Alain Briot Alain Briot is offline
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John,

You don't need to move Photoshop. All you need is get an SSD and then use it as a scratch disk. You do that by going to CS5 preferences, then selecting your SSD as the only scratch disk. You only need the small size drive (40GB). Even with large files (5gb for example) a 40gb scratch disk is plenty. Then you store your final images on another drive. Your workflow doesnt' change at all, you only add an SSD drive and everything else stays the same. That will create a huge performance increase for about $100.
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  #14  
Old November 27th, 2010, 08:47 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alain Briot View Post
John,

You don't need to move Photoshop.
That's true. You will already go fast with just the 40 GB scratch drive for less than $100. Still, for a further boost, if you wish, maybe at a second stage, Adobe does allow two independent drives on one or two computers as you wish. Also activations are instant online. All of 5 seconds it's automatic. deactivate one and activate another.

Asher
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  #15  
Old November 27th, 2010, 09:03 AM
Edward Bussa Edward Bussa is offline
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Default Adobe Optimize Photoshop article

Quote:
Solid State Disks (SSD)
Installing Photoshop on an SSD allows Photoshop to launch extremely fast, probably in less than a second. But that initial few seconds saving is the only time you see a benefit, because that's the only time when a lot of data is read from the install disk

A better option is to set your scratch disk to the SSD. This will give you significant performance savings if you have images that don't fit entirely in RAM. For example, swapping tiles between RAM and SSD is many times faster than swapping between RAM and hard disk. If you already run Photoshop and work entirely in RAM (if your efficiency number is always at 95-100%), then you won't see much benefit from swapping to an SSD scratch disk, since you're already going as fast as you can.

At this time, adding RAM for performance is more cost effective than purchasing a solid-state disk (SSD). If money is no object, you're maxed on installed RAM for your computer, you run Photoshop CS5 as a 64-bit application, and the efficiency indicator still runs at 90% or less, using a solid-state disk as your scratch disk will significantly improve your performance.

If your SSD doesn't have a lot of free space (that is, in case the scratch file might ever need to grow bigger than will fit on the SSD), add a secondary or tertiary hard disk (after the SSD) to the scratch disk list in the Preferences.

SSDs vary widely in performance, more than hard disks. Using an earlier, slower drive results in little improvement over a hard disk. If you're really adventurous, you can make a RAID out of them, but if you're just interested in Photoshop performance, you're probably better off buying more RAM.
Comprehensive info from the Adobe Optimize Photoshop article: http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/404/kb40444..._scratch_disks

It does say that "swapping tiles" is far more efficient RAM to SSD... although I'm not entirely clear under what conditions that occurs - I assume that info is in the article.

Also, maximizing RAM is always the first option, as stated in the article as well...

Hope this helps!
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  #16  
Old November 27th, 2010, 09:23 AM
Alain Briot Alain Briot is offline
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Reauthorizing/deauthorizing CS apps is no big deal. You just have to remember that you can only install it on 2 computers. These days, it seems to be a small number! Also, remember to deauthorize it before you discard, sell, or store away your "old" computer. Otherwise, you won't be able to deauthorize it yourself and you'll have to call them, which isn't as fast.
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Old November 27th, 2010, 09:27 AM
Alain Briot Alain Briot is offline
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The place to start is to check the Efficiency percentage in Photoshop. YOu do that by selecting "efficiency" from the drop down menu at the bottom of the image window in Photoshop. That's the same menu from which you can see the image profile, document dimmentions, etc. That will tell you whether or not you will benefit from having an SSD. If ithe efficiency is at 100%, you can save your money!
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Old November 27th, 2010, 09:29 AM
Alain Briot Alain Briot is offline
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"Tiles" are the sections of the image that photoshop stores while working on the image. As it does that, it swaps these "tiles" from Ram to HD or SSD. It's faster to swap from Ram to SSD than from Ram to HD.
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Old November 27th, 2010, 11:30 AM
Mark Hampton Mark Hampton is offline
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Really interesting stuff in this thread - I am looking to upgrade my drives at present - evrything is running off a 1tb raid drive - slow slow slow - but then again in realtion to systems of 10 years ago it works - I can even use a filter on a large image !

cheers
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Old November 27th, 2010, 11:46 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Hampton View Post
Really interesting stuff in this thread - I am looking to upgrade my drives at present - evrything is running off a 1tb raid drive - slow slow slow - but then again in realtion to systems of 10 years ago it works - I can even use a filter on a large image !

cheers
At least partition your HD with the operating system and Photoshop, having > ~ 40 GB of clean free space. A simple addition of your SSD scratch could equal or more than match most off the shelf new machines.

Asher
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  #21  
Old November 27th, 2010, 01:11 PM
Alain Briot Alain Briot is offline
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But before you do all that, don't forget to check the efficiency level in the image window. If it's 95 to 100% you won't gain anything by doing all this!!!
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Old November 27th, 2010, 01:32 PM
Mark Hampton Mark Hampton is offline
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its 100% all the time... 8 gigs or ram - thats why

Efficiency indicator

Watch your efficiency indicator while you work in Photoshop to determine the amount of RAM you'll need to keep your images in RAM. The efficiency indicator is available from the pop-up menu on the status bar of your image. It is also available or from the Palette Options on the Info Palette pop-up menu. When the efficiency indicator goes much below 95 - 90%, increase performance by changing the RAM allocation. You can also add RAM, or set your scratch disk to write to a RAID Array.

I do need a drive change !
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Old November 27th, 2010, 03:53 PM
John Angulat John Angulat is offline
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Alain,
Thanks for jumping in!
My efficiency reads 100%, never less.
This is most likely the result of having 12GB RAM in my PC.
PS uses all available RAM above 4GB for scatch, writing to the HD only if it needs more space.
Edward, thanks for the link to the article. Lots of good info.

Now I'm wondering whether there would be any percieved benefit to a SSD scratch disk (for me).
It's important to look back at the beginnings of this thread.
Asher had arrived upon a great solution to a speed issue and I had only questioned the logic.
I do not have any readily recognizable speed issues (however, faster is ALWAYS better!).
With the Core i7 processor, 64 bit OS and 12GB of RAM there are times I feel compelled to chase the darn machine around my office, its that fast!

Maybe I'll just save my money and take an art class (see Ken, there's hope for me yet).
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Old November 27th, 2010, 04:37 PM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Angulat View Post
It's important to look back at the beginnings of this thread.
Asher had arrived upon a great solution to a speed issue and I had only questioned the logic.
I do not have any readily recognizable speed issues (however, faster is ALWAYS better!).
With the Core i7 processor, 64 bit OS and 12GB of RAM there are times I feel compelled to chase the darn machine around my office, its that fast!
Chasing around, LOL.

Hi John,

I agree, however it does depend on how one uses the system though. With multiple applications open, not rebooting for a long time, things running in the background (think virus scanners, print jobs, pano stitchers, and such), etc., sooner or later there is some disk activity going on because finally Photoshop cannot immediately allocate the required RAM for scratch (it's just the nature of cache memory management). I also do immediately agree that in everyday life, the computer is with certainty idling more than we are impatiently waiting for it to perform the task that just became so urgent. But what bliss if it still does perform almost instantly ..., luxury for sure.

I use a simple (Windows) application to steer memory management, just because I needed it for one specific situation and there was a (combined with my favorite disk defragmenter) rebate ;-), called CleverCache by O&O software. It keeps the Ram use low, if desired, and thus is always ready for the creation of a scratch file (even in my 'limited' 8Gb sytem). BTW, their (Windows) disk defragmenter (which obviously supports TRIM for SSDs) is really sweet, much better than the ones I've used before.

Quote:
Maybe I'll just save my money and take an art class (see Ken, there's hope for me yet).
Ah, but which class, which instructor, ...

Cheers,
Bart
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Old November 27th, 2010, 05:24 PM
Alain Briot Alain Briot is offline
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John,

Take an art class ;-) Enough technique already!
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Old November 27th, 2010, 06:18 PM
Edward Bussa Edward Bussa is offline
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Oh how I pine for the simplicity of a RAM drive. Need a superfast drive letter? Solved! Now with windows SuperFetch, it all happens behind the scenes... My power and authority usurped!

CleverCache looks cool. Not sure I need it though... Bart, how would I know when I need CleverCache?

Its only $30, affordable enough...
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Old November 27th, 2010, 06:28 PM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Bussa View Post
CleverCache looks cool. Not sure I need it though... Bart, how would I know when I need CleverCache?
I 'needed' it because a specific applcation required all the RAM available, where I had no control other than tweaking Windows registry settings and I didn't want that permanently. Others might 'need' it because their Photoshop scratch file consistently forces a less than 100% performance and it really slows down daily operations ...

Proper defragmentation might solve a part of one's performance issues though.

Cheers,
Bart
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Old November 28th, 2010, 10:20 AM
Edward Bussa Edward Bussa is offline
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Ah, I get it. So, when Windows caching (aka, SuperFetch or Windows Host Services in Task Manager) is pigging all the RAM, you use CleverCache to force it back down...

Right now it looks like Windows caching is at about 100mb for me right now... thats after a reboot... I assume I could reclaim SOME of that by using CleverCache - is that the idea?
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Old November 28th, 2010, 11:07 AM
Alain Briot Alain Briot is offline
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I saw a "93%" this morning while processing a multi layers P45 file. I need an SSD!
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Old November 28th, 2010, 12:39 PM
Edward Bussa Edward Bussa is offline
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Ha, yes, good luck with that P45 file but Adobe doesn't recommend it until "less than 90%"
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