Fastest and 'free' scratchdisk for photoshop


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yanyewkay

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Sep 22, 2004
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#1
Those who are using Photoshop (PS) will know that they need to allocate a certain amount of harddisk space for the scratch disk. Photoshop will recommend you put the scratch disk on a different and faster disk drive available and so on for better performance.

A free software is available here called Ramdisk that converts your free excess ram into a "disk drive" for use as per normal.

I've tried it and it works.

Steps to go about doing it.
1.) Download the program
2.) Run the program and click "Install Ramdisk"
3.) Select the amount of free ram you want to allocate to it
4.) Select "fixed media"
5.) Click apply and ok.

Next to go photoshop, Edit->Preferences->Scratch disk and assign R: to it.

restart photoshop and you're ready to go!
You now have the fastest available drive because it operates off the PC's ram.

Word of caution, any data stored in R: is and will be cleared everytime you turn off the PC, so DO NOT use it as a permanent storage space.

In a way it's free because the software is free but you 'pay' by using your RAM as a disk drive. Since I have way too much ram to spare, it doesn't really bother me and I allocated 1GB to the Ramdisk for the fun of it.
 

#2
Far as I know thus far using Photoshop for my graphic design work, a scratch disk is only an issue if you ran out of RAM space to hold all your "UNDO" steps and graphic work / data files that is part of PS processing.

Scratch disk only comes into play when it runs out of RAM space thus it will use your HDD as a "scratch disk" to supplement any additional need of space to store your "undo" steps and other data stuff used by PS. That is why they asked that it be your fastest disk thus eliminate as little slowdown of speed as possible though we all know it will never be as fast as your RAM. But we all know there are difference speed in RPM or ATA or SATA...eg.

And the other reason why it should be on another HDD then your primary "C:" drive is because Windows itself is using your C Drive for it's caching of data ( another way of saying scratch disking ) SO both the OS and PS are fighting for as much space in the RAM and HDD too. Thus you can go into the setting area of PS to adjust how much of your available RAM be allocated to PS when it is opened doing so will also let you see how much of the left over space will be avaialble for windows and other programs you have opened as well.

I can see how setting up RAM as another drive make sense but maybe I am wrong but it makes little sense with softwares that already have some form of RAM management in place. Also if it goes into your RAM DISK and your PC fails at the wrong time, it you literally lose everything but with my D drive scratch disk I can still find those cache data still there in case I could use them to restore what is losted.
 

yanyewkay

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Sep 22, 2004
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#3
I didn't know PS used the hd scratch disk only after the allocated RAM is full. All along I was under the impression that the both were used simultaneously. ie: RAM and scratch disk data is swapped as and when necessary.

Scratch disk being the 'storage space' when you first open the photo and RAM being the 'processing' space allocated to PS to work with.

The best point hilighted about crashing while working :thumbsup: I have never thought of it before. I never knew we could recover PS data from the scratch disk, never crossed my mind too :bsmilie:. I usually just curse and swear if I lost hours of work thru a pc crash. ;p

Thanks for your input.
 

V

vince123123

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#5
HOWEVER, if your RAM is more than the amount addressable by Photoshop, then the scratch disk trick would work :)
 

#6
I didn't know PS used the hd scratch disk only after the allocated RAM is full. All along I was under the impression that the both were used simultaneously. ie: RAM and scratch disk data is swapped as and when necessary.

Scratch disk being the 'storage space' when you first open the photo and RAM being the 'processing' space allocated to PS to work with.

The best point hilighted about crashing while working :thumbsup: I have never thought of it before. I never knew we could recover PS data from the scratch disk, never crossed my mind too :bsmilie:. I usually just curse and swear if I lost hours of work thru a pc crash. ;p

Thanks for your input.
Ya something we normally don't really think about to some extend. I usually max out my RAM as far as my windown 98 to XP can access and again it depend on what size artwork I do. hehe... Usually if you like do some PP in PS with a single photo for example. And that is like a shot taken with a 6mp camera. It is not that large. Upon opening it it takes up maybe about 18 mb? Then as you start to do things to it like resize, air brushing..etc. Each of those task will add to the "undo" cache so that is where more RAM will be used up till like vince123123 mentioned...it reach the limit you have SET for PS' access to the RAM. If say you set it to use up to 256mb if it exceeds that..it will start to look for your scratch disk to carry on heh.

Also note that not all data can be recover as some are very much kept in a format that only PS know how to read. I usually find this more useful in my other graphic design s/w.

Another more troublesome way to avoid your PS from using scratch disk is to once in a while, flush all your undo steps in PS. For example if you have done certain things to your photo that you are happy and will not change. Then use the PURGE to throw away your "undo" steps and other stuff that way you flush them away from your RAM.

But really..if you are onlyworking with one single photo (say a 6-10mp photo) in PS, no other s/w are opening at the same time and you have like 2 gig of RAM...and you set your PS to use say 60% of your available physical RAM which is more then 1 gig! you hardly will "scratch" your scratch disk if you pardon my pun heheheheh... true you can set your PS to keep as many UNDOs as you can possibly get with it but there will be limit which once reached will start to erase your earlier UNDOs as you keep add more to it.

Designer like myself can max it really easy as we don't work in just one photo or one single photo with one layer. We do an advertisement and we could have another from 5 layers to 30 layers or more. So PS will have to remember all those layers and all the UNDOs and other stuff as well...so it all adds up. For simple PP work like adjust the contrast, some cropping, some colour shifting...etc You hardly are pushing the limits really.

If you are...you will know because as you start to get into the scratch disk area....any PP you are working on the photo will take way longer to complete heheh... Sometime just adjust the hue and you click instead of taking like a few seconds for a A4 size it start to take like 1 or 2 mins to complete and you see your HDD light keep blinking heheh.. that is when you know your PS is using your scratch disk man. heheheh....

I do outdoor banners and say we have one that is about 20ft x 10ft. Of course I will not need to make such a huge artwork 1:1 ratio. It can be smaller but even then one layer size of the artwork would already be about 500mb or more!. Imagine working with various layers on my PC with only 2 gig of ram. I could click and use a function like auto colour and then apply it. I could go make myself a cup of coffee...go to the toilet and come back and it is still number crunching heheh...

I also tend to experience crashing in scratch disk when it runs out of that or sometime for some silly reason PS just kicks scratch disk and hangs itself...not sure why. So you can say I am very nervous with memory management when I do large artwork. I tend to purge alot!!!! and watching my resources heheh
 

yanyewkay

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Sep 22, 2004
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#7
I kinda gave up on undos because when i start stroking with the tablet, the undo list gets filled up with tiny strokes of brush movements. I can totally understand that blinking HDD led and 2 min for simple operations. I do get that quite often, that was why I was so happy to find this software when my friend recommended it to me.

Great insight and better understanding of PS for me today :thumbsup: thanks sammy
 

#8
I kinda gave up on undos because when i start stroking with the tablet, the undo list gets filled up with tiny strokes of brush movements. I can totally understand that blinking HDD led and 2 min for simple operations. I do get that quite often, that was why I was so happy to find this software when my friend recommended it to me.

Great insight and better understanding of PS for me today :thumbsup: thanks sammy
No problem man.

And yes I can understand what you mean when you use your tablet to do those stroke touchup heh.. When you hold down to do the strokes...each time you press and you let go at the end, they register it as "1 undo" so imagine you stroking away with your pen tablet heheheheh.... wah.. you end up with lots of undo till it has to start delete your earliers ones heh.

So if I want to lighten some parts of a photo..I try to do it all at one go. I will float it about very quickly and get as much done in one stroke so it register as "1 undo" so if I don't like it I just click undo. What I do to make that easier to do in one stroke is to moderate the strength of the erase or painting...eg. I will set the strenght to about 10%. It will take abit longer but at the same time I get to make touchup that is more subtle and delicate. I slowly build up or fade parts of a photo away which I think looked better and more gradual. When I go touch up I never like to use 100% strenght. Anyway this help me to keep the "undo" steps down abit hehe...
 

Rashkae

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Nov 28, 2005
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#9
I use a 64-bit OS on an athlon dual-core with 8GB RAM. 4GB is the scratchdisk RAMDrive. Works great.
 

David Chin

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Oct 31, 2006
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#12
This could be OT. Although I physically installed 4 GB of RAM, the Windows OS only recognises and uses 3 GB. Is there any way of making use of the 1 GB of RAM that is otherwise redundant as a scratchdisk?
 

Rashkae

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Nov 28, 2005
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#13
This could be OT. Although I physically installed 4 GB of RAM, the Windows OS only recognises and uses 3 GB. Is there any way of making use of the 1 GB of RAM that is otherwise redundant as a scratchdisk?
Not really. It's a limitation of the 32-bit windows. That's why I multi-boot into 64-bit.
 

slaam

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Aug 29, 2004
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#14
I kinda gave up on undos because when i start stroking with the tablet, the undo list gets filled up with tiny strokes of brush movements. I can totally understand that blinking HDD led and 2 min for simple operations. I do get that quite often, that was why I was so happy to find this software when my friend recommended it to me.

Great insight and better understanding of PS for me today :thumbsup: thanks sammy
hmm your prob can be solved by taking regular snapshots of the image..
i.e. stroking until happy then snapshot
so you dun have to keep using the undo history.

cheers
 

initialE24

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Dec 18, 2004
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#15
This could be OT. Although I physically installed 4 GB of RAM, the Windows OS only recognises and uses 3 GB. Is there any way of making use of the 1 GB of RAM that is otherwise redundant as a scratchdisk?
install 64bit OS... otherwise sell your 1gb away.. lol...

if your OS cannot detect our 1gb, dun think can use as scratch also. wat u can't see, can't be help...
 

lsisaxon

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Nov 29, 2004
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#16
Not really. It's a limitation of the 32-bit windows. That's why I multi-boot into 64-bit.
Might even be a hardware limitation. Need to check with the board manufacturer to see how much RAM is addressable. 32-bit OS should be able to address 4Gb without problem, no?
 

slaam

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#17
its not a hardware limitation.
4 gb limit by 32 bit OS will show as 3.25 or similar gb of RAM
either get vista 64bit or xp 64 bit
or better yet get 64bit ubuntu like me
heheheh I see 15.7gb of ram for 16gb of RAM on my intel quad core
 

#18
its not a hardware limitation.
4 gb limit by 32 bit OS will show as 3.25 or similar gb of RAM
either get vista 64bit or xp 64 bit
or better yet get 64bit ubuntu like me
heheheh I see 15.7gb of ram for 16gb of RAM on my intel quad core
You got that right about the limitation. 64bit is the way to go. In my case I got a worst case scenario then a hardware or OS limitation......I got a stingy boss hehehe
 

slaam

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#19

Del_CtrlnoAlt

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#20
its not a hardware limitation.
4 gb limit by 32 bit OS will show as 3.25 or similar gb of RAM
either get vista 64bit or xp 64 bit
or better yet get 64bit ubuntu like me
heheheh I see 15.7gb of ram for 16gb of RAM on my intel quad core
u ish backside darn itchy... lol...

16gb of ram... wat u doing? :think:
 

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