External HD and DXO Photolab

At the moment I’m considering a new iMac (2019). I already have an external HD (Lacie 6Tb Thunderbolt 3). My current iMac (end 2013) has a 3Tb Fusion Drive. I’m using 1Tb at the moment. So, I keep all my programs and files on internal HD (I still have 2Tb left). Lacie mainly for Time Machine backups. Works fine.

With a new iMac I consider the maxed out 2Tb SSD version. That’s 1Tb less internal storage.
I like to load of some files/programms (?) to my Lacie, so that I’ve got more room on 2Tb SSD internal.
Because I do not have to import imagefiles into Photolab (PL2 just sees them on my iMacs internal HD), I wonder what you would do to unload the internal HD (or SSD with new iMac)?
Will PL “read” of my external when I open PL2? Would it be much slower?
Any advice is very welcome!
Thank you!

Thunderbolt 3 is pretty fast. I wouldn’t expect there to be a noticeable decrease in speed based on using an external drive - maybe slightly slower in loading up the photos when switching between them, but not enough for you to not do it…

That’s my opinion, of course…

  • Jon

Thank you Jon. Tb 3 should be very fast indeed, but still a spinning harddisk …internal is a SSD. I wonder how much of a difference in speed it would make

Yes, that’s true - but I’m betting that it isn’t a deal killer… Give it a try and let us know your experience!

  • Jon

I use a 2018 MacBook Pro with limited internal space so I attached an external ssd for my image storage. That ssd is reasonably fast, but uses a usb 3 UASP connection so I can be sure how it compares to a Thunderbolt 3 spinner, however I have noticed no slowdown in using the external drive for images with any editing software.

I have compared them directly by copying images onto my internal ssd and then editing both with PL2 and seen no difference.

I will Jon. Once I’ve decided to buy the new iMac 2019.

Thank you Mike!
As you read, my external isn’t a SSD, but a HD that can use TB3 anyway. Do you use the external only for image storage, or also for programs / editing software (like PL2/others maybe)?

Would it be possible and effective to completely delete images/image files from “Photo’s”, to create more free space on my present internal SSD?

> Do you use the external only for image storage, or also for programs / editing software (like PL2/others maybe)?

I have only limited space on my MBP (256GB) so I use the external ssd to store all of the digital images I need to edit. I also use it for the images I use for my wallpaper (1700+ images, about 10 GB), for some apps that I rarely use (Xcode for example), for large items that I sometimes need (like tutorials) and for the Parallels pvm file for when I want to run Windows (rarely). I can say that I do not notice any slowdown in accessing any of this.

Of course it is an ssd and you are talking about a Fusion Drive, but then my ssd is usb3 and your Fusion Drive is TB3, which should be a significantly faster connection. My ssd is mounted in a UASP enclosure so it is designed for higher speed, but it is still usb3.

> Would it be possible and effective to completely delete images/image files from “Photo’s”, to create more free space on my present internal SSD?

I do not use Photos much so I am not really familiar with how it works. However I did check the Preferences dialog in the Photos app and see that it seems to keep its library in a Documents/Data folder on my main ssd. You could try to copy that file (Photos Library.photoslibrary) to your external drive, rename the original and then change the Preferences setting to see if it still worked. If so, then you should be OK to move it. If not you should be able to change the file name back to what it was and reset the Preferences setting. But keep in mind that I do not use Photos often so you should take this advice with that in mind.

Hope this helps.

Thank you again Mike. Sure helps.
But… I probably made a mistake (?).
My present iMac (Fusion Drive 3 Terrabyte 2013) does nót have a TB3 connection. So my Fusion Drive is not TB3. My external Lacie does (but I obviously cannot use TB3 speed at this moment). On a new iMac, I will have 2Tb SSD internal and this Lacie external. With that new iMac, I cán use TB3 (2 TB3 ports on iMac 2019).
So on my new iMac it would be SSD and a Lacie TB3 external HD, which can be used at “full” TB3 speed.
Sorry for the possible confusion.

No problem.

By the way, what are you planning to do with your old iMac? I only ask because if you are not planning to sell it I assume you could “harvest” the Fusion Drive in it and use it as an external drive. It might be faster than your current external Lacie Drive since it is a Fusion Drive and I assume the Lacie is a spinner.

I did that with many of the old hard drives in my no-longer-used laptops. I don’t use them now because they are too old and slow, but a Fusion Drive would be faster and you could then hook it up using some fast external enclosure.

mujabad -> On your question about the Photo app - I moved my “Photos Library.photoslibrary” to an external hard drive and it works fine…

  • Jon

Thank you Mike
I’m planning to sell my old iMac. It still works very fine, shows no signs of usage at all (general usage). In some programs (like DXO PL2), I notice a delay/waiting for large (photo)files to load. After about an hour working in PL2, zooming in/out on images takes far too long (and zooming out sometimes only shows part of the image. Sometimes for minutes). Maybe I could manage another year (maybe longer) with this iMac but I don’t know if, or when, more “problems” will show up. I’ve been thinking about an Eizo screen (together with Mac Mini), but this iMac will probably serve me well for another 6/7 years.
Rumors are that next year (?) there will be a new version of the iMac (maybe smaller bezels and no chin. probably other internals , etc.). I’ll wait for the new Mac Pro (maybe announced next week), but this will probably be much too expensive for me.
I wouldn’t know how to “harvest” the Fusion Drive (not technical), and I wouldn’t know what to do with the rest of my Mac.

Thank you Jon. I just saw, that there are no images at all in Photos.
Is it possible for you to work on these “Photos” images straight from your external? Or do you have to import them to your internal to do that?

It could be that the system is using your Fusion Drive for temporary memory. In the older systems when main memory started to run short the system would “page” information to the hard drive and with a “spinner” this could end up taking up quite a bit of time. I do not know if that is what is happening with your system. The best approach to take care of that problem is to get extra RAM when you get your new machine.

My previous machine was a Mac mini with an external monitor. The new Minis are supposed to have more power than the previous ones (my Mini only had a dual core i7 chip and only offered a maximum of 16GB or RAM), but I did not see much trouble with it as it was. I think my Mini was a nice machine, but it was slow if I needed to do really intensive calculations. Editing raw images with PL2 was fast enough but exporting the images took far too long, especially if I was using Prime NR.

All the new “AI” software would have given it a tough time but the new Minis are supposed to have more advanced chips.

Hi Mike
At the moment I have 32Gb RAM. In a new iMac I will certainly get 64Gb…but maybe even 128Gb RAM. Should work…I hope.
“Paging” information to the hard drive could be a possibility. Not sure what to do about that now…

Yes, I use my external drive to add/delete files with the Photos app all the time…

  • Jon

Thank you Jon! Good to read!