There are many ways to tinker with and improve Photoshop’s performance, most importantly to allocate plenty of RAM for the application and utilizing a second hard drive as a scratch disk, both of which are sufficient most of the time. However, if you are working with large files on a regular basis, and file save and read times stifle your workflow, you may want to rethink your strategy and switch to SSDs for the most time consuming tasks.
I have had a hybrid setup on my Mac for a few years now, an SSD for my system and apps and a regular platter hard drive for file storage, and while recent SATA drives are plenty fast for most applications, performance takes a hard hit with huge Photoshop files. I’m just finishing up a retouching job where every psd file is larger than 1.35GB and some even hit the 2GB ceiling and I had to save the larger files as psb files (Large document format), the largest file weighs in at 2.76GB.
Regular HDDs didn’t cut it in terms of performance, and I ended up adding another SSD as an additional work drive for Photoshop files only & I was able to cut file opening times drastically (SSD 13.3 seconds vs HDD 32.5 seconds) and save a few percentage points during file saving (SSD 29.6 seconds vs HDD 37.2 seconds). I also allocated my regular 2TB HDD file storage drive as a scratch disk. All tested with a 2.76 GB psb file, 100% in RAM, Maximize Compatibility during save is on and a ton of other apps are open…
My Windows 8 PC’s performance also greatly improved with an SSD as a system/app drive… I remapped my document folders to a regular HDD and everything is flying pretty good.