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Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2015.4 Storage Optimization

Written on November 30, 2016 by Matt Bach


At Puget Systems, we have performed and published extensive testing looking at how different models of CPUs and video cards affect performance in Premiere Pro but have not yet delved into the topic of storage. A lot of the advice you commonly see concerning the number and kind of storage drives to use and the best way to configure them is based either on anecdotal evidence or information that is vastly out of date. For example, you might read that you need a RAID array for your source media - but this recommendation is often based around old information that pre-dates the existence of solid state drives.

To determine what storage configuration you actually need for Premiere Pro, we performed a comprehensive set of testing focused not only on the different types of drives currently available, but also a wide range of different drive configurations.

In order to draw meaningful conclusions from our testing, we had to gather and sort through a very large amount of benchmark results. While all of this data is available for you to examine, it can be a bit daunting to sift through it all. If you would rather skip over our individual benchmark results and simply view our conclusions, feel free to jump ahead to the conclusion section.

Test Setup

To benchmark the different storage configurations in Premiere Pro, we used the following hardware and software:

Testing Hardware
Motherboard: Asus X99 Deluxe II
CPU: Intel Core i7 6950X 3.0GHz (3.4-4GHz Turbo) 10 Core
RAM: 8x Samsung DDR4-2133 32GB ECC Reg. RDIMM (256GB total)
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB
Test Hard Drives: WD Red 4TB SATA 6Gb/s
(150 MB/s read, 150 MB/s write)
Samsung 850 Pro 1TB SATA 6Gb/s SSD
(550 MB/s read, 520 MB/s write)
Intel 750 1.2TB PCI-E SSD
(2,400 MB/s read, 1,200 MB/s write)
OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
PSU: EVGA SuperNOVA 1600W P2
Software: Premiere Pro CC 2015.4

Our test platform is based on the Standard Workstation from our Premiere Pro Recommended Systems with some of the highest-end hardware options in order to maximize the chance of finding any bottlenecks caused by the different storage configurations. To help with consistency - and since the benchmarks we performed ran for nearly a month straight - we created a custom automation script using AutoIt to start Premiere Pro, load the relevant project, time how long it takes to perform the action we are interested in, close Premiere Pro to clear any data from the system RAM, delete the media cache and any scratch files, then continue on to the next test.

Since we are concerned not only with the different ways you can configure your storage drives, but also the different types of drives that are available we will be using three different types of hard drives: a standard platter drive, a SATA SSD, and a PCI-E NVMe drive (which should also be a great representation of performance using a 3-5 disk SSD RAID1 array). While we cannot test every possible combination of drives, we will be testing a total of 14 different configurations - each based on recommendations we found on the web or the results of our prior testing.

The media files we will be using come from a variety of sources. Many of these are available for public download, while others were graciously provided to use in our Premiere Pro testing:

Resolution Codec FPS Source File Size Duration Average Bitrate
1080p H.264 59.94 Jerry Berg
Barnacules Nerdgasm
67.5 MB 18.8 sec 30.2 Mbps (3.8 MB/s)
1080p ProRes 422 23.976 ARRI
AMIRA Sample Footage
178 MB 11.3 sec 133 Mbps (16.6 MB/s)
1080p ProRes 4444 23.976 ARRI
AMIRA Sample Footage
354 MB 10.6 sec 281 Mbps (35.1 MB/s)
1080p DNxHD HQ 23.976   228 MB 10.6 sec 181 Mbps (22.6 MB/s)
4K H.264 29.97 Jerry Berg
Barnacules Nerdgasm
176 MB 24.5 sec 60.2 Mbps (7.5 MB/s)
4K ProRes 422HQ 24 Grant Petty
Blackmagic Design Forum
849 MB 10.2 sec 712 Mbps (89 MB/s)
4K ProRes 4444 25 ARRI
AMIRA Sample Footage
1.81 GB 16.6 sec 941 Mbps (118 MB/s)
4K  DNxHR HQ 23.976   1.79 GB 22 sec 702 Mbps (87.8 MB/s)
4K RED 23.976 Mike Pecci
Director & Photographer
611 MB 22 sec 220 Mbps (27.5 MB/s)
6K RED 23.976 Neumann Films
RED Dragon Test Shot
448 MB 10 sec 360 Mbps (45 MB/s)

Using these files, we will be testing a variety of different tasks which should give us a good idea of when a faster hard drive or different drive configuration will impact performance in Premiere Pro:

  • Media importing
  • Confirming audio
  • Generating peak files
  • Multistream playback
  • Rendering previews
  • Exporting to H.264
  • Exporting to DNxHD HQ and DNxHR HQ

For importing, conforming audio, and generating peak files we simply imported 100 copies of each media file into a new Premiere Pro project and timed how long it took to complete each action. To test multi stream playback, we created a project with 16 video tracks, each with their own separate media clip. These clips were scaled down to 25% and arranged to a 4x4 grid so that each clip was fully visible without any overlap.

For exporting and rendering previews, we used relatively simple timelines in order to keep them as real-world as possible. In the past, we've loaded on the effects to show the maximum difference between configurations, but we found that this was not representative of typical real-world performance and in this case might introduce CPU or GPU bottlenecks. These test timelines consisted of:

  • 4-6 clips arranged in series to make a 60 second timeline
  • A basic cross dissolve transition applied between each clip
  • Lumetri color correction effect applied to each clip
  • Vector-based logo graphic added to the bottom corner of the footage

Media Importing

To start our storage testing, we decided to begin with the task that you always do when starting a new project: importing media. Depending on the codec and number of clips you are importing, this task can take anywhere from a few seconds to as long as several minutes. One thing to note is that we found the total number of clips (not necessarily the size of each clip) is what largely determines how long it takes to import. So rather than importing a certain total size of clips, we instead opted to import 100 clips from each of our test media types.

Premiere Pro Storage Benchmark Import Media

[+] Show raw benchmark results

Looking at these results, it is pretty clear that there is the potential to greatly improve the time it takes to import media by optimizing your hard drive configuration. What is not obvious at first glance is that single most important thing you can do is to move the media cache off the main OS drive (which is the default) and onto almost any other drive. Compared to keeping everything on a single SATA SSD, this simple task makes importing media on average six to eight times faster. Keep in mind that this is just an average - if you work primarily with H.264 footage we actually saw a 20-30x improvement in import times!

It is worth noting that while some of our configurations using NVMe drives showed a 8x average increase in performance instead of just 6x, if you examine the raw results (which can be viewed by clicking the "Show raw benchmark results" link) this actually only equates to a relative difference of just 20%. So while you can get a bit faster import times by using that type of drive for either your project media or media cache, the decrease in import times will often actually only be a second or two at most.

Conforming Audio

Conforming audio is not something that has to be done with every media clip and from our 10 test clips there was actually only one (4K H.264) that needed to conform audio after the media was imported into Premiere Pro. Just like importing media, the results below are based on the time it took to conform audio for 100 separate clips.

Premiere Pro Storage Benchmark Conform Audio

[+] Show raw benchmark results

While the results are not quite as dramatic as they were in the previous section, there are still some important lessons to be learned. What we found is that the most important thing for this task is to have the project files (or source media) located on a fast drive. Simply having your project files on a SATA SSD makes conforming audio twice as fast as it would be on a platter drive and upgrading to a NVMe drive (or possibly a RAID of SATA SSDs) can improve performance by a further 30-40%

Generating Peak Files

Generating peak files is again something that did not always occur when we imported our test media (or it happened so quickly we could not accurate measure it) so once again our results are a bit limited in terms of the codecs tested. This time, we were able to benchmark using the 1080p DNxHD HQ and 4K DNxHR HQ footage.

Premiere Pro Storage Benchmark Generate Peak Files

[+] Show raw benchmark results

Overall, the results are strikingly similar to what we saw when conforming audio. Once again, what affects performance the most is simply the speed of the project drive that contains the source media. Really the only difference here is that the speed of this drive makes a bigger impact than it did in the last section. This time, if the media is on a platter drive it will take between two and five times longer depending on the type of footage you are working with. Similarly, upgrading the project drive to a NVMe drive improves performance by about 80%. Not quite twice as fast as a SATA SSD, but with some of the new faster NVMe drives becoming available a 2x increase in performance should not be too difficult to achieve.

Multistream Playback

For those that regularly need to play back more than one or two video streams at the same time, being able to do so live without the need to generate previews first can greatly accelerate their workflow. Since the number of streams we were able to playback varied so much depending on the resolution and codec, the results for this testing did not lend itself to a nice overall average graph like we are using in the other sections. Unfortunately, the best way we could find to present the results was to simply use a chart with all of the raw results. To make things a bit easier to read, however, we did opt color in the results that were lower than normal in red.

Note that since we resized each clip to 25% and arranged them in a 4x4 grid, the maximum number of streams we tested was 16. This means that when we list a result of "16", that really is just a minimum - it is entirely possible that the system is capable of playing back even a higher number of streams without previews, we simply did not test any higher.

1-2 Drive Multistream Playback
Total # of streams
without dropping frames

Samsung 850 Pro 1TB

Samsung 850 Pro 1TB
(OS, Cache)
(Projects, Export, Scratch)

Samsung 850 Pro 1TB
Samsung 850 Pro 1TB
(Projects, Export, Cache, Scratch)
Samsung 850 Pro 1TB
Samsung 850 Pro 1TB
(Projects, Export, Scratch)
Samsung 850 Pro 1TB
(OS, Projects)
Samsung 850 Pro 1TB
(Export, Cache, Scratch)
Samsung 850 Pro 1TB
Intel 750 1.2TB
(Projects, Export, Cache,  Scratch)
Samsung 850 Pro 1TB
(OS, Cache)
Intel 750 1.2TB
Projects, Export, Scratch)
1080p H.264 16+ 16+ 16+ 16+ 16+ 16+ 16+ 16+
1080p ProRes 422 4 16+ 4 16+ 16+ 16+ 16+ 16+
1080p ProRes 4444 2 14 2 14 14 14 13 13
1080p DNxHD HQ 0 16+ 1 16+ 16+ 16+ 16+ 16+
4K H.264 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
4K ProRes 422 HQ 1 5 1 5 5 5 5 5
4K ProRes 4444 1 3 1 3 3 3 3 3
4K DNxHR HQ 0 4 0 4 4 4 4 4
4K RED 4 8 3 8 8 8 8 8
6K RED 2 5 2 5 5 5 5 5


3-5 Drive Multistream Playback
Total # of streams
without dropping frames

Samsung 850 Pro 1TB
Samsung 850 Pro 1TB
(Export, Cache, Scratch)
Samsung 850 Pro 1TB
Samsung 850 Pro 1TB
(Projects, Export)
Samsung 850 Pro 1TB
Cache, Scratch)
Samsung 850 Pro 1TB
Samsung 850 Pro 1TB
(Projects, Export)
Intel 750 1.2TB
(Cache, Scratch)
Samsung 850 Pro 1TB
Intel 750 1.2TB
(Projects, Export)
Samsung 850 Pro 1TB
Cache, Scratch)
Samsung 850 Pro 1TB
Intel 750 1.2TB
(Projects, Export)
Intel 750 1.2TB
(Cache, Scratch)
Samsung 850 Pro 1TB (OS)
Samsung 850 Pro 1TB (Projects)
Samsung 850 Pro 1TB (Export)
Samsung 850 Pro 1TB (Cache)
Samsung 850 Pro 1TB (Scratch)
1080p H.264 16+ 16+ 16+ 16+ 16+ 16+
1080p ProRes 422 4 16+ 16+ 16+ 16+ 16+
1080p ProRes 4444 2 14 14 14 13 14
1080p DNxHD HQ 1 16+ 16+ 16+ 16+ 16+
4K H.264 5 5 5 5 5 5
4K ProRes 422 HQ 1 5 5 5 5 5
4K ProRes 4444 1 3 3 3 3 3
4K DNxHR HQ 0 4 4 4 3 4
4K RED 4 8 8 8 8 8
6K RED 2 5 5 5 5 5

Once again, there is a pretty clear trend. Just like conforming audio and generating peak files, the main thing we found that will limit the number of video streams you can play live is the speed of the project drive with the source media. It didn't seem to matter for either 1080p or 4K H.264 - those are highly compressed codecs so we are likely CPU bottlenecked - but for everything else it resulted in dramatic differences. In the worst case (1080p DNxHD HQ) we went from being able to play live 16+ streams to only one or even no streams!

Unlike the previous two sections, however, upgrading the project drive to something even faster than a SATA SSD did not appear to make much of a difference. This is an indication that a SATA SSD is more than capable of keeping up with the rest of the system so the speed of the project drive is no longer the limiting factor. This may change in the future when faster CPUs and video cards become available, but for now upgrading to a NVMe drive or RAID array will not allow you to play back a higher number of video streams live.

Render Previews

Rendering previews is something every Premiere Pro user wishes they didn't have to do, but sometimes it is simply necessary. As we stated in the setup section, to see how quickly each storage configuration is able to render previews with each type of test media we created a 60 second timeline with 4-6 clips arranged in series with a cross dissolve transition between each. On top of that, we applied a lumetri color correction and added a vector logo onto the bottom-right of the footage.

Premiere Pro Storage Benchmark Render Previews

[+] Show raw benchmark results

Overall, the differences between the storage configurations we tested are much smaller than what we saw in the previous sections. Using a platter drive for the project and scratch files did reduce performance a bit, but only by 5-15%. This is definitely enough to warrant keeping your source media and scratch files on a SATA SSD, but we honestly expected a larger difference considering the platter drive we are using is roughly four times slower than the SATA SSD.

Having the project media and scratch files located on a drive other than the OS drive improved performance a little bit, but only by a very modest 2-3%. As for upgrading to a faster NVMe (or RAID of SATA SSDs) for either the project drive or scratch drive (or both), we did not see the faster drives make a measurable impact on performance.

Exporting to H.264

While H.264 may not be the best codec to export to in all situations, it is still one of the most common. As we stated in the setup section, to see how quickly each storage configuration was able to export to H.264 with each type of test media we created a 60 second timeline with 4-6 clips arranged in series with a cross dissolve transition between each. On top of that, we applied a lumetri color correction and added a vector logo onto the bottom-right of the footage. Note that when the source footage was 4K or higher, we tested exporting to both H.264 1080p and 4K.

Premiere Pro Storage Benchmark Export to H.264

[+] Show raw benchmark results

Overall, there is very little difference between most of the storage configurations when exporting to H.264. In fact, the only real thing you should avoid doing is having your project and source media on a slower platter drive since that results in about a 7% drop in performance. Once you move those files onto a SATA SSD, however, you should be getting the best performance possible so there is no need to upgrade to a faster NVMe drive or RAID array.

Interestingly, unlike the results when rendering previews, there appears to be no advantage to moving your project and scratch files off the primary OS drive. So while not ideal for some other tasks, having just a single SATA SSD is perfectly fine when exporting to H.264.

Exporting to DNxHD HQ & DNxHR HQ

Compared to H.264, DNxHD HQ and DNxHR HQ are relatively uncompressed so these codecs should be a better test of whether different storage configurations are faster for exporting. Just as a frame of reference, at 1080p a DNxHD HQ file should be about 6 times larger than H.264 and at 4K a DNxHR HQ file should be almost 12 times larger.

Once again, we created a 60 second timeline with 4-6 clips arranged in series with a cross dissolve transition between each. On top of that, we applied a lumetri color correction and added a vector logo onto the bottom-right of the footage. Note that when the source footage was 4K or higher, we tested exporting to both DNxHD HQ 1080p and DNxHR HQ 4K.

Premiere Pro Storage Benchmark Export to DNxHD and DNxHR

[+] Show raw benchmark results

Just like with H.264, we saw a drop in performance when the project and source files were located on a platter drive although this time the difference was much larger. Instead of ~7%, we are now seeing an average of 13-24% increase in export times. Keep in mind that this is just an average and in some cases having the project files on a platter drive resulted in exports that took almost twice as long.

Once again, having a separate project or export drive doesn't appear to make a very big difference. Whether you are exporting to a highly compressed codec like H.264 or a much larger codec like DNxHD/HR HQ, our testing indicates that as long as your project files are on a SATA SSD you will be able to export at full speed.


Since many of our results varied based on the codec of the media, if you primarily work with one type of footage that we tested we highly recommend looking at that specific testing result to determine which storage configuration is best for you. However, based on our overall testing we can make a general list of recommendations for the different tasks we tested in Premiere Pro:

Storage Recommendations
Importing Media
  1. Move the media cache drive off the OS drive (averages more than a 6x increase in performance, in some instances can be 20-30x faster!)
  2. Use at least an SSD for the media cache drive
  3. Having either the project files or media cache on a faster NVMe or RAID drive can increase performance (~20% on average)
Conforming Audio
  1. Use an SSD for your projects drive with the source media (twice as fast as a platter drive)
  2. Faster projects drive can potentially increase performance by ~20-40%
Generating Peak Files
  1. Use an SSD for your projects drive with the source media (2-5x faster than a platter drive)
  2. Faster projects drive can potentially increase performance by up to 80%
Multistream Playback
  1. Use an SSD for the projects drive (H.264 is fine on a platter, but other codecs will see a significant drop in the number of video streams you can play live)
Render Previews
  1. Use an SSD for the projects and scratch drive (platter is 5-15% slower)
  2. Faster or separate project and scratch drive do not significantly improve performance
Export to H.264
  1. Use an SSD for the projects drive (platter is ~7% slower)
  2. Faster or separate project and export drive do not improve performance
Export to DnXHD HQ & DnXHR HQ
  1. Use an SSD for the Projects drive (platter is 13-24% slower)
  2. Faster or separate project and export drive do not improve performance

While there are some clear trends, such as using at least an SSD for your project files, even the chart above can be difficult to quickly wrap your head around. Because of this, we also wanted to give an example of three different storage configurations that we would consider optimal for Premiere Pro:

Good Better
(Improved organization & capacity)
(Moderate performance improvement when importing media, conforming audio and generating peak files)
Primary SSD
OS & Software
Primary SSD
OS & Software
Primary SSD
OS & Software
Secondary SSD
Project files, Scratch, & Media Cache
Secondary SSD
Project files
Secondary NVMe/RAID
Project files
  Tertiary SSD
Media Cache & Scratch
Tertiary SSD
Media Cache & Scratch
Optional Platter/SSD
Storage & Archive
Optional Platter/SSD
Storage & Archive
Optional Platter/SSD
Storage & Archive

While any of the above configurations will work great, it is worth noting that there is little to no performance advantage between the "good" and "better" configurations. The tertiary SSD on the "better" configuration simply makes it extremely easy to periodically clean out all the temporary files you may no longer need and helps offset the relatively small capacities currently available for solid state drives by dividing your files across two separate drives.

If you need any assistance moving your media cache and scratch files, we have a short YouTube tutorial available below showing you the exact steps needed to do so. One last thing we will note is that these results are only completely accurate for Premiere Pro 2015.4. We've seen fairly wide shifts in what hardware is best for Premiere in the past, so if you are still using 2014, CS6, or some other older (or newer) version, this testing may not be be a perfect representation of what you would see yourself.

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Tags: Adobe, Premiere Pro, Storage
Avatar Ben Milford

Thank you for this in depth article! I've had quite a bit of trouble up until now on finding up to date information on hard drive configurations.

Posted on 2017-01-12 16:39:24

I just miss that Samsung 950 or 960 series were tested this time. As I've seen in other forums 960 pros are perfectly capable to work alone and have the same performance as a SATA and PCIe together.

Hope that they're included next time!


Posted on 2017-01-16 22:33:43

The Intel 750 series drive we tested is basically the same speed as the Samsung 950 M.2 drives. The 960 is faster, yes, but it wasn't yet available when we did this testing. Still, you can get an idea of whether it would help or not: if the Intel 750 doesn't improve performance compared to a Samsung 850 (normal SATA SSD) then the 950 / 960 wouldn't help either.

Posted on 2017-01-16 22:47:47

Hey, William! Thank you for your quick answer.

I just didn't thought that the 750 was at the same level as the Samsungs provided that Samsung ones were almost 25% faster on sequential reads, but anyway I get your point. Thanks for clarifying it!

I just thought that there was room for an improvement taking a look at the results of the PPBM7 benchmark (I don't know if I'm allowed to share links, so you can Google it), as I saw differences in the Disk Intensive benchmark that there was a big difference between two 840's and a 960 (19 secods vs 84 seconds).

Take a look if you don't know about it and tell me something!

Thax a lot again!

Posted on 2017-01-16 23:52:10

I have heard of the PPBM7 benchmark, but am not familiar with any specific results. You can link to them here if you wish, I think. Others on here may also be more familiar with that test and what sort of results people have published for it.

Posted on 2017-01-17 00:14:17


Some background of the disk test: http://ppbm7.com/index.php/...

A little about test methodology: http://ppbm7.com/index.php/...

There it states: DISK I/O test: The overriding factor is disk speed here. The test uses many small reads and a large sequential write (around 37 GB). Number of cores makes no real difference (it is not well multithreaded), but clock speed does.

All results are all listed here in a table: http://ppbm7.com/index.php/...

If you sort the table by disk i/o you'll see that the fastest ones (19s) are either large RAID arrays or PCIe drives, some of them with other additional SSD some just the PCIe drive. The results are about how much it lasts to finish encoding the sample.

I took for comparison a result that only had 2x 840's uploaded on 2015-10-11 00:51:58 called ASUS.speccy that scored 83s and the last results posted that still haven't been uploaded to the table using the 960 PRO alone, in RAID and with a SATA III drive scoring always 19s the slowest seen. You can find the results here: http://ppbm8.com/Storage/Bo...

With all of this I just want to clarify what makes this huge difference (almost 4x faster) and why it is not reflected in this tests.

Thank you a lot for your interest and help!

Posted on 2017-01-17 00:30:01

It sounds like that portion of the benchmark is just an artificial test of drive speed. Such a test would certainly show a big difference between a M.2 / PCI-E based SSD and traditional SATA based SSDs. The more important question, though, is whether that difference actually shows itself in real-world usage. That is what we were testing with the article above :)

Posted on 2017-01-17 00:42:49

I'll just tack on here that we actually used to use the PPBM6 benchmark a few years back, but we moved over to our own timelines with just Lumetri color correction, basic transitions, and a graphic overlay because of a couple reasons. First, the PPBM benchmark didn't test the range of codecs and resolutions we wanted to look at. I don't blame them since testing all these codecs takes forever and isn't something most users are going to want to do, but we definitely want to look at more than just H.264 and MPEG2.

Second, we thought that the benchmark wasn't very realistic - some of the tests have tons of layers with different opacity, movement, and a bunch of other random things going on. That can be good to show the maximum theoretical difference between different components in Premiere Pro, but isn't really accurate for how anyone actually uses Premiere in the real world.

Lastly, the tests are a bit too quick to finish and because of how they do their timing (I believe it is based on timestamps of file creation and modify) their margin of error is a full second. That can be fine if the test takes long enough, but their storage test for example only takes ~20 seconds. At that short of a test, the difference between 20.5 and 21.4 seconds is pretty big, but might get reported as the same result.

I really like what PPBM is doing and I think they have the right idea, but the goal of their testing is just a little bit different from ours. They are going for a benchmark anyone can run on their own system that will show the largest differences between hardware in a very limited scenario. Our testing isn't easy for someone else to run, but we feel it is much more real-world for how video editors actually use Premiere Pro.

Posted on 2017-01-17 00:54:29

Matt & William, just let me give you thanks for all your time and effort to explain everything here.

All the explanations are clear and more than enough for what I was asking and wondering.

Thank you a lot.


Posted on 2017-01-17 21:03:38
Avatar Walter West

I'm in the process of upgrading my PC and I am unsure about one thing - Storage Size. My dilemma is between purchasing a 250GB SSD or a 500GB SSD. The SSD will be used for OS/Software only, and all other files will be stored on a separate drive. I do audio recording/composing, video production, and app development for personal use only, so my question is, would the 500GB SSD be overkill?

Here is a list of software that will be on the SSD drive:
Windows 10 Pro
Propellerhead Reason
Android Studio
Adobe Creative Cloud
3ds Max
MS Office 365
Guitar Pro

Thank you for your time,
Walter West

Posted on 2017-01-23 23:21:38

I would recommend a 500GB drive. You have a lot of stuff listed there, plus some space on the primary drive (wherever Windows is installed) will use additional space: virtual memory, hibernation files (if you use that feature), Windows updates, etc. It is easier and safer to go a little larger than you might need - the alternative is to risk running out of space later and having to upgrade (which is doable, but a little messy).

Posted on 2017-01-23 23:32:26
Avatar Walter West

Thanks for the quick response. Much appreciated.

Posted on 2017-01-23 23:48:45
Avatar Ignacio Yuba

Hello. Great article as usual.
I am the owner of a small production company in Argentina dedicated to filming live shows... mainly musical theater. We mainly use Lumix G7 and FZ1000 cameras in 4K and soon we will incorporate a FZ2500 and then a GH5.

Usually our projects are done with three or more cameras, which generates a lot of data and usually we have more than one project simultaneously.
With this in mind, we are in the process of improving our main rig. It has an i7 6700K CPU, 32GB DDR4 RAM, a GTX1070 GPU with 8GB. This system has served us well for our purposes but I want to improve storage.

Currently it has an SSD 850 EVO of 500GB for OS and Adobe CC, a WD Green of 4TB as long-term backup and two WD Red of 2TB in Raid 0 for media storage.

I know that this is a configuration that is not optimal but given that each of our projects exceeds 400gb of data, it is almost impossible for us to switch to SSDs for media storage.

I am thinking of buying a Samsung 960 Evo for OS and Adobe CC, use the Evo 850 for cache files and change the pair of WD Red for two 7200 rpm platters and use them also in Raid 0. I think this should be a major improvement But I would like to consult you if you can advise me on a better configuration.

Thank you very much for your help.

Posted on 2017-02-08 05:27:03
Avatar Keith Meline

Perhaps someone can answer my question. Why do I need all this speed from these drives when PP is only using 2% of my drive speed while rendering or playing back the timeline? I have my OS on a SSD, and my media on a separate SSD. I’m running a OC’d 2700k and 1070. Both see ~45% usage when rendering… so what is slowing down my system.
Editing footage from a DJI phantom 4 in 4k is impossible without prerendering.

Posted on 2017-03-12 13:12:11

Most likely, I think your slowdown is caused by one of two things:

1) RAM speed - If you are using a 2700K, that means you are using older DDR3 memory which may be a bottleneck. It is really hard to tell for sure, however, since there is not load % reporting in Windows like there is for storage/CPU
2) It could still be CPU - Make sure you are looking at per-core load rather than full CPU load. If Premiere is loading just one or two cores to near 100%, then the CPU is likely your bottleneck

To fix either one you will be looking at a completely new system, unfortunately. The 2700K is a pretty old CPU at this point so upgrading to a 7700K (or even better a 6850K/6900K) should give you some pretty significant performance increases. Based on what we've seen in other testing, I would guess somewhere around a 40-50% increase in performance assuming you overclock again or 30-40% if you keep the new system at stock speeds.

Posted on 2017-03-13 18:18:31
Avatar Karl

At wish resolution did premiere playback in the multistream tests?

Posted on 2017-03-25 18:41:54

We did our testing at full resolution.

Posted on 2017-03-27 17:33:11
Avatar MikeDeM

Thanks for this article! It's been like a bible while I've been working on a build for my first real workstation.

I do have a question that I haven't been able to find a good answer on though:
As a Youtuber with maybe 5 hours (1080p, h264, around 10-15 bitrate; but assuming higher quality all around with the new build) of active workable footage at a time max, how much storage should my work drives have?
I'm thinking I can get away with three 120gb drives (maybe 250 for OS) and then big mirrored archival HDDs, but I don't want to be completely wrong about it.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

Posted on 2017-04-09 22:59:30

Matt may be able to answer better, but some off-the-cuff math:

15 Mbps (if I understood your post correctly) is about 2MB/s, and at that rate every minute of footage would take up 120MB. Every hour is then 7.2GB, and 5 hours of video would only take up 36GB. So if that is correct, then yes: a 120GB SSD would be sufficient for the footage, and another for media cache and scratch shouldn't need to be any bigger. I personally like a 500GB SSD for the OS and applications, but if you keep all your other stuff off then a 250GB drive ought to work too.

That is all assuming the numbers you gave, though. If your footage is higher bitrate, or you have more of it that you are working on, the necessary drive capacity would rise dramatically.

Posted on 2017-04-10 04:55:00

Thanks for this extremely valuable advice on an underestimated concern for speeding up editing. I wrote a general guide at the time when Skylake launched: www.focuspulling.com/pc. Since then, I've arrived at that holy grail of a 100% SSD workstation, with five internal SSDs. The practical reality for almost everyone, though, beyond the theoretical principles you propose here, is that almost all configurations get only one shot at an NVMe drive, because of the PCIe lanes on a motherboard. (I realize that it's possible to configure an extreme -- and extremely expensive -- system with multiple NVMe SSDs running at full throttle, but let's be real!) Thus, the up-to-date, leading edge, contemporary question, especially since this article pre-dates the arrival of NVMe SSDs -- is how to allocate these tasks when there is one NVMe drive (mine is a Samsung 960 EVO) and a bunch of other SSDs -- let's agree that the 6 Mbps SATA bus gets saturated enough to make non-NVMe SSDs are largely equivalent in comparison. IN THAT CONTEXT, I suspect that the cache and scratch files are best allocated to the speedy boot drive, which is always NVMe. But have you performed actual, concrete, objective tests (not just looking to prove a principle) where it's better to boot from a SATA SSD, and allocate the NVMe to a combination video source/cache-scratch designation?

Posted on 2017-04-12 17:29:06

In a perfect world, I would put your project files and source media on the NVMe drive and keep your OS/Programs/Scratch/etc on standard SSDs. We did test a NVMe drive in this article (the Intel 750) and while the newer drives like the Samsung 960 EVO/Pro are a bit faster it shouldn't be vastly different from what we saw. Overall, there shouldn't be much of a performance difference by having the scratch and/or media cache on a NVMe drive so unless you are really limited on RAM and using that scratch drive constantly I don't think that is worth it. On the other hand, with the source media on a NVME we saw minor performance gains when importing, conforming audio, and generating peak files. I have also seen times where a standard SSD isn't able to keep up with the speed needed to read the source media - mostly with 4K+ RAW footage where we saw something like a 50% drop in export performance and it was the difference between needing previews and not in order to play through a basic timeline.

The problem for most people is that NVMe drives are only available in relatively small sizes (1-2TB max) so if you need a lot of storage for your source media it can start to get pretty expensive. On the other hand, NVMe is only around 30% more expensive than a high-quality SSD and if it can save you even a little time, for many that price increase is simply a cost of business.

Posted on 2017-04-12 17:45:58

Understanding all that, it still feels unresponsive to the dilemma presented, and also speculative with a remaining lack of direct testing. The dilemma is the existence of a single NVMe drive, upon which the primacy of allocating the boot drive is beyond reproach (in your analysis so far). What room remains on that singular, fastest drive in almost ANY system, and how to use it, is the question. I get that putting source material on an NVMe drive is the best scenario, but actual testing would put to the test an otherwise taboo pairing of a boot drive with source media. I think the question of where to put scratch media/cache files distracted you, even though it's a trailing question. My 1TB NVMe drive, properly installed to exploit the full bandwidth of the one fastest PCIe lane, could hold SOME source media in combination with my boot files, but again: boot disk being the same disk as the source media? Audience usually gasps.

Posted on 2017-04-13 22:08:00

Just to chime in a little here, I don't think that it is required to have the boot drive be a NVMe just because one is present in the system. Yes, booting from a NVMe drive has some advantages - but it sounds like in this specific situation having the project files on NVMe is more important than having the OS and applications on that type of drive.

There are also a number of ways to have multiple NVMe drives these days. Some motherboards have two M.2 slots, for example, and you can use fairly cheap adapters to mount M.2 drives in a PCI-Express slot as well. So you could have both your boot drive and project files on NVMe drives if you want, provided enough M.2 or spare PCI-Express slots.

Posted on 2017-04-13 22:15:21
Avatar Jon Pennington

For Premiere Pro and light After Effects, if one uses an 850 SATA drive for boot, a 960 NVME drive for media, and another 850 SATA for cache, is there an impact on moving the physical location of the Windows page file to one of the other drives? What if the configuration is SATA+NVME+NVME?

Posted on 2017-06-16 15:11:58

I don't think you would notice a performance difference moving the page file off your OS drive, but there might be a theoretical performance gain by moving it to one of your other drives. This isn't something we have tested, but personally I would move it to your scratch drive if I was worried about it. Again, I don't think it will be a big deal, however, so I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Posted on 2017-06-19 17:58:15

Hey, guys! How do you think it compares having 2x 1TB 850 Pro against 1x 2TB 960 Pro or 1x 1TB 960 Pro performance wise?

I'm just asking as you told that the 960 Pro wasn't available when you made this test but I've seen you using it in the last 4 or 5 tests.

A friend is building a new system and we're deciding where to put the money and he values having just one drive instead of two.

Is there any performance advantage or drawbacks using Premiere Pro?

Thanks a lot for your help!

Posted on 2017-06-23 20:28:59

In most instances, the Samsung 960 Pro is going to perform pretty close to the Intel 750 we tested in this article. Generally, I would recommend with a two drive setup since that would allow you to get the media cache off your OS drive which makes a huge impact when importing media, generating peak files, and conforming audio. It basically make Premiere much snappier and quicker when getting started on a project or when you need to quickly import some new media.

A single Samsung 960 Pro I would really only do if you work with RAW footage. In that case, the extra performance is often necessary to get live playback since RAW files require so much bandwidth. Other than that, however, you really won't notice much of a difference between a NVMe drive and a normal SATA SSD. Even things like opening projects or live playback (except with RAW) we found to be roughly the same since even a SATA SSD is so fast that it really isn't the bottleneck. For most things, you are going to be CPU or GPU limited before you have a problem with storage speed.

Posted on 2017-06-23 22:50:26

Thanks for your quick answer!

I'm just naming the Samsung 960 Pro because the price for 2TB is very similar to two 1TB 850 pro. And the 1TB is almost half the price while being way faster (even if its not that noticeable for Premiere). Not even talking about de 960 Evo.

Even if it performs like the Intel 750 there are no test of the Intel 750 alone compared to the others, thats why I asking this question after seeing that you were using that configuration (1TB 960 Pro) on your tests.

Thanks again!

Posted on 2017-06-23 23:03:32
Avatar Jeremy

How do you claim to be using 256mb when the mother board only supports 128?

Posted on 2017-07-18 15:00:27

A number of X99 motherboards (along with the Core i7 6XXX CPUs) actually support Registered memory, just not officially. So on most ATX boards with 8 RAM slots, you can actually use up to 512GB of RAM if you use 64GB Registered sticks

Asus doesn't list it in their specs, but we do our own qualification and testing to ensure the RAM we use in our workstations works properly with no problems. We're also starting to use Gigabyte more and more these days, and they actually list support for Registered RAM in their specs: https://www.gigabyte.com/Mo... .Just as a side note, this is also true for the new X299 platform.

Posted on 2017-07-18 18:06:11
Avatar Wyatt Winborne

I've been in the process of researching switching from Mac to PC for my post workflow for about 2.5 months now and I think I have it all pretty much figured out, I'm almost ready to take the plunge. However, I can't seem to find and answer to the following question. It's very possible I'm just missing something, as my computer vocabulary is only 2.5 months old, I apologize in advance if that's the case.

As much as I would love to store all my source media on a 1TB 960 pro (which I plan on using in my build), my budget will not allow it, as I work with ARRI ProRes 4444 frequently. In the past, working with Mac, I have kept my source media, proxies, scratch disk and cache on a 2X 7200 8tb Raid 0 G-Drive with thunderbolt 2 (this did not perform well for me). So my question is, if I were to keep my project files on the 960 pro, cache and scratch on a 250GB 850 evo, but the source media on the 8tb Raid 0, how much would I actually be slowing down my workflow if at all?

Posted on 2017-07-29 04:13:20

Having your source media on a fast drive is honestly more important than having a fast cache drive. We usually recommend having your source media and other project files on either an internal SSD if you work with 4K or lower res footage or a SSD RAID/M.2 NVMe drive if you work with 6K+ footage. External RAID drives using 7200RPM disks simply are not fast enough to keep up. If you can't read the source media fast enough it doesn't really matter how fast your cache drive is.

Hard to know the exact performance lose by keeping your source media on the external, but it will certainly be significant if you are working with 4K+ footage. 1080p might be OK but it is still not ideal.

Posted on 2017-08-04 16:05:34
Avatar Wyatt Winborne

Thank you so much! That's really good to know and finally understand. I guess I'll be using the RAID 0 HDD as a backups drive. I have been considering pretty much only Intel since the beginning of my research as Thunderbolt was important to me, but now, knowing this, I may wait for Threadripper and its higher PCIe lane count. I can't afford to have more than 1TB nvme storage in this build, but those extra PCIe lanes would give me the ability to add a lot more down the line. Is there any reason Intel would still be the better bet?

Posted on 2017-08-04 17:36:35

Threadripper is really a complete unknown at this point. I suspect that it will be pretty good for Premiere, but until it is launched and we can actually benchmark it that is really just a guess. If you could, I would wait a month or so before deciding between Intel and AMD. We will likely have an article up 1-2 weeks after launch.

Posted on 2017-08-04 17:43:29
Avatar Wyatt Winborne

I can do that! Thanks so much Matt. You all have been so helpful in this process.

Posted on 2017-08-04 17:55:10

Putting your project files onto the fastest drive in your system is the worst case scenario IMHO. Project files are the tiniest and least bandwidth-intensive. Meanwhile, RAID is a practically extinct technology, especially at RAID 0 which doesn't offer redundancy. Better to just keep shuttling files back and forth between SSDs (which always, always, always outperform 7200rpm drives in RAID arrays) and slow archival spinning hard drives. More at: http://www.focuspulling.com/pc

Posted on 2017-08-04 16:11:06
Avatar Álvaro


First, sorry about my english.

I need advice for my disk setup in Premiere Pro CS6:

I've Asrock H77 pro4
And I've just installed a NVMe ssd 960 evo with a Asus adapter card M.2 x4 Mini, with this MB I only have 1 PCle 16x .
My Os is in a SSD. and I've other 5 1tb 7200 drives.
Then, What's the best setup?
I think this:
1º SSD: Os, and programs
2º NVMe SSd Project file, cache and source files (While I'm a project I will copy the files and when I will finish I'll delete.)
Others hdds 7200 backup.

What do you recommended me?

Posted on 2017-09-27 09:57:16

That is exactly the drive configuration I would do given your setup. Looks good!

Posted on 2017-09-27 17:04:15
Avatar William Payne

Dumb question, with scratch/cache drives, I understand using an ssd or perhaps and nvme drive for that but I can't find anywhere that actually says how big the drive should be optimally.

Posted on 2017-11-16 23:51:50
Avatar David Schmid

What do you think the optimal disk setup would be for someone with a single SSD and a single HDD? I'd really appreciate some advice. (For example, do you think it would be faster to use the HDD as a scratch disk, or for the project and source media, if the OS and applications are on the SSD? Or, would it be faster to put everything on the SSD? Or some other arrangement?

Also, any advice on how large a scratch disk should be? Thanks so much in advance! :)

Posted on 2017-12-18 05:18:29

Most likely, having everything on the SSD would be the fastest. Depending on the speed of the HDD and the type of footage you work with, however, you might not notice much of a difference with the source media on the HDD. So I would try having programs, media cache, and scratch on the SSD - project files and source media on the HDD.

Size of the scratch drive really changes from person to person especially if you have captured audio or video. In general though, 128GB should be more than enough for scratch files and the media cache. Even 64GB is probably plenty for the majority of users.

Posted on 2017-12-18 18:38:24
Avatar maulpets

Hi, I recently got a new workstation and was wondering what would be the optimal storage setup.
CPU - i9 7940x
GPU - 1080 Ti
RAMM - 64gb DDR4
SDD1 - Intel Optane 900p 250gb (OS + Software)
SDD2 - Intel Optane 900p 250gb
SSD3 - Evo 850 1Tb

Posted on 2017-12-22 14:20:29

Sorry for taking a while to respond, all the holiday and end of year things got me a bit behind.

With those drives, I would definitely do:
SDD1 - Intel Optane 900p 250gb (OS + Software)
SDD2 - Intel Optane 900p 250gb (Media Cache + Scratch)
SSD3 - Evo 850 1Tb (Project Files + Media)

Posted on 2018-01-02 19:00:44
Avatar maulpets

thank you so much. I really value the fact that you guys post so many benchmarks. I cited your site multiple times when making the business case for my new workstation. if it wasn't for my it department wanting to build a machine I was recommending they purchase one of your workstations

Posted on 2018-01-02 19:10:07
Avatar Jack Whitehead

Hi, like maulpets I recently got a new workstation and was wondering what would be the best way to set it up. It has:

1. SSD Samsung 850 Pro 256GB
2. SSD Samsung 960 Evo 500GB

Currently the OS/programs are installed on the Samsung 960, and I have project files/cache/scratch on the Samsung 850, and source media on the HDD. Is this right, or is it better to have the projects running on the faster SDD (which is the 960 Evo right?) and the OS on the 850?

Posted on 2018-01-08 15:05:39
Avatar Jack Whitehead

Matt Bach help me plzzzz

Posted on 2018-01-23 09:36:06
Avatar aaaariel

Hi there people.

As always : BIG thanks to Puget team, you're the #1 source for reliable and viable data base Web Wide :).

New build, two SSD's are coming from the old build- Crucial bx100 500GB and a Crucial MX300 750GB.
one new SSD - Samsung Evo 850 1TB (2nd Q is how significant it would be to get either a 850 pro version or even the 960 m.2 1TB instead)

Optional setup:

1. OS+Software : Crucial bx100 500GB
2. Project files and source media : Samsung Evo 1TB (or a faster if that should result in significant better performance)
3. Media Scratch and cache : Crucial mx300 750GB

Main files used are H.264 and MOV , most of 4K.

1. Is this the best setup ?
2. should I get a better SSD instead of the 850 EVO (I will also consider in replacing the crucials, again, if necessary . )


Posted on 2018-01-21 15:54:03

On the 850 Pro vs Evo, the biggest difference is the higher write endurance on the Pro line. If you are using it as a media drive the Evo is fine, but if you use it as a cache/scratch drive it might be a good idea to upgrade to the Pro line. As for the 960 Pro/Evo, I wouldn't bother since you are working with H.264. The higher speed of the 960 series is really only useful when working with RAW.

I think the drive setup you listed should work just fine.

Posted on 2018-01-22 18:25:04
Avatar aaaariel

1TB 850 pro is the same price as the 1TB 960 Evo (where I live) still go with the Pro 850 ?

Posted on 2018-01-23 12:04:56

Hmm, if it is the same price that is a bit of a choice. The 850 Pro is rated for 50% more writes than the 960 Evo, but the extra speed of the 960 Evo (even just for copying files around) can be a nice quality of life thing. I think that's a hard call and if you are leaning on way already I would go with your gut instinct and call it good. Personally, I would still stick with the 850 Pro since with H.264 .MOV there shouldn't be a noticeable difference in Premiere Pro between a 850 Pro or 960 Evo, but the 850 Pro has longer endurance and is based on technology that has been firmly established (so less risk of issues).

Posted on 2018-01-25 18:31:12
Avatar aaaariel

Funny thing, I received your recommendation the night I purchased the 1TB 960 EVO : ) . I thought whether to replace with the 850 pro but the store I bought it from doesn't have it and return policy is a bit of a hassle here so I decided that luck goddess chose for me.

So what would do you think about this setup:

1. Crucial bx100 500GB OS+Software
2. Samsung 960 evo 1TB for Scratch and Media cache
3. Crucial mx200 750GB (will get a larger one later on) for Projects and Source media
4. 2*HGST 3TB Raid 0 for Exports archiving and general use (I also have an external Backup)

I think the big question for me is between 2 and 3, which should be the faster drive - the Scratch & Media or Projects & Source files. (If it doesn't really matter I would get a 250/500GB ssd for scratch and use these 2 for source files which naturally consume much more space).

Posted on 2018-01-27 11:56:46
Avatar Ronan Quinn

Hi Guys,
I'm based in Ireland so unfortunately not able to consider yourselves for purchase.
I'm currently building a new editing station ( must be able to slice through multicam 4K )
Here's where i am at:
Overclocked CPU
Overclocked AMD Threadripper 1950X 16 Core (3.4GHz @ up to 4.0GHz)
Memory (RAM)
64GB Corsair VENGEANCE DDR4 3000MHz (4 x 16GB)
Graphics Card
1st Hard Disk
500GB Samsung 850 EVO 2.5" SSD, SATA 6Gb/s (upto 540MB/sR | 520MB/sW)
2nd Hard Disk
M.2 SSD Drive
512GB SAMSUNG 960 PRO M.2, PCIe NVMe (up to 3500MB/R, 2100MB/W)
2nd M.2 SSD Drive
512GB SAMSUNG 960 PRO M.2, PCIe NVMe (up to 3500MB/R, 2100MB/W)
Raid1: 3rd M.2 SSD Drive
512GB SAMSUNG 960 PRO M.2, PCIe NVMe (up to 3500MB/R, 2100MB/W)

My question relates to optimal drive setup.
The 4tb is just for storage ( multiple backups on external drives also )
850 EVO for the OS
1 960 pro for cache + scratch .
2 x 960 in RAID1 for media + exports ( ideally I want 1TB, just couldn't select it )

My priority if smooth editing and playback, ideally with native files ( using latest version of premiere cc ) . I never transcode.
{ Mainly using a mix of HD but more lately 4K sony XAVC-S files and Canon AVCHD files }
I can live with any minimal increase in export times.

Is this the best setup ?
Is the RAID1 giving me much better performance compared to just using 1 960 pro ?
I have an older SSD 840 EVO ( unused ) ..............would it be worth using it for an Export drive anywhere else as an extra dive or would there be minimal adavantages?
Also, would you keep your .prproj file on the same drive as the media or on the cache+Scratch disk ?

TIA for you help,

Posted on 2018-01-23 13:35:13

For what you are doing, you won't see any difference in performance by using the Samsung 960 Pro over a standard SSD for your project and export drives since you aren't working with RAW footage. You could use a 960 Pro for the cache/scratch drive if you want to improve import times, but otherwise I would use some 850 Pro or Evo drives for the media and export drives. Technically you could get a little better performance for conforming audio and generating peak files if you use the 960 Pro, but those tasks generally don't take very long so I don't think it is worth the cost.

As far as RAID, RAID1 (mirror) isn't necessarily a bad idea since it gives you redundancy, but the Samsung drives are so reliable I think you are more likely to have issues stemming from the RAID controller (either hardware or software) than an issue with the drives themselves. Unless you really feel you need it, I would drop it and just use a single larger drive. If you meant RAID0 (striped) for performance, that is completely unnecessary. Even a single 960 Pro is faster than what Premiere can really use in most cases. So I would do:

850 EVO for the OS
1 960 pro (or 850 Pro if import times isn't extremely critical) for cache + scratch .
1x 850 Evo 2TB for media (should be about the same price as 2x 960 Pro without a very noticeable difference in performance)
1x 840 Pro for export (even exporting to a platter drive shouldn't impact performance, so you might as well use this drive if you have it to free up space on your media drive)

As for your .prproj files, anywhere should be fine - it won't affect performance in any way. Personally I would keep with the media files simply because that is the way I like to have them organized.

One last thing, if smooth playback is your main concern, you might consider switching platforms to a Core i9 7900X. In our Skylake vs Theadripper testing ( https://www.pugetsystems.co... ) the 7900X was better for playback than the AMD TR 1950X. I don't think it will be a massive difference, so if you want to support AMD over Intel I don't think you'll be missing out on too much, but Intel will get you better performance for your dollar for playback. If you do that, you'll also want to switch down to DDR4-2666 RAM. Faster RAM doesn't improve performance much with Intel CPUs, so better to use RAM that is natively supported by the CPU for stability.

Posted on 2018-01-25 18:26:04

As to all of this, one thing: it's unsubstantiated to say that there's no value to keeping project files on a separate drive, rather than combining them with the media source files where "it won't affect performance in any way." I experience noticeable speed improvements by keeping Project files (and associated small, non-camera-footage assets) on a separate and dedicated SSD.

Posted on 2018-01-25 19:11:51

Interesting, we didn't see that when we did this testing. It has been a year, however, and we didn't test things like live playback back then so it might be time for us to revisit this.

Posted on 2018-01-25 19:21:07

Worth clarifying, though: not a substantial difference; merely noticeable. The specific strategy is to categorize "project files" onto its dedicated SSD as anything associated with the project that's not camera footage (typically high-bitrate UHD), thus primarily the .prproj file, but also, say, archival photos and music clips that are of course by their natures terribly tiny compared to UHD camera footage on the separate SSD.

Posted on 2018-01-25 19:34:35
Avatar Ronan Quinn

Thanks a million for your reply.
I hadn't noted the differences in Playback, and as it is a main priority I think i should eek every last bit of performance i can so i adjusted ( Mainly the switch of platforms ) based on your recommendations:
Processor (CPU) Intel® Core™ i9 10 Core Processor i9-7900X (3.3GHz) 13.75MB Cache
Memory (RAM) 64GB Corsair VENGEANCE DDR4 2666MHz (4 x 16GB)
OSS: 1st Hard Disk 500GB Samsung 850 EVO 2.5" SSD, SATA 6Gb/s (upto 540MB/sR | 520MB/sW)
Storage: 2nd Hard Disk 4TB SEAGATE BARRACUDA PRO 3.5", 7200 RPM 128MB CACHE
Media: 3rd Hard Disk 2TB Samsung 850 EVO 2.5" SSD, SATA 6Gb/s (upto 540MB/sR | 520MB/sW)
Exports: 4th Hard Disk 250GB Samsung 850 2.5" EVO SSD, SATA 6Gb/s (upto 540MB/sR | 520MB/sW) *OR the 840PRO i already have* .
Cache+Scratch: 1st M.2 SSD Drive 512GB SAMSUNG 960 PRO M.2, PCIe NVMe (up to 3500MB/R, 2100MB/W)

Is that a better optimised setup for me?
Thanks again.

Posted on 2018-01-28 19:41:55

That looks pretty good to me!

Posted on 2018-01-29 18:14:52
Avatar Travis Parkinson

Is there a rough guide as to how large your scratch and media cache drives need to be? and should you separate your projects from your exports? As an aside, I may be working with red helium footage in the future and would like to be able to set up my own computer to be able to do that. 'so I am well aware I'll need large drives and maybe even pcie nvme.

Posted on 2018-01-27 00:57:38

Unfortunately, it completely depends on your workflow. Do you need to conform audio often? Do you make previews, or do you not need them? Do you have plenty of RAM, or will your scratch drive be heavily used for temporary files?How often do you clean out your cache and media cache? How long of projects do you work with and what resolution?

In general, I would say a 500GB drive is a pretty good size for most people, but depending on how you would answer the above questions you could go up to 1TB or more.

As for separating project and export, in our testing it didn't make a significant difference. So it is perfectly fine to export to the same location as your project files.

Posted on 2018-01-29 18:06:28
Avatar Travis Parkinson

Do you need to conform audio often?

Would like the option

Do you make previews, or do you not need them?

Yes I will be making previews

Do you have plenty of RAM, or will your scratch drive be heavily used for temporary files?

I have 64gb of RAM

How often do you clean out your cache and media cache?

After every project

How long of projects do you work with and what resolution?

Would like to be able to work with everything from Youtube 1920 x 1080
right up to 6 or 8k.

Posted on 2018-02-01 08:15:19

Honestly, a 256GB SSD would probably be enough if you are cleaning it out after each project. To be safe, I would go with ~500GB if you can though. That way you would have plenty of space for things like Photoshop scratch, AE disk cache, or any other sort of temporary files you may have. Plus, the price difference between 256GB and 500GB isn't very much so it would be a good way to future proof.

Posted on 2018-02-01 17:51:56
Avatar Dennis L Sørensen

Great article Puget!...

Now we just need a 2018 version with NVMe's to see if there is a difference. :)

Posted on 2018-03-15 13:47:30

I have some testing planned that I will hopefully be getting to soon(ish), but right now a lot of our time is being spent planning for NAB in April. I honestly don't expect things to have changed much, but you never really know until you test it.

Posted on 2018-03-15 16:43:02
Avatar Joseph Aube

I really appreciate all the informations you provided, thanks!

My MB supports 3 m2 sticks, and i'm planning to populate all 3.

As you demonstrated;
No 1 for os/software.
No 2 for project files and,
No 3 for cache/scratch is what i intend to do.

There's just one thing i'm not too sure;

Would there be any problems putting windows swap files *and* the adobe cache (and all) together on the same M2 ?


Posted on 2018-03-26 23:51:06

You shouldn't have too many problems with the swap (pagefile) and cache files on a single drive, but unless you really need to I would keep the Windows swap on you primary drive. The swap size is often set way higher than it needs to be so you can likely turn it down, but I've seen problems with Windows getting confused sometimes when the swap file isn't in the default location. Most likely you would never have an issue, but it's hard to say when some update may come though that for whatever reason isn't happy with the fact you moved it.

Hopefully you have enough RAM that you won't actually be using the pagefile, so you shouldn't see any performance benefit from moving it off your primary drive. Unless you really need the space, what I would do is just turn down the size and keep it right in it's default location.

Posted on 2018-03-27 17:03:33
Avatar batk0807

Hi Matt! Great article. Really informative. Was wondering if you could help me out.

I have a couple of PCs at my office that I bought for our graphic designers. Our workload has gradually increased and we've been starting to work on After Effects CC 2015 projects. Due to budget limitations we started out with a single 1TB 5400 rpm HDD. Planning to upgrade now and buy one 250GB SSD for each of the PCs.

I understand ideally having more SSDs would be great. But for my situation which would you recommend:
1. OS/Software installations on HDD and Media/Cache/Projects on SSD or
2. OS/Software installations on SSD and Media/Cache/Projects on HDD.

Would greatly appreciate any advice. Thanks again

Posted on 2018-04-07 19:13:00

That is really tough - 250GB really isn't much space to work with. I think your best bet is to have the OS/Programs/Cache on the SSD and the Projects/Media on the HDD. I'm not sure if if you can fit all that on the SSD, but I would really try to avoid having the cache on the HDD if you can. Having the OS and Programs on the SSD is top priority I think.

Posted on 2018-04-07 19:32:51
Avatar batk0807

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply!

Posted on 2018-04-10 20:57:54
Avatar Josh

Really fantastic information. Curious about any thoughts on using Premiere with light AfterEffects and Photoshop work. Can AfterEffects/Photoshop cache go onto the same cache SSD as Premiere work? Or should it get it's own separate cache drive?

Posted on 2018-05-12 21:10:46
Avatar Rork Plays Guitars

Thanks for this comprehensive article. I do have a couple of issues; please do not use the term 'Project Files" to mean "Footage/Media/Assets". "Footage/Media/Assets" are distinct from Project Files (pproj/AEPs/etc) - it's unnecessarily confusing. Secondly, my thoughts are for the 'game-play' to preclude writing/reading from the same disk, at the same time. With this in mind, I have issues with the "Storage Recommendations" segment - the momentum of the article (seems to) seeks to cover best-use of available disks AND where to place the different asset types a project requires; yet, the Storage Recommendations section is totally devoid of such coverage. I would have preferred a more straight-forward Storage Recommendations [recommendations should be straight forward :-) ] : where it is best to save Footage/Media/Assets, Cache and Exports/Renders; in terms of the speed of one's differential/similar/identical disks.

Posted on 2018-07-23 14:27:31
Avatar SMD79

Hi! Do you still respond to questions about the above article? I emailed your support and they suggested I direct my questions to this comment section instead?

Posted on 2018-08-14 01:45:16

Authors of our articles do try to keep tabs on comments and reply to them when appropriate, even on older articles like this one. However, Matt is currently on vacation - so it may be a little while before he replies. You might also want to look over newer Premiere Pro articles, to see if your question is addressed in any of them already. If not, I would advise you to go ahead and ask :)

Posted on 2018-08-14 15:48:48
Avatar SMD79

My question is really about how this article holds up now, years later. For me live playback is most important. We deal with multicam, lots of cross dissolves and lots of warp stabilizer. Very little grading. Mostly always shot with Sony a7sii type cameras. Looking at my Task Manager for my system I see my cpu (5960x) and ram (64gb) being pushed but not my drives or Gpu at all. This article states that for "highly compressed codecs the cpu is likely the bottleneck". So if Sony's XAVC-s code is in this group I suppose it all makes sense. But cpus are now a few years more advanced, so I wonder if I should think about replacing some of my hard drives now for faster ones or if it's even worth it for my particular workflow? I don't want them to become the bottleneck. I currently have a new 860 Pro for the OS and apps, a 2tb 860 evo for the project files, a the media and the exports, and an 850 pro for the cache. The OS and Media drives are new so I was debating exchanging them for NVMe drives (970 Pro and Evo drives respectively). A few hundred bucks extra is worth it, if performance is improved. Performance now is pretty sold, but we're all 1080 and we're about to go all 4k. I don't care much about import and export times and I don't often render clips. To me playback performance is key. Multicam, lots of cross dissolves and lots of warp stabilizer. That's what the bulk of our timelines are made up of. And like I said, we're going to be moving this year to almost exclusively editing 4k XAVC-s footage from whatever the next Sony camera is coming this fall.

This all might be TMI. But leaving info out can be the difference between getting good advice and not. I'd trust this older article, but like you said it's old and things change pretty quick these days. Look forward to your help if at all possible.

Thank you.

Posted on 2018-09-04 06:01:22

For XAVC-S, I believe that the bitrate even at 4K 60 FPS should be under 100MB/s, so that is well below the performance of a standard SSD which is typically about 500MB/s. So even if you have 4 streams all showing at the same time (PiP style), you should have a decent amount of headroom. I think you are easily CPU bottlenecked from what you are describing and I wouldn't worry about moving up to NVMe drives.

You could move your OS/program drive to a NVMe drive just to get applications to launch a bit faster, but I personally would just store that money away until you have enough to upgrade your CPU/motherboard since that actually would give you a noticeable bump in performance.

Posted on 2018-09-04 17:00:03
Avatar SMD79

Thanks Matt. Sincerely. I wish I got my setup from you guys a few years ago instead of ADK (now out of biz). Guess I'll keep an eye out for when you guys review the next round of CPU's and how they perform with Premiere. :) The upcoming 9900k looks like pretty good to me but I think by moving to it, I'd need to get the z390 motherboard and that would limit my RAM to 64gb and I'd need to get all new 16gb sticks which would be even more expensive than the CPU/MB. So...yeah...not sure.

Posted on 2018-09-04 17:55:52
Avatar Wade

Hi there! Sad that Puget is unable to deliver down under but the guides provided are amazing and I thank you for the time that's been put into them! :)

I followed the guide when ordering Storage devices and was wondering if my setup is the best for Premiere Pro.

My current setup is

C: Samsung 960 512GB OS
D: Samsung 960 512GB Projects & Source Media
E: Samsung 860 512GB Media Cache & Scratch



Posted on 2018-09-18 08:25:59

Yep, that should be a pretty good setup!

Posted on 2018-09-18 17:09:16
Avatar Larco

Thanks for this article, really detailed. I currently have 3x Samsung 970 2TB EVO drives hooked up to my Gigabyte X299 Designare Ex, and currently have them sorted this way:
1. OS (Windows 10 Pro 64 bit)
2. Programs/Games
3. Media Cache/Scratch Disk/Project Files
I have thought about reorganizing it the way you guys have it (1st drive for OS and Programs, 2nd for Project files, 3rd for Media cache/scratch) but then I would have to go through the pain of uninstalling and reinstalling the programs back onto the OS drive. So I thought of doing it this way:
1. OS (Windows 10 Pro 64 bit)
2. Programs/Games/Project Files
3. Media Cache/Scratch Disk
This config would give me the benefit of separating the project files and cache/scratch without having to move all my programs over, though I still have the one drive that is dedicated to the OS and 2TB is overkill for just the OS. Should I switch to your guys' recommended config (1st drive for OS and Programs, 2nd for Project files, 3rd for Media cache/scratch), or should I go with the config I came up with?

Posted on 2018-09-24 14:07:05
Avatar Carlen Cyphers

I'm looking to upgrade my current desktop and get the most "bang for my buck". Ideally I'd build another desktop with an X299 motherboard and i7 or i9, but that isn't in the budget at this point. Currently running an i5-6600K, MSI 980TI, 250GB Samsung 850 EVO. My initial thoughts are to upgrade to the following hard drive configuration:

Configuration 1:
C Drive: OS & Applications - Samsung 850 EVO 250 GB (currently own)
D Drive: Project & Source Media, Media Cache & Scratch - Samsung 860 EVO 1TB

The other option is the following, but I'm thinking this may be wasted money for my current desktop.

C Drive: OS & Applications - Samsung 850 EVO 250 GB (currently own)
D Drive: Project & Source Media - Samsung 960 EVO M.2 1TB
E Drive: Media Cache & Scratch - Samsung 860 EVO 1TB

What are your guys' thoughts?


Posted on 2018-09-24 20:40:11
Avatar NicolasLobato

Hey Matt, Great Article.
I have a 120 SSD, 250 SSD and a 500 SSD and a 2TB HDD.
Do you recommend 120 SSD for OS & Software, 500SSD for Project & Source Media and 240 for Media Cache &Scratch.
Or Should i change the first and the last ? ( 240 OS & Software - 120 Media Cache & Scratch )
If anyone have any suggestion any response is welcome.

Posted on 2018-10-10 19:00:52
Avatar Jake Wojenski

Big thanks to the Puget team for the extensive testing, such an invaluable resource.

I’m looking to purchase a new 27in iMac 2017 (4.2GHz i7, 40gb RAM, AMD 580 8gb) with 1tb of ssd for 4K video editing. Because the source files of the projects I will be working on will be below 700gb for any given project, I would like to utilize the fast internal nvme as an active media drive AND OS/Application drive (I will offload projects to external HDD drives when finished).

I am aware of how frowned upon this has been in the past but with such a fast internal drive I’m wondering if anyone can show or explain to me the real world benefits of separating. Will I really notice a difference if I keep the OS/Applications on the same drive as my project files/media rather than separating? I will be using an external Samsung T5 for scratch/media cache.

Posted on 2018-10-11 18:39:50
Avatar Tom P

Wow, outstanding job Matt and Puget Systems. You demystified something that many of us PP users have been scratching our heads over for years. I must have read hundreds of articles on the topic and this one has by far been the best. I read the article and all the comments but didn't find an answer to this question: do you know if there's a worthwhile benefit putting the Cache and Scratch folders on separate NVMe drives (i.e. two separate dedicated NVMe drives) as opposed to a single NVMe drive? I read somewhere that there was but I don't know for myself. I have a 3x SSD drive set-up with Cache and Scratch currently on a single 500GB NVMe. The footage we process is 4K Sony XAVC-S. Thanks in advance.

Posted on 2018-11-24 13:15:32

I don't think there would be any benefit to having cache and scratch on two separate NVMe drives so I would keep it all on one to keep down on the complexity.

Posted on 2018-11-26 17:38:34
Avatar Tom P

Will do. Thanks!

Posted on 2018-12-01 02:31:04

Thanks for the great article, after 2 years this is still the most helpful resource I could find about this topic!
I would be very thankful if you could help me with some tips to resolve my dilemma. I wanted to update my laptop I use for video editing with Premiere Pro. I bought a new gaming laptop (i7-8750H, 16GB RAM, GTX 1060 6GB, 250GB PCIe SSD, 2TB HDD), the performance was ok but the screen colour accuracy was not suitable for my needs and I really missed my Trackpoint so I had to return it. Now I'd like to see if there's a way to upgrade/optimise my old config instead of buying a completely new one and still improve the performance. The newest generation of 6 core Intel CPUs are not really available yet in the Thinkpads/Dell Precisions I was looking at and I'm not sure if the previous generation would give me a significant performance boost for the money.

The config - Thinkpad W530 - I7 3740QM, 16 GB DDR3 RAM, 2 TB (Storage)+500 GB SATAIII HDD (Project files, Scratch), 250 GB Samsung 850 EVO mSATA SSD (Os+apps, Media Cache) (this machine has only SATAII interface for this card), Quadro K2000M

What I would like to improve is the playback performance - 4K 60 FPS content from Panasonic GH5 with resize/crop/moderate effects (currently the playback is very choppy even at 1/4) and the import time

My tips for improvement:
- keep the 250 GB mSATA SSD for OS + apps
- swap the smaller HDD to a 500GB SSD for Project files, Scratch, & Media Cache
- keep the 2 TB HDD for Storage
- possibly add 16GB RAM

Do you think these changes would improve the import time and most importantly the playback performance? Swapping the storage HDD also to an SSD could show some noticeable improvement?
Thanks a lot in advance!

Posted on 2019-01-18 22:07:38

Well I've replaced the 500 GB HDD with a 1TB SSD, so it has now the project files/Scratch & Media Cache while the storage is still on the 2TB HDD. Unfortunately the playback performance did not improve at all with the 4K files. Do you have any suggestions to improve it without upgrading the whole computer?

Posted on 2019-02-13 10:58:07
Avatar H.J. Derr

I recently watched your video on YouTube, "Optimizing Storage for Premiere Pro" and was wondering if you could answer how I best can set up my SSD's.

Currently, I have a 1TB drive for my OS and programs. I have another 1TB drive to dump project files onto from either portable disks or my NAS. I then have a 500GB SSD and a 100GB SSD that I would like to use for cache and scratch.

I'm unsure which is larger and would like to know if you recommend using the 100GB for cache and the 500GB for scratch or should it be the other way around?

None of the drives are NVMe, just regular SSDs.

Thanks for any help you can provide.

Posted on 2019-02-28 15:29:13

Honestly, I would probably just use the 500GB drive for both cache and scratch and just not use the 100GB drive. 500GB should be plenty big for both, and that way you don't have to worry about which type of temporary files should go on the larger drive.

Posted on 2019-02-28 19:28:19
Avatar H.J. Derr

Thanks for the reply.

Posted on 2019-02-28 19:46:39
Avatar Txus da Silva

hi, I produce small 1 to 10 minute films... not in 4k
I´m about to buy 2 ssd's m.2... one is the 970 evo 500 GB
and a much slower and cheaper:
Crucial MX500 CT500MX500SSD4 - 500 GB (M.2 2280, 3D NAND, SATA) - 560/510 MB/s (similar to a western digital wd blue).

i can´t afford 2 extremelly good ones, or even a third... and i have no more M.2 slots...
i would consider buying a sata or e-sata ssd, and a backup 7200 HD...

I´m running an i7 7700, msi geforce 1060gtx 6 gb, and 24GB ram 2400hz (8x3) on a Rog strix Z270F

which one should the system be set to, the faster one... which one the cache etc... and if i partitioned the 970 evo into project source and cache would it make a difference?
also programs and os, would notice the difference of speed...between the fast evo and slower crucial??
how big its usually necesary for cache...

I heard bottlenecks aren´t only because of the speed of the drives but also the system and program itself... like w the cc19 version of adobe.. who seems very quirky!!

any help or advise would be much apreciated.

PD congrats for the article

Posted on 2019-03-08 02:42:32

Even if you were to jump up to 4K, unless you work with some very high bitrate RAW files you won't notice a difference having your media on either drive. Same with the media cache in Premiere Pro - the amount of data per second you are accessing is going to be well below what the MX500 can deliver.

In your case, I would probably do the following:

Samsung 970 EVO 500GB - OS/applications as well as the media cache. Normally I would have the cache on the second drive, but since you aren't even 4K yet, import times probably isn't going to be a problem and having it here will free up a bit of space on your second drive.
Crucial MX500 500GB - Project media.

To be honest, you probably wouldn't even notice while in Premiere Pro if you switched those drives. The 970 EVO should allow Windows to load and applications to launch a hair faster though, so you might as well get that benefit.

Posted on 2019-03-08 16:04:44
Avatar Txus da Silva

Thanx ever so much!!!
and a partition on the evo... would it make any difference?
and if i cut some $$ buying a smaler f.rg. EVO 250 and then buy 2 crucials one for cache and another for media?

i´m gutted i can´t decide how to fullfill neccesities cutting corners...

thanx again for your fast reply!!

Posted on 2019-03-08 19:05:30

You could do that, but I would only consider it if going down to a EVO 250GB would let you get at least another 500GB drive. At that point, I would probably do:

500GB SSD - OS/applications/Misc
500GB SSD - Project files
250GB NVME - Cache

Posted on 2019-03-08 19:09:23
Avatar Txus da Silva

the m.2 are nvme... right?
so both m.2 evo 500 - OS/aplications and
m.2 Mx 250 cache are NVME?

i get confused w sooo many terms

Posted on 2019-03-08 19:32:45

M.2 can be either SATA or NVMe - it is a dual interface that can accept both types (although some motherboards limit which kind that can be used in individual M.2 slots so check the specs/manual for your motherboard). Honestly, I wouldn't care if it is NVMe or SATA beyond making sure it will wonk on your motherboard, just go by the performance of each drive. Basically, you want a fast drive (>1000MB/s) for two things:

1) OS/applications so that they launch faster
2) Cache - although that is a bigger deal for After Effects or Photoshop than it is for Premiere Pro.

Things like media can go on a 500MB/s drive without any difference in performance.

Posted on 2019-03-08 19:57:26
Avatar Txus da Silva

Thanks ever so much, Now i understand, it's very clear!

Posted on 2019-03-11 06:24:29
Avatar Mitchell Gamble

Do you plan to update this article to include an NVMe boot drive instead of only an 850 Pro? It doesn't sound like we know why moving the cache improves performance, so testing a faster boot drive might yield interesting results.

Posted on 2019-03-16 16:28:19
Avatar Txus da Silva

Hey Matt, i already put it together... on my asus rog strix z270 - I7 7700K kaby lake i´ve added

2 x m.2 ssd: 1.- 970 evo 500GB, nvme x4 (pcie) - with 2 partitions: a) system/programs and b) partition with Cache/scratch disk
2.- crucial mx500, sata: with work in progress: video edition, raw video, 3D etc...
also i've added 2 Dramm sticks to a total of 8x3 - 24GB

heard since some one saying cache and system/program should be on
different HDs (not even partition)... explainning, it would be better to
put the cache and video edditing project folders with the raw footage
together and system/program in another HD completelly different...
what you think?

I´ll tell you how it goes, thanx for the help it was very reassuring.

Posted on 2019-04-10 23:06:34
Avatar Mark Harris

Is this mostly valid in 2019 or any chance of a new guide? :)

Posted on 2019-05-16 17:23:07

Nothing has really changed, so this guide should still be 100% accurate. The only difference might be that due to the lower cost of NVMe drives, you might make that jump from SSD to NVMe a bit sooner than you would have a few years ago (especially for your OS drive).

Posted on 2019-05-16 17:26:01
Avatar Mark Harris

Thank you, Matt! I am just getting a 2nd NVMe today so planning to use the guide for it.

Posted on 2019-05-16 17:44:32
Avatar Mark Harris

A bit of a different topic but do you guys feel with an i9 9900k for Photoshop (lots of plugins) and Adobe Premiere using 4k footage, going from 32GB to 64GB should give me a nice boost of performance?
My OS and Cache files are on 2 fast NVMEs already.

Posted on 2019-05-20 02:17:25

RAM is all about having enough - anything extra isn't going to do much for performance. The best thing you can do is to watch Task Manager and see how much RAM you actually use on a day-to-day basis. I would say that as long as you are below 80% you are just fine with 32GB. If it goes above that, you will benefit from having more RAM. Exactly how much that performance benefit can vary, however, depending on whether the data that is overflowing to your pagefile is important data, or more "fluff" data. No way to really know for sure that I know of, unfortunately

Posted on 2019-05-20 18:42:12
Avatar Mark Harris

Thanks a lot for the tip! :)

Posted on 2019-05-20 19:22:35
Avatar yondon

Hi Matt, thanks for the great Article.
I'm editing usually short clips in HD and up to 4K resolution, as well After effects and animation.
and mostly a lot of work in Photoshop on quite heavy files with tones of layers.
I'm about to build a PC based on 9900K with 64GB of ram but struggling to decide what would be the best setup for OS, Project (footage),and Cache with either
1 large NVME and 2 X regular SSD's
2 x smaller NVMe's and 1X large regular SSD


Posted on 2019-05-27 07:14:31

If it was me, I would probably do two smaller NVMe (OS/applications on one, cache on the second) and a large SSD for project files. Just a couple things to consider:

1) Try to use at least a 500GB drive for your OS/applications since that tends to be where random downloads and files end up most of the time. Cache drive can be smaller depending on your budget.
2) The OS/application NVMe drive doesn't have to have super high endurance, so I would save a bit of money and get something like a Samsung 970 EVO or even an Intel 660P depending on your budget. A cache drive does need to have good endurance, however, since you write a lot to those kinds of drives. Definitely stick with something like a Samsung 970 Pro here if you can.

Posted on 2019-05-27 16:54:16
Avatar yondon

Thanks so much Matt! great explanation:)
Since I might not get enough budget for 2 x NVME's, can I also ask you-
If I have to choose either one of those setup, which one would it be?
1. 1TB/512GB NVME for OS, programs and cache + 1TB SSD for footage
2. 512GB NVME for OS, programs + 1TB SSD for footage + 256GB SSD for cache
3. 512GB SSD for OS and programs + 1TB SSD for footage + 256GB NVME for cache
4. 512GB SSD for OS and programs + 1TB NVME for footage + 256GB SSD for cache

Many thanks again!

Posted on 2019-05-28 07:11:24

Out of those, I would go with either #1 or #3. No need for a NVMe for your footage (unless you are working with some crazy bitrate RAW media) since a SSD is going to be more than fast enough. The difference is really whether you want your cache separate from your OS drive or not. Personally, I like having it separate since cache drives are going to (typically) go through their lifespan a bit faster due to the number of writes that happen, so having it be it's own drive makes it easier to replace if it does fail.

Posted on 2019-05-28 17:07:28
Avatar MarcB1969

I followed your recommendations with a slight twist using mostly older, slower SSD's on this set up on an old i7 box w/ 32GB RAM and sped things up noticeably. In Vegas 16, I transcoded and rendered 720p - mpeg2 DVD footage that no longer worked (ROOT error) with 1/2 (transcode) to 1/3 (render) real time speeds. Before with this switch, my C: Old OCZ Black 120GB for OS/software/project files and 4 x 2TB WD Black Drives in a RAID 5 for media storage ran in x 1.2 or more than real time for the same operations. Ignore these suggestions at your own peril. When I can justify the upgrade to an i9, it will be stacked with (2) separate NVMe drives for OS/software, project files, and a fast legacy SSD for export. Thanks for the pro tip.

Posted on 2019-07-05 16:19:50
Avatar Chous En Lin

Hi there! Great article, thanks for the time and effort. I am wondering how would you go about proxy files. Would you store them on the same disk as your source media? Would you conform (read and writte) on the same drive or from the source media drive to a separate drive? Thanks!!

Posted on 2019-07-30 12:35:39

Proxies are usually so light-weight that it really shouldn't matter. I would try to keep them on a SSD or faster, but other than that you shouldn't really notice a difference. I would probably just stick them right next to the source media - I doubt the penalty from reading and writing from the same disk would be measurable unless it is a fairly slow platter drive.

Posted on 2019-08-05 20:37:29
Avatar Chous En Lin

Thanks for the advice!

Posted on 2019-08-05 20:44:12
Avatar Nick McFarland

Jumping on this a bit late. Why wasn't a single NVM.e drive tested? It seems to me that a single SATA SSD just isn't quick enough to handle both the OS and cache/scratch at once. These are the most drive intensive functions.

Hypothetically, since the greatest jump in performance was realized by using two SATA drives, then SATA bandwidth x 2 essentially gives you almost all the gains. Thus, couldn't a single NVMe easily yield the same gains given it is more than twice as fast as a SATA drive?

Posted on 2019-09-04 09:36:44

This is a pretty old post at this point, and at the time, NVMe was pretty expensive so it was never really used as a single drive in a system.

These days, we do all of our benchmarking on a single NVMe (960 or 970 Pro) since like you said, it is more than fast enough for everything. We do still recommend moving cache files to a secondary drive, however, since even with a NVMe drive things like conforming audio and peak files is faster when it is on a different drive than the main OS drive. Most people won't really notice the difference, but it has the added benefit of moving all these tiny files that can eat up the drive's lifespan onto a secondary drive where if it fails, it isn't a big deal.

Posted on 2019-09-04 16:31:24
Avatar Blokus Pokus

I have the following components available for a system build for Premiere Pro:

1x M.2 1TB
1x M.2 500G

Planning on using system primarily for Premirere Pro and some Photoshop work. With Premier, I am planning on editing 4K drone footage @ 10-bit RAW. System also has 32G of RAM, an RTS 2070 Super and AMD Ryzen 3900 CPU.

What drives should I assign to OS/project/scrath locations?

Thank you,


Posted on 2019-12-19 19:07:18
Avatar Wayne Bowman

With the advent of Premiere Pro 2020, i have a question about SSD sizes. I have a dual Xeon system with 48Gb RAM, I want to process 4k video for stock, so footage will only be a couple of minutes long.

I'd like to upgrade to a 3 SSD system on a budget. Currently the main OS drive is an ageing 1TB HDD, and a 500GB drive for pagefile (vitual windows memory). Main archive storage is is an 8TB USB3, which I'll be retaining.
I cannot find any references anywhere apart from this one with regard to setting up a 3 SSD system.

I want to upgrade and replace the 1TB HDD with 3 SSDs - How big do the project and scratch SSD drives need to be? Is it worth buying a 1TB for the O/S drive, or is this overkill?

Also, what do you set virtual memory (pagefile) to, and what drive do you use?

Thanks in anticipation (hopefully this thread is still monitored)

Posted on 2020-01-21 22:43:37
Avatar Steven Mauger

Hello, I just received my Puget machine a few days ago. The amount of info available on your site about working with premiere pro gave me the confidence to purchase with you. I have just one small question...does it matter where the actual project file is saved? As long as I follow the guidance in the above video, will the project files location impact either organization, or performance? Thanks!

Posted on 2020-02-17 18:01:20

The location of the project file itself will only impact opening and saving times, so unless you have it on a reallllyyy slow drive, you likely won't notice much of a difference. I personally like to have it next to my video files, but whatever organizational structure you prefer should be just fine.

Posted on 2020-02-17 18:42:17
Avatar Fran Vidiček

Would it be a good Idea to save project file in the Third SSD, so that you don't have to manually change Scratch files Location?
If not why?

Posted on 2020-03-11 15:08:42

You could do that if you want to, but the cache files are the more important ones to have on a separate drive and that is a global setting. The scratch files (video/audio preview mostly) being on that same drive is more about organization and putting all the temporary files on one disk so that if the drive fails, it is not a significant setback. Cache/scratch files are where most of your disk writes are going to happen, which is what largely determines the longevity of a solid state drive.

Having the project file itself on that same drive would certainly be more convenient, but you do run the (small) risk of having an important file on the same drive that is getting a high number of writes. To be honest, it probably isn't all that much of a risk given how reliable SSDs are, so it is up to you which way you want to handle it.

Posted on 2020-03-11 16:13:59
Avatar Fran Vidiček

Thank you for fast response in this 3 year old article, wasn't expecting it!

Posted on 2020-03-12 07:23:47
Avatar Fran Vidiček

Would Partitioning an SSD have same effect as 2 SSDs speed wise?

I will only have one 1TB SSD for my build, and I was wondering would placing media cache files and scratch files on sade physical Drive but Partitioning into 2 drives in Windows 10.

Posted on 2020-03-20 18:05:25

No, there is really no difference in terms of performance between having two partitions or just two folders on a single partition. You might as well just leave it as a single large partition and leave the scratch files in the default location.

Posted on 2020-03-20 18:19:33
Avatar franckyo

thank you for all the explanation and this in depth article

i use premiere pro, and sometime after effect
i have AMD Ryzen 9 3950X (3.5 GHz / 4.7 GHz)
64G Go RAM

all my media file are on a QNAP (RAID5) for backup, and when i need to work with premiere , i will copy them on quick disk (NVME ...) for the project
my project are always little : 10 Go , with 4K media rush
when my project are finish , i backup them on my QNAP

i think i will use SAMSUNG NVME 970 plus , there seem to be very quick : 3000 Go/s

- the first solution , ( if i understand you article , it's avery good solution )

C: Samsung 970 plus 512GB OS

D: Samsung 97 plus 512 Projects & Source Media

E: Samsung 970 plus 512GB or 250GB Media Cache & Scratch

- the second solution : it 's an idea

I build RAID 0 with 2 1TO 970 plus, so the transfert rate would be 2x 3000GO : i am right ????
i put OS, Projects & Source Media, Media Cache & Scratch into this 2x1To RAID 0

not sur it wil different (in speed) if i make partition , C D E for exemple

not sur it will be different in speed if i use plus : one 250 GO NVME for Media Cache & Scratch

in fact my QUESTION : do you think the second solution could be faster than the first , or equal or less good ??????

i just want the solution with the best speed in premiere (when i woek : import ,color , effect : i don't care export because my export are always 1 minutes )

it's not a question of money

i don't care if i have not redundancy in solution 2 , because i could backup my project on my QNAP and if one 1TO disk NVME scrach i will chane and reinstall windows, and all

thank you very much for your advcie

Posted on 2020-05-13 12:15:40
Avatar Aidan Boyer

I have a question very much in the vein of this discussion:
On non-HEDT PC setups, there will be limitations on how many NVMe SSDs will be able to run at full speed. My understanding is that on something like AMD Ryzen Zen 2, there are 24 PCIe gen 4 lanes. Once the GPU takes its lion's share of 16x, there are 8x left. 4x of those are dedicated for an M.2 NVMe, while 4x connect with the chipset.
This means that I will be able to have one NVMe drive running at full 4x PCIe gen 4 speed, while everything else will be bottlenecked by sharing the 4x connection between chipset and CPU. This leads me to the question:
Which drive is most important to have running the fastest: OS/Software, Project files, or media cache?

Posted on 2020-09-16 14:27:46
Avatar Brotschneidemaschine

Even after watching the video and reading the article, to me, it seems the only real strong benefit with an SSD as a media drive is the speed when importing data, the rest is only marginally faster.

My question is: If the only thing I care about when editing is the actual stability and fluidity of the playback / program, and I don't care about import / render times, is the SSD still a noticeable improvement? What I would like to improve is the playback performance (often up to 4K content from my GH5) with resize/crop/simple effects, as playback gets pretty choppy even at 1/4.


Posted on 2020-11-11 21:05:01
Avatar Jason Schrader

I would love to see an up to date version of this article. Very informative, but I wonder how todays ssds stack up. Mainly, PCIE 4 Phison based NVME and the new Optane drives from Intel. A the moment, I run an Optane 900p OS/App drive, Optane 800p scratch/cache drive and a Western Digital SN750 storage drive. Storage had stagnated for years on spinners and now it has caught up to the rest of the system. Thanks for this article btw.

Posted on 2021-11-20 22:53:16

Things really haven't changed all that much. NVMe drives have gotten faster than the Intel 750 we used in this article, but at that point, the speed of the storage isn't a significant factor outside of straight file copy from one NVMe to another. For things like importing, exporting, playback, conforming, etc, you are pretty much always going to be limited by your CPU.

The biggest difference now is actually that NVMe drives have come way down in price. We often use NVMe now where we would have used a SATA SSD in the past simply because it is a minor cost increase. Minor performance increase as well, but if you can go up to a NVMe, you might as well!

Posted on 2021-11-22 17:15:07