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fabbui
Paper Tape
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎08-10-2019
Location: US
Views: 231
Message 1 of 7

ThinkCentre M920t: fix & improve slow Photoshop performance (Rec. memory, graphics card, M.2 SSD)

Hi All, 

 

I am new ot this forum. I recently received a Lenove M920t with 16Gb Ram. I want to use it for phtoshop. along with it I use a 43inch 4K monitor.

 

When working in photoshop, I noticed PS is a heavy memory consumer and eats up most computer resources. I want to upgrade the RAM and video but I am unceratin of what to get: 

 

1. Ram , I checked and it comes with only 1 memory card (1 ou tof the 4 slots). I remember readin somewhere eI should by similar RAM to prevent slowing it down or conflicts. The ram it comes with is a Samsung currenlty installed on DIMM2.

 

2. I am currenltly using the videocard form the motherboard, I understand PS will take advantage of memory and GPU of the video card so I am also considering upgrading to a better one. I readsomewher ethat having to video cards can create conflicts. Is it worth adding a GPU to a PCI Express  x16 graphic card slot ?   if so, which one do you recommend ? 

 

3. I believe PS would also bennefit from a SSD. My desktop comes with standard hard drive. Do you recommend an SSD ? which one? Is it added to the PCI express 16x slot?   

 

Thanks for any feedback!

 

Mod:  edited the Subject line to add "Photoshop" and clarify question

Community SeniorMod
Community SeniorMod
Posts: 3,378
Registered: ‎12-31-2011
Location: US
Views: 194
Message 2 of 7

Re: recommendation to add RAM, Video Card and SSD to M920t

Is 30-bit color something you will wish to do?   This article is dated, but still applicable, especially since Nvidia just announced support for their consumer GeForce cards:  

 

What is a 30 Bit Photography Workflow?

 

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I do not work for Lenovo. I do not respond to Private Messages for help, your questions should be posted in the appropriate forum where the information exchange may help others. If I helped you, click the 'Kudos' button, if solved, the 'Accept as Solution'.
SeniorGuru
Posts: 2,308
Registered: ‎06-13-2013
Location: US
Views: 186
Message 3 of 7

Re: recommendation to add RAM, Video Card and SSD to M920t


@fabbui wrote:

3. I believe PS would also benefit from a SSD. My desktop comes with standard hard drive. Do you recommend an SSD ? which one? Is it added to the PCI express 16x slot?   

 


The x16 slot is for expansion cards, like a graphics card.  This is not used for drives.

 

You already have a SATA HDD in the primary 3.5" drive bay. The case supports a second drive, so you have one option of installing a 2.5" SATA SSD (say one from Samsung) in the second drive bay. I would suggest you then "clone" your Windows system from the HDD over to the SSD (and change the BIOS boot sequence to boot from the SSD), using something like Macrium Reflect.  You could then delete everything currently on the HDD and re-purpose it for "data" partition(s).  The new SATA drive performance would of course be limited to SATA3 speed.

 

In order to do this there needs to be a 2.5" mounting adapter bracket in the second drive bay. I don't know if Lenovo is shipping machines these days with the needed second drive bracket pre-installed even though you didn't order a second HDD.  But if it's not present and you want to go this route, you will need to buy the Thinkcentre Tower 2.5" storage kit.

 

And you'll also need a SATA data cable to connect the 2.5" SATA drive to an available SATA controller connector on the motherboard. And you'll also need a SATA power cable to connect the 2.5" SATA drive to the 4-pin SATA power connector on the motherboard.  Unfortunately the motherboard only has two SATA power sockets on the motherboard, which may already be occupied if you also have a SATA optical drive in your M920t. So if you want to add a third SATA device you'll need a "splitter" Y-adapter to create two SATA power plugs from one single 4-pin SATA power socket on the motherboard.

 

Alternatively, and definitely providing a much faster SSD option, you can go with an M.2 NVMe SSD (like Samsung EVO or Pro).  The M920t motherboard supports one of these M.2 NVMe storage SSD devices, connected to the M.2 socket in the lower corner of the motherboard. The orientation of this socket points off of the motherboard, and so you will need to buy the Thnkcentre M.2 SSD KIt part to perform the installation. This part is a piece of plastic that snaps into notches in the metal chassis near that corner of the motherboard, and is used to securely fasten the outward-extended end of the M.2 NVMe card.  Note that M.2 NVMe SSD drives are 4-5 times faster than 2.5" SATA3 SSD drives.

 

Once again, you would then "clone" Windows off of the HDD and onto the M.2 NVMe, change the BIOS boot sequence to boot from the new M.2 NVMe drive, and then re-purpose your HDD for "data".

 

SeniorGuru
Posts: 2,308
Registered: ‎06-13-2013
Location: US
Views: 181
Message 4 of 7

Re: recommendation to add RAM, Video Card and SSD to M920t


@fabbui wrote:

2. I am currenltly using the videocard form the motherboard, I understand PS will take advantage of memory and GPU of the video card so I am also considering upgrading to a better one. I readsomewher ethat having to video cards can create conflicts. Is it worth adding a GPU to a PCI Express  x16 graphic card slot ?   if so, which one do you recommend ? 



The major consideration for adding a discrete videocard to the M920t is that the internal dimensions of the case are very small compared to the interior space that used to be available with older Lenovo tower cases.  Consequently the graphics card you buy is limited to a maximum dimension of 268mm (10.55") length by 112mm (4.4") high.

 

Also, the stock Lenovo PSU in the M920t does not provide enough power to supply 4-pin or 6-pin PCIe power to a high-end graphics card which requires additional power. Without any changes to the PSU, the x16 slot itself can support a graphics card with TDP not exceeding 75W. This would be for a "medium level low-power" graphics card which doesn't require any additional power... like the nVidia GTX 1050ti which is a "perfect fit".  This card doesn't require more than 75W, and will fit in the M920t.

 

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fabbui
Paper Tape
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎08-10-2019
Location: US
Views: 115
Message 5 of 7

Re: recommendation to add RAM, Video Card and SSD to M920t

Thanks all. I just upgraded the memory from 16Gb to 32 (added a Crucial 16Gb DDR4) and this alone has heavily improved the performance. 

Coincidentially, Photoshop delievered new versions with more support for GPU today but I see the GPU upgrade is a bit more complex due to the power supply and space of the box. So I will monitor the performance  when working on PS but so far it is looking pretty good. 

 

 

Community SeniorMod
Community SeniorMod
Posts: 3,378
Registered: ‎12-31-2011
Location: US
Views: 109
Message 6 of 7

Re: recommendation to add RAM, Video Card and SSD to M920t

The other step you may want to do now, before considering graphics, is add a M.2 PCIe SSD, like a Samsung 970 Evo.  It will transform how quickly it boots, loads apps and big data, and responds in general. 

__________________________________________________________________________
I do not work for Lenovo. I do not respond to Private Messages for help, your questions should be posted in the appropriate forum where the information exchange may help others. If I helped you, click the 'Kudos' button, if solved, the 'Accept as Solution'.
Community SeniorMod
Community SeniorMod
Posts: 3,378
Registered: ‎12-31-2011
Location: US
Views: 86
Message 7 of 7

Re: recommendation to add RAM, Video Card and SSD to M920t

This benchmark may be of help to determine if a graphics card will help with Photoshop performance.  The upshot is, if you're doing a lot of resizing, it would be especially helpful, and for Smart Pen / Blur it is worthwhile also.  A short 75w GTX 1650, like this Mini ITX Gigabyte, is the current best graphics card for a recent 900 series tower system using the factory 250w power supply (30% better performance than a 1050 Ti, and will support 30-bit color with a capable monitor.) 

 

Puget Systems - Photoshop CC 2018 NVIDIA GeForce GPU Performance

 

__________________________________________________________________________
I do not work for Lenovo. I do not respond to Private Messages for help, your questions should be posted in the appropriate forum where the information exchange may help others. If I helped you, click the 'Kudos' button, if solved, the 'Accept as Solution'.

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