So I just found a way to cut down the render time on some of my larger scenes with high numbers of objects. For a typical frame that took 60 seconds to render, about half of this was spent exporting the scene. Now I remember that before I used an SSD, the time spent on this step was even more substantial. Always wanting to take things one step too far, I asked myself how I could speed up this export step even further, and the answer was obvious. Use a RAM disk!
It cut down total render time to 50 seconds from 60. The improvement was in the file export step as I predicted – this went from 22 seconds to just 12. I then moved my Blender and Luxrender directories to the disk too to see if I could squeeze out a few more seconds, and render time went down to 48 seconds.
Now let’s hope I remember to move my files back before I restart my computer!