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Old Nov 12, 2012, 09:21 AM   #1
vandrv
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Lightroom Question

I'm not sure if this is exactly the right forum for this question, but here goes. I have both a core 2 duo Imac and a core two duo Macbook Pro that seem to be struggling with Lightroom 4. I have only one catalog with probably about thirty thousand photos in it and if I select all photos, it takes forever to generate previews. I would really rather not separate the photos into smaller categories to keep it easier to search for a particular photo. My question concerns whether I should purchase a new computer or would installing an SSD in one pick the speed up enough to be usable? All my photos are stored on an external hard drive if that makes a difference. I'm not quite sure where or how previews are generated. Thanks for any help
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 10:05 AM   #2
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Lightroom Catalogs

Here is a great article that will give you some insight about lightroom and why it is slowing down. Yes, the write up is about large image files but the solution they utilize is the solution you'll likely find your self needing. Step 2 and Step 3 are the meat of the matter. http://photographylife.com/efficient...olution-images

Throwing more hardware at this is not the solution but rather a way to relieve the symptoms. Your photo catalogs are only going to continue to increase in size as you add more and more photos. You need a better workflow, not more hardware. It will become a very expensive proposition otherwise, as every couple of years you'll need to be upgrading your hardware.

On a side note I recently upgraded to iPhoto 9.4 and notice a considerable performance hit . It seems to me the speed with which both iPhoto and Lightroom perform is directly related to the size of the photo library they are dealing with.

I suspect that at some point in the future Apple and Adobe will optimize how the libraries ("catalog" in Lightroom) function, thus speeding up the performance. But until then, to keep a speedy computer, it is up to design a workflow that works efficiently with these programs.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 10:52 AM   #3
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Here is a great article that will give you some insight about lightroom and why it is slowing down. Yes, the write up is about large image files but the solution they utilize is the solution you'll likely find your self needing. Step 2 and Step 3 are the meat of the matter. http://photographylife.com/efficient...olution-images

Throwing more hardware at this is not the solution but rather a way to relieve the symptoms. Your photo catalogs are only going to continue to increase in size as you add more and more photos. You need a better workflow, not more hardware. It will become a very expensive proposition otherwise, as every couple of years you'll need to be upgrading your hardware.

On a side note I recently upgraded to iPhoto 9.4 and notice a considerable performance hit . It seems to me the speed with which both iPhoto and Lightroom perform is directly related to the size of the photo library they are dealing with.

I suspect that at some point in the future Apple and Adobe will optimize how the libraries ("catalog" in Lightroom) function, thus speeding up the performance. But until then, to keep a speedy computer, it is up to design a workflow that works efficiently with these programs.
Thank you very much for that advice. I just briefly looked through the article, but when I have a chance, I will read it in depth. I know the problem will only get worse as I add more photos to my catalog, especially as I am just about ready to pull the trigger on a D800.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 11:13 AM   #4
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Thank you very much for that advice. I just briefly looked through the article, but when I have a chance, I will read it in depth. I know the problem will only get worse as I add more photos to my catalog, especially as I am just about ready to pull the trigger on a D800.
You do need to divide the photos into separate libraries (not sure the Lightroom term).
You may want to consider some hardware upgrades, but it depends on how other suggestions work. One thing you didn't mention is how much ram you have in each computer. Memory is inexpensive (as long as you don't buy it from Apple).

Some people go strictly by year (or groups of years). Some go be event/outing type. It depends on how much one shoots and would work the best for the person in question.

If you use the correct breakdown for the photos you take you should never have to search more than one library. Maybe 2 at the outside.

You may also wind up with a 'Miscellaneous' library for random photo shoots that don't fall in to your major categories. I currently have 4 libraries for Aperture including a miscellaneous one.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 11:34 AM   #5
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You do need to divide the photos into separate libraries (not sure the Lightroom term).
You may want to consider some hardware upgrades, but it depends on how other suggestions work. One thing you didn't mention is how much ram you have in each computer. Memory is inexpensive (as long as you don't buy it from Apple).

Some people go strictly by year (or groups of years). Some go be event/outing type. It depends on how much one shoots and would work the best for the person in question.

If you use the correct breakdown for the photos you take you should never have to search more than one library. Maybe 2 at the outside.

You may also wind up with a 'Miscellaneous' library for random photo shoots that don't fall in to your major categories. I currently have 4 libraries for Aperture including a miscellaneous one.
The Imac has 6gigs of ram and the Macbook 8. According to OWC, they are both maxed out. I will do a little research and see about possibly dividing my photos into several catalogs. I just need to figure out a logical system so that I have a good idea where everything is.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 03:43 PM   #6
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Personally I would n0t continue to invest in dual core machines. Sell or trade and get the best quad core the budget allows. Also consider if you really need both a laptop and desktop. My rMBP replaced my previous laptop and desktop.

My LR catalog has over 50,000 files and has no problems.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 04:35 PM   #7
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Personally I would continue to invest in dual core machines. Sell or trade and get the best quad core the budget allows. Also consider if you really need both a laptop and desktop. My rMBP replaced my previous laptop and desktop.

My LR catalog has over 50,000 files and has no problems.
I have been going over replacing one or both of the computers for a while now. My last thought was getting one of the new Mac Minis, as I have a 23" ACD monitor I could use, But as of late I'm sort of considering a 15" inch non retina Macbook Pro. I think I could probably sell both of my other Macs and at least make a dent in the price of a new one.
I would really rather not split up my catalog if I don't have to.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 08:24 PM   #8
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A classic MBP is an excellent choice for at home and on the road. Continuing to use the ACD is a great way to hold down the costs.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 10:59 PM   #9
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I agree that refining your workflow is the first step, before throwing more hardware at this problem. However, my question to you is... why are generating previews for all 30k photos at once?

I'm not on my Lr computer at the moment, but I'm sure there is a way to generate and previews, and then keep them. IIRC I have mine set to discard previews after 30 days. But... I never look at all of my photos all at once in any case.

Are you using Keywords extensively? If so, you should be able to search just a subset of your photos. Are you using Collections? Instead of individual catalogues, try setting up master Collection Sets. I have one for Clients, one for Family, and one for my Art. Easier to drag images into the appropriate Collection than to close one catalogue an open another. It also prevents importing into the wrong catalogue.

Short version.... get better about organizing Collections, Keywords, and even ratings and colours labels and you will find you will never have to look at all 30k images. Generating previews then becomes a lot faster.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 12:21 AM   #10
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I agree that refining your workflow is the first step, before throwing more hardware at this problem. However, my question to you is... why are generating previews for all 30k photos at once?

I'm not on my Lr computer at the moment, but I'm sure there is a way to generate and previews, and then keep them. IIRC I have mine set to discard previews after 30 days. But... I never look at all of my photos all at once in any case.

Are you using Keywords extensively? If so, you should be able to search just a subset of your photos. Are you using Collections? Instead of individual catalogues, try setting up master Collection Sets. I have one for Clients, one for Family, and one for my Art. Easier to drag images into the appropriate Collection than to close one catalogue an open another. It also prevents importing into the wrong catalogue.

Short version.... get better about organizing Collections, Keywords, and even ratings and colours labels and you will find you will never have to look at all 30k images. Generating previews then becomes a lot faster.
I do a fairly good job of keywording, I believe, but have never done any very serious use of collections. I will see if I can divide them up a bit to see if that helps. I can see how this would narrow down the list of previews that would be generated if I am searching for particular photos.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 12:36 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by sflarc51 View Post
Here is a great article that will give you some insight about lightroom and why it is slowing down. Yes, the write up is about large image files but the solution they utilize is the solution you'll likely find your self needing. Step 2 and Step 3 are the meat of the matter. http://photographylife.com/efficient...olution-images

Throwing more hardware at this is not the solution but rather a way to relieve the symptoms. Your photo catalogs are only going to continue to increase in size as you add more and more photos. You need a better workflow, not more hardware. It will become a very expensive proposition otherwise, as every couple of years you'll need to be upgrading your hardware.

On a side note I recently upgraded to iPhoto 9.4 and notice a considerable performance hit . It seems to me the speed with which both iPhoto and Lightroom perform is directly related to the size of the photo library they are dealing with.

I suspect that at some point in the future Apple and Adobe will optimize how the libraries ("catalog" in Lightroom) function, thus speeding up the performance. But until then, to keep a speedy computer, it is up to design a workflow that works efficiently with these programs.
Thanks for the link ... just what I was looking for.

I have an 15" Retina fully maxed out, but the D800 along with a large catalogue has really slowed things down in comparison to my old D700.

Cheers !!
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 01:37 AM   #12
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I do a fairly good job of keywording, I believe, but have never done any very serious use of collections. I will see if I can divide them up a bit to see if that helps. I can see how this would narrow down the list of previews that would be generated if I am searching for particular photos.
Are you using Keywords to search? Have you looked at Smart Collections, which can act as permanent keyword searches? It's a great way to organize photos.

Everyone works a bit differently, but I mostly work on 'themed' projects. The 1st thing I do is set up a Collection Set. It's the container that holds everything. Inside this Collection Set I will put a Collection that holds all of them my images for that project. Every single one, unranked and unfiltered. If I'm looking for an image that I can't find anywhere else, it'll be in there. Alongside this Collection is set up my Smart Collections, that basically just show me the images in this project that meet certain criteria - above a certain rank, colour labeled, with a set of keywords, etc etc. Finally I usually have a Collection with the 'final' images. These are the ones that will be presented somehow. They've been edited, cropped, developed, gone to Photoshop and back, whatever. Images here are put there consciously....not through a Smart Collection Filter.

This is just one example. Your situation will be different obviously.

I also have a Collection Set labeled "My Projects", where all the projects go. I can see every image that is a "Project" - which excludes my client work, or my 'family' stuff.

Lightroom has powerful tools to cut down on the clutter you have to wade through. I like browsing the Community Help section on the Adobe website. Well moderated, and their contributors are very good.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 10:03 AM   #13
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Thank you all for your help. I will see what I can do to my catalog to speed it up. I do have a couple more questions while we are on this subject and I have your attention. I know one reason for my slow speeds in Lightroom is the the way I store my photos, so maybe I could get some ideas as to how to do a better job of it. Currently, I import all my photos to an external USB 2 drive and work with them from there. The main computer I use for editing is an Imac with a 320 gig harddrive so there isn't much room for storage there and I really don't want to open it up to add a drive. Any suggestions as to a better option would be appreciated.
My second question is, if I upgrade to a new Macbook Pro, I would preferably purchase a refurb, and I see that they offer it with a couple of different graphics cards. I was wondering which one might be a better choice for photo editing? Thanks for any help.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 01:04 PM   #14
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Thank you all for your help.... Currently, I import all my photos to an external USB 2 drive and work with them from there. The main computer I use for editing is an Imac with a 320 gig harddrive so there isn't much room for storage there and I really don't want to open it up to add a drive. Any suggestions as to a better option would be appreciated.... I was wondering which one might be a better choice for photo editing? Thanks for any help.
Happy to help....

Yes, my understanding is that the USB 2 connection will be slowing you down. Moving the images to an external HDD with a faster connection will make a difference. I'm guessing that you're best bet is FW800. I think it will make a noticeable improvement. I have a few of the Seagate GoFlex Drives.... basically a small external HDD with an interchangeable connection. I have a few USB 2 connectors - I used these for my nightly backups where speed doesn't matter (I'm backing up an internal HDD).

However, if I need a fast external I also have a FW800 connector... and it works fast enough for me.

There are other FW solutions... sales are coming up too.

Your basic graphic card will work fine for Lightroom and Photoshop - if you are dealing with still images and not movies. A basic graphic card displays all the colours your files have recorded, and then some. If you get into videos, then an upgraded graphics card might be worth considering. A video card then needs to put a whole bunch of pictures on the screen, one after another, very very quickly. But - just straight video - is not very hard on a graphics card. It's when it needs to help calculate video things... like animation ... that you need a top-notch card.

------

So... if your images are on an external HDD, how are you backing them up? I know you know that you need to... but are you? If not....Tut Tut (smile). There, you have been scolded.....

Seriously... if you are not backing them up, just be aware that one of your future posts will be asking how to recover 30k+ images from a crashed hard-drive. Sooner or later. You would rather be getting advice on how to move your backed up images back into a catalogue, instead of on expensive data recovery services, or how to freeze (or bake) the hard-drive because it once worked for someone's cousin's ex brother-in-law's sister's husband.

Cheers
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 03:28 PM   #15
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Happy to help....

Yes, my understanding is that the USB 2 connection will be slowing you down. Moving the images to an external HDD with a faster connection will make a difference. I'm guessing that you're best bet is FW800. I think it will make a noticeable improvement. I have a few of the Seagate GoFlex Drives.... basically a small external HDD with an interchangeable connection. I have a few USB 2 connectors - I used these for my nightly backups where speed doesn't matter (I'm backing up an internal HDD).

However, if I need a fast external I also have a FW800 connector... and it works fast enough for me.

There are other FW solutions... sales are coming up too.

Your basic graphic card will work fine for Lightroom and Photoshop - if you are dealing with still images and not movies. A basic graphic card displays all the colours your files have recorded, and then some. If you get into videos, then an upgraded graphics card might be worth considering. A video card then needs to put a whole bunch of pictures on the screen, one after another, very very quickly. But - just straight video - is not very hard on a graphics card. It's when it needs to help calculate video things... like animation ... that you need a top-notch card.

------

So... if your images are on an external HDD, how are you backing them up? I know you know that you need to... but are you? If not....Tut Tut (smile). There, you have been scolded.....

Seriously... if you are not backing them up, just be aware that one of your future posts will be asking how to recover 30k+ images from a crashed hard-drive. Sooner or later. You would rather be getting advice on how to move your backed up images back into a catalogue, instead of on expensive data recovery services, or how to freeze (or bake) the hard-drive because it once worked for someone's cousin's ex brother-in-law's sister's husband.

Cheers
Thanks for the scolding but I don't really need one. I use Photo Mechanic as my importing software, and I copy my files to two separate harddrives and then to a third which I keep offsite.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 03:55 PM   #16
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Thanks for the scolding but I don't really need one. I use Photo Mechanic as my importing software, and I copy my files to two separate harddrives and then to a third which I keep offsite.
Excellent! I'm glad to hear that. Are you also backing up the Lr Catalogue? I don't know if you know this, but Lightroom doesn't actually "change" any of your images, all of the editing changes are recorded in the catalogue - a database. If you were to lose that you'd still have your images, but not any of the editing changes.

Are you backing up (with photo mechanic) only on import...or are you backing up the photos as well from the Lr file system? I'm asking because the catalogue may be keyed to the name Lr knows about. If you are using photo mechanic to rename the images as you import them, and if you are backing up only on import then it's possible the images are called something different on the backups than in the catalogue.... making a backup copy of the catalogue sort of less than useful.

So, please forgive me for fussing one more time... I care very deeply for the health and well being of images....
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 05:26 PM   #17
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Excellent! I'm glad to hear that. Are you also backing up the Lr Catalogue? I don't know if you know this, but Lightroom doesn't actually "change" any of your images, all of the editing changes are recorded in the catalogue - a database. If you were to lose that you'd still have your images, but not any of the editing changes.

Are you backing up (with photo mechanic) only on import...or are you backing up the photos as well from the Lr file system? I'm asking because the catalogue may be keyed to the name Lr knows about. If you are using photo mechanic to rename the images as you import them, and if you are backing up only on import then it's possible the images are called something different on the backups than in the catalogue.... making a backup copy of the catalogue sort of less than useful.

So, please forgive me for fussing one more time... I care very deeply for the health and well being of images....
I do back up my catalog whenever I close Lightroom, but truthfully I back it up to the same harddrive it resides on. So I guess I should do something about that. I don't rename my images as I import them, so Lightroom knows where they are.

As far as being concerned about their well being, I'm not too sure that very many of them would be missed too much by anyone other than me, if they were lost forever.
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 06:04 PM   #18
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If you are really interested in getting organized get George Jardine's tutorials on library workflow and photo catalog management. Best $25 you'll ever spend.
http://mulita.com/blog/?page_id=2
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 01:35 PM   #19
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I'm not sure if this is exactly the right forum for this question, but here goes. I have both a core 2 duo Imac and a core two duo Macbook Pro that seem to be struggling with Lightroom 4. I have only one catalog with probably about thirty thousand photos in it and if I select all photos, it takes forever to generate previews. I would really rather not separate the photos into smaller categories to keep it easier to search for a particular photo. My question concerns whether I should purchase a new computer or would installing an SSD in one pick the speed up enough to be usable? All my photos are stored on an external hard drive if that makes a difference. I'm not quite sure where or how previews are generated. Thanks for any help
Are you using the 2nd monitor feature? I've found that having that active on a single monitor renders LR4 unusably slow.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 01:52 PM   #20
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In my experience a single large catalog does not cause performance issues and hasn't been a concern since LR2. I have over 40K photos in my library and I have them all in one well defined catalog. I do however start a new folder for every year and name my files by date so my HD is also organized at import.

A common remedy for wonkiness is to trash your preferences file. I too backup upon exit but you should make a point of clearing out old versions because they might be taking up a ton of room on your HD - my .lrcat file is almost 700mb so even a months worth of backups would take up like 20 gb!
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Old Nov 15, 2012, 08:34 AM   #21
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In my experience a single large catalog does not cause performance issues and hasn't been a concern since LR2. I have over 40K photos in my library and I have them all in one well defined catalog. I do however start a new folder for every year and name my files by date so my HD is also organized at import.

A common remedy for wonkiness is to trash your preferences file. I too backup upon exit but you should make a point of clearing out old versions because they might be taking up a ton of room on your HD - my .lrcat file is almost 700mb so even a months worth of backups would take up like 20 gb!
Thanks for this advice. I'm not on my Lightroom computer at the moment, so I can't check, but does Lightroom save each backup as a new file and not overwrite the old ones? If this is the case there is no telling how much space they have taken up.
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Old Nov 15, 2012, 09:35 AM   #22
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Correct, LR just keeps adding new backups by date and does not overwrite existing backups. Check your users/Pictures/Lightroom/Backups folder and you'll find date named folders with each existing .lrcat file within. You're going to want to keep an eye on that and clear it out every now and then...

You can also set the camera raw cache size in preferences. I have mine set to 10GB which might even be a little small but the default setting is 1GB. I think once or twice I've chosen to purge this when things were getting slow and it did alleviate the sluggishness.

Finally you might want to try choosing file/optimize catalog according to Adobe this 'instructs Lightroom to examine the data structure of the catalog and make sure that it is succinct'.
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Old Nov 15, 2012, 10:13 AM   #23
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Correct, LR just keeps adding new backups by date and does not overwrite existing backups. Check your users/Pictures/Lightroom/Backups folder and you'll find date named folders with each existing .lrcat file within. You're going to want to keep an eye on that and clear it out every now and then...

You can also set the camera raw cache size in preferences. I have mine set to 10GB which might even be a little small but the default setting is 1GB. I think once or twice I've chosen to purge this when things were getting slow and it did alleviate the sluggishness.

Finally you might want to try choosing file/optimize catalog according to Adobe this 'instructs Lightroom to examine the data structure of the catalog and make sure that it is succinct'.
I will check that out and try and clean it up a bit. I know my cache is set at 40GB but I have never deleted it, so hopefully that will help. Thanks again.
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Old Nov 15, 2012, 11:27 AM   #24
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Obviously a purge will cause LR to have to re-render all the previews and so would take time to rebuild which would take you back to square one of your post...

The macbook core 2 duo is limited to 8GB of RAM I believe - I just sold mine and bought a 15" 2.3 i7 and installed 16GB of RAM. It really made a difference when roundtripping massive 150GB panoramas from LR to PS but otherwise I thought the core 2 duo was fine.
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Old Nov 15, 2012, 12:01 PM   #25
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Obviously a purge will cause LR to have to re-render all the previews and so would take time to rebuild which would take you back to square one of your post...

The macbook core 2 duo is limited to 8GB of RAM I believe - I just sold mine and bought a 15" 2.3 i7 and installed 16GB of RAM. It really made a difference when roundtripping massive 150GB panoramas from LR to PS but otherwise I thought the core 2 duo was fine.
My Macbook is maxed out at 8GB, so I have been thinking about either replacing it or my 24" Imac, and I keep going back and forth whether to replace both with a new Macbook Pro, or replacing the Imac with a Mac Mini. My Macbook is the 13" which I like for the portability. I really need to get to the Apple store to check out the 15" and see how it compares size wise. Just out of curiosity, which Macbook did you get? I don't need a retina screen, but other than that, I'm not sure where I get the most bang for my buck.
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