Aperture and Hardware Optimization

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by usethisname, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Dec 5, 2012
    Hey guys! First off, this is not a question about Aperture VS Lightroom. This is also a question I don't think can be answered by reading prvious threads (I've tried looking) because I have a question about brand new specs.

    I've used aperture for 2 years and generally love the program. However, I've amassed a sizable library and began shooting in RAW about a year ago. It's become increasingly impossible to work in Aperture on my 2012 Unibody MBP, 2.3 GHz i7, 4 GB RAM with sufficient disk space. The program freezes constantly and renders my machine super slow even after I force quit.

    I just ordered a 27" iMac, 3.2 GHz i5, 24 GB RAM, 1TB fusion, 680MX. I want to know if this spec bump alone will ameliorate my issues, or if there are other measures I can take to start having a more efficient workflow. For example, is booting the Aperture library from a USB 3.0 or TB connected SSD going to make things better? 32GB instead of 24 GB RAM (seems excessive)?

    Thanks for any advice! I'm hoping to get this aspect of my workflow ironed out while I'm waiting for my new sexy beast to arrive!
  2. macrumors G4

    Oct 14, 2005
    When I switched from a 15" MBP that was maxed out to a MacBook Air (with 1/2 the RAM, and a CPU that was wayyyyyy slower), I about flipped out that Aperture ran so much faster for me on the Air.

    I went from getting the stupid spinning beach ball just about anytime I did *anything* in Aperture on the MBP to rarely seeing it ever on the Air.

    The only spec of the Air that bested the MBP was the SSD. So for me, putting my library on a SSD is what made it really fly.
  3. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 5, 2012
    Hmm, that's crazy! I have the fusion drive but it's only 128 GB and running the whole OS, so I'd like to get a dedicated SSD that I just have constantly plugged in. Especially if it makes working in Aperture bearable again.
  4. macrumors newbie

    Jan 16, 2010
    Grenoble, France
    Hi. It sounds like your machine should already be super fast. I have an 'old' core 2 due at 2.8GHz, 6GB RAM, SSD but 350GB referenced library on external HDD and rarely get lag, beach balls or other issues. The SSD will not improve anything other than slightly faster start-up, but if you external disks attached, the start-up time is limited by your external disks spinning up if they are hibernating. The i7 should give virtually instant updates, even with paintbrushes. My external HDD is firewire, so can be 'relatively' slow giving a new screenful of imported ~12Mb RAW image previews, but no more than a few seconds.

    I would imagine there is another reason for your slow performance, other than the h/w. Have you tried all the usual stuff - rebuilding libraries, setting preview sizes (recreating previews) etc etc.
  5. macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2011
    My Mbp is the 13" 2011 base version, Iv upgraded the ram and hdd but yours should still be as fast, perhaps you don't have enough disks pace, I always keep mine at 50% capacity otherwise things start to slow down, I also use clean my mac to clean out the cache which speeds things up for me.

    I also use daisy disk to see what files are causing huge space issues
  6. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 5, 2012
    Embarrassingly, I haven't tried any of this. Can you point me to a thread with instructions on how to do this properly?


    I haven't tried Clean My Mac. Thanks, I'll try it!
  7. macrumors 68000


    Apr 3, 2010
    Big Sky country
    Your new beast should be ample enough and I wouldn't expect you to have any problems loading pictures, etc. I have a 15 MBP with 8 of RAM (see my sig below) and I am fine. What i did do is get a 2TB G-Drive external HD and connect it via 800FW to my MBP. I moved most of my Aperture photos to the external HD as referenced files and that opened up a lot of space on my MBP. The new USB 3.0 is supposed to be as fast if not faster than FW which is being phased out rapidly. BTW, apple has a FW to USB 3 adaptor for those of us who may eventually move on to a newer computer set up w/o ditching all of our FW devices.
  8. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 5, 2012
    Very interesting. I think what I'm hearing is that SDD or HDD, there's a certain percentage of hard drive that the aperture library can take up before it slows everything down. If it's HDD, partitioning your library onto an external drive frees up the necessary space. If your internal is SDD, and the library is small enough, it's efficient enough to ameliorate problems.

    Since my new computer is a desktop, there's no problem just keeping an external always plugged in (whereas on my laptop, it was a pain when I wanted to be mobile). My aperture library is very large, so it sounds like this partition would help!

    Also, my MBP only has 4 GB of RAM and page outs are well above 1 GB. The switch to 24 GB should help that problem as well!
  9. macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    It needs more RAM. You should have 16GM of RAM in any Mac that runs Aperture with a large library. RAM is so cheap now that you should "Just do it."

    The other thing you must do is turn on the "yellow border" thing so Aperture is not always re-rendering every photo. Turn it off and on as required.

    Yes a faster disk will help and I assume "Fusion" will help a lot but the #1 thing is RAM. Get more. I'd bet the disk drive is not your bottleneck.

    Hear is how to see if I'm right. Use Acativity Monitor and see if the "swap out" counter is going up. "swap in" is normal to go up but a swap OUT means the system was out of RAM can had to remove something that is in RAN to make room for something else. This gets bad it likely needed the thing that was removed and will have to swap it back in put before it can do that something else must b removed. You get the point, I'm sure. The computer science word is "thrashing", Yes that is the real technical term. More RAM will help. to make a noticeable difference you hae to double the RAM, you would notice going from 4 to 8 and then from 8 to 16.

    The other option is to buy a Mac Pro. The Pro can hold lots more RAM
  10. macrumors 68000


    Apr 3, 2010
    Big Sky country
    The 24 GB of RAM most certainly will! The original RAM on my MBP was 4, but I bought 8GB from Crucial and swapped it for my Apple RAM. I definitely made a world of difference.
  11. macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I'll be getting the new 27" iMac as well. I decided to bite the bullet for the 768 GB SSD option. This will easily hold the OS + my 360GB Aperture library.

    I'll move other stuff like music + video off onto the 8TB Thunderbolt Pegasus R4.

    I plan to self-upgrade to 32GB Ram.

    I'll probably keep this machine for 2-3 years before upgrading... and handing this one down to my wife. By then, I expect that SSD-only will be standard... and we will be in the multi-TB capacity range. I am not thrilled about the extra $1300... but this machine will live for about 5 years (between myself, and then my wife)... and I am ready to never have spinning media inside a client computer again.

  12. macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2010
    Lightroom and Aperture doesn't freeze, ever, with 8GB RAM on my computer.
    You'll be a speed demon with 24GB installed.

    (You don't need an external SSD; external storage is when you can't fit all the storage you need into your computer enclosure. Speed is an occasional added benefit of such a configuration.)

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