Adding SSD for boot disk not really helping Lightroom

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by bking1000, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. bking1000 macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    In an effort to save money, I added an SSD to my 2009 13" MBP. C2D 2.26GHz, 8GB RAM.

    It doesn't really help. My CPU is the bottleneck, it still pegs, and the CPU still runs hot. I think I just need more CPU firepower.

    Also, btw, the move broke my MS Office license and has created issues with iTunes and some other apps I'll have to spend some time on, figuring out how to re-establish the license.

    Thought I'd pass this along for anyone who might be considering the same.
     
  2. tmagman macrumors 6502

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    #2
    i found it helped my old 2010 MBP quite a bit. Where did you put the lightroom catalog and preview files? Are they on an external drive with the original pictures or did you move them onto the SSD?
     
  3. bking1000 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Catalog, preview and photos themselves are all on the HDD. Should the catalog and preview be on the SSD? (keeping the source files on the HDD)?

    Maybe I missed that??
     
  4. reltm macrumors member

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    Sep 13, 2011
    #4
    Thanks for sharing your experience. I have a 2010 MBP and I have a hard time with Aperture. I've heard Aperture is just lousy software, prone to spinning beach balls etc, but I was hoping an SSD might speed things up.

    Keep us posted if you find something that works for Lightroom.
     
  5. bking1000, Sep 26, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013

    bking1000 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Well, it seems actually that an SSD won't help LR much anyway. http://forums.adobe.com/thread/884173 and http://www.computer-darkroom.com/blog/will-an-ssd-improve-adobe-lightroom-performance/

    It SURE helps Microsoft office though!! I used to get about 4-5 icon bounces when opening Office. Now it's open within one bounce.

    So, I didn't end up speeding up LR, but I did end up speed up other things.

    With moving the OS off my HDD though and getting about 40-50GB space off the HDD, maybe I'll expand the cache size for handling raw files, and keep the 1:1 previews longer.
     
  6. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #6
    I hacked open my '08 MBP with the 2.5 GHz C2D chip and the max of 6 gigs of ram last year and installed a 128 gig ssd as a boot drive and put a 750 gig platter drive in the optical bay. Apps and OS on the ssd and data storage on the HDD.

    Turned the old coot into a thing of beauty. Don't do Lightroom, but Aperture boots in 5 seconds and the whole system is up and running from a cold start in around 20 seconds max. 5 seconds to launch PhotoShop CS6, too. In fact, the whole CS6 suite of PS, Illustrator and InDesign launches in a total of 12 seconds.

    EDIT: What do you mean by "pegs out" and "runs hot"? Do you have numbers from a utility like iStat Pro?

    Dale
     
  7. spacedcadet macrumors regular

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    Mar 5, 2009
    #7
    Lightroom

    Catalogue and previews should be on the SSD. Original files can stay on slower drive. Best to have multiple catalogues by project, rather than one HUGE one too.
     
  8. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #8
    Is there empirical evidence available for this? I've toyed with this idea, but it creates a HUGE headache when trying to compile images from multiple projects. The only data I've seen suggests that any slowdown from a large catalog manifests only when the catalog size gets very large, indeed (say, >100,000 photos).

    As for the SSD issue, I agree; put the catalogue and previews on the SSD, original images on an external hard drive.
     
  9. tmagman macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Yeah put the catalog and previews on the SSD because that's the actual data being manipulated and viewed when you're working on files until you export images with edits. Its fine for the actual images to be on the slower HDDs that are external. Those drives and your computers can chug along at a slower pace to load images and new previews of pictures that don't already have previews saved in the LR previews in the background.

    From what I've heard, Lightroom works better if you only have the one catalog file up to that same point of 100,000 photos that you mentioned. I'm assuming the bottleneck at that point is more of a processing power bottleneck not a LR catalog file capability problem.
     
  10. MrGIS macrumors regular

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    #10
    Honestly, you're doing it wrong..
     
  11. bking1000 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Yes, iStat Pro. CPU pegs the visual meter. When looking at the details, it's about 168%+ for LR. Hot is 90-104 degrees on the CPU die during export, editing and other tasks.
     
  12. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #12
    Mine runs 115 degrees just reading this post with the fans at 1900 rpm. I think that's normal operating temp. Things get testy at something like 160 and the cpu has a thermal breaker that shuts the system down short of that.

    As for cpu load, I just exported 440MB of Aperture 3 files (18 raw+sidecar files) to a desktop folder in a minute or so. I watched iStat and the cpu load never topped 15%. Used about 50% of my whopping 6GB ram.

    I'm thinking I'll keep this thing for a while more.

    Dale
     
  13. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #13
    What do you want to make fast. Loading the software or using the software. For some odd reason people seem to care about how fast Word or Aperture loads. I do this one and it stays running for days oe at least hours. What I care more about is how well it runs after loading. SO I'd put the DATA on the fast disk not the software. Seems like you got it backwards.

    But only do any of this after you have maxed out the RAM. Add more RAM first, then a faster disk.
     
  14. Designer Dale, Sep 27, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2013

    Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #14
    In a perfect world, you'd want to have everything on the fast disk. Problem is the fast disk is expensive and thusly small. My Aperture Library is twice the size of my SSD.

    The item that moves the data around the most is the app, therefore it gets priority for the fast "disk".

    More ram would be great, but the older systems in question here can't address more than 8 gigs of ram. With my '08 I'm limited to 6. But I don't have the OPs issue. It seems to be a Lightroom problem.

    Keep in mind that apps do all the work and data just sits there waiting for the app to pull it off the shelf. Kind of like chemicals in the lab. Data storage doesn't need a fast environment, apps are busy, busy, busy.

    Dale

    EDIT: OP: It sounds like you have a dual drive setup now, is that right? If so, how did you manage the installation or migration from your original HD to the dual drive setup? Did your speed problem start or remain unchanged after the move?
     
  15. bking1000 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    Hey Dale,

    Yeah, I now have a dual drive set-up. To build the new drive, I used carbon copy cloner to copy my main drive from the old HDD to the new SSD. I posted in thread on MR asking about this: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1644775 but basically with some Googling, you can find what you need. CCC allows you to clone the drive, but you choose to leave out the home folder, which should most of the time have all your media, etc. on it. About 50-60GB was copied over.

    Two issues I found: 1) iTunes needs a "Shared" user in the user folder in the same drive where iTunes resides. In my case, when I copied over to the SSD, I didn't copy any of the users, so I had to create an empty shared user folder on the SSD. I found an Apple KB article on how to create this properly, complete with terminal commands. Sorry I don't have the link anymore.

    The other issue was I had was I had to re-point LR to the new location of the library of photo masters.

    Theoretically, I could delete the OS off my HDD, but as I still have room on the old HDD, and this was done mainly for performance, I am keeping the old OS install for now, just in case any issues crop up.

    ON THE SPEED ISSUE: I knew going into this that this likely was not my issue. With the CPU hitting 100%, it had to be a processor issue. That's been proven true. The SSD helps tremendously in speed of shut down (not sure why), start up, and launching apps (especially MS office suite). And maybe in general, speeds up a bit navigating in an app. I suppose that depends on how the app is loaded as you use it.

    Overall, I think I'm keeping the SSD, but I'm not 100% sure I'll keep the laptop. I'm going to wait to see what the next refresh and Maverick is like. This at least bought me some time, and keeps me distracted with something new a shiny to test/play with ;)

    ----------

    MY SUMMARY -- for whoever might be reading this. I've updated my MBP a couple of times, chasing LR performance.

    1) I did RAM first, and that was a HUGE help. At 8GB, I never max out RAM when running LR only. This is cheap, so do this first.

    2) There are a lot of ways to tweak LR, from building 1:1 previews early, to expanding the RAW cache, etc. I think making sure you have these right is a good second step. And, yes, I think more RAM is a higher return than the tweaking, though LR tweaks certainly cost less. But, without the RAM, it almost doesn't matter.

    3) I think based on this experience, I would recommend upping the processor next, if speed is the critical thing. This is, of course, the most expensive option.

    4) SSD helps somewhat, and gives the computer an overall much snappier feel, but doesn't impact LR that much. If you want a MBP refresh, get an SSD. It impacts everything else. If you must have faster LR performance, get a new Mac (or a second mac, or, if you have a Mac Pro, update the processor)

    I don't know if graphics cards updates would help at all. As I prefer the 13" MBP footprint, my choices are limited. I would think graphics cards would NOT help, so I believe this point to be moot, though perhaps other people who know more than I do would like to chime in.

    I think RAM and Processor are your biggest hardware levers, and do the tweaks. Get an SSD anyway, but it's not driven by LR needs.
     
  16. dollystereo macrumors 6502a

    dollystereo

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    France
    #16
    I have same setup (HDD+SDD).
    You want to put everything you can in your SSD. I have a huge aperture collection, so when I want to work with some photos, I move them to the SSD, when am done, back to the HDD. (Currently working photos are imported and kept in the SSD).
    I didn't move my iTunes library, just re linked it to the old one. Anyway, I did a clean install, I dont like to keep all my system files and old apps. (and is nice, because it's like setting up a new computer).
    For office, you have to reinstall it. You don't have a DVD drive now, but you can download it from the office page.
    Good luck.
     
  17. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #17
    Keep the os and apps on the same drive. They share resources.

    I lost the links for my setup, but this is what everything looks like.

    Dale
     

    Attached Files:

  18. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #18
    You app does not RUN from the SSD, it only loads from the SSD.

    The executable code and the images and other small files that make up an app. are stored on an HD or SSD. When you click on the icon that stuff gets loaded into RAM. Mostly the system uses "page ins" to do the loading. Assuming that you have a reasonable amount of RAM this process happens only once after you click the app's icon. If the app is stored on an SSD it loads quickly into RAM.

    But once it is moved into RAM and running it "forgets" that it was loaded form some other place. It no longer makes any difference. RAM is VERY fast much faster than any SSD.

    Now the running app has to access some data.

    For many people they load apps use them for a few minutes then do something else. In that case loading these apps is the main thing the computer does and you want to make that fast. I'd say MOST PEOPLE are like that. They don't create or modify any media so for them loading apps is what is taking al the time.

    So as I wrote above, decide what you want to make fast loading or running. Idieally you'd place everything on the SSD but if forced to choose decide what to make fast.
     
  19. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #19
    This is all true, but what is a reasonable amount of ram these days? I have a max of 6 on my '08 MBP and I'm pretty sure that's not considered reasonable any more. Not even baseline.

    Any photo app will drag a system down unless you're 100% SSD because it has to keep going to the library to fetch whatever file you want to work on.

    My library is on a platter disk and takes up 200GB. That's small by digital photo standards.

    Dale
     
  20. reltm macrumors member

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    Sep 13, 2011
    #20
    Thanks for this; very helpful. I'm thinking about an SSD to increase Aperture performance.

    Would upgrading to an SSD or upgrading RAM make a difference for streaming video playback? I have a 2010 MBP 13", 2.4 Ghz, 4GB with a 250GB hard drive.

    My complaint is that after watching five or ten mins of streaming video (say, The Colbert Report which I think is Flash), the fans kick in and the computer gets really hot.

    Also in system profiler, my SATA link info says "NVidia MCP89 AHCI" with a 3GB link speed. So that means I won't be able to take advantage of all these nice Samsung SSDs with 6GB speed have to offer, right?
     
  21. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #21
    Streaming video is at the mercy of your internet connection speed and video processing unit. Since it's not on any internal storage, an SSD won't really be of much help. Upgrading ram will help some since it should help the video system somehow. I'm not the video guy so I don't really know how. Just my guess. Your fans are kicking in because your processors are working really hard. Streaming video wasn't a big thing in 2010 like it is now.

    Dale
     
  22. reltm macrumors member

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    #22
    Thanks. I just realized this is not the "streaming video" forum -- but super useful info all the same. It's a tough call -- spend the money to upgrade or sell and buy a new one. You're right though, I think it might just be a processor bottleneck (or maybe GPU?) in which case ram and ssd won't have as much effect.
     
  23. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #23
    I looked up the device your system says is on the SATA bus and it's a 5400 rpm hard drive. You're probably not even getting SATA3 speed off it. The max speed of your computer's bus is SATA3 so adding a SATA6 SSD would be a waste of money. The SSD in my '08 MBP is SATA3.

    Dale
     

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