Aperture 3 - which machine to make it snappy?

blackmtn

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 17, 2010
47
0
Northern British Columbia
Hello, I realise this forum isn't really about hardware, but I have a specific question about how the hardware works with Aperture 3 and it's hard to get good answers from the regular hardware sections for this.

Currently I am on a 1st gen Intel iMac (2ghz, core duo, not c2d!) with the ati 1600. The ATI card has massive problems with Aperture 3 and Snow Leopard, and I also find Aperture 3 very unresponsive besides, so it has become all but unusable. So, I am looking for a new computer to primarily make my interactions with Aperture less painful.

Please list which computer you have, which processor it has and which graphics card and let me know how "snappy" you find Aperture to be. I know that this is subjective, but for reference, when I am working with a K7 raw file (which is 14.5 mp), I generally have to wait a few seconds or even up to 30 seconds to see the changes after making an adjustment. (Faster adjustments are exposure, slower ones are sharpening etc).

I am considering buying a Mac Mini, so I can avoid the glossy iMacs, but I am concerned that the 9400m is not up to the task of making Aperture snappy. (Actually, does an iMac i5 or i7 make Aperture snappy?)

My secondary usage is to stitch together large mosaics using PTGui (I have a pano head.) PTGui uses primarily disk cache (at least on my computer it does, it goes to disk cache seemingly before filling up available physical memory.) So any user opinions on performance for PTGui would be appreciated too.

Anyways, any help is much appreciated.
 

wickersty

macrumors newbie
May 30, 2006
11
0
I have the 3rd gen imac (the white plasticy looking one) which is a 2.2ghz c2duo. aperture is nearly unusable for me with that as well. several seconds to see changes made.
 

AxisOfBeagles

macrumors 6502
Apr 22, 2008
421
1
East of Shangrila
I'm glad you brought this up as I've been questioning the performance of Aperture 3.

I have a MacBook Pro, 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 2 GB of memory, and the GeForce 8600 GT graphics card. To my mind this should be plenty of horsepower - I have no trouble with iPhoto or CS2.

I recently started the 30 day trial of Aperture. I transferred over a 5,000 image iPhoto library - mostly JPEG images but a reasonable number of RAW images as well.

And so far I find Aperture to be way too slow - and that's not even using it as an editing tool but just as a library management tool. I import using the EOS Utility, edit in CS2, and use iPhoto as my Library Management tool. I was trying Aperture to see if it was faster or gave me features I don't have in iPhoto. So far, my vote is to stick with iPhoto - Aperture is simply way too sluggish.
 

Padaung

macrumors 6502
Jan 22, 2007
462
78
UK
I use a Macbook 2.2 C2D with Intel X3100 and 4Gb RAM. Definitely seen a performance hit going from Aperture 2 to Aperture 3. I shoot with a D200, so the files are quite small by todays standards. I find the computer is useable, but only just.

Planning to upgrade to a new 13" Macbook Pro when I next update the camera (whenever the D700 is replaced, hopefully later this year).

I hope you get more replies to this thread as I'm interested in how the latest 13"MBP runs Aperture 3.
 

Perrumpo

macrumors 68000
Jul 12, 2008
1,724
8
My '09 MBP (C2D specs in sig) using the slower graphics is fine with Aperture 3. Things like exposure are instant, sharpening is ~3-5 seconds. This is with Pentax RAW, as well.
 

blackmtn

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 17, 2010
47
0
Northern British Columbia
My '09 MBP (C2D specs in sig) using the slower graphics is fine with Aperture 3. Things like exposure are instant, sharpening is ~3-5 seconds. This is with Pentax RAW, as well.
In the case of sharpening, if you uncheck the adjustment after it is made, can you see the difference immediately or does it re-render it? I want to be able to compare the difference with or without an adjustment fairly often - in Photoshop I just use the undo/redo commands to flip back and forth between them quickly so I can easily see what my sharpening (or whatever) does. Right now it is - set an adjustment for sharpen, wait a ridiculously long time, uncheck it to see what difference it made, wait a long time again, check the box, wait a long time etc etc - it makes it quite difficult to see subtle changes.

Also, by slower graphics, do you mean the 9400m? I don't really know how the graphics systems work on your generation of MBP with dual graphics cards.
 

wheelhot

macrumors 68020
Nov 23, 2007
2,080
249
Ok, from my guess any new macs with 4gb DDR3 RAM will run fine, I know this cause I tried A3 on my friend unibody 4gb DDR3 RAM and it flies.

My current Mac is the pre-unibody + multitouch 15" MBP which comes with a stock 2GB DDR2 RAM and I say that A3 only works at performance level when in preview mode and near unusable when not in preview mode. All hope not lost though, I recently upgraded to a 6GB OWC DDR2 SDRAM and now Aperture flies too :cool: (well I manage to make A3 suck all 6gb of memory :eek: )

Although, I do find it surprising that my friend 4GB DDR3 RAM is able to load stuffs faster or about the same time as my 6GB DDR2 RAM. Is the difference between DDR2 and DDR3 is so significant?

Seriously, I think Apple should just change the minimum requirement for Aperture 3 to 2GB instead of 1GB :rolleyes:
 

Perrumpo

macrumors 68000
Jul 12, 2008
1,724
8
In the case of sharpening, if you uncheck the adjustment after it is made, can you see the difference immediately or does it re-render it? I want to be able to compare the difference with or without an adjustment fairly often - in Photoshop I just use the undo/redo commands to flip back and forth between them quickly so I can easily see what my sharpening (or whatever) does. Right now it is - set an adjustment for sharpen, wait a ridiculously long time, uncheck it to see what difference it made, wait a long time again, check the box, wait a long time etc etc - it makes it quite difficult to see subtle changes.

Also, by slower graphics, do you mean the 9400m? I don't really know how the graphics systems work on your generation of MBP with dual graphics cards.
Oh, so you're talking about that sharpening. I was sharpening under the RAW Fine Tuning, which you cannot uncheck. The sharpening box you can check and uncheck is actually faster to render in the first place, and the checking and unchecking is pretty quick... a second here or there. I found that after I went back and forth once, it was pretty snappy doing it more times.

Yes, the 9400M. Not sure if there's a difference with the 9400M GT... don't want to log out right now. :p
 

blackmtn

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 17, 2010
47
0
Northern British Columbia
Oh, so you're talking about that sharpening. I was sharpening under the RAW Fine Tuning, which you cannot uncheck. The sharpening box you can check and uncheck is actually faster to render in the first place, and the checking and unchecking is pretty quick... a second here or there. I found that after I went back and forth once, it was pretty snappy doing it more times.

Yes, the 9400M. Not sure if there's a difference with the 9400M GT... don't want to log out right now. :p
Ah ok, that kind of delay with sharpening I can live with.

I am curious though if you notice any difference between the 9400m and your other graphics card - seems you are in a unique situation to test both (subjectively at least.) It's quite important to me to know the difference (if any), because if the 9400m is the same, I'll be getting a mini!
 

peskaa

macrumors 68020
Mar 13, 2008
2,104
5
London, UK
Mac Pro (2009) 2.93Ghz Quad, 6GB RAM & 4870 GPU. Aperture 3 is working nicely with my 5DII and 1DIII files without any slowdown that I can notice. Certainly happy with the performance, though I may upgrade to 12GB RAM in the future (mainly for CS5...).

On the secondary machine, which is a late 2008 Unibody 2.53Ghz, 4GB RAM, 9600GT/9400M I've noticed it is definitely slower - but still usable. I wouldn't want to do my primary edits on it though.
 

Vel

macrumors member
Jul 5, 2008
88
1
I have noticed the samething on my 2008 Unibody MacBook with the stock 2GB of RAM...it has got so bad I have order 4GB of RAM hoping that will improve things quite significantly, I'll be sure to update you either way once it arrives (should be mid-late next week as the whole bank holiday thing just delays everything over here...)
 

Perrumpo

macrumors 68000
Jul 12, 2008
1,724
8
Ah ok, that kind of delay with sharpening I can live with.

I am curious though if you notice any difference between the 9400m and your other graphics card - seems you are in a unique situation to test both (subjectively at least.) It's quite important to me to know the difference (if any), because if the 9400m is the same, I'll be getting a mini!
All right. Just tested the two graphics against each other. Each is pretty instant with the checking and unchecking of the sharpness. Sharpening seemed to be the same, too. The discrete card might be a hair faster, but since both are going it quickly, it's hard to tell further than that.

If you find a more intense task to test, let me know.
 

tekmoe

macrumors 68000
Feb 12, 2005
1,551
22
I am running Aperture 3 on my 17" i7. It runs much better than my last MBP which was a 13" C2D with the 9400m chipset.
 

blackmtn

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 17, 2010
47
0
Northern British Columbia
All right. Just tested the two graphics against each other. Each is pretty instant with the checking and unchecking of the sharpness. Sharpening seemed to be the same, too. The discrete card might be a hair faster, but since both are going it quickly, it's hard to tell further than that.

If you find a more intense task to test, let me know.
Do you ever use the brush type adjustments? I've been trying them on my computer, and the idea behind them is fantastic, but doing the actual brushing is very unresponsive.
 

Perrumpo

macrumors 68000
Jul 12, 2008
1,724
8
Do you ever use the brush type adjustments? I've been trying them on my computer, and the idea behind them is fantastic, but doing the actual brushing is very unresponsive.
I have to admit I haven't used Aperture much yet. Been focused on my Photography and find myself going to Photoshop since I haven't delved into Aperture yet.

However, I just used a few different Quick Brushes, and they performed smoothly with the lesser graphics.
 

Westside guy

macrumors 603
Oct 15, 2003
5,565
2,631
The soggy side of the Pacific NW
Hello, I realise this forum isn't really about hardware, but I have a specific question about how the hardware works with Aperture 3 and it's hard to get good answers from the regular hardware sections for this.
The big problem is this is such a subjective question - not just regarding Aperture, but most any piece of software really. I remember when one of our faculty sent us repeated, urgent help tickets because his email was "basically unusable". When one of our Windows guys went up to check, he found that "basically unusable" amounted to a two second authentication delay when he clicked "check mail" (side note: it wasn't our mail server). The moral is what I consider "slow" and what you consider "slow" may not overlap much.

Another level of subjectivity is what I think of as the "Firefox vs. IE on Windows XP" problem. Firefox clearly renders pages faster than IE, but over the past several years I've had a few users complain to me about how slow Firefox is. When I go see them to track down the problem, it's consistently turned out their impression is based solely on the initial launch time, not how fast the browser actually works - but because IE launched faster, their impression is that Firefox is just a slow browser. And it doesn't matter if you can readily show them that pages load faster - they'll insist that it's still "slow"!

Computer usage patterns can affect responsiveness as well. I've noticed many Mac users have this tendency to leave every program they've launched running ad infinitum (note to switchers: closing all the windows of a Mac program doesn't usually terminate the program). When that's the case, you need significantly more RAM if you want to avoid the performance hit that comes when another program gets swapped to disk. OSes are smarter about handling this now, but it still can have a significant impact - especially when you're trying to actively use multiple large programs whose RAM needs add up to more RAM than you have. :D And if any of that software has memory leaks (e.g. Firefox on the Mac), there's less RAM available for other programs the longer that "problem" program runs.

Finally, it's going to depend on your workflow. I've used Aperture 3 a fair bit on a MacBook Air - so that's only 2GB of RAM, a lower-end Core 2 Duo, and 9400M graphics to boot (note to non-Americans - I'm not referring to the computer's boot process!) - but for the most part it's been perfectly usable for me. I do think version 3 has memory leak issues because it gets laggy over time; so if you're one of the people who never closes your apps, this is a BIG problem. Right after the upgrade to 3, Faces did slow things down significantly for quite a while, so I just let it chug along on that while I worked on other non-Aperture stuff - once that background work finally finished, Aperture became much more responsive (note: this is a variant of the aforementioned "Firefox vs IE" effect). Additionally, there are certain operations that are not instant - so if you tend to do those a lot, you're going to think the program is slower than someone like me who only uses those operations occasionally.
 

mike.coulter

macrumors regular
Jun 10, 2008
179
23
Cardiff
I'm running it on a new iMac with a 3.06ghz c2d processor and a Nvidia 9400m, and it runs perfectly. Very snappy and responsive.
 

blackmtn

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 17, 2010
47
0
Northern British Columbia
I'm beginning to think this computer itself is just on its last legs as I have a fairly fresh install of Snow Leopard and AP3 and it is pretty much unusable. For the record, I also found AP2 relatively slow as well (at least compared to CS4).
 

CrackedButter

macrumors 68040
Jan 15, 2003
3,221
0
51st State of America
Running a 2Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo with the max 3GB of RAM. This sucker takes ages to respond, my raw files are coming from 1Dsmk2 (16 megapixels). I'm using brushes which work then beach ball, work and the beach ball again, so it take me a while to go through my stuff.

On import I wish I could let it process the raw files in the background while I go do something else, truth it the machine is best left alone while I recharge batteries, shower or make dinner. It is okay for now but I have 3 weddings coming up towards the end of this month and once I've attached the 19" second monitor to my lappy I can kiss goodbye to any supposed spare system memory or processing power i had left. This machine becomes a uni-taskerwhile I surf the net or listen to music with my iphone, every application on the mac is turned off.

An upgrade is due, not sure if I want to spend a lot of money on a new setup or buy an SSD.
 

The Mad Kiwi

macrumors 6502
Mar 15, 2006
376
14
In Hell
Currently I am on a 1st gen Intel iMac (2ghz, core duo, not c2d!) with the ati 1600. The ATI card has massive problems with Aperture 3 and Snow Leopard, and I also find Aperture 3 very unresponsive besides, so it has become all but unusable. So, I am looking for a new computer to primarily make my interactions with Aperture less painful.

I had exactly the same computer until 2 months ago, Aperture was completely unusable, ages to open beach balls all the time. I bought a new i7 with 8GB, runs like a dream, no slowdowns what so ever.

Buy a new computer, get the 26" if you can afford it. You'll love it.
 

chrono1081

macrumors 604
Jan 26, 2008
7,660
1,779
Isla Nublar
The MBP in my sig runs Aperture flawlessly. No waiting ever.

I'm processing Canon 5D Mark II files (21 mp) and my computer is hooked to a 24 inch ACD.
 

acearchie

macrumors 68040
Jan 15, 2006
3,264
103
Mac Pro 2.66GHZ *4 nahalem.

All works instantly except brushes (skin smooting for example) using mostly 40meg tiff file scans from medium format.
 

SOLLERBOY

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2008
713
68
UK
I'm running an i5 imac which chews the heck out of anything it wants to but it keeps tripping up on aperture 3. Very slow to respond. 100% of 8gb RAM used. 60c + Heat build up. 300+% processor power just looking at an image. Although this seems to have stopped when the new update was installed. It seems to be running fast and cool. I think the last patch was a duffer.

I'm scared to install it on the Macbook as that struggles with photoshop a little bit so who knows what it would do if it had to run aperture.
 

davegregory

macrumors regular
Jul 7, 2009
195
2
Burlington, Ontario
I was running Aperture 3 on a Macbook Pro 15" 2.4 Ghz Core 2 Duo with 4gb of memory. It was brutal with 3.0. But after 3.0.1 it ran pretty slick. I had no problems with it. The trick to Aperture is to keep your library small. I create a new Aperture library for every new shoot I do. I keep a generic one for shots that really aren't worth making a new library for. Never let your Aperture library get over 1000 photos. It will run ridiculously slow on pretty much any machine. I'm picking up a new 27" i7 iMac tonight, so that should really give it a boost. But yeah, really, the trick with Aperture is smaller libraries. It's somewhat of an inconvenience to have them separated, and sort of defeats the purpose of photo management, but you can search across Aperture libraries with spotlight, so it's not too hard to look for a photo.
 

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