Aperture Performance - What matters?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by VirtualRain, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #1
    I'm thinking of getting a new Mac Pro and my primary application is Aperture (and NIK).

    What matters when it comes to Aperture performance?

    On my current 2009 Mac Pro it seems to run reasonably well. The slowest parts of the workflow are import (likely due to my CF card/reader), post-import processing (is that CPU or GPU?), and switching from one RAW to the next (waiting a few seconds for it to render - again is that CPU or GPU?). As for exporting, I only publish to Zenfolio or Facebook so internet speed is the biggest factor there I believe.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. MiniD3 macrumors 6502a

    MiniD3

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    #2
    Hi there,

    Well, I have just upgraded from a slow windose machine to a 27" iMac
    maxed out the chip and ram
    IMHO, I would get the fastest and latest chip you can afford,
    At least 16GB ram, I have 32 and don't regret it
    FWIW, my Daughter recently get the 27 and the i5 chip with 8GB ram,
    She does struggle with processing speed but does work the system hard

    lastly, I have one of those Lexar USB 3 card readers as I need both CF cards and XD works a treat and fast
    ....Gary
     
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Redondo Beach, California
    #3

    Mostly it's the speed of the disk drive if the library if very large. Get the new Macbook with Retina. The display is MUCH better and the internal flash storage runs circles around a mechanical disk.

    Aperture is not hard on the CPU or the GPU it mostly wants (1) a very fast disk and (2) lots of RAM.

    And of course a very good display the Retina really is that much better.
     
  4. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Portland, OR
    #4
    An SSD would make wonders. You do not need your originals on the SSD... but an SSD holding your library (with all of its 100's of thousands of tiny thumbnails, previews & metadata) will make Aperture fly.

    Do not get confused by transfer speed of HDDs vs SSDs. Yes, SSDs are faster, but that is NOT what makes them scream. It is IOPs (I/O operations per second) that makes SSDs fast. A good HDD will have 200-300 IOPs. By contrast, an SSD probably has 50,000 IOPs. The difference is stunning (100X).

    /Jim

    BTW: I also keep my originals on a SSD... but that is secondary
     
  5. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #5
    Thanks guys, I already have my Library and images on a fast SSD RAID0 array.

    However, every time I advance from one RAW image to the next, in Aperture, it takes a few seconds for it to load/render... what will speed this up? A faster CPU? A faster GPU? More RAM?

    Also, after I import a couple hundred images, there's a status wheel that says "Processing"... what will speed that up?

    I don't expect anyone to really know the answer, as it seems impossible to find any facts about what makes Aperture faster at processing images. However, I'll take your best guesses at this point.
     
  6. flynz4, Dec 11, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013

    flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    #6
    Question: What type of SSD array are you using, and how it is attached? Thunderbolt would be best.

    Next question... do you have previews turned on? If not, then every time you advance photos in the browser, it must render an image from originals. Under normal operation... your originals are not touched or used (in fact can even be disconnected)... and instead the previews load almost instantly.

    I have a 2012 i7 iMac with SSD and the top GFX option. Aperture is essentially "instant" for my 400GB library.

    /Jim
     
  7. swordio777 macrumors 6502

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    Scotland, UK
    #7
    It sounds like this definitely isn't a hardware issue. Have been into the Aperture preferences to make sure your settings are optimised for speed? Apple leaves a lot of options on by default which just suck up all your power - things like enabling faces, whether new projects automatically create previews, preview size, etc.

    Faces in particular will absolutely sap your processing power so make sure that's turned off.

    Hope that helps.
     
  8. Fuchal macrumors 68020

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    Sep 30, 2003
    #8
    Make sure Aperture is set to pre-render previews at a high enough resolution to cover your display area. If it has to convert the RAW every time, it will be slow.
     
  9. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #9
    So it turns out I'm not using previews... (and I'm not convinced I want to - need to read up more on that).

    At any rate, that would explain the short delay in loading RAW images. And by using Activity Monitor, I was able to determine that flipping through a number of RAW images was a very CPU intensive task (up to 80% CPU usage on my Quad Core). So a faster CPU would definitely help this.

    Memory consumption also climbed as I went through my library until all available memory (12GB) was consumed. Although it didn't start paging to disk, it seems it could have continued to use more and more memory... to what benefit I'm not sure.

    I'm curious if anyone here knows if the GPU plays any kind of role in processing images or applying adjustments.
     
  10. Freida macrumors 65816

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    Oct 22, 2010
    #10
    Mac Pro 2009 is fine. Don't waste money on the new one as the speed you get is not that significant.
     
  11. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #11
    Can you elaborate?
     
  12. Freida macrumors 65816

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    Oct 22, 2010
    #12
    The investment in the new one will not give you the equal speed increase that would be worth the money.
    Bump up your ram a bit if you want on your current setup as that might help a bit but I wouldn't buy the new one. Or at least not yet - Second generation maybe but not the current one.
    Also, your current machine allows you to have 4x hdd that can be setup in raid or just simple plain storage and you have a complete solution. With the new one you need to invest in external hdd etc. and suddenly the machine price tag will climb up even more.

    Save your money for now and come back later when nMP version 2 is released and we can revisit your needs and find a solution.

    For now i think its wasted money. Get SSDs and more ram for your 2009 MP and you are golden.

    p.s.: don't confuse what we all do in life NEED vs DESIRE :))
     
  13. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #13
    Hmm. I'm still not sure why you think the new Mac Pro doesn't offer enough speed to be worth it. From the benchmarks and specs I've seen, the new 6-core CPU is nearly 3x as fast as mine, the Quad core nearly double mine. The memory architecture in the new MP is 2x faster than mine. The new PCIe SSD is 4x faster than the SSD I have in mine. And even the low end GPUs in the new Mac Pro are at least 10x faster than the crappy GT120s I have. All that adds up to a substantial performance increase across all aspects of the system. If there was ever a time to upgrade my 2009 it seems like now is it.

    But of course, the reason I started this thread, was to try to determine what, if any, aspect of Aperture might benefit from all this great hardware, and all I'm hearing so far that matters is the SSD. But I know there's more to it than that. I can see my CPU usage and memory consumption go through the roof when cycling through RAW images in the browser. What I don't know, is to what extent Aperture leverages the GPU, and I'm starting to think its impossible to tell.

    Perhaps there is a new version of Aperture in the wings that will better leverage all this new hardware, but I'm not holding my breath.
     
  14. Freida macrumors 65816

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    #14
    just wait for official release and official benchmarks. What looks good on paper doesn't mean it will look good in reality. Yes the nMP will be faster than your machine and yes Aperture will be faster but I don't think it will be that much faster to throw $3k+ at it. But if those few seconds really slow you down cause you do tons if it every day and the investment will give you returns then yeah, go for it. Only you can decide if you really NEED it or if you just WANT it. :)
     
  15. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #15
    There's no doubt I don't need it. I could probably make do with my GF's white Macbook from 2008 if I really needed to. :) You can definitely count me among those trying to justify (however weakly) buying something I WANT more than I NEED :D However, if everyone just purchased strictly what they needed for the least amount of money possible, Apple products wouldn't exist along with this forum. :eek:

    BTW, for those interested in Aperture performance, I've done some benchmarking of my Aperture usage over the last few photo sessions and one thing that surprised me is how CPU intensive Aperture can be. My CPU usage can regularly hit 80% which means that doubling or tripling CPU speed is going to make a noticeable difference.

    Now I need to try and track down some way of measuring GPU usage.
     
  16. Freida macrumors 65816

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    #16
    Just wait till its released and then you can maybe satisfy your spending desire :D
     
  17. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #17
    How is that RAID connected? Hopefully something faster than Firewire, like USB3 or Thunderbolt. Also RAID is never as fast as a single disk because every write has to be done twice. I'd un-raid the drives and depend onTime Machine and backups for redundancy. Use two Time Machine drives if you have to.

    If you want Aperture to be FAST use the "P" keyboard shortcut to turn on those yellow borders unless you are actually changing the photos. It is day to turn the yellow on and off with one keyclick. Setting the preview size down will speed up everything too.
     
  18. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #18

    My RAID setup is documented here... (And maybe you missed it, but it's RAID0)...
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1504491

    And I'm not sure what you're referring to with the P-key and yellow borders.

    However, As I pointed out in my other thread on Previews, I've noticed that CPU utilization is actually pretty high at times using Aperture, so I'm looking forward to seeing how the nMP performs with it. However, as I keep saying, it would be nice to know, what if any aspect of the GPU that Aperture leverages.
     
  19. jbg232 macrumors 65816

    jbg232

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    #19
    For what it's worth, just went to apple store today to check out the new mac pro. They had the base unit on display with the sharp 4k display. I played around with aperture and here are some observations. Note that I browsed the library they had pre-installed by browsing all the LARGEST images (did a sort of all photos by size). Most of the images on apple's test machines are small and NOT representative of large RAW files from high end DSLRs. The ones I browsed were in the realm of 15-30MB each. Here's what I noted:

    -If you disable preview, you will NOT completely eliminate the "loading" display but it does SEEM faster than the fastest iMac they have on display (3TB fusion) and the fastest rMBP on display (SSD)
    -As usual, if you enable preview you will fly...
     
  20. tgara macrumors 6502a

    tgara

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    #20
    As someone pointed out earlier, using Previews will shorten the time between image renderings as you advance. As for the status wheel, I get that too with my images on my mid-2010 iMac. It's become slightly longer since I moved from a Canon 7D to a Canon 5D Mark III, likely because the RAW images are about 30MB each.

    The new Mac Pro is an awesome machine, but IMHO it is overkill for what you need to do. That unit is aimed at professional photographers and videographers, etc., who need that high level of performance to do their jobs all day. Remember also that the Mac Pro does not come with a screen or substantial external storage -- you'd have to add all of that separately. No doubt you'd see improved performance in all respects compared to your current machine, but is it worth it for you in light of the cost? That's a question only you can answer.

    I personally think that for amateur photographers and hobbyists, an up-spec'ed iMac is plenty. If I was buying one today, I'd get the 27 inch model for the larger screen, and outfit it with the best CPU and GPU I could get (Aperture is GPU-intensive, btw), as well as SSD storage. Upgrade the RAM by installing extra chips yourself. With that, you should be ready for anything.
     
  21. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #21
    Interesting... Thanks. I may start using previews. I have a nMP on order and I'll see what the differences are with/without on the faster HW.

    Thanks. (See bold text above)... I hear this, but I've not seen any comparisons/tests... Are there any out there?
     
  22. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #22
    For anyone interested, I received my new 2013 Mac Pro yesterday, and spent most of today comparing its performance to that of my old 2009 Mac Pro. I posted the review/results in the Mac Pro forum here (complete with some Aperture performance tests)... http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1692536
     
  23. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #23
    Much Congrats on the new Darth Vader Mac Pro!!!!!!!!
     
  24. Noctilux.95 macrumors 6502

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    #24
    I upgraded my video card in my 2009 Mac Pro Quad Core and got a huge boost in rendering times in Aperture 3.
    My original card was a GT 120 and was replaced with an ATI 5770.
     
  25. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #25
    That's great... it's surprising how little knowledge or documentation there is around how to improve performance of Aperture. You'd think Apple would be motivated to share the details of the inner workings of Aperture to encourage more people to upgrade their hardware... but alas, there's very little insight anywhere that I've found.

    BTW, when you say "rendering times" what are you referring to? Is that the "Loading..." indicator you see when switching to a new RAW image?
     

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