Aperture Sluggish on 2006 MP - Bottleneck Where?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by termina3, Aug 12, 2009.

  1. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Location:
    TX
    #1
    I have a 2006 Mac Pro with the following configuration:

    2x 2.66ghz Dual Core
    NVIDIA GeForce 7300GT
    10gb RAM
    2x 1TB 7200 rpm HDD
    2x 320 7200rpm HDD

    Latest build of OS X 10.5.x, Adobe CS4 Design Premium, Aperture, etc.

    I use it for photo editing and management primarily. Aperture is my management app, and I run a referenced library.

    Aperture runs slowly when processing previews and importing. Given an hour or two to "digest" a large import, however, things are reasonably quick (if not snappy).

    My question is: what's my bottleneck?
    (Graphics card, HDD speed, or something else?)

    I do not want a stop-gap or work-around for the snappiness issue. I sort, cull, and edit by flipping through photos at high-speed in full screen mode (20" ACD).

    I'm happy to run whatever tests make answering my questions easier. Thanks!
     
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #2
    It sounds like the graphics card. How full are those hard drives?
     
  3. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    #3
    Yeah, It would probably be the graphics card as long as the hard drives have a reasonable amount of free space. Remember that Aperture uses the GPU.
     
  4. termina3 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Location:
    TX
    #4
    The 1TB drives are at ~62% capacity.

    Thanks for the input... now I'll be off to troll the boards looking for where to get a new graphics card for my older Mac (unless someone has a link handy).

    Thanks again

    -T
     
  5. gugucom macrumors 68020

    gugucom

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #5
    From the ATI side 4870 and 3870 are good candidates if you want no firmware and software issues. They are originally for your Mac supplied by Apple (4870) and by ATI (3870). The Apple statement on compatibility is false. These cards work in 2006 Macs. The Apple 4870 is also guaranteed to run OpenCL on Snow Leopard. The Apple 4870 has only 512 MB of RAM and a mini display port. The 3870 has a crap stock fan which is better replaced with a 2 slot unit. If you are prepared to Flash EEPROMs or use hack the OS X there are much wider choices. They all have their various pit falls though.

    A 3870 Mac&PC card is about 200$ and you get it at every big Mac reseller like OWC or Newegg. Fan and base plate I can recommend the Akasa Vortexx Neo @ 19$ from every electronic shop.

    Apple 4870 from the Apple store some 400$.

    NVIDIA there are a lot of compatibility issues and I would others let comment on that.
     
  6. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #6
    UGH yeah, I guess it is the GPU but really that sucks. Have you tried to test it using a clean library?
     
  7. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #7
    Sorry, there's just no way a GFX card can make importing slower. He's saying an hour or two. The GFX card might make updates a tad sluggish at most - in the worst case. So after an adjustment with a fast card 1/4 or an 1/8 of a second. With the 7300GT maybe 1/2 a second or 3/4. Also when displaying a HUGE number of thumbs a 7300GT might add 1 to 3 seconds at most to the operation - over an 8800 or a 4870.

    Super slow imports is either not enough RAM (less than 1GB free), a full HDD, or an HDD that's about ready to die. For the later check the S.M.A.R.T and run the Disk Utility repair disk option. Check the page-outs for RAM, and you've already checked drive space. I guess it could also be an overheating system. <shrug>

    One hour for even a thousand 24 MPx images is nutz! Something is wrong!
     
  8. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    Boon Docks USA
    #8
    Don't forget the heat factor. If your temps are really high, you will see your system bog down. I had a 2006 mac pro and when doing heavy video editing, and the temps were high, it would start to bog down. The western digital hard drive that came with it would get real hot and start to crawl. Moved to hitachi, bumped up the fan speed and would see improvement. Monitor your heat the next time your system bogs down and post it here. You are using a scratch disk (different from the operating system), right?
     
  9. pprior macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2007
    #9
    Watch your ram when doing a large import.

    I found that when importing a full 8gb CF card (or especially if doing several in a row!) the amound of RAM that aperture would consume would at some point start to mushroom and then I was into multi-gigabyte swap file (you could watch it grow as the files were imported).

    In effect it was like aperture was trying to import the WHOLE card into ram at once.

    this ground my machine to a snails pace.

    If you're importing large numbers of high res raw files you may be seeing this same bug and if so, the only solution is getting more ram or waiting for apple to finally fix the issue. Given the development for Aperture recently you may be waiting a LONG time.

    I eventually gave up and went to LR, where imports are much faster and doesn't totally grind my machine to a halt. I miss Aperture however, organization and workflow is much better than LR.

    the video card WILL affect performance, Aperture uses it for processing. A faster card will definitely speed you up, but check the above first.

    BOL.
     
  10. termina3 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Location:
    TX
    #10
    a) Imports in particular are not sluggish. 5-10 minutes for 8gb sounds about right. However, preparing previews and updating the library takes another hour or so. And then flipping through photos can be sluggish. Sorry I didn't make that clearer earlier.

    b) I'll watch temperature next time, but I don't think it's an issue. The fans never speed up. (Rather, they aren't more noticeable audibly.)

    c) No scratch disk. The first 320gb is OS, the second TM, and the 1TB are mirrored storage (this is where the photos are put in their referenced library). I then back up photos and select documents to a WD external drive.
    (no, no geographic variation, but please let's not start talking about backup solutions.)

    d) RAM never gets all used up. In fact, even when importing thousands upon thousands of images, it barely gets past 5gb.

    Thanks for all the help!
     
  11. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #11
    I assumed this was what you were talking about. To me the preview and thumb creation is part of the import process. Anyway the video card has almost nothing to do with this process. It's something else. 8gb of files is what, 600 images for you?

    There's a whole buttload of things it could be.

    Overheating (you can't tell by the fan speeds cuz Apple doesn't do that correctly - thus smcFanSpeed),
    Slow or troubled HDDs (fragmented, too full, too hot, error retries, etc.),
    Troubled RAM (doubtful but for heat),
    Troubled CPU (doubtful but for heat),
    Odd or heavy file format,
    Some combination of the above.

    For me each image of a 24MPx camera takes about 1 to 1.2 seconds on average. So that's like 10 to 12 minutes to process 600 images (for me). That process seems to be a good mix of HDD speed, CPU throughput (bandwidth), and RAM speed but if I had to guess the most influencing bottleneck I would point to the HDDs. If we extrapolate your drive speeds from mine maybe we could conclude that your 320GB drives are 4 or 5 times slower than mine and your 1TB drive is about 3 times slower than mine. If that scaled linearly in time than yeah, we would be talking hours. Actually:

    320GB Drive time: 48 min. ~ 60 min.
    1TB Drive time: 36 min. minimum.

    For 600 images.
     
  12. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #12
    One way to test if it's the drives is to install and set up a 2GB RAM drive with this: http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/16518 Then set up Aperture to use that for it's library and your import location. Import 1.5 GB or so of images and time it. Then import the SAME image set as you do normally and time that. If the HDD takes like, 20 min. and the RAM Drive takes like, 4 or 5 min (or less) then it's something to do with your drives. Either that's just how slow they are or they're troubled for some reason(s) as named above.

    Here's how that RAM Drive profiles: http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=7838758&postcount=4

    If it does end up being the drives as I suspect it might be, then think about a 3 or more drive RAID0 of 1TB or larger drives.
     
  13. termina3 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Location:
    TX
    #13
    Thanks! I'll get on that test tomorrow, and report back.
     

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