Aperture Speed Problem

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by jbg232, Jul 31, 2009.

  1. jbg232 macrumors 65816


    Oct 15, 2007
    Hello all, need help figuring out the best computer solution to increase the speed of aperture:

    Right now I shoot raw on a canon xsi and will go through 8gb of photos on a typical bird shoot. Currently I'm filling up a 1TB external USB drive (I have a macbook aluminum 2.4ghz with 4gb ram now). When I get home to edit them and choose my selects the amount of time it takes to load each picture is not long per se, but when sorting through hundreds of pics is too much to handle and is getting to the point where I need to upgrade.

    I think I will need to upgrade to a mac pro or a macbook pro 17", here are my questions:
    -How many cores will aperture take advantage of?
    -How much RAM can aperture use well? Is there a limit?
    -what is the best hard drive setup given that I expect I will need at least 2tb of space and want backup as well
    -will the gpu of the mac pro significantly change the speed of aperture loading photos compared with the macbook proo
  2. anubis macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2003
    Unless you absolutely NEED the portability of a laptop, you should investigate getting a base model Mac Pro, the speed of which will annihilate any of Apple's portable offerings
  3. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    Are you going to be keeping the macbook? If so this is great so that you can still have a portable machine. I'd highly recommend the Mac Pro, I can't stand using my MBP for major Aperture work, as it just can't keep up with my MP.
  4. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    May 5, 2007
    Try the demo of Lightroom. I know it's irritating to move but in my experience it's MUCH MUCH faster. Otherwise it's a Mac Pro, but I can't give you more specific advice.
  5. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2007
    As soon as you start talking about external hard drives (even FW800), you're going to see a speed fall-off.

    I have an older Mac Pro... 4x2.66. I just returned from a 10-day trip with 4,500 images. When I really got to chuggin' in Aperture, Aperture consumed 200% over the 4 cores, with a slight bias to one of the cores.

    I have 10gb of RAM, but Aperture never touched more than 4 or 5 (I think).

    That said, there were still lag times. I think to really get my library-access to full speed I'd need raptors or--even more extreme--SAS drives.
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    FIRST: You do have "Preview Mode" selected? That means the yellow borders are showing. This will speed up Aperture by about 10X or more. There is a little icon in the lower right to toggle this mode. When you are just sorting images and entering meda data there is no reason not to use this mode. But if you are adjusting images then you need to turn it back off. In preferences set the preview size to something reasonable, either your screen size, or for more speed 1/2 your screen size. "Yellow border mode" is at least 10X faster, 20X faster if you set the preview image size down smaller.

    About performance. Aperture will use as much RAM as you can give it. 16GB is reasonable. It will also use any number of cores. But this is not needed except just after you import a batch on images or in a few other cases. Most of the time there is no need for many cores

    The best hard drive your you, today is likely one of the new 2TB drives. It is always best to get a large single drive before you resort to RAID.

    Backup: Use Time Machine in ADDITION to Aperture vaults. The Time machine drive should be about twice as large as all of your data. Always use the largest drive you have for TM. You will need to resort to using RAID for this. Look at DROBO. The TM "drive" need not be fast as it runs in the background.

    Buy several large external disks for use as Aperture Vaults and rotate them to a couple safe places. I keep one copy at work, one in a fire safe at home and one near the computer and I keep rotating . Every year or so I retire my smallest external backup and replace it with the largest one I can get so none of my backups are more than about four years old. For example I'm about ready to replace an older 500GB drive with a new 1.5TB.

    To answer questions about performance yourself, use "Activity Monitor". Look and see if the RAM, CPUs, o r disk is"maxed out" and address whichever it is that is being used at the 100% level.
  7. jbg232 thread starter macrumors 65816


    Oct 15, 2007
    I use preview mode when I can but most of the time I have to disable it to tell which select I want to keep. Because these are bird photos and the keepers are the most detailed ones (among other things), I rarely have the luxury to use the speed of preview mode and have to keep forwarding through 30 12megapixel raw images in rapid sequence to find the shot I want. It is this painful process which is killing my workflow.

    I didn't see those 2TB HDDs on the apple store, I assume newegg has them?

    Activity monitor shows full usage of the CPU when running aperture and the longer I keep it open, the more RAM it drains until I'm out.

    It's pretty sad that you can't avoid those lag times without having the most expensive hard drives available, loading the images doesn't seem like it should be that monumental of a task if you had a fast GPU/CPU/Memory. What kind of graphics card do you have? Any idea if it would be better to put the money towards the gpu rather than the hdds?

    Uggh, another program to learn, but it may need to be done. From what I've read lightroom takes better advantage of CPUs, do you get any lag going through pictures?
  8. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2007
    I completely disagree. With my referenced library, Aperture never even comes close to using the full 10gb I have. Maybe 6gb on a really 'bad' day.

    Never, ever, ever buy HDDs from Apple. Yes, NewEgg has them.

    Come to think of it, my GPU sucks... baseline configuration. I can't answer your final question though.

    LightRoom is pleasantly lightweight. I've stuck with Aperture though.
  9. wheezy macrumors 65816


    Apr 7, 2005
    Alpine, UT
    I've recently discovered that opening and editing doesn't use a lot of RAM, but importing does. It seems that initially Aperture loads the images into RAM and then offloads to the Hard Drive, so the more you have the faster your imports are going to be.

    After a full load (several GB's) of photos that I've imported I like to reboot to clear out the memory. Just opening and editing though Aperture handles RAM just fine - it's importing where you'll notice a big difference on how much you have. Until I hit the wall (10GB) I can run through, preview and edit photos just fine during an import, but once the RAM maxes out then it's 10 seconds or more just to load a picture after a click.

    Anywho, go for the Mac Pro, has a high RAM ceiling and internal space for storage.

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