Aperture: What's slowing me down?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Phrasikleia, Sep 27, 2008.

  1. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #1
    I was thrilled with Aperture's speed when I first started using it, but things ground to a halt when I started shooting all RAW (files are now 15-18MB each). I now get hung up waiting for Aperture to render thumbnails all the time, something it seems to do again and again in the same projects.

    Is there anything I can do to speed things up? If it there is a software solution, great. If it's mainly a hardware issue, then what's my bottleneck, exactly? I'm running it on a MBP 2.4GHz (Penryn) with 4MB RAM. The hard drive I'm using is an external 7200rpm USB 2 drive.
     
  2. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #2
    If the library is hosted externally, Aperture does slow down - especially with USB 2 -- firewire (of any flavor) will be much faster. In general, its handling of large RAW files has certainly gotten better, but it isn't lighting fast.
     
  3. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

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    #3
    Just to add a question for another option in this thread and situation, would using an external eSATA HDD (probably a card would be needed as well using a MBP) help with the speed issues using an external eSATA HDD and Aperture? Does anyone use this type of setup and how do you like it's performance?
    Phrasikleia, I'm glad you asked this question, I just downloaded the Aperture 2 trial as I'm looking at a similar setup like yours in the near future however I'm sorry to read your woos. Hope everything works out :)
     
  4. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

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    #4

    Which camera are you using? I used to use a D70 and the 5MB compressed RAWs were no problem, I then got an S5 pro and that thing has horrendously large 30MB files which really slowed things down. I don't have anything helpful to say here, especially as you have a lot of RAM, I was just curious.
     
  5. kfordham281 macrumors 6502

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    #5
  6. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

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    #6
    That's where I got my info from ;) however since it was tested using XP I just wondered how it was using OSX and Aperture as that looks like the best setup going at this time. Nice link for others to view :D
     
  7. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #7
    I'm using an XSi/450D. The RAW files come out between 15-18MB. Pretty big.

    Thanks for the link. I just bought this 500GB USB drive, so I'm not going to run out and replace it, but now I know what I ultimately need to do. It's good to know it's not something more expensive that needs to be replaced, like the laptop itself.
     
  8. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #8
    It's the harddrive link, USB2 manages about 20-25 MB/s. If your RAW files are 15-18 MB a piece, then you can read just a little over one RAW file a second. In a project with 100 RAW files, you need over a minute just to load them all.

    2.5" notebook drives manage about 30-60 MB (depending on make, model and where the data resides on the platter). eSATA allows you to connect SATA drives and run them at native speeds, i. e. they will be as fast as if you put them in a Mac Pro, for instance. They will be even faster.

    Can't you put the library on your internal drive?
     
  9. srf4real macrumors 68030

    srf4real

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    #9
    I can testify to the fact that eSata drives are the best place for storage off the main hard drive. I added a 1Tb barracuda (seagate 7200 rpm) internally to my power mac G5 and pics load lightning fast. Another time saver I have found is to adjust Aperture preferences to render previews in less than high quality, at low to medium quality previews and smaller than original size there is far less lag when loading the raw file I am trying to edit while Aperture is generating previews.;)
     
  10. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

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    #10
    You can lower the quality of your previews for one.

    Then you can get a faster HDD to computer connection as everyone has mentioned.

    Note that eSATA is wicked fast, but not bus powered. Still very useful, another consideration would be any FW800 drive.
     
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #11
    Click the little "Quick Preview" icon. It's on the right under the large display window or simply use the "P" key to toggle Quick Preview mode. In this mode Aperture will us only the large jpg previews and will not render the raw files again. In this mode you can do everything except make adjustments to the images. It's is quick to toggle with the P key.

    Yes you can buy a faster disk. a FW800 RAID would be the fastest but you'd gain only a small improvment that way. The "P" keyboard shortcut gains you something like a factor of 10X speedup.
     
  12. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #12
    Thanks to everyone for the super replies. This has been very helpful. I'm going to put an eSata drive on my wish list and will try the "Quick Preview" option for browsing. It's funny, I only ever discovered that option by entering into it accidentally and then having to figure out why I couldn't edit anything; so I only ever viewed it as an annoyance. Now I see that it might actually be useful!

    Thanks again!
     
  13. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #13
    OK, I've decided to buy an eSata setup (drive and Expresscard) and can use all the advice I can get. If anyone has an answer to any or all of my questions, I would be very appreciative.

    I see that most eSata drives have an interface transfer rate (max. bus speed) of "up to 3Gbits/sec". How much speed do I even need for working in Aperture, Photoshop, and Illustrator? Would I even make use of 3Gbits/sec? (There is one cheaper drive that maxes out at 1.5Gbits/sec; would it be fast enough?)

    Some of them have buffers that are "8MB cache and up", while at least one I found said 32MB cache. How helpful is the cache?

    Now I realize the drive speed will be slower than the interface speed and could possibly be a bottleneck. Not all of these drives state the drive speed (is that the burst transfer rate?), and I'm not sure what a "good" drive speed would be anyway (80MB/sec??).

    And then there is (I suppose) the max that my laptop's bus is even capable of. I have an Early 2008 MBP 15". Can it support up to 3Gbits/sec if the eSata Expresscard that I get for it can?

    For what it's worth, I'm looking at 1TB drives only.

    Thanks!!!
     
  14. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000

    taylorwilsdon

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    #14
    Expresscard can't push 3gbps or 1.5gbps. Buy a 7200 rpm hard drive with a small buffer (don't need a big one for static files like photos), 8mb is fine, and don't worry about 1.5gbps vs 3gbps (sata I vs sata II basically).
     
  15. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #15
    Interesting. Then why do they sell Expresscards that are 3Gbits/sec? Or is just the bus in the MacBook Pro that can't go that fast?

    [Edit: I just found this on Wikipedia:

    Maybe you were thinking of PCMCIA?]

    I noticed this review on MacWorld. I wonder why eSata actually scored slower than FW800. Anyone know?
     
  16. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #16
    eSATA has lots of "bits per second" so people who know only how to read one number will think it is fast. But what really matters is over all system speed. With these large files the bottle neck is that the we have to wait while the bits fly under the disk's read/write head. Some people thing a 7200 PRM drive makes the bits move faster under the head. But no, you have to know not only the rotational speed but how closely packed together are the bits. The "bit rate" is the product of the aerial density times the tangential speed at the particular track. Don't take advice from anyone who tells you just one number.

    Then there is one more thing (as Steve would say) and that is the internal design of the interface. aSATA may require a lot of CPU overhead. I know USB requires a lot of the CPU. Firewire is relatively better in that the software drivers don't have to do as much work. In some applications like running disk benchmarks the CPU has nothing to do but in others like video editing and Aperture the CPU has a lot to do the the amount of CPU overhead per megabyte read matters a lot.

    In any case we are taling about small ddifferences in disk speed at the 20% to 40% level. Using the Quick Preview mode can gain 500% or more. Buying more RAM can have a huge effect as well. If you want a disk system that is dramatically faster, like on the order or 500% you would have to spend way to much money.

    For your porposes a Firewire external drive would work well. If your computer has FW800 go that route.
     
  17. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #17
    Many thanks. I actually came to the same conclusion after about four hours of Googling. It turns out that any 1TB drive with FW800 will also have eSata, but I'll save myself a lot of complication (and the purchase of an Expresscard) by just using the FW800. I think I'll get the WD MyBook Studio. I already have the RAM maxed out on my system, so I don't think there's much else I can do.

    Yes, QuickPreview mode in Aperture helped a lot, btw.
     
  18. termina3 macrumors 65816

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    #18
    It's a good drive. I use the 500gb version for backup (so speed doesn't really matter that much), but with FW800 it zips right along (~300GB in 10 minutes? I think? It felt that fast).
     
  19. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #19
    That would help tremendously. I've been testing QuickPreview mode a lot and am not getting much benefit from it. I think using USB 2 is just too slow for anything Aperture wants to do. I'm constantly stuck looking at the spinning wheel next to the word "Thumbnails...", and this is in QP mode. I'll scroll down a page of thumbnails, hear the USB drive being accessed, and then everything freezes while that wheel spins for a minute or more.

    I'm also getting a lot of erratic previewing, and I don't know what might be causing it. Sometimes an image will preview as an almost completely white frame with little bits of individual color channels showing through. I usually have to restart Aperture to get the proper preview back. I have no idea what could be causing this. I do have 4GB of RAM, which I figure ought to be enough.

    Does Adobe Lightroom have these problems?
     
  20. wheezy macrumors 65816

    wheezy

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    #20
    Have you tried re-generating the thumbnails? Go into settings and change preview quality to a lower setting (and lower pixelcount! My monitors are 1680x1050 but it generates full MP files - worthless!). Once you change the settings go ahead and re-generate your thumbnails. (Images > Generate Thumbnails). I believe that should recreate all your thumbnails at your new specified size.

    Having finally moved my Aperture Library from a Firewire 400/MB combo to an internal MP setup, Aperture moves so much faster. Firewire 800 should make quite a big difference in your workflow.
     

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