Best spec for photo editing

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by snerkler, Aug 2, 2015.

  1. snerkler macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    #1
    I'm looking at getting an iMac (probably 5k) and so wanting to know which bits make Lightroom and Photoshop run more quickly? I know the minimum and recommended specs but my MacBook is higher than these yet at times still leaves me frustrated. Trouble is how much is the software, and how much is the computer I don't know. With each version of LR I seem to get more and more spinning beach balls, most noticeably when using clone/stamp and then moving the clone reference area it can 'think about it for several seconds, and when first zooming 1:1 on an image. First zoom takes several seconds before the image snaps sharp.

    My current MacBook (late 2011 hi res) has 2.2ghz i7 quad core, 16gb 1333 MHz DDR3 RAM (upgraded from the 4GB it had when delivered), 1TB SSD from crucial, and AMD Radeon HD 6750M 512MB. I'm guessing the graphics card is letting it down, am I right? What about processor? I'm looking at future proofing so wondered what people would recommend?

    One of the iMac's I'm looking at has a 3.5ghz processor but it's 'only' i5 not i7 like my current one would this mean it's slower even though it's 3.5ghz vs 2.2ghz? I guess what I'm asking is what does the 'i' number represent?

    Finally are fusion drives any good? I understand the principle in that it knows which programs etc to move into the flash drive, but if I just imported a load of new photos how would it know to put these into the flash drive as they've obviously not been used frequently as are new. Would they therefore be in the hard drive section and bog the system down? If speeds are 95% as good as SSD then fusion might be good enough, but what I don't want is to have a high spec system slowed down by a slow drive.

    Any help appreciated.

    Oh, one other thing, do higher res screens slow things down at all?
     
  2. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #2
    Okay. So in theory LR6 uses your processer differently to the previous versions, so i7 would make more of a difference.
    Fusion drives are nearly as good (I've had mine since 2012) as an SSD. I doubt you'd notice the difference in real world situations.
    A high res screen won't slow things down as long as the graphics card is up to it.
    However as I have said on here before, I would not recommend an iMac screen for photo work. Apple screens are pretty poor compared to the alternatives from Eizo and NEC. That's why the professionals use them.
     
  3. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    #3
    Thanks. Tbh I've disabled LR cc from using the new cpu system so should (in theory) work like my old LR5.

    Whilst I appreciate what you're saying re the screen aren't the pro Eizo and NEC screens thousands in their own right, in which case out of budget for me?

    With regards to the Fusion drive does it keep the photos you're working on in the flash section, or does the location of your RAW files not matter?
     
  4. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #4
    Eizo and NEC screens start at a few hundred pounds. Look up the EA275UHD in your area. The mat screen, wider colour gamut and uniformity make them miles better than the apple offerings. I have an older Spectraview 241, and much prefer it for photo editing than my iMac screen.
    The Fusion drive keeps whatever you are working on, on the SSD portion of the drive. But as it is technically one drive (as OSX and I see it), I don't think you can see what is where. So I guess my more current photos and used apps are on the FD. Older photos on the spinning disk. Using it, I hardly ever hear it spinning up, but outside of photo editing, I don't do much more on a Mac.
     
  5. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    #5
    Thanks. I just had a look at running a NEC screen from a Mac Mini rather than buying an iMac but CPU and graphics card are lacking in comparison. I might consider hooking a MacBook up to an external screen instead.
     
  6. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #6
    The MacBook gives you the option of portability as well, which makes sense if you need it.
     
  7. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #7
    Seems like the specs on your Macbook isn't all that bad. Do you have any idea when the beachballs start to occur while working? I don't work with Adobe cloud (my choice) and stuck with CS6 Photoshop. The GPU makes almost no difference as most of what is done is CPU intensive. With CC Photoshop, I gather it can leverage GPU so I would in your shoes, check to see how much of an impact the GPU makes if at all.

    As for Lightroom, how do you store your files (local or external and if the latter, how do you connect)? This can make a difference as well if Lightroom has to both recognize and calculate the number of files and attributes.

    I think Apple fanboy gave you some pretty good advice and definitely worth your time to investigate.
     
  8. Ray2, Aug 3, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2015

    Ray2 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    #8
    I don't understand your beach balling and suggest it's neither your spec nor Lightroom. My wife and I use LR 6.1, both of us for Fuji XTrans files which are a problem for LR in terms of both demosaicing and rendering speed. I used her 1.7 i7 Air yesterday to edit 234 shots. Used the clone tool on about a dozen of them. Never saw a spinner. Never saw a spinner at any time and I was doing some fairly intense edits.

    Last week I worked on some D800 files on my 3.0 rMBP. Again, never a spinner. Not sure I've ever seen one on this machine.

    On LR v5, I saw plenty of spinners on my wife's Air. On v4 even more. What version are you on? If v6, suggest you save your money and locate the cause of your problem. Dosen't strike me that throwing hardware at it is going to get you very far. If you do it, suggest a clean install.

    Are you talking about Apple's spinner or Adobe's progress wheel? I'm referring to Apple's above. Adobe's, there's no amount of hardware you can throw at it to get rid of that one. Especially if your working with large files or XTrans. You would need a modern PP app with more efficient code. Something like Aperture.
     
  9. snerkler, Aug 3, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2015

    snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    #9
    Thanks for the replies. Thinking about it it probably is the Adobe loading 'spinner' most of the time rather than the beachball. I do seem to be getting the beachball more and more these days, but questioning now whether it is in fact with LR or not.

    My biggest gripes are those already mentioned, i.e. the time it takes to display 1:1 when you first zoom into an image, and also changing the clone reference point. The odd thing is that sometimes there's no issue wit clone/stamp, and sometimes there is. Sometimes if I move the referenced area it can take several (sometimes nearly 10s) before it does anything :confused: My cooling fans tend to go crazy a lot of the time too, but maybe because I've stuck 16GB RAM in.

    I guess a fresh install would help and did wonder this. I've upgraded my hard drive twice each time just using time machine back up to install. Also have a logic board failure and didn't do fresh install from that either. On top of that I've gone from Mountain Lion to Yosemite via the upgrade route rather than fresh install. It would be a royal PITA to fresh install though as I can't remember all the programs I've installed or keycodes etc o_O:oops:

    Edit: The idea is to have my desktop and then keep my Macbook pro as a workhorse when out and about. The desktop would definitely be a fresh install, and would only put on the minimum amount of software that I now need. Whether I do a complete fresh install on my macbook as well time will tell ;)
     
  10. Cheese&Apple macrumors 68000

    Cheese&Apple

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    Location:
    Toronto
    #10
    I'm using Lr & Ps CC on a 2011 base model 27 in. iMac with 16gb RAM (HDD only) and experience very few delays. Clone stamping in Lr is a bit slow but not Ps. My understanding is that this is normal as Ps is a pixel level editor designed for that purpose. Clone stamping in Lr seems to me to be almost an after thought by Adobe and they really want you to use Ps for any work like that.

    The biggest speed-boost for me using Lr was to render 1:1 previews when downloading. Yes it takes forever but I import my shots and walk away to do something else until done. This does use more storage space but I've set Lr to automatically delete the 1:1 previews after 30 days when I should be finished editing.

    More info here: https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom/kb/optimize-performance-lightroom.html

    ~ Peter
     
  11. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    #11
    Thanks for this. I did try building 1:1's but as you say it takes forever. Maybe I need to use your tactic. I didn't realise I had to delete 1:1's again, if I set this in preferences would it delete the existing ones or just those from when I've selected the option to delete?
     
  12. Cheese&Apple macrumors 68000

    Cheese&Apple

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    Location:
    Toronto
    #12
    You can keep the 1:1 previews as long as you like, it really just depends on your available storage space. I build 1:1 previews so that it makes viewing for culling a lot faster. When I've finished editing, I really don't need them anymore.

    I've got a D180 so a while back I checked the folder that the previews are stored in and found that the preview files for a 40mb image are about 4 to 5mb so I don't want to hold onto them forever.

    I do know that the previews are deleted when you delete an image from the library. I believe (not 100% sure) that when you delete the 1:1 previews but keep the image you delete all of them as the option to do this is under "Library" in the menu bar. Maybe someone who knows more than I can weigh-in on this but I also know that you have the option to rebuild the previews again if you want. When you rebuild them, I think your doing it for just images you select from the folder you're viewing.
     
  13. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #13
    I don't go 1:1 on every image, so can wait the 1-2 seconds it takes to kick in. I'm using a 2012 iMac with Fusion Drive and 16GB. Now when I use DXO Optics, that takes 3 times longer.
     
  14. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    #14
    1-2s would be perfectly fine. Depending on which day, what the weather's doing and what the planetary alignment is sometimes it's pretty instant, sometimes it can be closer to 10s :confused:
     
  15. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    #15
    On a slightly different note, I've been reading that an external SSD connected via thunderbolt is as quick as an internal SSD, is this right? Are there any thunderbolt compatible external SSD's that are recommended, or advised to stay away from.
     
  16. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #16
    Get a Caddy, so you can swap hard drives as you need to.
     
  17. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    #17
    Would you mind expanding on this please? What I know as a caddy is a 'case' that I can put hard drives in, such as when I've removed a hard drive from my computer and wanted to use it as an external hard drive, connecting via USB. Are you saying to do the same, buy a hard drive and then put it into a caddy that has a thunderbolt port rather than USB?

    I normally buy SSD's from crucial, but £290 (plus caddy) just to get a 1TB external hard drive seems a bit pricey so wondered if there's anywhere cheaper? For 'normal' storage I think I'll have to stick to standard HDD as I can get a 4TB external drive for £100.
     
  18. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #18
    Yes a hard drive caddy with a thunderbolt connection, not a USB. Although the speed difference between USB3 and thunderbolt is pretty minimal for the price difference.
     
  19. robgendreau macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #19
    Yeah, you cannot reach anywhere near the max speed of thunderbolt with a SATA3 SSD single drive. Lots of external thunderbolt cases are at least duos, since people make RAIDs with them so that they can exploit that speed. A single drive is limited by the drive's interface.

    For storing photos, I doubt you'd get much benefit from Tbolt over USB3. You're storing the catalog and previews on an SSD already; having the full photo files on a faster external only means copying them around would be faster, and again, not tremendously. And Tbolt is usually twice as expensive.

    I use Plugable USB caddies for HDDs that I use for offside storage. They work great; I've gone through a couple of cheaper brands and they failed while these Plugables have been marching on. And they actually have tech support.
     
  20. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    #20
    Yeah, that's what I'm beginning to think. I have the catalogues on my internal SSD, plus the photos I'm working on. I then move older photos to external drives. I didn't know you could specify where you stored previews, just thought they were part of the catalogue.

    My thoughts were that as LR is working on a photo it would need constant access to it and therefore make editing quicker if I had the photos on the internal SSD rather than external HDD. Are you saying it won't make any difference? If not and I decided to have all of my photos on the external drive whether working on them or not can you set time machine to back up the main SSD plus the external drive?
     
  21. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    #21
    Thanks for all the help, have ordered the iMac 5K, 4.0GHz i7 processor and 4GB graphics card. Decided to just go with the 512GB SSD (couldn't justify the extra expense of the 1TB at an extra £400, can buy a whole 1TB SSD drive for less than that) and then going to use 2 external HDD for storage, so like my own fusion drive in essence ;) This way though I have control over it, and I know that whatever I'm working on is definitely going to be in the flash drive (don't trust computer brains 100% yet ;))

    This spec is probably massive overkill but I do do the odd HD video editing, and it future proofs me for while. That's how I'm justifying it at least anyway ;)
     
  22. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #22
    I'm sure you'll be happy with it. Enjoy.
     
  23. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    #23
    Thanks. Wishing you could get next day delivery though lol
     
  24. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #24
    I'm waiting for 10 CTO 5k iMacs at work. Ordered 2 weeks ago, but going to be another week yet.
     
  25. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    #25
    You'd think they'd pull their fingers out for an order like that. Mine's estimated for 11-13th Aug, so next week.
     

Share This Page