Does using referenced files in aperture 3 slow down performance?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by jbg232, May 22, 2012.

  1. jbg232 macrumors 65816

    jbg232

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    #1
    I'm going to be upgrading my computer this summer as my MacBook is really too old to be handling my 25mb raw files in aperture at this point. In looking at a system I have a question for real world aperture users:

    With a very fast system (core i7 or westmere/great gpu/tons of ram/ssd) have you noticed any difference in speed (both loading/scrolling and adjusting images) in having the library referenced on an internal/esata hdd vs managed on the ssd?

    I have way too many photos to keep a fully managed aperture database on the ssd but am wondering if there is any noticeable performance benefit to initially importing the files to be managed on the ssd and then exporting the masters out to the hdd (external via esata or internal sata) after editing them.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Fujiko7 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2008
    Location:
    London UK
    #2
    I don't know the answer to your question re performance of referenced files vs managed (my guess is: no performance loss), but I have another suggestion. If your Aperture database is too big, try breaking it up into smaller Libraries, e.g. by year. You can store the current Library on your SSD and the others on the HDD, where they are always available.
     
  3. Bear macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Sol III - Terra
    #3
    Referenced files do not slow down Aperture.

    Some of your SSD questions may be answered in Aperture SSD Performance Assessment from last month.

    I think keeping the library on the SSD and the masters on the HD should be fine performance wise. Any seconds you save by have the masters temporarily on the SSD will probably be more than used up by the time to move them to the HD later. As a side note, moving the masters around has an impact on backups and recovery from backups.
     
  4. jbg232 thread starter macrumors 65816

    jbg232

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    #4
    Thanks, I already do this somewhat but at this point do not wish to have that many library files.


    Thanks for the input, I actually read and responded to that thread last month, however the author never mentions my main concern which is if the time to add adjustments (exposure,curves,dodge,straighten, etc) is improved with having the images temporarily on the ssd. When editing and sifting through 1000 photos one can imagine a whole lot of seconds saved with each adjustment if there is a benefit (possibly overcoming the export afterwards of the masters). Any real world experience with this question would be appreciated.
     
  5. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #5
    No, quite the contrary: you can speed up Aperture if you store the database and the photos on different drives (because the drives spend less time seeking). However, this advantage is mitigated if you use an SSD to store your library and photos.
     
  6. Attonine macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2006
    Location:
    Kent. UK
    #6
    I have 8gb ram and a 512 SSD. The biggest speed improvement I have seen from my machine is when I moved to using referenced files with Aperture. I store the files on an external FW800 drive, the library is on the SSD.

    When working in Aperture, I do sometimes have a fraction of a second lag due to the files being on the external, but Aperture works much faster, much more 'snappy' in general with this configuration.
     
  7. pna macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 27, 2005
    #7
    I think the OP is asking for help on two overlapping fronts here, and no one seems to have the experience or setup to answer both of them at once. I don't have the proper setup or experience either, unfortunately, but breaking out the questions might help.

    The first question is if aperture itself simply runs more efficiently and is more responsive when the library does not store the master files as part of the library, but instead the masters are stored outside of the main library and referenced by aperture. I've seen posts here arguing about whether or not it makes a noticeable difference, but generally there are some people that seem to swear Aperture is more responsive when operating on referenced files, especially when compared to managed libraries that have grown to a significant size. I don't recall seeing anyone argue that referenced files slow down Aperture, so if I was to err on one side, I'd probably err on the side of using referenced files.

    The second question is if you would only see a speed up in responsiveness by using referenced files if the referenced files didn't live on the same drive as the library. I have no idea, here, so I hope someone with experience that has looked at it both ways, and preferably with a SSD, can weigh in. If I had to guess, I'd say that the speed of SSDs these days means that having the referenced files on the same SSD would still be quite snappy and responsive compared to having them on an external.

    When all is said and done, I think the optimal setup would probably be something like a library living on one SSD and the referenced masters living on another, but I really doubt that that would make a noticeable difference over the single SSD reference file setup.

    I moved completely to a referenced setup this weekend, with the masters temporarily located on a big USB 2 (gasp!) drive, and the libraries located on an internal SSD. I was *amazed* at how trivial of an operation Aperture made it to move the masters around through the 'relocated masters' command, and even how easy it was to reconnect the masters if I decided to rearrange the file structure outside of aperture (which I wouldn't plan to do). Given how easy it was, I would think that your workflow would benefit most by ingesting them into a managed library and working on them, then just do a 'relocate masters' when your SSD starts to fill up. You wouldn't have to do it every time you pulled photos in, just when your disk started to get full. That operation is so painless, and you don't have to sit and watch it, that it unquestionably will speed things up if you're performing the same operation on thousands of files.

    As a final note, I will confess that I was quite surprised at how usable even that big slow drive over USB2 was when using the library on the SSD. It bogged down when I had it stamp a bunch of edits onto a whole series of images, but when working on individual files, it was surprisingly responsive.
     
  8. jbg232 thread starter macrumors 65816

    jbg232

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    #8
    I consider myself an advanced aperture user and can definitely say (especially coming from a slowish machine) that the best way to speed up aperture software wise (ie not making any hardware changes) is to use smaller libraries of referenced files because if you have inferior hardware (which most people do as aperture is a total hog) your bottlenecks will be with the actual application processing the library files to keep it running (which is why if you load activity monitor your ram usage pages out, your processor cores are maxed and you beach ball). However, my concerns are for the rare computer which would not be limited by most hardware issues (a true workstation) and if in those computers you would see a slight performance benefit when adjusting the images while they remain on the ssd. My inclination is to think that of you really do have a great CPU/gpu and a ton (like 16-32gb) of ram then a potential bottleneck would be the read/write speed of the sata hdd vs the ssd. I just don't have any experience but if no one can figure it out I'll repost my experiences with this setup later this summer.
     
  9. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #9
    The performance benefit you get from moving your files from a traditional spinning-platter hard drive to an SSD is anything but slight, it's very, very significant. I don't really understand why people recommend using referenced files onto external hard drives. Here is how I speed up Aperture: I have a MacBook Pro with an SSD + traditional hard drive. My Aperture Library is located on the hard drive, and I move active projects to a new Library located on the SSD. After I have finished editing the projects, I merge the SSD library with the regular library. The SSD is much, much faster than any regular hard drive (be it internal or especially external). Loading projects from scratch is significantly sped up, complicated localized edits are rendered much more rapidly, etc.
     

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