iMac 5k Lightroom 6 Performance

Discussion in 'iMac' started by NP1000, Feb 21, 2016.

  1. NP1000 macrumors newbie


    Feb 19, 2016
    Melbourne, Australia
    Just wondering if anybody has experience using an iMac with similar or same specs as below, and their experience using both Lightroom 6 and Photoshop CC? Currently using a 13inch MBPr (Base early 2015) and its pretty quick, and dont want to suffer a performance loss.

    3.3GHz i5, 24GB RAM (8GB Apple + 16GB Corsair), 256GB Flash Storage (3TB External Drive for main storage), R9 M395 2GB GPU

    Any help would appreciated, I have no idea what to buy in terms of specs! Am a photographer and graphic designer.

    Also would you suggest 256GB Flash + External Drive, or 2TB Fusion?
  2. Dubadai macrumors regular


    Jun 16, 2015
    Stockholm, Sweden.
    I have two machines (see signature) and the iMac is much, much faster. I have all my RAW on a NAS, and then the Lightroom catalogs locally on the computer and its very fast. I am sure it could be a little faster if I had DAS instead of NAS, but still, its plenty fast working directly off the NAS.
  3. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    IMO LR6 and Photoshop CC can have sluggish aspects on a top-spec 2015 iMac 27. I never noticed this on my 2013 iMac 27. There is obviously something suboptimal with Adobe's code because on the 2015 iMac certain effects in LR get faster if you turn the GPU off. In PS, filter preview for smart sharpen and other effects can take several seconds to render. IOW when you click the preview checkbox on/off within a filter, it can take several seconds, making quick before/after comparisons difficult.

    It seems very likely this is yet more sluggish Adobe code -- I don't think other photo editing programs are this slow. It is also in line with the performance differences between Premiere Pro CC and FCPX, which is much faster at many tasks. It is also in line with Adobe's need to issue a public apology for the poor state of LR 6.2.

    It is not unusable but (depending on your workflow) can feel sluggish and laggy. If you work slowly and methodically you might not notice it. If you're a professional event photographer, work quickly and blitz through photos quickly, it can be a little frustrating. However you adapt to the peculiarities of the hardware/software platform.

    None of these are I/O related, so SSD vs Fusion Drive makes no difference. Most time-consuming operations in LR such as import and 1:1 preview generation are CPU and/or GPU bound not I/O bound.

    In general I'd suggest the top-spec iMac 27, except for memory and disk. At your discretion you can get minimum RAM then update that yourself with aftermarket RAM and save some money. Regarding disk, there is often limited real-world performance difference between SSD and Fusion Drive. If you only get 256GB SSD you will probably be storing much of your data externally, which is OK but you'll need a pretty fast disk else it would have been faster to just use Fusion Drive.
  4. alexxk macrumors 6502

    Jul 29, 2010
    I have a late 2015 27 inch top spec and yes lightroom is sluggish.. the more adjustments I add the more sluggish it gets..

    I have a video video you..

  5. NP1000 thread starter macrumors newbie


    Feb 19, 2016
    Melbourne, Australia
    Absolute legend you are! Im really praying that an update or just a revision for Lightroom is released to fasten it up a little, as I do work quite quickly generally, but Ill still bite the bullet and just live it for a while if I have to!

    As for storage, I was looking to have 256GB Flash Storage, to put all applications and important files on to keep the speeds I am used to, and just use one of these for my main storage. Would this hinder my performance a bit? I just really want to move away from spinning drives in my desktop computers.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 22, 2016 ---
    Ive actually watched this video before! Was surprising but I played it off as having screenflow running in addition to Lightroom, itd be really good if the Apple Store had Adobe CC on their Macs to test, but I guess the only way to know is by biting the bullet myself
  6. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    That is workable. On this test that drive did 147 MB/sec in BlackMagic, which is about all you can expect for a single drive:
  7. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I've not really noticed any performance issues with my 5k iMac, but I'll be the first to admit, I don't use LR as much as many people. Light edits at best. Its more of a DAM for me.
  8. jennyp macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2007
    Using iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2015), processor 4 GHz Intel Core i7, memory 32 GB 1867 MHz DDR3, graphics AMD Radeon R9 M395X 4096 MB, 1TB SSD. I haven't seen any noticeable slowdowns in LR6.
  9. DrDoug macrumors member

    May 15, 2010
    OK. This thread has got me a little worried.

    Was just about to press the BUY button on a 27" iMac i5 3.3GHz 5K machine (to replace my 2009 27" i5 2.66)
    Have been struggling with storage decisions, but I thought I had made my mind up..

    I will mainly be using the iMac for Lightroom. I am now concerned that I should spend extra to get the the 4GB GPU and i7 upgrades. That would limit my ability to afford a bug SSD.

    so what do you think the best place to compromise is...?

    M395X (4BG) and i5 3.3GHz
    OR M395 (2GB) and i7 4GHz

    Second question - will there be a major bottlenecks I use external vs internal storage for my lightroom RAW files
    (external: 2x 1TB 7200rpm in RAID 0 USB 3.0 vs Fusion 3TB).

    so many questions...!

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