Is 4GB of RAM Enough for Aperture?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by HappyDude20, Jan 1, 2011.

  1. HappyDude20 macrumors 68020


    Jul 13, 2008
    Los Angeles, Ca
    For the past year i've been running my MBP with the original 2GB's of RAM it came with, however since purchasing Aperture on XMAS I'm feeling an upgrade to @ least 4GB's of RAM are in order.

    The thing is, at my work I can purchase 4GBs of DDR3 RAM for $25, but 8GB's of RAM comes in @ $130.

    I wouldn't mind 8GB's of RAM, but 4GB's is nice in my book, considering the price and the fact i'll be doubling my RAM...

    ..but the same question remains: Is 4GB of RAM enough for Aperture?

    The only other app intensive program I use on a regular basis is iMovie
  2. CrackedButter macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2003
    51st State of America
    I'm sure the size of your raw files play a factor in performance as well.
  3. flosseR macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2009
    the cold dark north
    not sure abut the raw file size.. i shoot a D700 but have also 5d mark 2 Canon Raws in my libraries.. 4GB is enough to satisfy my needs (20k photos per library, referenced). I have even ran parallels with 1.5GB usage at the same time as Aperture 3. Aperture 3 became slow then but for export and viewing it was enough.
  4. TheReef macrumors 68000


    Sep 30, 2007
    NSW, Australia.
    I have 4GB of ram and my mini chugs along fine while editing ~16MB and ~23MB RAW files and ~50MB TIFFs (Aperture 2.0).
    Generating previews immediately after import will slow things down a bit so I usually wait until that's done before editing.
  5. chiefroastbeef macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2008
    Dallas, Texas/ Hong Kong
    4gb Ram will be okay, won't be the quickest, but is livable.

    I run Aperture on both my machines listed below, the 2.4ghz Core2Duo MBP with 4gb is more sluggish, but with patience it isn't a problem. I upgraded to the 6gb on the MBP this summer, saw very very little improvement. With Apps like Aperture, it needs a beast of a CPU and GPU to run fast.

    Make sure you keep your library sizes small as well, it won't be as convenient to switch between libraries, but if your computer isn't fast enough, a smaller library is the best free thing you can do in terms of performance.

    Is your Aperture library on a scratch disk? I took my dvd drive out and put a HD in there via an optibay bought on ebay, it holds by Aperture library and works well.
  6. TheDrift- macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2010
    I'm running an I5 mbp with 4gb ram.

    A3 is ok, not snappy, but workable, imports/exports can take a while, but I usually wander of for a bit and let it get on with its thing.
  7. fcortese macrumors demi-god


    Apr 3, 2010
    Big Sky country
    4GB Ok for me as well. Once A3 is opened, my first click on anything- going full screen, opening metadata, adjustments, etc results in the spinning beach ball. Once that stops everything from then one moves smoothly.
  8. wheezy macrumors 65816


    Apr 7, 2005
    Alpine, UT
    There are a few contributing factors to speed in Aperture 3: CPU, GPU, RAM and HDD Speed.

    My photos are on a striped RAID and everything loads up pretty darn quick, so, to me, disk speed is the most important for just moving around pictures, loading them up for edits; etc.

    As far as editing, I think the bulk of that is left to the GPU in terms of how quickly it processes and your ability to zoom in and move around the photo.

    Exporting, I'm told, is up to the CPU but I have an 8 Core MacPro and am still not satisfied with how slow it churns out photos so I'm honestly not sure how to speed up exports. However, exporting will use up every bit of RAM that you do have, so the sooner you have to start page in/page out you will notice a decrease in speed from the already slow speed. I have 10GB in my machine and pretty early in the export process I'm whittled down to 50-150MB of 'free' RAM available that it maintains throughout.

    RAM is the wildcard in the equation though and honestly, the more the merrier. While $25 is a lot easier to swallow vs $130, the 8GB vs 4GB answer is simple - 8GB. Aperture 3 is a 64 bit app and will take full advantage of however much RAM you throw at it. The later your machine has to wait to swap RAM out to the HDD the better it will perform... which takes us back to HDD speed. The faster your HDD interfaces with Aperture the better your speed experience will be.
  9. koobcamuk macrumors 68040


    Oct 23, 2006
    Same. I have a C2D 3GB RAM 2.16GHz MBP.
  10. CrackedButter macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2003
    51st State of America
    From the recent benchmarking by barefeats, GPU utilisation is only 4%.

    As for the GPU, according to Hardware Monitor, none of the four tests put more than a 4% load on it.

    It's the second to last paragraph.
  11. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    I have seen a substantial improvement when I switched to a machine with 8 GB RAM. I think it's worth it for Aperture as my RAM requirements seem to indicate I need about 6 GB most of the time if I run Aperture.
  12. viggen61 macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2002
    New Jersey
    In most cases, you're best to max out the machine, especially on a laptop.

    And $130 is cheap RAM for a laptop. I paid at least that to upgrade my MBP from 1 Gig to 3 Gig (the max for a Rev C/late 2006 MBP) two years ago.

    If you can go to 8 gig on your machine, and the $130 won't set you back too much, I'd recommend to go for it all, and not need to worry about it for the life of your MBP.

  13. JamesM macrumors regular

    Jan 27, 2007
    I'm finding I have to wait at least 5 seconds for each adjustment to take effect or for the image to sharpen when skipping from one to the next.

    I really like aperture but having come from CS3 the performance is terrible, can I do anything about it?

    My laptop only recognises 3gb of RAM so is already maxed out.

    Core 2 Duo 2.33, 3gb, 250gb 5400 rpm
  14. mac mac mac macrumors regular

    Oct 8, 2008
    Bellevue, WA
    I upgraded my 2008 Penryn MBP to 6GB of Ram, and it did speed things up a little. A3 is such a intensive program, and it chews through my ram and CPU like crazy. Even with the added, I still have to close Safari and iTunes while using Aperture at times.

    If you are thinking about upgrading your computer, I would just save that money toward a machine though.
  15. ultradk macrumors newbie


    Oct 1, 2009
    I have 8 GB RAM (imac 3.06 C2Duo), when start edit pictures, it sucks it all out within short time.. So I will try to upgrade to 12 GB to if its better..
  16. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
    I would think an SSD would speed things up a ton. I have a 4,1 MBP (2.5GHZ) and my A3 library has maybe 5K photos. It was slowing up, and then I made ANOTHER library and moved things around. It is SO much better. Try that and see if that helps you, as it did me.
  17. wheezy macrumors 65816


    Apr 7, 2005
    Alpine, UT
    That might be a great solution too - keep your libraries smaller, maybe almost project specific. There are no bragging rights for largest Aperture Library. Also, in the case of a laptop, makes it a lot easier to make new room when your drive fills up
  18. bsamcash macrumors regular

    Jul 31, 2008
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Wow. I must be doing something wrong, because I have the new mini with 4 GB and when it doesn't crash my Aperture is painfully slow. I shoot RAW.
  19. neutrino23 macrumors 68000

    Feb 14, 2003
    SF Bay area
    Clearly RAM helps as does a faster processor, but I suspect that with RAW files the hard drive is the bottleneck. If your RAW files are running 10 - 20MB then it should take more than one second just to load these from a slower HD.
  20. Aries326 macrumors 6502

    Dec 28, 2007
    I've got a MBP late-2009 and when I upgraded my camera to a Nikon D3100 from an old point and shoot, I was able to tell the difference immediately with Aperture's performace. I upgraded my MBP with a Seagate Momentus XT and 8GB of RAM and it definitely helped.
  21. Winni macrumors 68030


    Oct 15, 2008
    I think 8 GB of RAM and a quad core CPU are the absolute minimum for Aperture.

    Aperture's code base is buggy like hell and apparently not optimized at all. I've been using the program since version 1.0, but when I look at the performance of Bibble Pro or Lightroom, I must admit defeat and state that Apple has lost the race a long time ago.
  22. pprior macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    I ran aperture (version 2) on 2GB ram and went to 4 (in a mac pro) - HUGE improvement in speed. Went from 4-8 and again a noticeable improvement but not as dramatic. Then went from 8-16 and not really any major difference (for aperture).

    For my mind, 8GB is the absolute minimum nowdays for any serious software and I would spend the small extra money to get there or higher.
  23. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    4GB will work, 6GB is better. after 6-8GB your bottleneck will either be video RAM or CPU. the hard drive is only a factor during import, and I guess library switching, just about everything else is CPU- or VRAM-bound. GPU is not really a factor.

    you can always buy one 4GB stick now and buy another later if you need it.
  24. wheezy macrumors 65816


    Apr 7, 2005
    Alpine, UT
    What makes it buggy as hell? Not optimized? It's 64bit and uses OS Core services... I'll admit it could be coded better to work on lesser machines but still, pulling a 20-30MB RAW file off a slow HDD will slow the app down no matter how optimized it is.
  25. prosperousyogi macrumors newbie

    Feb 17, 2008
    Ottawa, Canada
    Scott Bourne, the famous wildlife photographer, said on his Podcast that Aperture will use all the RAM that you can throw at it. It seems he runs 16GB and Aperture runs smooth like buttercake.

    Personally I run 4GB on a late 2009 model iMAC 27" i5. I import weighty NEF files (Nikon raw files), and the imports can take enough time from a 8GB card to go downstairs and make coffee. But once they are in Aperture, I see no problem whatever in the photo editing stage.

    I AM curious if Aperture allows for Hyperthreading, making the i7 useful?

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