Is Aperture 3 on a core duo mbp madness?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by pna, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. pna macrumors 6502

    May 27, 2005
    hey all,

    I've recently switched to shooting raw with my D90, after shooting about 20k jpegs on my D80 and never messing around with raw. I've been shooting film and digital since I was in high school in the 90's, but am now taking it as a much more serious hobby. I've cataloged about 40k pictures in my iphoto library (after having all my old negatives scanned), and use the integration of iphoto with imovie to make movies and slideshows on a fairly regular basis. That integration is one thing that's making me more interested in aperture over lightroom.

    At some point this past summer I downloaded the trial of aperture 3 to work on a small library of about 10 raw files, using my original macbook pro (core duo 2 Ghz, 2 GB ram, 640 GB HD with 100+ GB free). It loaded the pics all right, but when I'd go to do anything with them, the fans spun up immediately, and things got unbearably slow. I had read that AP3 was a bit of a performance hog, so I more or less just gave up on it after that one session, and my trial period expired.

    Now I've been following a number of threads in this forum about AP3 performance (most notably this recent one: ) and am more or less at a loss as to what exactly AP3 would even need to make it perform better. I've now seen people refer alternately to the CPU, the hard drive, the library size, and the amount of RAM as their particular bottleneck, leaving me somewhat confused.

    My questions are:

    1) Threshold question: Is it even worth trying to make AP3 run better on a core duo that's limited to 2GB of ram, or is that pretty much doomed to failure and unpleasantness? Would running off of an external FW400 drive help?

    2) If I were to look to upgrade, is there even an obvious purchase path (short of a mac pro) that would result in a responsive aperture 3? In particular, if I was looking at upgrading to an iMac for specifically this purpose (and iMovie and some basic sound recording/editing), should I be emphasizing:

    - Processor? i3 vs. i5 dual core vs. i5 quad-core vs. i7?
    - Is hyper-threading something to even be concerned about in any of these chips for this purpose?
    - Hard drive? I assume all the 1 TB internal 7200 drives are the same or comparable, but will a referenced library be faster as some have noted?
    - graphics card? Does AP3 use the graphics card to speed things up?
    - Memory amount? I'd be shooting for 8 GB to start.

    In particular, I'm looking at the imacs on the refurb store. There's a 27" i5 quad core 2.66 for 1529 and a 27" i7 for 1699. I have the government discount, though it could only be applied to something new.

    Thanks for any insight you all have. It seems ridiculous to be considering buying an entirely new computer to run new software, but I suppose it is what it is.
  2. MattSepeta macrumors 65816


    Jul 9, 2009
    375th St. Y

    I'm in the same boat as you. Im running a 24" iMac with 2.4ghz core 2 duo and 4gb RAM and it CRAWLS. It is almost un-useable.

    I recently shot a 1000+ image wedding and it took me literally 30 hours to process/WB/crop/straighten/export the images. I felt like I was wasting so much time just sitting there as I was waiting for the adjustments to show up, or for it to export a stupid jpg.

    I am about to tear my hair out, and I don't know if I should just charge a new i7 to my credit card or tough it out or what the heck to do. I'm not about to go back to aperture 1 though, as the time saved by having adjustment brushes and skipping PS for most of the images may trump the time wasted waiting.

    I hate Aperture 3. I really, genuinely hate it. I was seriously almost in tears (Ok, well not tears, but almost about to take a bat to my computer) when I was at the deadline trying to export jpegs to give to client but stupid $#^#$^ aperture 3 would not export the damn jpegs, it would stop EVERY TIME halfway through.
  3. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    May 5, 2007
    I assume lightroom is still a lot lot faster? Why not just use that?

    (I use aperture 2 on my 2.4Ghz C2D, it's fine for me).
  4. pna thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 27, 2005
    If lightroom 3 will run ok on an original mbp, then I may just do that. I've downloaded the trial, and it seems more or less usable, if not particularly snappy during the render.

    The key is that I'm looking long into the future, here. Both programs seem to have much of the same capabilities, but aperture is preferable for the long term due to its integration with the rest of ilife suite. I'm certain to upgrade to a faster machine at some point in the future. I'd rather push that off if I can (by continuing to use my original mbp), but I'd also rather not get invested in one program (in both learning and library building) if I'm eventually going to be interested in switching to the other when I do upgrade.
  5. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    The 2GB of RAM and generations old graphics card is going to make it truly dreadful. Even if Apple says 1GB is required, 2GB just isn't enough either.
  6. toastboy macrumors member

    Jul 31, 2007
    Scotland, Glasgow
    Gonna need a bigger boat, as I am in it also.

    Same problem here. 2.4ghz 4gb ram,256gb vcard. Have just started taken photography seriously using 7D raw files.

    Here the thing, I am new so yes, you want to start out on the right foot, pick your software and stick with it. I guess in many ways it's like choosing between brands, canon or nikon. If you want to change to the other it's a big pain in the ass.

    The way I think I will go is with lightroon even tho I don't like the look and feel of it, but I know it's the right move.
    1. It's right for my hardware.
    2. It does pretty much everything A3 does ( I don't care about video)
    3. And well it gets me away from the iApple apps.

    Integration is cool and is a selling point for apple, but at work I use Avid, no fancy stuff just quick editing, it doesn't look as nice as fcp but it gets the job done fast. I will still use fcp for home projects but I think I will be picking a none apple piece of software for photos.

    If it worked better on my mbp then I guess I would stick with A3 as it's so familiar and apple like... Oh dear, must resist....
  7. MattSepeta macrumors 65816


    Jul 9, 2009
    375th St. Y

    RESIST. I loathe the day I actually went with cool-n-shiny Apple over tried-n-true Adobe.
  8. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2008
    That's weird. I am running Ap3 on a 2.5 MBP w 4 gigs and it runs fine. My guess is you may have the framented library problem. Make sure you have lots of free space, move the library off it's current drive, then pull it back (even better if you defrag the drive before moving it back). Aperture seems to run much better after you do this. Be careful if you defrag osx though, idefrag basically killed my copy of osx and I had to start again. Export to jpgs for me is a few seconds each, never enough to bother me.
  9. ManhattanPrjct macrumors 6502

    Oct 6, 2008
    I use a regular old black Macbook, 2.16GHz, 2MB Ram. LR3 runs fine - not blazingly fast, but I am never tearing my hair out. I'm not a pro.

    Seriously, if you are just starting, download both trials and use them. Don't make the mistake of going down a path and then deciding later it won't work for you. Switching from Canon to Nikon or vice versa is a costly decision but happens all the time. Switching from Ap to LR is not a costly decision on your wallet, but is INCREDIBLY costly in terms your time.
  10. MattSepeta macrumors 65816


    Jul 9, 2009
    375th St. Y
    Thanks a bunch. Is there a better way to defrag than iDefrag? Toasting my OS is the LAST thing I want to happen :eek:

    I'll try your suggestion when I get home though, thanks!
  11. OrangeCuse44 macrumors 65816


    Oct 25, 2006
    Long Island, NY
    Hmm, I'm running A3 on a 2006 C2D Macbook with 4 giggers of RAM and its slower than LR2 was for me, but not unusable. It does have it's lag, but again my machine isn't exactly new.
  12. davegregory macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2009
    Burlington, Ontario
    I ran Aperture 3 on a 2.4 ghz MBP, late '08 - first unibody 15" version. It had 4gb of RAM and it ran perfectly fine. The key with Aperture is not to go too far over 1000 photos before creating a new library. Keep it around 1000 photos and it will run great. It's annoying, but it's less annoying than having it grind to a halt when you're running on deadlines.
  13. HarryPot macrumors 6502a

    Sep 5, 2009
    As a poster above said, you must have another problem that is making Aperture 3 so slow.

    I have a black MacBook Core Duo with 2GB of RAM, and even tho it is not fast, it is not "going crazy" slow. I have my photos (150>GB) in an external drive, which I've heard it makes things a little faster.

    Now, I'm not a pro. I would certainly not recommend running Aperture 3 in a Core Duo if you make a living of it. But for the hobbyist it is OK.

    My files are RAW from a Nikon D40x. Not sure how much slower it would be with larger files from the newer cameras.
  14. gametime macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2009
    I'll add a few thoughts here.

    I currently run a3 on my white macbook with a 2ghz core 2 duo and intel graphics, and whilst it does get laggy, it is just about usable. However i only have aroung a 20gb library, and all photos are in jpeg, mostly from my E-Pl1, and this is stored on an external, so perhaps thats helping.

    I myself am looking at getting an imac, one of the main reasons being to run aperture better with the bigger screen and being faster. I played with the new 3.2ghz i3 21.5 imac in store yesterday, using aperature 3 for around 10 minutes, and it seemed to absolutely fly through anything i threw at it, I didn't see it so much as hesitate when adding a preset, brushing over whole images or doing any other adjustments i could think of. Now i understand that the library was only small, but surely that cant have a huge impact on the overall responsiveness on the program. This was whilst simultaneously browsing safari, running itunes, with iphoto, pages and ical open in the background.

    After seeing the fantastic machine in operation i am now sorting out buying one, it really is a massive leap up from my macbook, and the screen size is perfect. Let me know if you have any more questions about the new imacs and i'll do my best to remember.

  15. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    @MattSepeta: Aperture 3 couldn't be that slow on a 2.4 GHz C2D iMac -- not slow enough to make you tear your hair out. Sorry, I don't buy it.

    And processing +1000 photos should take +30 hours, and if it doesn't, then perhaps auto-processing would do just as good a job. From there, do a bit of tweaking. I doubt it would take 30 hours using this method.
  16. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    I am using Aperture on a MacBook Air - so only 1.86GHz C2D and only 2GB of RAM. Aperture 3.0.3 is perfectly usable. Rotating images an arbitrary # of degrees can be slow, but I can't say I have to do that much (not that sloppy a photog I guess). I can't think of another operation I do in Aperture that shows any significant lag. My photos are all 12MB NEFs from a Nikon D700.

    I guess it depends what your computer usage habits are and/or what your perceptions of "slow" are. For example I tend to quit programs when I'm done - some other folks just leave them running. If any of those "always on" programs have memory leaks (I'm looking at YOU, Firefox), that can drag your computer's performance down significantly after a while.

    I'm always amazed when people say "program XXXX is unusable on my Mac Pro 19.8GHz w/ 32GB of RAM" because it seems like they must be very impatient or else doing something extremely wonky - but for all I know the OP is just like those people, so it's a hard question to answer definitively. :D
  17. pna thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 27, 2005
    There was certainly a time when I (the OP) spent far too much time tuning and tweaking my home built pc/linux systems for optimal performance, and as a result was overly sensitive to any lag in my systems. But then... my brother gave me one of the original G4 mac mini's for a birthday gift (usually he just sends a short happy birthday email, so it was quite an unexpected and awesome surprise!). The combination of the enclosure being constrained and all of the software pretty much just working as advertised pretty much cured me of the tweaking habit, and I was amazed to find myself actually using it for *producing* things as opposed to spending lots of time tweaking. It made me realize that I'd been spending a lot more time pursuing ultimate performance than actually performing. Given that I also found the OS X gui to be less responsive than I'd been accustomed to with my more powerful machines, but I still managed to live with it just fine, that was pretty much the end of my obsession with speed, and, dare I say, the ever-elusive snappiness.

    That's actually what's driving this entire thing, that I'm pretty much fine with my 5 year old core duo mbp with 2 GB of ram, and were it not for photography, I wouldn't see a need to upgrade it period. Besides photography, my computing needs have actually decreased from when I bought that machine, as I no longer run data analysis on it. All I've needed has been more internal storage space, so I've now upgraded the hard drive twice when I could affordably double my space (160->320->640 GB). I don't want to spend money I don't really need to.

    I've managed to extend my trial with aperture, and it does appear that the updates since the original have made it a fair bit faster on my hardware, and I'm getting far less lag and fewer beach balls. The fans fire up to full speed right away, which is pretty obnoxious, but they seem to do that in LR3 as well, so I think there's no getting around it.
  18. Jett0516 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 5, 2010
    Aperture 3 on my 2010 mac mini overall runs fine but when I'm doing some retouching on processes pretty slow. But then I only have 2gb of ram. Perhaps an upgrade on the ram should do the job quickly.
  19. pna thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 27, 2005
    An upgrade of ram may work for you, but 2 GB is the limit for my mbp...
  20. epicwelshman macrumors 6502a


    Apr 6, 2006
    Nassau, Bahamas

    I'm running a 3Ghz C2D with 4GB of RAM, and Aperture 3 runs fine.

    But, my main concern is this: are you giving wedding clients 1,000 images??? That's insane. Give them 250, TOPS. I highly doubt all of those 1,000 images are keepers.
  21. CrackedButter macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2003
    51st State of America

    Second, read this article about Aperture disk fragmentation, set aside an hour for reading, it's totally worth it and really explains the underpinnings of Aperture database and why it affects performance.

    Read my blog post which tries to summarise the issue (if you don't have an hour) but if you do and if you're interested reading further (and you should be) click the other links:
  22. duncanapple macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2008
    I disagree - our wedding photog gave us 1865 pics and I would say, while they aren't all my favorite, they are def all keepers (ie not out of focus, blurred, etc). I think most clients will have favorites but still want the digital files of all the pics they can get. I don't think I am unique either - most people I know who got married have over 1000 pics, some as much as 3000. We did have two photographers so that could add to it I suppose, but 250 is pretty low IMO. Heck, our engagement session was over 250 pics :) We dont print them all, but its nice to have the files to look back on. YMMV

    But back to the topic at hand - I run a 2.4ghz C2D alum MacBook with 4gb of RAM. A3 gets a little laggy - not unworkable but a bit annoying. Mostly when i flip to a new photo it is "processing" for 3-4 seconds before the pic completely loads. Brushes can take a second to begin working and occasionally the strokes I make with them will take a half second to apply. Admittedly though, I am working with ~25-30mb files from my 5DmkII. There prob isn't a lot of hardware that wont choke on that at the moment, other than brand new higher end machines. I am going to swap my hard drive soon for a 7200rpm drive (as I am running low on space anyway) - hopefully that helps. I would like to stretch the life of my macbook out another 1-1.5 years. At that point I will decide if my iPhone is sufficient enough of a portable solution that I can switch to an iMac or "lower end" mac pro with dual hard drives, 8gb or more of ram, dedicated graphics, etc.
  23. epicwelshman macrumors 6502a


    Apr 6, 2006
    Nassau, Bahamas
    I'm gonna have to disagree with your disagreement :) I'm off topic, I know... sorry!

    I'll take well over a 1,000 photos at weddings I shoot, and they'll in-focus, composed, etc., but they're not all what I consider "keepers". I consider a "keeper" to be an excellent shot, that the client would be proud to have framed. As a result, I usually give them about 250-300 (depending on the size of wedding) which tells the story of their wedding day, without forcing them to sift through 1,000 photos, many of which may be duplications.

    My clients so far seem to be happy with what they get, though I'd of course give them 1,000 if they really wanted them.
  24. duncanapple macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2008
    I hear what your saying and I definitely agree that of my 1800+ pictures only maybe 200 are my extreme favorites that I would hang in my house. But in the age of digital I like that I got full res DVDs of all our pictures. I wouldn't ness print the pictures of our tables or random pics of guests, but I like having them none the less. It took more work to par it down to the 50 pics in our album and the handful we had printed/framed/canvas mounted but I don't mind really. Different strokes I suppose. I wouldn't be upset if we only got 250 pics but they were all great. The only thing is that can be subjective - maybe my photogs favs are not my favs. I think the high number of pics also is a factor of your wedding day. Ours was over 10 hours from wedding to photo sites to reception, with two shooters. We went a little nuts (but happy we did) with 5 sites not counting the church and reception hall.

    edit - I also see from your info your in the Bahamas lol. I doubt its hard to get 300 keepers there!

    Sorry for the topic diversion OP!

  25. Freewayjim macrumors regular


    Aug 2, 2008
    Metro Atlanta
    Ap3 seems to runs slow on my 17" MBP 2.66 Core i7 with 8GB of RAM and I'm no Pro. I tried the LR3 Trial and it's snappy fast but I just like the look and feel of Ap3 better. Something just doesn't seem right.

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