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: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=987189 ) 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.