Large iPhoto library?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by End User Onizuka, Oct 13, 2016.

  1. End User Onizuka, Oct 13, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2016

    End User Onizuka macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2016
    Hi everyone...I've been considering picking up a 2016 MacBook with the m5/512 option, but my biggest concern is how it would handle my large iPhoto library (over 200 GBs). I was wondering if anyone here had any experience dealing with this on the MacBook. I guess my pics are a decent size because they been shot with a Canon DSLR and a Sony RX100. Will it get bogged down and stutter as I go through the pics?

    I currently have a mid-2009 15" MBP with the 2.8 Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 8 GBs of RAM & a HHDD, but I was considering downsizing to get something more portable that wouldn't feel like work to drag out and turn on.
  2. Howard2k macrumors 68000


    Mar 10, 2016
    I know this doesn't answer your question, but hopefully it gives you another perspective.

    My Lightroom folder is 218GB. My strategy is to keep "active" files on my MBPro and keep my master library on my NAS. I use Adobe Lightroom. I use VPN to get to my library when I'm remote, if needed.

    This means that I'm working off the photos locally when I'm doing my editing and sorting, but once that's done I just put them on the NAS and access them over wifi (802.11ac).

    On the downside, accessing files from the NAS is slower than accessing them locally. But it doesn't REALLY matter to me whether it takes 1/2 a second or 1.5 seconds to open an image. If I have a batch of photos I need to do some edits to I will move them to my local drive, edit them, then move them back.

    I also cannot trivially access the photos while on the go. It's easy, but not trivial. I do have a VPN set up so at a pinch I can access my NAS photos from a coffee shop or even using the shared LTE connection on my iPhone. But it's not perfect. To date, that hasn't been a problem though. It's worked when I needed it to, and really it's not that often. The limitation is obviously the upstream bandwidth on my home Internet connection, which I think is 10Mb/s right now. It might be 20Mb/s, but it's nothing blazing fast.

    So my local library is small, and it flies. I believe the SSD on the MacBook is as fast as the MBPro. I think on the newer MacBook it's actually even faster. The MacBook also has 802.11ac. It's shorter on horsepower but unless you're doing a large batch of edits that's probably immaterial. And if you're doing a large batch of edits then you can kick that off and grab a coffee of whatever. If performance is your number 1 priority the MacBook probably isn't for you anyway.

    So my workflow is to take the photos, import them to the local library on my MBPro, then when I'm done editing and sorting I move them to the NAS. If I'm remote, I move them to the NAS when I am back at home. And if I'm remote and need to access the home library I do that over wifi/LTE as available.

    The benefit is that my library is not bound by the storage limitations of my MacBook, so I bought a smaller 256GB model. I obviously also bought a NAS at some point. And upgraded my home network to 802.11ac at some point. The 512 is the smallest MacBook anyway, but if you have 200GB of photos now, that's virtually half your storage gone. I have 62GB of music too, which I know is small compared to some. But I keep that on the NAS too. Just those two libraries for me are 280GB, and yet I am able to work with a 256GB MBPro without limitation, and can continue to scale quickly and cheaply by just upgrading my NAS drives.

    Again, I sacrifice speed when accessing stuff off the NAS over my local wifi. And on the road the impact is greater. But that's not a significant issue at all and in my regular workflow it's a non-issue.

    I used to maintain an Aperture library and an iPhoto library. When I migrated to the MBPro from my old iMac I took that opportunity to migrate both Aperture and iPhoto photos to Lightroom. It was not fun, but I have no regrets. I have played with Photos a little but not enough to make a real world judgement call on it. So really, I can't answer your question very well, but hopefully it gives you some other ideas.
  3. End User Onizuka thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2016
    Thanks so much for writing all of that up! My big concern was if the MacBook would get bogged down going through a big inventory of pics. I wasn't sure how iMovie would load them - if having a large library on the HDD would mean that the program would be slow, even though I am only working on one event at a time.

    Yeah, I'm definitely getting ready to have to deal with the storage issues. First and foremost is going to be learning how to delete unwanted pics lol. The combination of having kids and everything being digital means that I just take multiple shots every time I go for a pic.

    Right now I have a 1TB drive in my MBP that holds everything - my pics, home videos and 60 gbs worth of music. It's nice to have everything in one place, but the mentality of just getting a larger HDD is leaving me with way too much clutter that I don't really need. I'm hoping that getting something a little more portable will make it easier for me to get to things and not let it turn into a chore every time I want to work on things.

    My plan was that I would use a portable drive to store a bulk of my data and just keep the important/current stuff on the MacBoo, but the NAS is also a great idea. I have a barebones one set up right now, but I only run some movies through it - I haven't tried anything with my pics or music even though I have tons of Apple devices. (Which is one of the benefits for having them)

    I've been also keeping an ear out for the 13" MBP because I know it will be stronger and will probably have an option for a TB HDD, but I'm curious about trying the 12" since it is different from what I'm used to.

    It's kind of like the fact that most of my gaming is on my handhelds these days. It's a lot easier for me to break out the 3DS than to fight for the TV and turn on the PS4. (only to have to update it lol)
  4. Howard2k macrumors 68000


    Mar 10, 2016
    No sweat. My gut feel is that you'll be fine. But be aware that under heavy sustained load the CPU has to slow down to avoid overheating (the MacBook has no fan). So if you are doing heavy iMovie and Photos stuff that's possibly going to have some impact. But in terms of just doing basic photo work I'm going to guess you'll be ok. The SSD is blazingly fast from what I've seen. If I quickly flick through my Photos library right now, even though it's small (I had to use Photos for a particular project), the CPU is spiking as it jumps from photo to photo. These are some DSLR sourced photos and some scanned prints. My DSLR is an old Pentax and it's 10MP, so if you're using higher resolution photos the impact on the CPU will also be higher.

    So if you're leafing through 200GB of photos, quickly, then yes I imagine it will certainly throttle at some point.

    Hopefully someone with real world experience on the MacBook with Photos can chime in.

    Or even better, maybe fill an SD card with garbage images that you don't care about and take the SD card, with a card reader (USB-C) into a store and dump your own photos into Photos (hence: garbage photos) and once you've imported them to the MacBook SSD open Activity Monitor and start leafing through and and see what happens.

    That seems like a bit of work but it would be the best way to be sure.

    EDIT: But I should add, if you're talking about a 20MP camera and using RAW images, I'd really consider waiting to see what the new MBPro looks like. If it ever arrives. :)

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