Resolved Lightroom user looking for new system advice

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Darmok N Jalad, Feb 14, 2018.

  1. tomscott1988 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 14, 2009
    Have you updated to 7.2? Its a rather good update my 2010 mac pro has benefited hugely.
  2. mpe macrumors 6502

    Sep 3, 2010
    I am processing 36mpx RAWs on my 5k iMac 2015 (3.3 GHz Skylake i5, M395, 32GB RAM, 2TB Fusion). My library size is close to 1TB.

    The performance is generally OK. I think what limits the interactive speed (culling, editing) is the Lightroom itself rather than the hardware. Of course, long imports/exports with 1:1 preview generation could be faster with more CPU cores. But I don't really care if my import is done in 20minutes or 15minutes. It is always a coffee break.

    Lightroom isn't very sensitive to I/O performance and doesn't benefit that much from ultra-fast nvme SSD. As soon as your catalogue and app installation stays on any SSD, which is something Fusion drive can pretty much guarantee (if you use Lightroom often enough) it is fine. My experience is that there is actually very little difference between having RAW masters on ultra-fast SSD drive, spinning HDD, 1GB/s NAS. It makes almost no difference in my workflow. It is important that the catalogue with metadata and previews is on SSD though.

    I am buying a base model of iMac Pro, mostly due to other apps, but I wouldn't mind staying on 5k iMac + any 128GB-SSD based Fusion drive just for Lightroom.
  3. tomscott1988 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 14, 2009
    I have a similar experience but I keep my libraries smaller to around 250gbs at a time and it seems to help keep it speedy, then I import into a larger library to archive and have access.

    I would cut your library down, it helps speed in the short term greatly, maybe not for having instant access to all images but its not an issue having multiple libraries.

    I shoot hundreds of weddings and events and im not really keen on the higher resolution cameras as I really dont have need for them and they mean much more storage and take longer to make 1:1 previews.. 20-30mp is more than enough for my output and it doesnt tax the machine half as much either. 5DMKIII files are much quicker to edit compared to my MKIV files.

    TBH importing 3-400 files and making 1:1 previews on my Mac Pro doesn't take much longer than 45 mins usually. Its the interface that slows especially after importing with an import preset which sharpens which seems to slow the editing process, if I sharpen last then its quicker but its a ball ache then going back and adding the preset. Generally I find zooming to 100%, panning, spot or local adjustments are laggy. The general develop module is fine.

    Its also the resolution of the display. I have a 23" ACD and a 27" ACD and the 23 is far quicker on its own, less pixels to push. I bought an RX 580 yesterday so fingers crossed that should solve my issues
  4. Darmok N Jalad thread starter macrumors 68000

    Darmok N Jalad

    Sep 26, 2017
    Thanks for the extra input. I’m not a pro user when it comes to LR, but I was already considering an upgrade for the better display alone. I just wanted to make sure I didn’t go backward in terms of performance. From what I can tell, it’s about a wash when it comes to CPU performance going from the 6C/12T W3690 to the 4C/4T 7500. The 7500 has better single thread performance, while the W3690 does a little better on multicore. The display was certainly an upgrade. Now as I sell off my old Mac Pro hardware I’m looking at getting a good external drive and some extra RAM. DDR4 prices are insane right now!
  5. tomscott1988 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 14, 2009
    The problem with the 5K imacs is the resolution and how many pixels your pushing with the display I think even a RX 580 wont give buttery smooth but a Vega probably will.

    The benchmarks of the i7 imac multicore as you say isnt really a great deal difference around 15000 each compared to the W3690 but its significant for the single core. Lightroom does use multicore so the single isnt really relevant here. From my experience, I bought my father the base 5K imac with the 570 and a 2tb fusion and the performance is almost the same but its pushing twice the pixels compared to my 27" ACD.

    Those i7s seem to get very different reviews, some are throttling like mad and others seem to be ok so not really sure whether its user error and internet scaremongering but they run hot generally. The Mac Pro runs under full load for me in the UK at a max of 65-70deg so it never throttles.

    So to me spending the best part of £3-3500 to get similar performance but a better screen isnt worthwhile although having a newer machine would have been nice.

    I ended up buying an RX 580 8gb for a bit of a steal atm for £280 for my mac pro and hopefully this will give a little more life until the newer Mac Pro comes out. It should certainly make sure adjustments are buttery on my 27" ACD.

    Im not really keen on buying a temporary solution I want something that will last like my current pro has I really dislike all in ones so I suppose time will tell.
  6. AlexMaximus macrumors 6502a


    Aug 15, 2006
    A400M Base

    Here is my opinion on your situation.
    Absolute No-Go's:
    Cross out #3 because of the screen size. A 21.5 will not cut it for you, doing 20MP RAW. iMac ... hmm no I would not do that....
    Cross out #4 as well. - The fusion drive is a huge bottle neck that will slow down your performance big time. That would be big pain after a huge investment realising your are no better off like with what you have now. Plus, keep in mind - a iMac is a consumer machine.

    Option #2: The 6.1 Mac Pro is going down in price slowly. I think, if you could get a 4 core model with a small SSD and D700 GPUs for a small budget, - that would be the sweet spot. If you go that route, you can get an intel Xeon upgrade 8 core or 10 core CPU. You can exchange the CPU yourself, - very easy to do. OWC has a good tutorial as well as fixit. On top of that you would need the new Amfeltech SSD card extension with two Hyper X Predators - then you would have a workable solution. - Nice, but still too expensive for my taste.

    .. which brings us to the only viable solution Option #1:

    Hands down, I really think your best option by far would be the upgrade route. Use what you have. I think you are operating on the ssd limit size wise. Most likely your SSD is full to the brim. Most likely you did not activate trim. All that makes you mac choke.

    Since the Samsung 951 AHCI cards are not available any more and the HyperX Predator 960 is also dwindling as we speak, here are two new options I would go for:


    or this:

    Since 20M Raw is tough on Ram, you may want to check your Ram bus speed as well. Make sure your Ram runs on 1333 Mhz, not the 1066 Mhz default. You may even consider to upgrade to 32GB Ram with a nice heat sink. Also keep in mind, the AMD Vega GPUs are already available. Very soon you can replace your aging GPU with the same GPU that ticks inside a iMac Pro. That doesn't sound too bad and actually kills the 6.1 argument on the GPU side. Because to be honest, - the non upgradable D700 stinks.


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