LR3 Performance

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by uplusd, Jun 27, 2010.

  1. uplusd macrumors 6502

    Apr 8, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Quick question about how to improve LR3 performance. I'm currently using a MBP 13" - 2.26 C2d, 4GB RAM, GeForce 9400M. Would I see a better performance increase from 4GB-->8GB RAM or going to a system with dedicated graphics?

  2. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    There are people who always seem to think they need more RAM - but with 4 gigs already, it's hard to believe you'd see significantly improved performance with more memory.
  3. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    You can check whether you need more RAM or not: simply open Activity Monitor, select the memory tab and check the number of page-outs. Page-outs are blocks of memory that had to be moved from RAM to your harddrive. If this is significantly different from 0, you need more RAM. Especially so if the number of page-outs is growing while running Lightroom.

    Personally, I need around 6 GB to stay page-out free which meant I had to order 8 GB of RAM.
  4. funkboy macrumors regular

    Apr 25, 2008
    Are you running Snow Leopard? If not you might see somewhat better performance if you upgrade.

    Do be sure that Lightroom says "64 bit" in the splash screen when it's starting up.

    I agree with the previous comment about page-outs. Do be sure to quit all other apps before starting lightroom.

    But I think your biggest performance issue is hard disk speed. 64-bit Lightroom will munch all the RAM you can give it if you have a huge catalog, but it also has a lot of on-disk cache that it uses to optimize its memory usage and store things like thumbnails & previews. It spends a lot of time reading RAW files at import & export. As a result of all this, Lightroom needs to move a whole lot of data to & from the drive, and laptop drives are relatively slow as even the fastest ones are optimized for low power & low heat, not pure performance.

    Get yourself an external Firewire SATA II drive enclosure and put a Western Digital Caviar Black drive in it. You'll notice the difference immediately when you move your RAW files and cache over to it (the catalog could also be moved, but it will likely make less of a difference than the cache). It also makes a nice backup drive for Time Machine. Personally I have two of them in my desktop machine; one is my boot drive & has the catalogs & caches on it, and the other contains my RAW files & exports (Photoshop can also be accelerated this way by putting the scratch disk on another drive). This setup maximizes drive throughput, but may be overkill for you given that I'm a storage geek (-:

    There were some performance gains to be had in old versions of lightroom by breaking up your stuff into smaller catalogs, but with LR3 I can't see much difference between 10 images & 10k images. Maybe if you have 100k or something there's a difference...

    Other simple performance tips:

    - set your standard preview size as low as you can stand, with quality set to "high" so that the jpeg engine doesn't have to work as hard to compress stuff (& so the previews don't look shoddy :).

    - make sure that your cache is as big as you can stand. I haven't really needed to look for a way to monitor how big it needs to be yet...

    Good luck.

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