Mac Pro vs iMac for Lightroom work?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by whistler222, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. whistler222 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2007
    #1
    I've had my Mac Pro tower (a 2008 Quad Core with 8GB of RAM) for about 5 years.. used lightroom since its beginning. At first it was really fast, scrolling between photos were 'snappy' etc.

    Now with LR 4, using a Canon 5Dmk2, photos are taking for EVER to import, and then switching between each photo is taking a few seconds to load, and trying to zoom in and do spot removal etc is taking forever and stalls and all in all a pain.

    My question:

    Is it b/c my processor is slow? or is it b/c i lack RAM?
    I'm considering whether i need a 12 core mac pro tower (whatever is being released later this year), or an iMac is good but load it up to 32GB Or RAM.

    Of course a 12 core tower with 32gb ram is great but there's the cost issue. so.

    Anyhow, please let me know your thoughts!
     
  2. xDeLiRiOuSx macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2010
    #2
    I have a 8 Core Mac Pro (3.33Ghz) as well as a 6 core 3.46Ghz Mac Pro. Both loaded with tons of ram (96GB and 48GB respectively), yet they were slower at Lightroom than my brand new iMac.... my 2012 i7 iMac 27" 3TB Fusion drive, and with only 8GB of ram loads Raw images from our Canon 1Dx Cameras in less a second. Zoom in, same just as fast.

    I was very impressed!
     
  3. dmax35 macrumors 6502

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    Jun 21, 2012
    #3
    What drives do you have in your Mac Pro?
     
  4. MyMac1976 macrumors 6502

    MyMac1976

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    Apr 14, 2013
    #4
    Tired HDD
     
  5. bsbeamer macrumors 6502

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    Sep 19, 2012
    #5
    RAM helps, but only so much. You've probably increased the size/resolution of your images and are now noticing the hit a bit more. If you try processing some of the RAW images you have from 4-5 years ago, is the machine still just as slow?

    Generally speaking, an SSD is one of the best upgrades you can make on any machine. The prices are fairly decent. I'd look at that before upgrading your entire machine. WORST case scenario, you can reuse that SSD in a new machine.
     
  6. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Japan
    #6
    LightRoom is a cobbled together kludge and maybe the most inefficient app there is for OS X - and maybe Windows too where it's also very bad. It's certainly Adobe's worst application. Currently is doesn't scale at all past 2 cpu cores and virtual cores seldom if ever assist single application execution.

    So to answer your question the iMac is the better LR machine in LR's current state - speed-wise. Of course the iMac screen sucks pretty bad for professional level photo-editing but...

    A better question IMO is what app doesn't suck so bad. To which CaptureOne is usually the professional answer. But really any editor is better than LR. The PS/Br/ACR combination has 100% of the functionality that LR has plus more and while the functions are somewhat hidden in plain sight (in order to duplicate 100% of LR) it's right around 2x faster at most things and 10 or 20 times faster at a lot of things. DxO is another worthy choice. Silkypix DS isn't too bad. And there's others too.
     
  7. sash macrumors 6502a

    sash

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2004
    #7
    Pretty much same story: I've been using LR ever since its first public beta. At some point it became way too heavy for the hard I've had at that time (I believe, PM G5), but after switching to MacPro I've never experienced any noticeable / annoying issue with speed. I'm using LR on MP 2 x 2,4 GHz Quad-Core (2010) with 32 RAM. By the way, no noticeable difference between LR and PS. I'm with the same Canon 5DMk2 as you.
     
  8. GXPvince macrumors regular

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    May 12, 2008
    #8
    I have had Lightroom exporting at 2000% CPU Usage on my 12 core. Although I had to trick the software a bit.
     
  9. MyMac1976 macrumors 6502

    MyMac1976

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    Apr 14, 2013
    #9
    thats not all cores..
     
  10. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    Aug 5, 2010
    #10
    I don't think Adobe's solutions are that bad. Capture One gained popularity because they were the first ones to come up with a reasonably good solution at that time, although the earlier versions (3 and below) didn't give the greatest previews. Capture One doesn't tend to saturate some things to the same degree in its default processing, and it's often easier to get a pleasing result. Lightroom in my experience isn't very good for anything shot on a digital back, but their dslr profiles aren't so bad. Capture One is also incredibly cpu heavy as it doesn't really bake anything with its previews.
     
  11. Tesselator, Apr 24, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2013

    Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #11
    Neither do I. But LR is. ;)
    For C1Pro the "defaults" are user definable. ;)
    You're incorrect about the Baking and this one area it pulls ahead of LR.


    ----------

    You will have to show me that trick. Until then I'll go by what I and 100's of other photographers have experienced and tested.
    http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1165920/0
    Heck, all ya have to do to notice the difference and how slow LR is compared to other apps is use them. :)
     
  12. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #12
    I am very familiar with Capture One. I meant WB as shot, everything basically zeroed, and contrast curve film standard. It locks in a lot of detail and doesn't over-saturate anything. A lot of people use that. I like to make smaller adjustments. Their color picker works quite well. It's much smoother than trying to do the same thing on a gamma baked image in a far more restrictive color space. How exactly am I incorrect? I mean what did I misinterpret? The previews are high res although I think they cache them at a couple resolutions. In the really old versions (pre C1 4) it used to cache a low resolution image and show all adjustments based on that. It was far less accurate at the time. I'm not saying it redoes all the math every time. They have always claimed that they don't generate the final rasterization until you hit process. What else did I miss?
     
  13. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #13
    OK, I see.

    Anyway, the point is that it's way faster with better controls and produces a more professional results in the opinion of the vast majority of pro photographers. Specifically that it's way faster in regards to the topic here.
     
  14. GXPvince macrumors regular

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    May 12, 2008
    #14
    Never said it was.. However, Tesselator said it doesn't scale much past 2 cores. In certain situations it does.
     
  15. sash macrumors 6502a

    sash

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2004
    #15
    I'm sure you tried that, but anyways: do you render 1:1 previews before editing your photos in LR? It speeds up everything considerably.
     
  16. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #16
    Probably the best for Lightroom is a 6-core 2010 or an 8-core 2009. Memory should be at least 12GB with 16GB for any RAW work. It is a hog and a beast and it does scale but not efficiently to 12 cores/ 24- threads. 12-16 Threads bodes the best cost performance ratio that I have seen. iMac seems like 8 threads and ram limit too tiny for the future Lightroom power-suck.
    http://macperformanceguide.com/Reviews-MacProWestmere-RAW-Lightroom3.html
    http://macperformanceguide.com/Optimizing-Lightroom.html
    http://macperformanceguide.com/Reviews-MacBookProFeb2011-Lightroom3.html
     
  17. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #17
    True. In like 2% of use it will scale across 4. It looks like:

    1st Core = 65%
    2nd Core = + 25%
    3rd Core = + 6%
    4th Core = + 3%
    5th Core = + 0.6%
    6th Core = + 0.3%

    and so on. But to me and I would assume most other users too, that's the same thing as not being able to scale past 2 cores. :p
     
  18. applegeek897 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2011
    #18
    Ram will help i just put 16gb's in my mac pro and there was a difference when going through my raw files, my Lightroom library is on a external FW800 drive, but when going through the fies on my internal raid array (4x Veloci Raptors) there was a big speed difference and even more so on my Retina MacBook Pro. So i think fast storage is key like SSD's, now that can be very very expensive for an application like this, but also a good option is something like WD Red drives because they are quite fast and long lasting, or even better 1TB Velociraptors.

    As for the CPU the only big difference that will make is when exporting and intensive tasks like that.
     
  19. GXPvince macrumors regular

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    May 12, 2008
    #19
    Hi Tess, I have had 2000%(I haven't tried any further yet) on my 12 core exporting from Lightroom. So in certain situations it will- you just have to know how to do it. I work with thousands of pictures and when I export I do a sort of batch exporting. You can stack exports thus leading to using %2000 on 5 or 6 stacked. I haven't tried any more. But it's some relief that I am actually using the horsepower of the machine at some point. I understand working within Lightroom it doesn't go past 2cores.

    ----------

    I believe moving through the pictures it's faster, however once you do anything to the picture it has to render again.
     
  20. MyMac1976 macrumors 6502

    MyMac1976

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2013
    #20
    I don't use Lightroom enough to have a valid opinion, but here's what digitalloyd says:

    http://macperformanceguide.com/Optimizing-Lightroom.html

    "scalability — not there

    Not only do most of the CPU cores stay idle, the scalability (efficiency) for the cores that are actually used is low. While it does appear that Lightroom allocates “threads” for all the cores, there exists some internal bottleneck (bug) which prevents them from working efficiently.

    The performance is very similar to the poor scalability seen with Photoshop; apparently the same or similar approach is employed in Lightroom as in Photoshop CS4. Working efficiently with 2 cores is easy; doing so with 4/8/16 cores requires some engineering which apparently has been omitted. Even the utilization of two cores on the MacBook Pro disappoints for these tests, with its two cores going unused about 30% of the time.

    In this test, the 16-virtual-core 2.93GHz Mac Pro should turn in astonishingly fast processing times compared to the 2-core MacBook Pro 2.93Ghz 17". But the 16-virtual-core Mac Pro offers only 1.5X - 2.3X speedup over the dual-core MacBook Pro. Considering the advanced caching and much higher memory bandwidth of the Mac Pro Nehalem, this is disappointing indeed.

    Viewing CPU usage in Activity Monitor How, observe the black areas, which represent idle CPU cores. It should be obvious that the majority of the processing power is wasted—about 80%."


    "The core idea is that Lightroom is not smart enough to run efficiently on its own, so you have to load it up with more than one job to force more of the available CPU cores to be used. Lightroom should do this automatically! It’s not just Adobe though, the problem is rampant in the industry. See the report card.

    As a software engineer with decades of experience, obvious problems like this still astound me— the ideas here should be obvious to any competent engineer. All that’s needed is the simple act of watching Activity Monitor and seeing most of the CPU cores, memory, and disk at low utilization."
     
  21. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #21
    Yup, and that last paragraph might as well have been written by me personally. ;)
     
  22. sash macrumors 6502a

    sash

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    Nov 23, 2004
    #22
    Agreed, but the OP is struggling with things as switching between photos, zooming in etc. In these instances rendering 1:1 previews helps big way.
     

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