Macbook Pro, Photoshop and External Display

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by sbarrios93, Aug 19, 2014.

  1. sbarrios93, Aug 19, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2014

    sbarrios93 macrumors newbie

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    Aug 19, 2014
    #1
    So I have a late 2011 13" Macbook Pro(Intel HD 3000, Intel i5) which I have upgraded adding a SSD and 8GB Ram and I recently connected a Dell U2713H display to it (resolution of 2560x1440).

    The thing is I use Photoshop a lot and I've noticed that working on the external display has slowed down the graphics (the transitions, dragging images, etc. don't look smooth) and also made the whole system a little bit slower. I knew this was going to happen in a certain level but I wanted to know if you guys can give advice of if there's something I could do to make Photoshop work more smoothly. I was thinking of adding 4gb more of RAM to my computer, would that work?

    Thanks!
     
  2. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Mar 21, 2014
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    Portland / Seattle
    #2
    Get an external scratch disk, if you're not using one. I use a small SSD in the home office or a fast SD card on the road. A scratch disk makes AutoCAD and Photoshop so much speedier...
     
  3. p3ntyne macrumors 6502

    p3ntyne

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    Sydney, Australia
    #3
    I would imagine your graphics "card" is having a hard time keeping up with PS at 1440p.

    Your only options would be to downgrade to a 1080p monitor, force your current monitor to 1080p (not recommended) or to buy a new computer.
     
  4. sbarrios93 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 19, 2014
    #4
    Hey guys, thanks for your answers!

    I have the Scratch Disk set up in my internal SSD with about 100 GB of free space, do you think is better to have an external one?

    So are you saying that adding more ram wouldn't change the performance at all of the graphics or whole system?
     
  5. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #5
    That's right. More RAM isn't going to improve your iGPU's performance by any bit.

    And there's nothing you can do to improve it.
     
  6. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Mar 21, 2014
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    Portland / Seattle
    #6
    Absolutely use an external drive (or secondary drive if you have two internal drives). Swap files on a scratch disk should be used on a drive that is not on the drive the PS app and the file you're working on are residing. The scratch disk doesn't need to be huge - even 16/32GB is plenty - and it should also have nothing else on it.

    With the set up you've described, you're PS app is accessing PS, writing to a file (if your file is on the same drive), and writing/reading the swap file (which is on the "scratch" disk).

    An alternative, which is what I used to do in the days before OS X was create a RAM disk - which works great on a PC/Mac with plenty of RAM. With Mavericks, I wouldn't use a RAM disk with PS if my Mac has less than 16GB of RAM. With Mavericks using essentially all of the Mac's RAM, I just haven't been tempted to use a RAM disk - especially since I have a couple of TB SSDs on hand.

    If it were me and I didn't have a scratch disk handy, I would not use the main drive as a scratch disk. I've seen what a secondary/external scratch disk can do for apps that utilize them when the app and system are configured properly, that's why I've generally made sure I've got a scratch disk available when I'm using PS or AutoCAD. Cheers!
     
  7. BrettApple macrumors 65816

    BrettApple

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    Heart of the midwest
    #7
    Definitely the fault of the Intel HD3000 right there. Not bad on it's own, but running a high resolution monitor will show it's limits.

    Same thing happens with the 9400m on my MacBook, 1080P plus internal display plus Aperture, PS, Parallels, etc will really slow it down.

    Now my rMBP is great on a 1080P screen or even at 2560x1600 (internal). But combine them and it shows the Iris being stressed. Just how it is.

    Everything else on that Mac is great, just the bottleneck of the HD3000 sadly.
     
  8. p3ntyne macrumors 6502

    p3ntyne

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    Jan 10, 2014
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    Sydney, Australia
    #8
    Obviously, RAM would be beneficial to the system when performing intensive tasks however, lack of RAM is not your issue.

    Increasing the RAM would only benefit the graphics ever so slightly. It will almost be unnoticeable but you will get some extra VRAM.
     
  9. MoodyTheSneer, Aug 23, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2014

    MoodyTheSneer macrumors newbie

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    Aug 23, 2014
    #9
    Some good advice and some mythology her too.
    - internal drive should be partitioned to create one for apps and a second for scratch disk. You cannot do better than this with an external drive for scratch.
    - if external drive is used for anything, it's offline storage of media assets and working files.
    - as always, loading Photoshop into RAM rather than running it off the internal drive is the oldest guerrilla road warrior trick of all.
    - finally. Sluggishness of display image refresh etc. are video card and vram related. Not sure how upgradable that laptop's video card is. The advice about turning the screen res down to 1080 makes sense. For Photoshop a wide color gamut and accurate display are more important than resolution. I authored half of GSQmag.com on a 13" iBook!!
     
  10. sbarrios93 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 19, 2014
    #10
    Hey guys, thanks everyone for your answers! It's been really helpful. I ended up upgrading the system anyway to 12GB RAM and improve some of my photoshop preferences and workflow and while the whole system is not as quick with the external display as using my MBP screen, it indeed made everything feel much more "smooth" in terms of moving things around in PS.


    So you think is better if I partitioned my SSD to create a scratch disk for PS, even though I'm only using the RAM for PS now that upgraded?
     
  11. MoodyTheSneer macrumors newbie

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    Aug 23, 2014
    #11
    Yes. Partition the main SSD so that the scratch partition is 1.5 times or more in size than the largest PS doc you are likely to work on. You still need to address the screen display challenge though.
     
  12. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #12
    I don't agree with partitioning the single hard drive with the intent of using one partition of it as a scratch disk - there aren't any real speed gains. There's lots of advice against doing this on the interwebs. This is geared toward Premier Elements, however, Adobe's caching scheme is similar across apps: http://www.elementsvillage.com/forums/showthread.php?t=77063 - read the first few posts and the quoted excerpt from Steve Grisetti's Muvipix book for Premier Elements v11.

    I carry one LaCie Rugged TB SSD with me at all times, it's in my go bag. I don't partition my drives for use as a scratch drive since I started using separate drives for caching. I used to work for an engineering firm and in my first week there got stuck importing GIS shape files for a major project of theirs - my first import and render took 14 hours - typical for their projects - then I added a fast and small (10k/10GB) SATA drive, set up AutoCAD to cache to the new drive - the second render took under 45 minutes. And I got a raise. That, on 2005-era hardware. Internal partition isn't worth your time - all of that data is running through the same bus. I don't use a benchmark - I use a stopwatch and/or a billable timer. So, good luck.
     

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