MBP + Aperture + large external monitor = performance issues. Ideas?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by hooly, Nov 19, 2007.

  1. hooly macrumors regular

    hooly

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    #1
    I recently got a 24" external monitor. It has been a real revelation for my photography hobby, (and it's pretty cool for watching DVDs too)

    I am noticing some performance lags in some circumstances and I'd appreciate your expertise on whether this is an issue with processor, RAM or graphics card (or something else)

    I have the 2.33Ghz Core2Duo 2Gb RAM model, so it's far from shoddy.

    Aperture

    When working in Aperture I usually have the image full size on the big monitor, and then the control panel, browser and any other apps I need on my laptop monitor.

    When I make image adjustments (e.g. exposure, cropping, tilt) there is quite a lag between moving the slider and seeing the result on screen. This is especially annoying when trying to tilt an image to the horizontal, because it is quite fiddly work.

    Without the external monitor there is still a perceptible pause but not enough to complain about. With it, it is a little frustrating.


    System monitor


    I've been keeping an eye on my RAM usage and although I sometimes get very low on inactive RAM I always have at least around 20% of the pie as free (or the other way around, I mix them up )

    Question

    I will probably upgrade my MBP at the next major apple upgrade. Any thoughts about what is the limiting factor here? Or am I just expecting too much?
     
  2. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #2
    I run a Mac Pro with 9GB of RAM and two serious video cards. I have some of the same issues with lag - to a lesser degree; the problem is with Aperture - it's a bit bulky and should be a bit more streamlined in the next version (2.0 hopefully.) The video card/processor/RAM combo that Aperture demands is pretty tough.
     
  3. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

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    #3
    I have a 2.16 MBP with the same specs and I don't have much of a problem with performance. I would have to ask if your library is referenced or if it's managed by Aperture. The app runs smoother if the library is referenced instead of managed, and i mean a whole lot smoother. I can push the app to the limits on my machine even though it has less GFX RAM and a slower processor.

    And often times I can run Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, Bridge, and Motion 2 while running Aperture with little or not lag at all while editing, color correcting, making new version, exporting, etc.
     
  4. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

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    #4
    I was going to make a thread about this, but I will just start it here if the OP doesn't mind.

    Is there any word/rumors on the next version of Aperture? I don't want to pay for iLife 08 to get those web galleries (flash web galleries I might add) and I would love to be able to run my current version of Aperture for editing purposes and the updated version for everything on two machines at the same time.

    I hope that Apple fixes those few problems I have with it like offline image editing and backing up referenced libraries as well. I don't have any speed issues with the app at all and don't find it bulky or slow, but there are some things that could be added that would make it an even more powerful photo application.
     
  5. hooly thread starter macrumors regular

    hooly

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    #5
    Many thanks for the replies and the OP doesn't mind at all :)

    I am using mostly referenced files, so that wouldn't account for it either.

    It runs fine on my MBP monitor - a slight lag for some adjustments on large RAW files but perfectly tolerable.

    It is only on the 24" monitor where things are slowed down to the extent it is a bit of a pain. When you say you have no lag are you editing RAW and are you using a large monitor?

    Interesting to hear things might improve in v2.0 :cool:

    I point out I love Aperture, I am very happy with it, but the large monitor seems to slow it down and I am a little suprised.
     
  6. hooly thread starter macrumors regular

    hooly

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    #6
    ps. wowser! :)
     
  7. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

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    #7
    I do apologize for the double threads. Multi-quote has been buggy for a while and i think they may have it working.

    Anyway... I do edit 10MP raws and jpegs depending on what I am shooting, and I do edit on a 20" ACD, 23" ACD from time to time, and just the 15" monitor with no lag. By lag I do mean a rainbow or hour glass though, there is some time (three --> four second at the most) taken between when I make an edit and I see the changes.

    I do use the Loop a lot for that though, so I can see the changes in the Loop then apply them to the entire image, so that may effect how my machine works as well. The only thing that may be holding the app back is the HDD. I know that my machine is a lot slower than my desktop because of the slow HDD. 5400 rpm is becoming a noticeable speed reducer in these Intel books.

    Yes indeed, that is one user that is not worried about the Penryn Mac Pros or the whining about the lack of updates to the Mac Pro. When the time comes for my purchase, I may get the Mac Pro simply based on the amount of RAM I can stick in it.
     
  8. hooly thread starter macrumors regular

    hooly

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    #8
    Okay, that is the exact lag I am talking about. I was getting the rainbow as well but that was when I was pushing it (simultaneous edits in PS and large project in Comic Life).

    The lag is most noticeable for me when tilting an image... you have to sit with your hand precisely on the mouse/pad while you wait for the change.

    So it doesn't sound like the slight bumps in processor speed and graphics card memory in the next MBP will make much difference, although I guess a 7200RPM drive and 4Gb RAM wouldn't hurt, either :cool:



    I think it is loupe :)
     
  9. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

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    #9
    That straighten tool takes forever with me too. I think it may be an Apple and Core Image/GFX/Software thing because it takes forever in iPhoto (when I used to use it every now and then) too.

    When using PS I can expect a lag between when I hit the "Open in External Editor" option and when it actually launches PS3 (which doesn't take long at all thank you GOD! PS2 was SO slow under Rosetta) and opens the image. Editing the image in CS3 is a breeze and then I save it and go back to Aperture. The image updates smoothly and any changes I make hence forth appear pretty quickly. It's only when I do the initial export that the machine slows down.

    Thanks... now I won't look like an idiot when referring to the Loupe as a Loop. :D Ya learn something new everyday.
     
  10. hanschien macrumors 6502

    hanschien

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    #10
    I stopped using Aperture a while back because of the performance issue(s). It doesn't matter how much ram or how fast the processor speed is.

    The cause of the performance issues stems from Aperture "processing" files in the background after you import them. I would have to wait hours for this process to complete before I would attempt to do any post processing. You will see a slight performance boost if you uncheck the share with iLife preference.
     
  11. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #11
    yeah, processing the previews etc. takes forever - but you should only have to do it once (let it process overnight.)

    I don't want to badmouth Aperture at all, I think it is a tremendous product, and the best possible tool for my workflow. I have 90,000 images right now that are all being managed by Aperture. I guess I should move those to Referenced...
     
  12. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

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    #12
    The bigger performance boost comes from referencing your images. Even if you let Aperture process the previews in the background it won't take that much performance away from you. I have sharing my previews checked off, and I share previews that are just as large or larger than the images taken with my D2hs, and I have no performance issues. When I bring in larger files, it just takes longer to process the image previews, but there isn't any performance hit.

    Grimace... with that machine, and that many images... I am afraid to see what happens if you referenced the files. Let me know how that goes.
     
  13. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #13
    I can't imagine that it would be a problem at all. I don't use 90% of the images very often at all...but I need to keep them.

    I have everything in a vault so if I really screw things up, I could reimport from that. :rolleyes:
     
  14. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

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    #14
    Not a problem a blessing. I'd be afraid to see how fast your machine would be while running Aperture. It may not change the performance at all though, so we'll see.
     
  15. hanschien macrumors 6502

    hanschien

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    #15
    Another reason I quit using Aperture was when I opened a few .nef files in Capture NX. My jaw dropped on how saturated and sharp my pictures looked in Capture NX compared to Aperture.
     
  16. nateDEEZY macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    I just finally started capturing raw right after I upgraded to leopard on my 2.4ghz mbp and though that delay was due to leopard! Heh, I'm a bit releaved that it's "just" aperture + raws... I'm giving lightroom a shot for handling raw's, but soon enough once I start getting the hang of CS3 I'd like to incorporate that into "workflow" And I quote them because, I'm relativly new to dslr photography and digital imaging post processing so I haven't really developed much of a workflow yet.
     
  17. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

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    #17
    YES INDEED. I realized that Aperture and Lightroom don't handle RAWs as good as Photoshop and Capture NX do. I would love to have NX but I am waiting for the right time to test drive it and see how well I can incorporated it into my workflow. I haven't shot RAW in a while so I keep most of my workflow in Aperture or Photoshop.

    If you don't have a workflow... Lightroom will be your best friend. It restrict you from moving too far from a set grouping of tools, which makes it very easy to learn and base your workflow off of. Aperture is very open, and puts every tool and feature at your finger tips when you need or don't need it.
     
  18. micxmac macrumors newbie

    micxmac

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    #18
    I tried Aperture on my decent but not latest macs, CoreDuo Macbookpro and G5 Powermac, stuck with it even though it annoyed me the way it runs like a slug. Seemed to me to be inherent problem to the program. Maybe the 8 processor Macpro will run it at a usable speed but I don't know.

    Also took me quite awhile to figure out how to do anything, not intuitive for me. Someone who has been earnestly working with digital photography workflows for about 7 years on both Canon and Nikon raw formats.

    So I gave up the faith and tried NX, Capture One and Lightroom. Most have free trials.

    Capture NX is ok for Nikon but not that comprehensive and kind of clunky. Capture One irreversibly corrupted a whole directory of photos, fortunately backed up, must say I did not give it a second chance to test it more thoroughly. Wiped it off like it was a virus.

    Though had earlier discarded the beta before getting Aperture, the new Lightroom fit like a glove after only half an hour with it. It works significantly faster and more intuitively for me, though still not quite as quick as one would wish for.

    Combining with PS CS3 on the keepers plus Noise Ninja plug in for the high ISO shots, I've been getting great prints from high volume shoots way faster than I ever did before. Hours faster.

    Finally happy, all for about $1,200 in software though...you need to try these all out before you buy.
     
  19. hooly thread starter macrumors regular

    hooly

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    #19
    I trialled both products (lightroom first on my old laptop, I liked it but not enough to fork out the dollar). I ended up giong with Bibble Pro for a while which was ok and a lot less expensive.

    A few months later I trialled Aperture after getting my MBP and instantly fell in love with it, I really liked the way it worked and found it very instinctive. horses for courses I guess.

    I am very much a hobbyist though and do not do particularly high volume shoots...

    Well slow performance on a large monitor has dampened the love affair slightly but now I have forked out the money I guess I am going to have to hope that release 2.0 makes the app a bit less 'top heavy' :)
     
  20. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #20
    And 3-4 seconds to observe a change is acceptable to you? You're talking about a very nice computer, running a piece of software that's mostly about managing photos, with some editing functionality attached. I don't even know how you can stick with Aperture when even Grimace, who has a Mac Pro with 9 GB of RAM and 2 "serious" video cards can't get it to work smoothly.

    The monitor could NOT be slowing your laptop down. No chance. Your 24" monitor does require more vRAM (because of the high pixel count, not because of its size), but that requirement is around 10 MB, give or take a little. Aperture uses your video card for some of the "technology" built into it, and it handles a lot of the processing. This is similar to how OS X works. This is also why Aperture + MacBooks are so bad (even though it works.....unlike a year ago). The MacBook's previous integrated graphics chip (forgot the name) had the requirements in it to handle OS X's Core Image processing, but isn't really suitable for Aperture.

    Anyway, your laptop likely has so much vRAM left even after running your monitor.

    I think the answer is: Aperture is too clunky and slow.


    Actually, I hear it's still not that smooth on better computers. What did iGary's system have? He complained about how slow the loupe worked. It's just a loupe! This basic tool shouldn't stall the computer for 1-2 seconds!
     
  21. rotlex macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    These are all extremely valid points. I've been using Aperture since day one and it's a real love and hate relationship. I LOVE it's photo management capabilities, and the fact that I can process hundreds of images very quickly. I HATE it's performance however. I moved from a 3 year old G5 Powermac, to a 2.8Ghz iMac, 24" with 4GB ram. It's STILL laggy on adjustments and a few other functions.

    Bottom line to me? Aperture is a GREAT app, that is in serious need of an overhaul. There is NO WAY I should be able to run the latest 3D game faster than a photo management app, LOL. I'm sticking with it for now, or at least until the next version just to see where it goes. However, if there is no improvement, hello Lightroom, which SCREAMS on this new machine by comparison.
     
  22. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

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    #22
    When editing a 10MP RAW file yeah... I find it acceptable. The biggest hold up for me is that I am using the loupe to view my changes.

    As for Grimace. He has a managed folder of what... 90,000 images... so that will hold his computer up a lot. In the world of video editing, the rule of thumb for large files is, "Don't keep them" you have to split them up. That's why real editors log and capture their tape, to cut the large video files into smaller pieces. When you reference your files in Aperture the app moves smoother... much smoother.

    When I did let Aperture manage my files, and I had PS CS2 it was a nightmare, then I was blessed with CS3 and the knowledge that Aperture runs smoother with referenced files. Now the people that actually know how to use the app have no problems. Aperture is in no was clunky or slow when you know how to use it. Not that Apple couldn't improve on the speed of the app though.

    Seriously... if Aperture isn't running that great for you, then like the other poster said Lightroom and many other apps won't run that well for you either.

    Gave Aperture a timed run... I went from opening the app on my MBP connected to 20" ACD to editing a 10MP PSD file in all of 10 seconds. Much of the 10 seconds was spent loading the image preview in my laptops monitor since I use that as my secondary. I undid the changes and it took about 5 seconds to fix because the computer had to delete the new version I made, now that can be fixed in an update, but I won't call that a problem.
     
  23. hooly thread starter macrumors regular

    hooly

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    #23
    Thanks for the response :) Can you elaborate a bit what you mean that it is not possible? Because Aperture is clearly slower when I run it on two monitors than when I run it on one, and it is my laptop which is running Aperture :confused:
     
  24. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #24
    Elaborate? I thought I already did! :p

    Before I begin, just remember that the amount of video memory and "power" necessary to run a monitor depends only on the number of pixels on your monitor (eg: 1680 x 1050), not the physical size (eg: 20 inches).

    How much processing power does it take to simply display images on your computer (ie: in Aperture, Lightroom, MS Word, Preview, a movie, etc)? ANSWER = "almost none". What about vRAM? ANSWER = It takes a tiny bit of vRAM. How much processing power and vRAM is required for 2 monitors? ANSWER = "still almost none".
    People have been using dual monitors for over a decade!! I currently run dual monitors, and my MacBook doesn't even have a video card! In fact, I used to run dual monitors on my 12" PowerBook from 2002, which had 32 MB of RAM and a video card that was considered 2 years outdated by most peoples standards.


    Anyway, my point is that it doesn't take a lot of processing power (almost none) or vRAM to run 2 monitors. I don't know what graphics card you have, but I'm absolutely certain that you have at least 128 MB of vRAM. What about the technology built into the graphics card, along with its processing power? No problem. You're talking about 2D here, nothing too fancy.
    How can your video card handle resource draining 3D games, and yet not handle an application that organizes photos of your cat? :confused:

    If Aperture were the codename of a 3D game that required lots of processing power, or you were doing some 3D modelling, then OK....you need the vRAM and graphics processing power to do this. Aperture needs the video card to do the graphics processing because Apple asked it to, much like how Apple made OSX use the video card to process graphics as well. REASON = The graphics processor is much MUCH faster at processing graphics related tasks than your CPU. This is why Windows sucked so much........the CPU has to handle all the processing, while video cards didn't have to process anything (unless you start playing games).
    Mac OSX actually does have some very fancy graphics, and yet no slowdown. Why? Because instead of letting the video card sit idle for 99% of the time like it does on a Windows computer, it's asked to do some graphics processing to free up the CPU for the "real" tasks.


    The short version: Your 2nd monitor isn't causing you problems, and is easily illustrated when considering how slow the software runs on new computers like yours, and also on Mac Pros.

    How can your video card play resource draining 3D games, and yet not handle some photos? Reason: Aperture is a resource hungry hog.


    I'm not so sure.

    1. When I edit RAW files, I see the changes in the image immediately, not in 3-4 seconds like you said. It's instant.

    2. The "straightening tool" doesn't take me ages. It's instant feedback.

    3. I can use a loupe without freezing Lightroom. At all.

    4. I don't reference my files in Lightroom.

    5. I have a worse computer than you, running Lightroom and Photoshop CS1.

    6. I don't know my settings because I have never needed to optimize them.

    I will say that Lightroom doesn't perform well when I have MS Word, Excel (both running under Rosetta), Firefox, Mail, Address Book, iTunes, XCode, X11, terminal, and Automator on at the same time. ;) It becomes fairly slow at responding when CS1 is also running, but I think that's understandable and not completely unexpected.


    I'm NOT(!!) saying that Aperture is bad and Lightroom is good. I'm just saying that you really need to acknowledge that Aperture, in comparison with everything else, is slow slow slow.


    If you REALLY need something faster, demo the newest iView Media Pro, or ACDSee 10 and see if it runs faster.
     
  25. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

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    #25
    I know that you aren't saying one program sucks over the other, I know that you are more sensible than that (as in you know what you are talking about). I am not trying to say that either, or that Aperture is the greatest thing since sliced bread because it has it's flaws. I really can't say that Aperture is slow slow slow on my machines though. Power Mac G5 single chip dual core 2GHz with a gig of RAM and a 2.16 GHz MBP with 2GB of RAM, and I have no problems at all.

    The biggest drain I used to have was with Aperture running with managed files and CS2 under Rosetta. During that time I went out and got LR from a co-worker and considered switching. And LR was a dream to use for two months until I got CS3 and learned about referencing images in Aperture. I gave it another shot and BAM! I never believed Aperture could run that smooth. I seriously don't have a problem with speed.

    The biggest times my machine slows down is when I am editing PSD files that I export to PS, or when I have to create a version from a PSD file. Nothing really slows the app down. The biggest problems I have with Aperture and LR is editing offline images, my previews are big enough to hold the data until I get back to my master file so why not use them? I hope I find that in ver 2 of LR and Aperture.

    And not that the loupe in Aperture freezes the app, just slows down how fast the adjustment takes to process. I think it's because it previews the changes in the loupe first, then it waits for my feedback and when it doesn't get it the app makes the changes to the entire image. I don't hit the "enter" key that often in Aperture.
     

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