MP3.1 2x3.2 GHz - still good for RAW edit in LR 5?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by sylwiusz, Mar 6, 2015.

  1. sylwiusz macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2012
    #1
    Hi,
    as my Mini 2009 gets really dated I was looking for a viable and not too expensive alternative. Some horse power would be required for frequent photo editing (using RAWs) and sometimes video editing. For these tasks C2D was waaaay too slow already some years ago (right now it takes 6-10 second to display 1 RAW preview in Aperture/Lightroom before you can edit photo). Unfortunately my budget is very limited, so all the newer Macs with at least good GPU (useful for video editing and rumored LR 6 acceleration) are out of the question. And because I have spare Nvidia 8800GT for start, I was looking for a older MP with 64 bit EFI. MP 3.1 dual CPU 3.2 GHz with 8 GB ram would fit my budget. I was trying MP 4.1 1x2.66 GHz and was delighted with a speed it would display each of 24 MPix RAW files I was throwing at it. It took about one second to display and enable editing such a photo file. But 4.1s are usually too expensive for me here in Poland. And here comes my question. Does anybody uses similar dual CPU MP 3.1 to edit ~16 MPix and bigger RAW files in Lightroom 5 and could share his/her experiences regarding its speed? I know that in benchmarks when utilising all cores MP 3.1 in 8-core 3.2 GHZ version is faster than 1 CPU Nehalem 2.66 GHz, but 4.1 has slightly faster single thread results and slightly faster memory bandwidth. I would be grateful for any insights on this topic ;-)
     
  2. Ph.D. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    #2
    My understanding is that Adobe photo products (Photoshop, Lightroom) do not take much advantage of multiple cores or of the graphics card. Therefore, do not expect a multi-core advantage like you see in benchmarks.

    Instead, what you should prefer is single-core speed, disk speed (i.e., SSD), having sufficient RAM, and solid general graphics performance.
     
  3. Inutopia macrumors 6502

    Inutopia

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Location:
    South of Heaven
    #3
    I use the 2.8ghz 8 core 3,1 every day to edit 36mp files from my D800s.

    I run about 50k photos through the machine a year and it performs perfectly.

    Make sure you get an SSD, a decent GPU and more than 8gb of ram and you should be golden.
     
  4. IowaLynn macrumors 65816

    IowaLynn

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2015
    #4
    I found this set of tips interesting.

    In the last few years people here were saying they had optimized their systems with

    PCIe SATA SSDs in RAID0 for LR catalogue
    SSD PCIe SATA 3 for system

    But those same 3,1 and 4,1 owners are limited by PCIe bandwidth due to limitations in those machines also (shared bandwidth, and PCIe 1.0 in the 2008 4.x slot 3&4)

    And when they moved to the nMP with its single fast PCIe-SSD and better memory, the work flow went from "fast but with stutters" to smooth fluid like butter and no lag.

    From the 'disk' to memory and memory to being worked on by the processor, and writing to disk, are all substantially faster.

    Even a dual cpu configuration is not as ideal as a single fast processor. And 2008's Harpertown is no match.

    I would go for one good large PCIe 2.0 SSD blade (Apple or XP941 and put in 16x slot 1 or 2, 24GB RAM (4x4GB FBDIMMs have gotten inexpensive and better).

    Option #1: boot from XP941 and put LR there as well.
    Invest in 500GB $500.

    Option #2: Samsung 850 EVO 500GB $200 + adapter and drive bay.

    Later add and move it to PCIe controller with SATA III,
    add a 2nd 500GB (you are now in the $500 bracket)
    the performance is no better than that XP941 would be but is more "complicated" using RAID and using PCIe.

    2nd Ideal: Option #3: boot from XP941 256GB $300, and
    LR on SATA III PCIe ($100) 256GB $200.
    Total $500

    Dip into and test the waters with at least 256GB ($120) SSD + adapter and see how that goes.

    Might just want to take the opportunity now though to sell the 3,1 and buy one of the 4,1's that OWC is selling $600 and up.
     
  5. sylwiusz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2012
    #5
    Lightroom makes quite good use of about 4 cores, mainly during export, but it won't make any use of GPU (v. 6 is rumored to use it at last). Photoshop uses less CPU, but newer versions use GPU for some operations.

    I tried LR 5 with my RAW files on MP 4.1 2.66 GHz (1-CPU, LR catalogue on SSD, RAWs on HDD) and it was more than enough for my needs.
     
  6. sylwiusz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2012
    #6
    Thanks! Wow! That's what I was hoping for! Could you tell me how long do you have to wait for a preview (spinning "Loading" icon) of one photo in Develop module? And time to display photo at 100% magnification?

    ----------

    Thanks a lot for your insights. Unfortunately I can't afford nMPro being only advanced enthusiast. And other options seems so far too expensive for me too. MP 4.1 in OWC is out of the question, as shipping to Poland would be waaay too expensive ;-)
    And I think I'll finally stick woth just one SSD for system and catalogue, with photos physically on my NAS connected via gigabit ethernet. That should give LR enough kick as for me (I hope).
     
  7. IowaLynn macrumors 65816

    IowaLynn

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2015
    #7
    other options seems so far too expensive for me too.

    One option that exists today that did not back then were the blade type PCIe-SSD in 500-768-1TB capacity and 1000MB/sec.

    The XP941 (have one in a 1,1 btw) work very well.
    FBDIMMs have improved in lower pricing and cooler running.

    best improvement Apple Samsung ebay

    I forget that a lot of people are not in USA and access and cost are very different.
     
  8. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #8
    Lightroom is not very resource hungry. I use it to edit raw files from my D610 with my rmbp 2.4/8/256 and my mac mini 2.5/4/500 and it is always smooth as butter. The most important spec is cpu performance for importing and exporting.
     
  9. sylwiusz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2012
    #9
    Thanks again, I'll surely use it as a reference for a future MP expansion/improvement. As I saw there are already SSD cards from Sonnet that are even OSX bootable.

    If only Mac Pro would be lighter, but it is quite heavy beast, the cheapest shipping from OWC is $449 :-D

    ----------

    Import and export is not that important for me, as I am not a pro with tight timings ;-) So I can wait at will for import/export to finish. But smooth image evaluation, sorting and actual editing is the most important for me. That's why I was asking for image to image display time (until "loading" disappears) on mentioned MP 2008.
     
  10. nigelbb, Mar 9, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015

    nigelbb macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    #10
    My wife uses LR5 & Photoshop extensively on her 2.8GHz 8 core 3,1 2008 Mac Pro with her D800 RAW files. It has 16GB RAM & I have upgraded the graphics card with a used PC GTX570 (she also edits in Premiere & the CUDA boost is great) & a 1TB SSD on a Apricom Duo PCI card. Performance is excellent.

    The blade type SSDs are at least double the price of a regular SATA-III SSD so if you are going to pay that much extra you might consider putting that extra money towards upgrading the whole system to a 4,1 or 5,1 rather than spending it on a 3,1. The 3,1 is still a very capable machine (especially 8 core) but there is a law of diminishing returns when it comes to spending money on upgrades.
     
  11. Inutopia, Mar 9, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015

    Inutopia macrumors 6502

    Inutopia

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    Location:
    South of Heaven
    #11
    I'm not sure about standard previews as I almost never make them on their own, I generate 1:1 previews for a bunch of images at a time, then I edit. That's been my workflow of a while with Lightroom as any and all waits are gone when you do it that way.

    That said, I'd say doing a 1:1 preview of a D800 file takes no more than about 3 seconds.

    ----------

    If they move preview rendering to the GPU in the upcoming LR6 (which I think they will) then they will have just extended the working life of my 2008 mac pro by a few more years!
     
  12. sylwiusz, Mar 9, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015

    sylwiusz thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 8, 2012
    #12
    It is good to hear this. Right now I have only Mac version of 8800GT, but I plan to flash at least Radeon 5870 to have Open CL acceleration, which probably could be used by LR 6 as rumors suggested.

    Yep, I guess you can sometimes pay for upgrades more than you could just add to buy a newer model, that's one of the reasons I'll pass some of these extras for now.

    ----------


    And this is very close performance to what I get on MBP 13" i7 2.8GHz at work. Fair enough for my home use.

    ----------

    My present 8800 GT would add not much then, but as I wrote, I hope to buy and flash used Radeon 5870, it should give some improvement.
     
  13. Inutopia macrumors 6502

    Inutopia

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    #13
    I put a flashed 6870 in mine a while back, to replace the 8800GT also. As I understand it the 5870 ad 6870 are pretty similar performance wise. It made a massive difference, especially for games! :)
     
  14. sylwiusz thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 8, 2012
    #14
    Yes, actually 5870 is slightly faster, while 6870 is slightly more energy efficient. The choice is up to the final user :) Sepaking about 5870/6870. Would you be kind to check how Unigine Heaven or Valley works with 6870? I mean final result at let's say 1280x720 and 1920x1080 setting, with others like below?
    valley.JPG
    I'd love to see what to expect from these GPUs when used on MPro 3.1 :)
     
  15. Inutopia macrumors 6502

    Inutopia

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    Apr 8, 2009
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    South of Heaven
    #15
    I don't have that benchmark (or any benchmarks!) but I can tell you that it still holds it's own in games. I set most recent-ish stuff to high settings @ 1080p and older stuff (like my beloved tf2) to max settings @1440p

    Hope that helps!
     
  16. sylwiusz thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 8, 2012
    #16
    OK it seems to me good enough then :) Many thanks again!
     

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