Photos for Mac - 8GB RAM Enough???

Discussion in 'macOS Mojave (10.14)' started by swandy, May 10, 2019.

  1. swandy macrumors 6502

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    Oct 27, 2012
    #1
    I just replaced a mid-2015 iMac with a new 2019 iMac. The new model has a faster processor, a faster Fusion drive and a faster video card but has only 8GB of RAM compared to the older model which had 16.

    I have my Photos library on an external USB 3.0 Western Digital drive (not an SSD drive) and it is pretty large (85,000 items, total size about 690GB of 3TB total for the drive).

    I have noticed since transferring everything to the new iMac that while just about every program (including Windows 10 running under Parallels, Microsoft Office and Pixelmator (Original and Pro) run much faster than before EXCEPT Photos. There a lots of pinwheels - like when having a picture open to larger view (double clicking), opening the Edit screen or trying to us the Edit In command to Pixelmator Pro. Much more pinwheels and hesitations than when the same drive was plugged into the older iMac.

    Could lowering the amount of RAM from 16-8 be the cause? I have tried running Photos with Activity Monitor running and the little graph of Memory Pressure never changes from Green to either Yellow or Red.

    I do realize that this is a large library to keep on an external HD - especially a non-SSD one - but Photos (as opposed to every other app I have used) seemed to work much better (again same external hd) on the older machine.

    Any Suggestions? Thanks.
     
  2. BLUEDOG314 macrumors 6502

    BLUEDOG314

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    #2
    I doubt the ram has anything to do with it. If you open activity monitor, I would guess photos is using less than a GB of ram. If you aren’t running out of ram and paging, you shouldn’t notice a slowdown.
     
  3. swandy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Oct 27, 2012
    #3
    Thanks for the reply. (Finally a reply with a mention of the RAM LOL) Yes I have run it and the Memory Pressure never is anything but Green and Photos rarely uses more than 1GB of RAM - generally less.
     
  4. fisherking macrumors 603

    fisherking

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    ny somewhere
    #4
    the ram shouldn't matter here; try running first aid on your external drive. how old is that drive? or clean up the photos library? 85,000 photos? how long would it take just to look thru all those pictures? o_O (just saying....)....
     
  5. swandy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Oct 27, 2012
    #5
    Did first aid on the drive and turned up without any problems.
    It is not the point of “just to look at all those pictures” it is the ability to find and look at them if I want to. Just because you have a large library (music, books or photos) doesn’t mean you look or listen to them all constantly. And I have been taking photographs for over 50 years - you do the numbers.
    Thanks
     
  6. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

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    #6
  7. fisherking macrumors 603

    fisherking

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    #7
    sorry, just seems like... a lot. that's 1700 pictures a year (at 50 years), or 4.5 pictures a day, every day. but that's your business!
     
  8. swandy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #8
    That might help but my question is why it worked noticeably better when connected to the older iMac - same library file, same amount of files and same external HD. That is what is driving me nuts. Everything else that I have installed works as well or in most cases noticeably better/faster EXCEPT Photos.
    --- Post Merged, May 11, 2019 ---
    Guess you don't have a lot of family get-togethers/parties or do a lot of traveling. LOL it's not a lot for that period of time. I know many people - and we are not talking about professional photographers - who have accumulated LOTS more than I have.
     
  9. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

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    #9
    I know you've already run First Aid on the external drive. Another factor can be the physical connection to the Mac. The old cable may be failing, there may be a loose connection to the drive...

    What's the size of your internal drive? If it's 3 TB (as mine is), I'd move the library to the internal drive. My Photos library is comparably-sized to yours. I run it internally on a Fusion drive... no performance issues.

    The USB (serial) interface is inherently slower than the internal SATA (parallel) interface. Stepping up to an external SSD overcomes some of the differential, but USB is still a bottleneck compared to the speed of an internal Fusion drive. Replacing the external USB drive with an external Thunderbolt/USB-C SSD drive may be worth considering, but if you have the internal capacity to house the library, why spend the money?

    Meantime, if you aren't already making a Time Machine backup that includes the contents of that external drive... It'd be a very good idea to repurpose that external drive to backups.

    And as to the sniping about how many photos is too many? That's nobody's business but the photographer's. When I'm traveling I may shoot many hundreds of frames daily. If the subject requires bracketing/HDR, or burst (sports and wildlife), the number of frames goes through the roof. And video? Fuggedaboudit!

    It's not like the days of film, when there was a real cost-per-frame (currently about $3.00/35mm 36-exposure roll - nominally 100 frames for $10). A 3 TB external HDD runs under $100, the price of 1,000 frames of film, without considering processing costs. You might be able to store 120,000 RAW images on that 3 TB drive, and if they're JPGs, maybe 10 times that.

    What matters is the time needed to catalog/organize the images. A key reason for using a image database like Photos is to quickly find what you're looking for. A bit of cataloging (marking favorites, tagging, adding locations, etc.) along the way can pay huge dividends down the road. If decently cataloged, there's nothing unwieldy about a library of that size.
     
  10. swandy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #10
    Thanks for the understanding about the size of the library - it has been commented on/questioned in quite a few posts elsewhere also.
    My internal drive is only 1TB so moving the library there is not an option, and apparently Apple on the 2019 21.5 iMacs only provides up to an 1TB drive (Fusion or SSD). I could probably bring it to an Apple Authorized service center, but the cost might be prohibitive.
    I realize that the USB 3.0 is probably the biggest issue, but what I find strange is that the same drive/cable combination (and it is only about 2 weeks old, so I doubt it is the cable) worked much better on my older mid-2015 iMac that had an slower processor but 16GB of RAM.
     
  11. LuisN macrumors regular

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    #11
    Tour computer is probably "rereading" your entire photos library, indexing, recognizing faces and so on. It will come back to normal eventually
     
  12. saudor macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 18, 2011
    #12
    was about to mention this. There's alot of background stuff that happens when photos is open. Especially if your old system was running an older version of macOS
     
  13. Earl Urley macrumors 6502

    Earl Urley

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    Nov 10, 2014
    #13
    Yeah one of those background processes is photos agent and it literally phones home to Apple every time you update your Photos Library, it seems to scan all your photos and send some data back to Apple and they figure out faces and locations and all that crap without sending your actual photos to them.
     
  14. Modernape macrumors regular

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    Jun 21, 2010
    #14
    SATA is a serial interface.
     
  15. vvapple macrumors newbie

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    Germany
    #15
    Use iCloud photo library. When your Hard drive breaks, you loose all photos.. just saying.
     
  16. swandy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #16
    I do use it but like the originals on a local drive to make it easier to make a local backup and it speeds up Photos because I don’t have to download a photo from iCloud when I want to look at a full screen view or edit/export/print anything.
    And BTW iCloud is not considered a true backup as any changes/deletions occur in the cloud versions also.
     
  17. fisherking macrumors 603

    fisherking

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    #17
    and/or... an external hard drive. or an online backup service. no one should depend on their internal drive as their only storage space. and no one HAS to use icloud, it's one more option (which personally i like).

    choice is good (just make one!)
     
  18. swandy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Oct 27, 2012
    #18
    That is what I do - more because my library would almost wipe out my internal drive. Just got a SSD-USB-C drive and it now works great. And I can make all the local backups that I wish.
     

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17 May 10, 2019