Photoshop & Lightroom performance on Air v2 SSD

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by worldburger, Nov 7, 2008.

  1. worldburger macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2008
    I've got a MBP and I've been using an external 1TB FW800/eSata/USB drive with my Lightroom library for editing photos in Lightroom and Photoshop.

    I want to drop the MBP and buy the Air v2 SSD. All considering NC Macguy's posts (and great disassembly photos) and all the performance-oriented info coming out.

    Anyone been running PS for editing 16 bit photos, multiple layers, filters, that sort of thing? Normally, I'd waltz into a Mac Store in LA and run some edits on my own but I'm currently in Berlin and they a) don't have the new Air in yet and b) won't put an SSD out as a floor model anyways.

    I've got a file (39mp) if anyone wants to download it and see if it clogs up PS I'd be very interested to know how the system holds up especially the ram...

    Thoughts, experiences?

  2. MazingerZ macrumors 6502


    Aug 22, 2007
    I think you should keep the MBP to do the heavy work. Being a Rev A owner, I still don't think the MBA should take the role of a main computer doing all that processing work.
  3. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Oddly enough, this would be my take on it, too. Keep the MBP for heavy duty stuff, and use the MBA for portability and everything else.

    Cheers and good luck
  4. HLdan macrumors 603


    Aug 22, 2007
    My recommendation is to get rid of the MBP and buy an lower end iMac for power work and still get the Air for your portable needs. This way you'll have the best of power and portability without the redundancy of multiple notebooks.
  5. byke macrumors 6502a


    Mar 29, 2007
    LDN. UK
    I cant say if it would or wouldnt work ....
    But I must say I have never seen any computer load CS3 so quickly.
  6. hooly macrumors regular


    Nov 19, 2007
    Your link doesn't work.

    I am using CS3 and Aperture on an MBA2 SSD.

    So far I have only used CS3 for small files but it has been very snappy to launch the application and carry out basic editing. I haven't yet tried any heavy filters on larger files to see if that slows it down but so far performance is comparable to my 2.5Ghz MBP, no complaints.

    For RAW work I use Aperture. I had the previous version of the MBA and it's graphics abilities made Aperture a little too sluggish. MBA2 is a very noticeable improvement; I don't get any annoying lag in image editing any more, but I do still have a slight lag while the MBA2 loads the image in the first place. This is ok for light editing but for batch processing of many images it would quickly become a drag and for this reason alone there is no question I need to keep my MBP for the time being.

    I am on holiday right now and came back from a thai boxing match with around 130 pictures, probably only 5 or 6 of which are any good. The MBA is fine for using in Quick Preview mode to delete the obvious rubbish but so far I can't be bothered to use it for the heavier editing I normally do before making my final selections.

    Finally, I think Lightroom is a bit less intensive on the graphics than Aperture, so depending on that, and what kind of workflow you have, an MBA could certainly be more than adequate but you might also want more power from time to time.

    My MBP is now the 'mothership' at home. It contains all my files and media and I use it when I want to do some heavy lifting with Aperture. Also the 15" screen is noticeably better for detailed work (although of course that can be fixed with an external).
  7. ashowkati macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2008
    I wanted to test it's photoshop limits myself sctually cus i have a weekly web comic that i work on at 4500 x 6600. It has lots of different layers and smart objects. However when I went to my local Apple store to test it, i was bummed to find that they don't even have CS3 loaded on any of the Airs.

    I hope someone gives up some real answers here soon. I'm planning on ordering the configuration in my sig, on Friday.
  8. worldburger thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2008
    Thanks for all the replies.

    Hooly: Thanks for the note on the broken link. I think this should work now:
    Think you could download it and see how adding a few layers in 16bit mode works? I'd be greatly indebted :)

    To give a bit more insight into my workflow, I don't do PS work on any regular basis. I probably work on editing or creating my art 6 times a year, but when I do, I'm on it a lot. I grew accustomed to the slow pace of photo-editing on PowerBooks so blazing speed isn't necessary. I use Lightroom with a local catalog and images stored on 1TB Lacie Quad drive (one in each country plus one which travels back and forth for syncing).

    I'm really curious about the MBA v2 SSD with Lightroom catalog on the SSD and the images on an external USB drive, anyone doing this?

    Can the Air handle the importing/lightedits via Lightroom (mini-digis, D200's, and 39MP shots)?

    And could it reasonably (doesn't have to be the *fastest*) do the PS edits?

    The PS edits don't need to be blazing fast even for the 39MP shots because I'll scale down a version first, apply the filters, play, and when it's ready to print I'll upscale the file, copy the layers to the original 39mp image so my workflow isn't slowed down during the creative process.

    Since I literally split my time between Berlin and Los Angeles I have to keep the "Gear-Schlepp" down to a minimum...and I know I can't manage a desktop in each country so that's out of the question unless someone wants to become my roommate/techie.

    I guess if I'm just honest with myself: I've been using the MBP with images on the ext 2.5" 7200k drives (FW800), am I going to see a massive slowdown in editing with the v2 MBA SSD and ext USB 2? I assumed the HDD computing bottleneck of the MBP would be largely offset by the SSD in the Air, but then going from ext FW800 to USB2 is probably going to be painful for open/close/save actions...

    Any workflow suggestions are also welcomed...
  9. hooly macrumors regular


    Nov 19, 2007
    I have been using Aperture and CS3 on my MBA 2 for the last week.

    Aperture: Absolutely fine for medium use. Picture previews are noticeably slower to load than on my MBP but it is perfectly useable. With large batches of pictures to process I would definitely wait until I had access to my MBP, but for a super light 'in the field' computer I turn on Quick preview and it works great.

    CS3: Most of my use until today has been very light on small images. However , right now I am doing some skin retouching on a 4000x2500 pixel 160mb image. Everything was going snappy until I applied a 'surface blur' filter to the image. My CPU hit 100% about 5 minutes ago and the image is only halfway rendered... So the MBA2 handles CS3 very well but you can expect significant slowdowns when applying complicated filters.

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