Recommended Mac for running Lightroom 2

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by phillyphotos, May 19, 2010.

  1. phillyphotos macrumors newbie

    May 19, 2010
    Hi folks. New member here.

    I'm a photographer using a MBP to run Lightroom 2. For the number of hours I spend on LR2, I need something faster.

    I know very little about technical matters, but I have figured out that my MacBook Pro has:

    -2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    -3 gigs RAM
    -data on external SATA drives

    I used Geekbench to test it, and it scored right around 3000.

    I'm thinking about buying a Mac Pro and using it mostly for Lightroom 2, and I'm not sure where I can find information on LR2 performance on various machines.

    Three questions:

    1) Are GeekBench scores a good indication of how well LR2 would run on a machine?

    2) Is there another benchmarking tool that will help me determine how well a machine will run Lightroom 2 compared to what I have now?

    3) Are there any guidelines on when it is better to upgrade the processor instead of spending the money to stuff the computer with RAM (my regular approach to improving performance!)?

    I'm basically trying to find out which machines offer what LR2 performance, so that I can figure out whether paying for a new Mac Pro means getting a 5% or a 50% performance boost.

    Thanks for your help. I have tried searching around on this, but haven't found many answers. If there's an entire part of this website dedicated to this, please just point me there. I can do the homework - I just haven't found any good resources on this question yet!

    Thanks again.
  2. anubis macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2003
    Apple hasn't updated the Mac Pro in over 440 days. You'd be paying top dollar for nearly year-and-a-half old technology. It's very disappointing to me because Apple seems to have lost all interest in their desktop offerings. Don't be surprised when Steve calls the Mac Pro a "Hobby, Like the Apple TV" at the next WWDC : /
  3. yaroldb macrumors 6502

    Feb 21, 2007
    It seems like your machine would run it just fine. I have the first Unibody Macbook Pro (2.4 with 4gbs of Ram) and it runs Lightroom 2 just fine. Lightroom 3 is even faster on my machine but that is still in beta. You may want to look at a new iMac. That 27inch screen is awesome but it is glossy. I can't tell you how much faster it wil be, but I am a bit surprised your machine runs Lightroom 2 slow. Have you tried cataloges in Lightroom? This is what I do and it's great because I create a new cataloge for each shoot. That way I do not have to pull up all of my pictures to edit just a few. I set up new folders with names of the event.

    If you are not already doing that, read more about it here
  4. FourCandles macrumors 6502a

    Feb 10, 2009
    Lightroom is running fine for me on a Mac Mini 2.53GHz, 4GB RAM, with a single library of about 30,000 images (images held on an external FW800 drive, library on the internal HD).

    Regarding benchmarks, quite often you see that review sites use some typical Photoshop tasks to compare machines, so possibly they would be a useful comparison to the tasks you're concerned about in Lightroom?
  5. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    I too run LR2, and Photoshop on my system, a Mac Pro from 2008. I found the MacPerformanceGuide site to have the best advice for optimizing a Mac to run these two programs, plus perhaps what machine to purchase if you go that route. But first, see if you can't optimize your system. Following a couple of their suggestions in setting preferences made a marked improvement for me and cost nothing.

    The other thing I notice is that perhaps more RAM might also make a difference for you. Use the memory upgrade matcher at OWC to see if your system will take more RAM.

    Good Luck
  6. mattyb240 macrumors 6502a

    May 11, 2008
    For those that do not know (as I only found out a couple of days ago) Lightroom automatically runs in 32 bit mode. To change this Finder>Applications>Right click Lightroom 2>Get Info>Uncheck open in 32 bit mode.
  7. herkyjerky macrumors member

    Aug 24, 2007

    Will unchecking the 32 bit mode make LR run faster? I have a uni macbook with 2.4 GHz and 2 g ram and my machine will severely slow down when running between LR and Photoshop. I see WAY to much of the damn beach ball thingy! I was thinking of looking at the 27 iMac...any thoughts?
  8. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    As a guess, I would say that your system is opening up a scratch file on the HD for PS (and possibly LR). PS uses a scratch file that is, IIRC, 4 to 6 time bigger than the size of file you are working on. If you open up more than 1 file at a time, the scratch file gets bigger.

    I am going from memory here (but read through the Mac Performance Guide site I linked to in a previous post), but if PS has to start using the HD for its scratch files then it is moving data back and forth a lot from RAM to the HD, and the HD becomes the bottleneck.

    With 2 GB of RAM, you aren't leaving a lot for the scratch file. Deduct the RAM that OS X uses. Deduct the RAM that any open applications are using. Deduct the RAM that PS and LR are using to just open up, and there isn't much of your 2 GB left. Open a few PS files, and add layers, and your files get biggish - and if you multiple that number by 5 (approx scratch file size) and it is very likely going to be on the HD.

    Easiest trick to free up some RAM is to restart the system and then open only PS and LR, and leave all the other background tasks off (Calendar, Chat, Safari, Mail, everything).

    Or, top up your system with the max amount of RAM. Every GB of new RAM is going to be used by applications, so even just 1 GB should make a big difference for you.

    All of this is, of course, just an opinion.... read the Guide. It is very good.

    Good Luck
  9. pprior macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    Well LR2 is not specifically tested, but check out recent Barefeats article which included photoshop and Aperture data.

    The mac pro will always be significantly faster, it's just a matter of how much money you've got to spend.

    2Gb is way too little ram to be running both LR and PS, I would figure 4gb as the minimum. That's where the mac pro lets you shine - I've got 16GB in mine. Adding additional drives for scratch can also make a big difference.

    Best of luck. If you're short on cash, upgrade your RAM first.
  10. RebootD macrumors 6502a


    Jan 27, 2009
    NW Indiana
    Any Mac with either an SSD or RAID setup with more than 4GB of RAM.

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