Suggestions on boosting performance of 2011 iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by eoren1, Nov 24, 2012.

  1. eoren1 macrumors 6502

    Aug 17, 2007
    I have a mid-2011 27" iMac with the 2.7 GHz i5 and 16gb 1333 ram running 10.8.2. I was considering an SSD via TB this Black Friday but then had second thoughts. Now wondering about maxing ram to 32gb.

    Here's what I use and some Activity Monitor numbers.
    I very rarely reboot/turn off the iMac - only with system updates and/or strong lightning storms
    I use the following:
    Lightroom 4 - 78k images in catalog but keep an 'active/working' folder on internal HDD before transferring processed images to an external connected via FW800
    Photoshop CS6 - typically with cr2 files converted to tiff running 100 MB

    Those apps are all open now and typically left open.
    I checked my Activity Monitor info just now after 15 days on and with all above open/active:
    System memory - Free 2.3gb Wired 1.72gb Active 7.31gb Inactive 4.67 gb Used 13.7 gb
    VM size 400 gb Page Ins 87gb Page outs 10gb Swap used 11.75 gb

    After reboot, I opened the same programs and found the following:
    System memory - Free 9.2gb Wired 1.52gb Active 4.87gb Inactive 441 mb Used 6.79 gb
    VM size 378 gb Page Ins 775 mb Page outs 0 Swap used 0

    So, I started to rething the SSD as I:
    1. don't reboot
    2. open apps once and leave them open
    3. read that lightroom does not see any performance boost from an ssd

    I am considering ram but not sure if that would do much either after seeing the 'post reboot' numbers.


    Thanks in advance
  2. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    - Close apps you're not using
    - If your drive's "free space" is less than 20%, remove files until you increase the drive's free space to approximately that size
    - Defrag the contents of the drive
    - Restart from time to time (I recommend at least once a day, shut it down at night and reboot in the morning)

    You asked for thoughts, those are mine.
  3. Dduval macrumors regular

    Nov 12, 2012
    Your 16 gigs of ram is plenty. You'll likely not see any performance increase going to 32 gigs. If you want to see a noticeable difference in speed, then most definitely go with SSD, it's a no brainer...
  4. eoren1 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 17, 2007
    Thanks for the replies

    Fishrrman - I actually use all of those apps throughout the day
    Free space is at 50%
    Never thought would need to restart...always used sleep on the old Macbook and now iMac

    Dduval - I'm not sure what an SSD would get me though. It excels at boot time and opening apps. I rarely do either. There is good data showing no benefit with Lightroom importing/processing of photos.

    Only reason I questioned RAM is because of the 12gb swap used over the 15 days. Thought that meant I would benefit from at least 12 gigs of more RAM...
  5. zhandri Suspended

    Sep 4, 2012
    yap SSD will give you the biggest performance boost that you'd feel
  6. Dduval macrumors regular

    Nov 12, 2012
    SSD will excel at all reading/writing, not just boot time and opening apps, (these too are the biggest benefit however) Also, you really should reboot once a week at minimum. And close some apps as well. This will free up some ram, even if you have 32 gb of ram, I would still recommend the same.

    As far as Lightroom goes, I have to disagree with all the "good data" you see. Yes, some of it makes sense and the improvement might be slight in certain instances, but below is an article that does show a benefit with Lightroom and SSD. This has been a difference in opinion amoung many. You have to make your own decision, but I'm one of those that if can squeeze out more performance thru hardware, I will most definitely do so...the choice is yours. See below as well...

    Well, Lightroom isn’t just about rendering Library previews or loading photos into the the Develop module editing window. At Lightroom’s heart is a SQLite database, and the very fast access times associated with SSDs means that reading metadata from the catalog, searching the catalog, etc will be noticeably faster than on a conventional disk drive. Likewise, Library module thumbnail and preview scrolling (sometimes referred to as louping) will be noticeably faster and smoother. Other areas where the the use of an SSD will help include application launch times and computer boot time. Overall, installing Lightroom (includes catalog, previews and Camera Raw cache) on an SSD will result in the application feeling more responsive than is the case with a conventional disk drive.
  7. eoren1 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 17, 2007
    Thanks Dduval

    Guess consensus is that I need to close apps. Still don't agree about reboot though...I've seen plenty of posts on here of people who haven't turned off their macs in 1-2 years.

    Did some more reading on cpu as well as Lightroom. Seems 4 cores is the point of best performance though I probably would have seen benefit from having gotten an i7 over the i5.

    Still not sold on an SSD. If I end up with enough gift cards this holiday season, maybe I'll treat myself to a Lacie Rugged 120gb SSD thunderbolt and just put LR (with its 75 gigs of data) and some other frequently used apps on there.
  8. Dduval macrumors regular

    Nov 12, 2012
    Ah yes, good idea my friend. I'm debating doing this very same thing...:)
  9. eoren1 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 17, 2007
    Well, i ended up getting both...
    Ordered the Lacie with 120 gig ssd.
    Just saw a deal on Newegg for 2x8 ram for $50 and got four sticks.
    Will post back with findings.
  10. Dduval macrumors regular

    Nov 12, 2012

    Nice, let us know how you like it!
  11. eoren1 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 17, 2007
    And I just finished working on a sunset pic. With saved layers, the final tiff file was 1.15 gigs. Thinking I might see benefit from both upgrades ; )
  12. eoren1 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 17, 2007
    Wow...SSD is awesome (even for Lightroom)

    So the SSD install was ridiculously easy using carbon copy cloner.
    Everything worked (except dropbox folder had to be moved).
    All apps open faster and iMac reboots faster...nice but expected.

    In Lightroom, importing and rendering images is indeed no faster. But flagging, rating and moving between images??? Like 10x faster!!!! That lag was horrible before. So glad I made the change.

    Thanks everyone.

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