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Ultimate LR Machine
  
 
ohsnaphappy
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Ultimate LR Machine


Shoot with a D800. I make a new LR catalog for each wedding, 1000-3000 shots. I cull down to about 300-600. Roundtrip quite a few to Photoshop. But even in Photoshop I'm not doing any heavy lifting.

My understanding is LR needs the greatest clock speed possible. LR never uses more than one core. LR doesn't touch the graphics card for help.

Photoshop can use multiple cores, and the GPU, but only parts of Photoshop are capable of this - that's my understanding. And once again the clock speed of a single core is most important. It's not like I'm doing 3-D work in Photoshop, or video. So I assume I'm not exactly pushing Photoshop.

My problem is the speed of my iMac. It's decent, but it's not fast. It has an SSD from Apple reading at around 230mb/s. It has 32GB of ram. It has a 3.4ghz i7 quad core.

So what could I get that's faster? I don't mind building a Hackintosh or buying a 2009-12 Mac Pro and upgrading it with goodies from OWC. But would either option really give me a noticeable boost? Thanks!



Dec 29, 2013 at 11:00 PM
JakeB17
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Ultimate LR Machine


You probably won't see a significant improvement unless you make major changes, since that is already a pretty good system.

First off a raid array of multiple SSD's would increase the speed a little, but it won't be a giant difference from a single, good SSD.

Ram with a higher clock speed helps marginally as well. Anything over 16gb is pretty much the same to LR, but DDR3 2400mhz can increase the speed a little. I think the stock ram in most iMacs is only DDR3 1600mhz, but I could be wrong.

But ultimately the largest speed improvement will come from a significantly overclocked i7 processor. The latest models can hit 4.5ghz+ with good CPU cooling. Only problem is the iMac has awful cooling because there isn't room for a large air cooling or water cooling system. You'll need a proper tower for a good cooling system.

All together though you still won't see a huge performance jump, because LR is just optimized poorly for modern computers. If it could use multiple cores and access video cards it would be amazing. Hopefully those changes will be introduced in LR 6. Right now I'm still using LR 4 because 5 is so much slower.



Dec 29, 2013 at 11:53 PM
colinm
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Ultimate LR Machine


ohsnaphappy wrote:
LR never uses more than one core.


It should. Lightroom has had pervasive multithreading basically since the beginning (far more pervasive than Photoshop) and will utilize multiple cores (all available cores, in fact) where it's possible. But as is always the case, not everything can be chopped up across cores.

And you'll still run into bottlenecks. Even with an SSD, for example, you'll tend to be bound by disk I/O. People lose track of the fact that file sizes have grown roughly in proportion with I/O speeds; a 230 MB/s SSD sounds fast... until you consider you're now probably working with 3060MB RAWs, putting you more or less back where you were with a lower-MPix sensor and a "fast" magnetic drive.


Edited on Dec 30, 2013 at 12:32 AM · View previous versions



Dec 30, 2013 at 12:22 AM
ohsnaphappy
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Ultimate LR Machine


JakeB17 wrote:
You probably won't see a significant improvement unless you make major changes, since that is already a pretty good system.

First off a raid array of multiple SSD's would increase the speed a little, but it won't be a giant difference from a single, good SSD.

Ram with a higher clock speed helps marginally as well. Anything over 16gb is pretty much the same to LR, but DDR3 2400mhz can increase the speed a little. I think the stock ram in most iMacs is only DDR3 1600mhz, but I could be wrong.

But ultimately the largest speed improvement will come
...Show more

That's what I was afraid of. No since in spending a bunch of money on something "uber" only to see marginal gains. I can't imagine Adobe making significant improvements any time soon. They have such a monopoly, there's not much of an incentive. It seems like we all have pretty fast systems these days, just slow software. I've been reading reviews about the new Mac Pro and I guess Adobe Premiere only uses one graphics card, so there's not much of advantage for video guys to upgrade. Kind of the same story, whether it's photography or video, we just have to wait on Adobe.



Dec 30, 2013 at 12:27 AM
ohsnaphappy
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Ultimate LR Machine


colinm wrote:
It should. Lightroom has had pervasive multithreading basically since the beginning (far more pervasive than Photoshop) and will utilize multiple cores (all available cores, in fact) where it's possible. But as is always the case, not everything can be chopped up across cores.


Every single thing I'm reading suggests that single core clock speed is all that matters. I'd love to learn this was not true!



Dec 30, 2013 at 12:29 AM
FredAz
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Ultimate LR Machine


Install a CPU Usage gadget and see.....why guess?

A quick looks says it is indeed multithreaded -- but perhaps tries to stick to one thread per core....see lots of odd-numbered cores loaded while even-numbered cores are at zero -- so perhaps that's the confusion. Multi-threaded, but not hyper-threaded...



Dec 30, 2013 at 02:04 AM
ohsnaphappy
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Ultimate LR Machine


FredAz wrote:
Install a CPU Usage gadget and see.....why guess?

A quick looks says it is indeed multithreaded -- but perhaps tries to stick to one thread per core....see lots of odd-numbered cores loaded while even-numbered cores are at zero -- so perhaps that's the confusion. Multi-threaded, but not hyper-threaded...


I just did. Installed a couple from the Mac App store. You can definitely see that all four cores are active in Lightroom. You can even see when eight are active, I guess hyper threading. Very interesting. You guys should search this on Google. Everyone talks about how Lightroom uses only one core. Glad to be corrected!

Hey now building a hackintosh is even more appealing, ha!



Dec 30, 2013 at 03:27 AM
15Bit
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Ultimate LR Machine


I have done some testing on this which might prove interesting:

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1220376

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1220523

Also, if you google "lightroom performance testing" you will get up a whole load of results.

The short of it is:

1. LR does use multiple cores if available, and does benefit significantly from them.

2. LR scales better with core speed than core number: Doubling the GHz gives more than doubling the core count

3. LR is largely insensitive to disk I/O: SSD's do not give much benefit (this is a contentious result of my testing, i admit)

4. LR is largely insensitive to RAM, so long as you have 2-3GB available for it (so 6-8GB in the PC is enough): It is extremely active in removing data from RAM once you move on to the next image.

5. LR does not use the graphics card for image rendering. It has some OpenGL acceleration for movies only.

6. LR is almost entirely bound by CPU: More cores and more GHz are pretty much all that matter.

With all that in mind, i would say that the ultimate (realistic) LR machine is an i7-4770K or i7-4930K overclocked as far as it can go. Give it 16GB RAM (faster is probably better, so 2133 or 2400MHz if you can) and boot from a SSD for OS speed. Host the images on a large spinning disk and the catalogue on the SSD and you are good to go.



Dec 30, 2013 at 09:15 AM
Ian.Dobinson
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Ultimate LR Machine


15Bit wrote:
3. LR is largely insensitive to disk I/O: SSD's do not give much benefit (this is a contentious result of my testing, i admit)

I know you have tested this(and i bow to your experience ) but I have tried LR4 with and without an SSD when i built my last PC (my ssd arrive way before my other parts of a new PC) and on a clean install on the SSD and a spinning hard drive LR4 was usable (just) on the ssd version but not on the spinning drive version . the unsable state of LR4 was what made me go to a new i5 machine (since upgraded this to an imac)
also i notice that when i run my mobile LR cat on my external USB3 SSD on my imac its much more 'sluggish' than running from my Fusion drive .

4. LR is largely insensitive to RAM, so long as you have 2-3GB available for it (so 6-8GB in the PC is enough): It is extremely active in removing data from RAM once you move on to the next image.



agree with this . Ive not bothered to upgrade my 8gig of ram in my imac as i just dont think i will see much benefit .
I will upgrade at some point but not for any LR performance



Dec 30, 2013 at 12:19 PM
ohsnaphappy
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Ultimate LR Machine




15Bit wrote:
I have done some testing on this which might prove interesting:

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1220376

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1220523

Also, if you google "lightroom performance testing" you will get up a whole load of results.

The short of it is:

1. LR does use multiple cores if available, and does benefit significantly from them.

2. LR scales better with core speed than core number: Doubling the GHz gives more than doubling the core count

3. LR is largely insensitive to disk I/O: SSD's do not give much benefit (this is a contentious result of my testing, i admit)

4. LR is largely insensitive to RAM, so long as you have 2-3GB available for it
...Show more



Dec 30, 2013 at 05:03 PM
 

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ohsnaphappy
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Ultimate LR Machine


15Bit wrote:
I have done some testing on this which might prove interesting:

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1220376

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1220523

Also, if you google "lightroom performance testing" you will get up a whole load of results.

The short of it is:

1. LR does use multiple cores if available, and does benefit significantly from them.

2. LR scales better with core speed than core number: Doubling the GHz gives more than doubling the core count

3. LR is largely insensitive to disk I/O: SSD's do not give much benefit (this is a contentious result of my testing, i admit)

4. LR is largely insensitive to RAM, so long as you have 2-3GB available for it
...Show more

I'm active over on the tonymac forums now. Learning. I worry that I'll invest all this time into building a hackintosh only to see marginal performance gains. I'm trying to get in touch with some users who have built a 4770 machine to see if they can vouch for dramatically improved LR performance.

The whole process will be fun, but in the end, I need results



Dec 30, 2013 at 05:03 PM
hondageek
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Ultimate LR Machine


I'm running LR5.3 on a W7x64 machine with an i5 cpu running at 4.5gHz with liquid cooling. It screams compared to when it was running at stock clock speeds.


Dec 31, 2013 at 02:27 PM
John S. Hudson
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Ultimate LR Machine


I routinely use 10+ gigs of ram when editing in LR5, PS, and having a lot of other applications open. Maybe I just use large file sizes, but I would expect that most users here would easily benefit from more than 8 gb of ram.


Dec 31, 2013 at 04:56 PM
Alan321
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Ultimate LR Machine


Ian.Dobinson wrote:
...also i notice that when i run my mobile LR cat on my external USB3 SSD on my imac its much more 'sluggish' than running from my Fusion drive .


I'm certain this is because USB 3.0 (and earlier USBs) choke on lots of small file transfers. The protocol is inefficient. USB 3.1 will fix that. eSATA and FW800 and thunderbolt already fix that. And of course internal SATA already fixes it.

I have found that file transfers to/from external SSD are noticeably slower on my new Windows laptop with USB 3.0 than they were on my MacBook Pro with thunderbolt. In theory both interfaces should outpace the SSD but the overheads hold USB 3 back.
------


Lr is very multi-core friendly for image processing but like Ps it seems to treat file transfers as a largely single-core activity. I don't think this is an OS problem so much as an Adobe problem.


I have never seen Lr using even 8GB of RAM let alone the rest of my 16GB, but the extra RAM can still be beneficial because the OS may use it for drive caching and Ps can have a very usable chunk of it without eating into what Lr wants. Unlike Lr, Ps grabs whatever RAM it can and keeps it for itself.


It would be interesting to know how Adobe programmed Lr and Ps. i.e. which language and which compiler. Many years ago when I was programming it was taken as a given that any compiler produced by Microsoft produced much slower software than any compiler produced by Borland. Alas, Borland is now just a memory. Interpreted languages were even slower.

There may be further performance restrictions in the underlying database tool used by Lr but I really don't know. I suppose we should be thankful that Adobe is not saving everything as XML text-based files because they are really slow to interpret. You can see an example of that when MS Office saves files in its new standard formats vs the binary formats.

- Alan



Dec 31, 2013 at 05:06 PM
Ian.Dobinson
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Ultimate LR Machine


John S. Hudson wrote:
I routinely use 10+ gigs of ram when editing in LR5, PS, and having a lot of other applications open. Maybe I just use large file sizes, but I would expect that most users here would easily benefit from more than 8 gb of ram.



I bet its PS thats using the RAM .

my LR never seems to need more than about 1 gig (going by activity monitor on my mac )



Dec 31, 2013 at 05:10 PM
Alan321
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Ultimate LR Machine


My ASUS laptop has a 4-core i7 at 2.4Ghz, with turbo boost capability up to 3.4GHz or thereabouts. It will run at the higher speed until the load is too great and then slow down towards 2.4Ghz. This is an Intel i7 feature. However, I found that temperature is probably the main limiter because in an cool-ish airconditioned room I had Lr using all four cores at the maximum 3.4GHz. Perhaps in a hotter environment the cpu would get hotter and slow down if the laptop fans struggled more to keep the cpu temperature low.

Desktop cpus seem to operate at the higher speed all the time but don't have the turbo boost capability that the laptop cpus have, so they don't run at 5GHz.

The result is that a cool laptop may well run Lr as well as a speedy desktop if the the ambient conditions and storage accessories are suitable.

- Alan



Dec 31, 2013 at 05:21 PM
aubsxc
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Ultimate LR Machine


Alan321 wrote:
My ASUS laptop has a 4-core i7 at 2.4Ghz, with turbo boost capability up to 3.4GHz or thereabouts. It will run at the higher speed until the load is too great and then slow down towards 2.4Ghz. This is an Intel i7 feature. However, I found that temperature is probably the main limiter because in an cool-ish airconditioned room I had Lr using all four cores at the maximum 3.4GHz. Perhaps in a hotter environment the cpu would get hotter and slow down if the laptop fans struggled more to keep the cpu temperature low.

Desktop cpus seem to operate at
...Show more

Both desktop and mobile Intel processors use some form of Intel Speedstep technology. With speedstep the system automatically throttles the CPU to one or more low power states when the system is idling or lightly loaded. With the application of load, one or more cores can automatically ramp up to predefined (or user defined) Turbo Multipliers as long as they do not exceed certain power draw and thermal envelopes. For mobile processors this throttling is usually much more aggressive since battery life and heat dissipation are bigger concerns for mobile devices. For unlocked desktop cpus with good aftermarket cooling, the user is able to set the Turbo Multipliers and overclock the system, and effectively run the CPU at much higher loads.

As an example, my overclocked i7 2600K idles at 1.6GHz while drawing about 8W of power, and can ramp up all the cores to 4.4GHz while drawing about 110W fully loaded. My overclocked 6-core 3930K can draw up to 200W of power when running fully loaded at 4.4GHz. Both systems are watercooled, and temperatures for the quad never rise above 60C, and for the latter, about 73C.



Dec 31, 2013 at 06:00 PM
aubsxc
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Ultimate LR Machine


15Bit wrote:
I have done some testing on this which might prove interesting:

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1220376

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1220523

Also, if you google "lightroom performance testing" you will get up a whole load of results.

The short of it is:

1. LR does use multiple cores if available, and does benefit significantly from them.

2. LR scales better with core speed than core number: Doubling the GHz gives more than doubling the core count

3. LR is largely insensitive to disk I/O: SSD's do not give much benefit (this is a contentious result of my testing, i admit)

4. LR is largely insensitive to RAM, so long as you have 2-3GB available for it
...Show more

This is excellent advice from someone who has done a lot of research into the subject. I have come to the same conclusions based on my not as formal (or well documented) research. For best bang for the buck, buy/build a custom workstation and overclock the CPU as far as you can push it without exceeding core temperatures of 75 to 80C.



Dec 31, 2013 at 06:05 PM
15Bit
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Ultimate LR Machine


Ian.Dobinson wrote:
I know you have tested this(and i bow to your experience ) but I have tried LR4 with and without an SSD when i built my last PC (my ssd arrive way before my other parts of a new PC) and on a clean install on the SSD and a spinning hard drive LR4 was usable (just) on the ssd version but not on the spinning drive version . the unsable state of LR4 was what made me go to a new i5 machine (since upgraded this to an imac)
also i notice that when i run my mobile LR
...Show more

I did say it was a contentious result . Alan also reports benefits from using an SSD (as do others), and i'm not inclined to disbelieve everyone . When i tested it was with a small catalogue, which would mask any performance problems associated with database read-write processes. I was also booting from an SSD. More extensive testing would have looked at booting from spinning disks (thus indirectly including any OS file caching in the test) and doing everything with a larger database. But of course doing it this way is very time-consuming, and my full LR database is only 20K images or so and thus not representative of what many here have.



Jan 04, 2014 at 10:07 AM
Bifurcator
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Ultimate LR Machine


I wonder how much of that reporting is perception over reality tho? When I test with a stopwatch LR4.x and LR5.x are so close to the same speed SSD and HDD, that it might as well be my own reaction times in starting and stopping the clock which are making the difference.




Jan 04, 2014 at 09:15 PM
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