What would you want in a system for LR4 and CS6?
/forum/topic/1150978/0



jerrykur
Registered: Feb 15, 2005
Total Posts: 4254
Country: United States

It is time to upgrade my hardware so I am penciling out a new system. If you where doing this what sort of CPU, graphics, memory, drives, etc would you select?

So far I am looking at a i7 Ivy bridge processor with 16 GB of memory. I have been looking at 1 GB video cards, not sure about the GPU. I will likely install an SSD (240 GB or so) for the system drive with a 1 TB or so rotation drive for data.



sic0048
Registered: Oct 19, 2011
Total Posts: 247
Country: United States

What type of displays are you trying to drive? I just built a very similar system (i7 3770k w/ 16mb ram) and I'm simply using the built in HD4000 graphics of the Ivy Bridge chip. Honestly it is more than powerful for the single display I am using. (1600x900 resolution). If you are driving several large monitors, then perhaps a more powerful GPU would be helpful, but even then you only need a $100 card. Do not buy the higher end cards that run $200-$500. Those are designed for gaming system where the user is looking for high framerates of 3-d graphics. Editing photography is actually pretty easy on the GPU unit. There is very little changing on the screen at any one time.

A 120gb SSD drive is plenty for an OS drive (which is all it should be used for anyway). 240gb is simply going to leave a lot of un-used space. Honestly an i5-3570 is probably 90% of the capacity of the i7-3770, but $100 less expensive. So if you want to trim cost, that is an easy thing to downscale and you really won't miss anything as far as speed.



Alan321
Registered: Nov 07, 2005
Total Posts: 9993
Country: Australia

For heavy editing you will want more than 16GB of RAM but 16 will suffice for casual or slow work.

SSDs are great for having your system, Lr and ACR caches, etc. Also for the raw photos that need the most work in Lr at least until you've pretty much finished with them. That way Lr will go a lot faster. You'll easily fill 240GB. Some SSDs need TRIM support in the OS while others do it themselves. You can get SSDs built onto PCI Express cards rather than discrete drives. Check out OWC, for example. Unlike HDDs there is almost no gain in separating data from OS on an SSD because access is almost instant wherever the data is.

Alas, my computer kills SSDs but I can't explain why. One has lasted years and several others died fairly quickly. Make sure you get a good warranty from a dealer with reputable support.

I'd go for multiple drives internally to allow for speedy as well as automated version backups.

Bigger drives partially used (small partitions) are faster than smaller drives fully used because there are few track changes for the heads to negotiate and less distance for the heads to move. So if you really do only need 1TB in the foreseeable future then get 2TB drives, use a 1TB partition and keep the rest for spare or just write it off.

I'd also want speedy access to external drives or drive arrays - usb 3.0 or thunderbolt. eSATA perhaps. Speedy access may allow convenient use of external SSDs.

I don't know that lots of graphics RAM is required for Ps. A decent GPU perhaps would help with coprocessing but I hear different tales of woe about that sort of thing on different computers, including that it speeds up some Ps functions and slows others. Middle to low end should suffice.

If I could use ECC RAM then I would. RAM failures are not pretty.

I'd opt for case that allows plenty of passive cooling of everything to minimize fan noise.



Hammy
Registered: May 21, 2002
Total Posts: 2847
Country: temp

Need more info:
- type of workflow: how many and how large of files at a given time, batch processing?
- any needs/desire for video now or within the life span of this new computer?
- building yourself, or having built? is overclocking an option or feature?



sic0048
Registered: Oct 19, 2011
Total Posts: 247
Country: United States

PS and Lightroom run faster when the OS is on a different drive than the catalog and photo files. So again, I would say a 120gb drive is plenty big enough for the OS. You want to put EVERYTHING else on different drives. There is a small improvement in speed if you place the catalog on a SSD drive as well, but it is actually much smaller than you might think. But I'd rather have two 120gb SSD drives than a single 240gb SSD drive.





WAYCOOL
Registered: May 15, 2004
Total Posts: 2421
Country: United States

Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H motherboard
16 or 32 gigs of 1600 ram
Intel I7 3770K processor or I5 3570K if you want to save $100 and don't do any video.
Nvidia GTX650
500w or more power supply
240 gig (120 optional) ssd for boot dirve
3 tb hard drive for files (get a goflex external from Costco use the drive from inside
and then you have a usb3 enclosure to put your old drive in ($129.00)
cpu cooler for overclocking
case, optical drive, keyboard and mouse as needed.
The overclock to a modest 4.4 gig and you have yourself a kick ass machine.
Worst case around $1200 if you have a friend that lives near a Microcenter can save a $100 on motherboard and processor.
Also if you want this combo make a vary easy and compatible hackintosh



Alan321
Registered: Nov 07, 2005
Total Posts: 9993
Country: Australia

sic0048 wrote:
PS and Lightroom run faster when the OS is on a different drive than the catalog and photo files. So again, I would say a 120gb drive is plenty big enough for the OS. You want to put EVERYTHING else on different drives. There is a small improvement in speed if you place the catalog on a SSD drive as well, but it is actually much smaller than you might think. But I'd rather have two 120gb SSD drives than a single 240gb SSD drive.



It might vary with the particular SSDs but having everything on one SSD is going to be faster than having the OS on an SSD and the Lr and Ps stuff on a separate HDD. That's because the SSD random access is so much faster than any HDD that it's practically negligible. It's a very different story in an all-HDD setup.

The improvement you get from using an SSD (or more than one) is noticeable but even more so if you like to whiz through a bunch of images in the develop module, because doing that causes the files to be converted afresh each time you open them. That in turn is also sped up if the files are in the ACR cache and if the ACR cache is on the SSD. [Why would you whiz through files in the develop module instead of the library module ? because you see a more accurate histogram and you see the actual slider settings that have already been applied]

In the library mode you might get away with just having the Lr preview cache on the SSD for speedy operation depending on the level of zoom and whether the cache has that size preview available.

You'll get additional speed benefits by not letting Lr automatically write changes to sidecar files. That can cause a lot HDD head movement but if the files are on an SSD then it won't matter so much. However, chances are that you won't fit all of your files on an SSD unless pay lots or don't keep many photos. A partial solution is to import photos into Lr from an SSD and transfer them to cheaper and slower HDD when you have finished the bulk of any editing.


If you work lots on just a few images then it matters relatively little whether you use SSD or HDD. If you work a little on lots of images then the SSD makes a big difference.

- Alan



15Bit
Registered: Jan 27, 2008
Total Posts: 3909
Country: Norway

If you aren't using a lot of photoshop filters or doing video editing the I7 is a waste of money. The bread and butter functionality in LR and PS doesn't take advantage of Hyperthreading at all. Similarly graphics acceleration - there is no Open GL acceleration in LR at all, and photoshop doesn't need a full on gamers graphics card to run. Just buy something at the cheap end of the market.

I have an i5-3570K clocked to 4.2Ghz (took 5 mins and no effort). 16Gb RAM, Boot from samsung SSD, and i use the onboard intel graphics. It runs like a charm.

A word on power supplies - buy a decent one and don't over specify it. You don't need more than 400W on a system like this. Most of the time the computer will be idling along at 100-120W, which equates to 25% load on a 400W PSU. Below 20% load most PSU's become increasingly inefficient too. Everyone thinks more is better, whilst in reality it becomes worse after a point.

I have a second SSD in the machine so I did try out moving my LR catalogue to it for a speed up. I didn't see one. Similarly i've been playing with moving the images i am sorting and editing to the second SSD, but again it doesn't feel any faster. So my conclusion is that booting off an SSD and having the ACR cache etc on there is a worthwhile benefit, but putting the LR cat or images on a second SSD is not worth the money. Changing the CPU speed with the software based overclocking utils shows clearly that LR4 is CPU bound on my machine.



WAYCOOL
Registered: May 15, 2004
Total Posts: 2421
Country: United States

Clearly "no Open GL acceleration in LR at all" is wrong, while I admit that as in Photoshop any card that supports it is fine.

http://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom/kb/error-opengl-available-lightroom-4.html

As for Lightroom and a SSD here is a good site that explores the subject the last paragraph sum it up

"So, having established that the use of an SSD offers only marginal improvements to Library preview rendering and photo load times in Develop module where can we realistically see an SSD helping a Lightroom user? 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. However, as the various tests have demonstrated, SSDs are not the magic bullet that some would have you believe."

http://www.computer-darkroom.com/blog/will-an-ssd-improve-adobe-lightroom-performance/



15Bit
Registered: Jan 27, 2008
Total Posts: 3909
Country: Norway

Waycool - That OpenGL error relates to video playback, not photo editing. So yes there is some acceleration for video decoding, but there is definitely no GPU acceleration for photo editing in Lightroom. Read the replies from MadManChan in this thread:

http://forums.adobe.com/message/4171699



mshi
Registered: Dec 13, 2010
Total Posts: 3670
Country: United States

I've just received $450 the lowest i3 box with 6GB RAM with the embedded Intel GPU. Used a 14-bit uncompressed RAW D800 file, and eventually turned it into a 4GB PSD file tons of layers and masks, including many smart objects. Haven't noticed any performance issues compared to my i7 16GB 1.5GB-GPU box.



WAYCOOL
Registered: May 15, 2004
Total Posts: 2421
Country: United States

15Bit wrote:
Waycool - That OpenGL error relates to video playback, not photo editing. So yes there is some acceleration for video decoding, but there is definitely no GPU acceleration for photo editing in Lightroom. Read the replies from MadManChan in this thread:

http://forums.adobe.com/message/4171699


Why read the reply's you admit I was correct I never stated the purpose for the OpenGL just it that was used.



15Bit
Registered: Jan 27, 2008
Total Posts: 3909
Country: Norway

Just clarifying for the OP.



Alan321
Registered: Nov 07, 2005
Total Posts: 9993
Country: Australia

There are a number of factors that affect the performance of Lr and the benefit to be obtained from using SSDs, more RAM, faster CPU, etc. These include:

How many files you work with in a session
Whether or not they are raw files
How many pixels are in each file
Whether or not you use 1:1 previews
Whether the previews you do use are significantly different in size from what is in the preview cache
Whether enough previews can fit in the cache
Whether those previews are already in the cache
How much work is done in the develop module vs the library module
What changes you make to your images
What changes you make to metadata such as keywords, etc.
(perhaps) whether multiple changes are aggregated by Lr or treated separately in sequence
How quickly you move from image to image
Whether you have Lr updating xmp files with every change
Whether your system has antivirus or indexing programs working on every changed file
Whether other software or the OS is robbing Lr of real RAM or interfering with drive access

... And no doubt many more.

With so many variables it is easy to see a legitimate explanation for any discrepancies in what different people report about what affects Lr performance or doesn't affect it.