Lightroom Preview Question
/forum/topic/1165267/0



vandrv
Registered: Sep 11, 2008
Total Posts: 52
Country: United States

It seems here lately that Lightroom is taking longer and longer to generate previews. I have a single rather large catalog of photos, which I would prefer not to split. I am using a core 2 duo Macbook Pro to process them. They are all stored on an external usb drive. I'm wondering if swapping out the hard drive on this computer for an SSD would significantly speed things up, or is there some other thing I can change to speed things up, or is the logical solution just upgrading to a new computer? Thanks for any help.



howardm4
Registered: Feb 08, 2008
Total Posts: 2835
Country: United States

the USB drive is a loser, esp if its USB2.

You could add a 'data doubler' such that the machine would have an SSD *and* an internal hard disk.



vandrv
Registered: Sep 11, 2008
Total Posts: 52
Country: United States

howardm4 wrote:
the USB drive is a loser, esp if its USB2.

You could add a 'data doubler' such that the machine would have an SSD *and* an internal hard disk.

Yes the drive where the photos are stored is a usb2 drive. I'm not exactly sure what a "data doubler" is.



howardm4
Registered: Feb 08, 2008
Total Posts: 2835
Country: United States

google is your friend

A 'data doubler' is sold by macsales.com and it's basically just a small bracket w/ a chip on board that allows you to replace your laptop's optical drive w/ a hard disk. Taht way you can have 1 SSD and a hard disk or 2 SSD or 2 hard disks.

Either way, the USB2 external is not going to give you very good performance (merely kinda ok)

An example:

http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DDAMBS0GB/



vandrv
Registered: Sep 11, 2008
Total Posts: 52
Country: United States

howardm4 wrote:
google is your friend

A 'data doubler' is sold by macsales.com and it's basically just a small bracket w/ a chip on board that allows you to replace your laptop's optical drive w/ a hard disk. Taht way you can have 1 SSD and a hard disk or 2 SSD or 2 hard disks.

Either way, the USB2 external is not going to give you very good performance (merely kinda ok)

An example:

http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DDAMBS0GB/


Thanks I will give those a look. Certainly that would be cheaper than a new computer.



Alan321
Registered: Nov 07, 2005
Total Posts: 9640
Country: Australia

As a bare minimum you should upgrade the external HDD case to one that has a FW800 interface. That will be significantly faster for bulk transfers though not for file access times.

How big are the internal and external HDDs ? Higher capacity drives might boost the speed just by being bigger - especially if you create two volumes on each one so that the first (fastest) half or so of the big drive is being used most. Even the slow half of an internal drive will be significantly faster than any HDD on a USB 2 interface.

For Lr to generate previews it needs to open the original raw files and do raw conversions to extract an image, and then scale it down as required. The preview will then go into the preview cache, and part of the converted raw data will go into the ACR cache. Performance will be better with subsequent edits if both of those caches are big enough to keep the data and also if they are located on a speedy drive - which means internal, and preferably an SSD - but for the first time a raw file is imported into Lr it will not be in either cache. The only way to speed up the process then is to have the raw files on the internal drive.

One option is to keep the newly imported files on the speedy internal drive until the bulk of the edits have been done on them in Lr and then use Lr to transfer them to a new home on an external drive later on. You can set that transfer in motion and then go and have dinner so that the time it takes will be irrelevant.

The only significant downside I can think of to importing to one drive and then relocating to another later on is than Time Machine will make additional copies of each file - one for each drive that the files ever live on.

If you're still running a small amount of RAM then upgrading to at least 4GB will help. More than that is nice to have but Lr will not improve significantly.

Finally, if you are running Lr as a 32 bit program then change it to 64 bit. I'm not sure how old your Mac OS is but Snow Leopard or later will handle 64 bit quite ok.


A new computer would be heaps faster and the retina screen would look a lot better too for photos. However, I'm waiting in the hope that they put a retina screen on a computer that can take multiple standard high capacity drives internally as user upgrades and has more thunderbolt and USB 3.0 ports available as well as a FW 800 port. Then even the external drives will effectively be as fast as internal drives and everything will be so much faster.

- Alan