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Archive 2023 · Photo editing PC....

  
 
Vivek
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Photo editing PC....


Hi there,

I need some advice on how to fix the slow photo processing speed problem that I have. I mostly do photography (rarely if any videos). My setup is as follows:

The primary processing machine is a 2017 27" iMac (i5 processor I think) with 40GB of DRAM (upgraded from OWC) and 512GB of Flash on board. The RAW files reside on a 8TB RAID1 (HW) external HDD connected over Thunderbolt-3. I use LR Classic for all my DAM management (and this cannot change in my current workflow, in other words, I am wedded to the LR for now). The LR catalog is on SSD in the iMac. I believe it is a 512 GB SSD.

Now that I am shooting the high megapixel cameras (A1), the slowness of my processing speed (culling, editing in Photoshop, doing NR in Topaz etc.) has become very annoying. I believe that this slowness is primarily driven by the (lack of) performance of the HDD based storage for the raw files.

So, the issues that I would love some advice on are:
1

  1. Is anyone here using an all FLASH Raid1 array - what kind of performance are you getting out of it (GB/S)?
  2. Can you recommend any such arrays that you've personally used?
  3. Do you think I should just update my HDD array to Flash array first with the same iMac or replace both given the age?
  4. What do you recommend as a configuration for my next machine? I usually change my PCs every 5 years and it is time.
  5. If I go the Mac Studio route, what configuration would be best bang for the $? Is LR capable of using the multiprocessor M1 Ultra or am I throwing my money away?
  6. If I go the Mac Studio route, what monitor is recommended? I need at least 27" monitor. 5K would be great.


Thanks a lot for your time and advice! I really appreciate it.



May 23, 2023 at 03:57 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Photo editing PC....


I don't know Macs, but the first things I did when I got my 50 MP Canon 5DS in 2017, were (in order of importance for improving Photoshop performance):

(1) convert both my system disk and working disk to SSD,

(2) upgrade my video board, for more Graphics Processing Units (GPU), and

(3) upgrade the motherboard to max RAM (32 MB).

My i7 3.4GHz desktop PC was made in 2012, and the upgrades were applied in 2017. It still works fine. I've used it for commercial composite images that required the PSB (PhotoShop Big) file format, because they exceed the maximum PSD file size. It has 12 TB of mounted disk space (1 TB in SSD for system & PP drives, others single HDD).

I'll probably soon upgrade my graphics card for more GPU power, as they're being used more efficiently, and by more PP apps, every day.

Edited on May 24, 2023 at 09:28 AM · View previous versions



May 24, 2023 at 09:13 AM
jeffbuzz
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Photo editing PC....


All flash RAID is possible but costly. I considered it on my last NAS upgrade but decided to stick with spinning disks. You'd see noticeable performance improvements in the DAS by going to a disk striping configuration like RAID 5.


May 24, 2023 at 09:25 AM
skid00skid00
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Photo editing PC....


One of the recent linus tech tip videos mentioned a flash array. Mockery ensued. My completely 'non-experienced with raid' makes me think that SSD's are so reliable that raid isn't useful. Do the usual duplication of files, on separate (and separated) media, instead.

You need more CPU than an i5. And your GPU probably makes a difference, too. I remember that LR had an option to pick the GPU or CPU for certain processing/processes. Don't forget to get the caches on SSD. I went so far as to put Windows OS cache on one SSD, and LR on another.



May 24, 2023 at 03:32 PM
Vivek
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Photo editing PC....


Thanks folks, I appreciate it. Still researching and will let you know what I eventually end up doing. With external NVMe based SSDs, the max throughput will top out at 1500 MB/s or so which is much better than the measly 150MB/s that I am getting now, but it cannot achieve the max throughput (line speed) available on TB4.


May 24, 2023 at 09:25 PM
Zhuravlik
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Photo editing PC....


I'd go away from Mac and just do custom Windows PC. This way you are not locked into hardware limitations and can get the max speed available.

For example, NMVe drives on PCIE 5.0 have 14000MB/s limit, plus you can put them into RAID0, making it superfast. Although NMVe Gen 5 just started to appear and best speed right now is only 10000 MB/s, but it's already much better than anything you can get from any Mac.

I personally have somewhat outdated system - Threadripper 3990X (overclocked) for CPU, two NMVe Gen 4 in RAID0 as a system drive (tops at ~13000 MB/s), four NMVe Gen 4 in RAID0 as a working + cache drive (tops at ~22000 MB/s), plus regular SSDs (8Tb each) for the backup. For Photoshop, Luminar and Topaz plugins speedup I use three RTX 3090 videocards, and that makes even GFX100s files processing a breeze.

Reason for RAID0 is very simple - it gives maximum possible speed. If system drive fails, it's just a few mins to restore the system; if work drive fails, it's even less time, as I have a backup on the SSD. So overall you'd save on number of drives as you need a backup anyway. But so far it was two years, and nothing failed yet.

Of course, full tower PC is not nearly as elegant as any Mac, but if you choose speed versus aesthetics then "this is the way" .



May 26, 2023 at 01:47 PM
Vivek
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Photo editing PC....


Thanks Zhuravlik, I understand and appreciate your suggestions...Some notes below...

Zhuravlik wrote:
I'd go away from Mac and just do custom Windows PC. This way you are not locked into hardware limitations and can get the max speed available.

Great suggestion and this is exactly what I would do (and have done in my younger days) if I had the time. I am basically substituting stable setup for my time which is extremely valuable at this point in time in my life.


For example, NMVe drives on PCIE 5.0 have 14000MB/s limit, plus you can put them into RAID0, making it superfast. Although NMVe Gen 5 just started to appear and best speed right now is only 10000 MB/s, but it's already much better than anything you can get from any Mac.

Yes, I know this extremely well and very intimately. I have these drives running in my lab (E1.S and U.2) at these speeds with my own firmware. So, yes true, but not doable yet commercially.


I personally have somewhat outdated system - Threadripper 3990X (overclocked) for CPU, two NMVe Gen 4 in RAID0 as a system drive (tops at ~13000 MB/s), four NMVe Gen 4 in RAID0 as a working + cache drive (tops at ~22000 MB/s), plus regular SSDs (8Tb each) for the backup. For Photoshop, Luminar and Topaz plugins speedup I use three RTX 3090 videocards, and that makes even GFX100s files processing a breeze.

Reason for RAID0 is very simple - it gives maximum possible speed. If system drive fails, it's just a few mins to restore the system; if work drive fails,
...Show more

Yes, understood, but again too much work for my taste. That said, I don't think the SSDs (especially PRO versions of m.2 ones with good ventilation) are not an issue. I will probably build an 8TB RAID10 array any way.


Of course, full tower PC is not nearly as elegant as any Mac, but if you choose speed versus aesthetics then "this is the way" .


Yes, true and this is not a primary concern...




May 26, 2023 at 05:34 PM
tsdevine
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Photo editing PC....


Get an Apple Silicon based Mac first.


May 26, 2023 at 09:47 PM
sonofjesse2010
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Photo editing PC....


Build a PC

13600k, 13700k, 13900k
7770x,7950x

64GB DDR5
4TB NVME as boot drive Gen IV or Gen 5

Flash NAS is never a bad idea.



Jun 26, 2023 at 05:32 PM
Vivek
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Photo editing PC....


Not building a PC. Did quite a bit of research and it seems that Mac Studio M2 Max will fit the bill. Here is some good information for those wanting some answers. I would dispute the 512GB or 4TB as SSD option and would likely get a 1TB version once I determine my catalog sizes.

https://phototacopodcast.com/photographers-guide-to-buying-2022-mac-studio/



Jun 27, 2023 at 08:09 AM
RoamingScott
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Photo editing PC....


Read this thread =)

https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1811935



Jun 27, 2023 at 08:22 AM
Vivek
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Photo editing PC....


Thanks a lot. Reading now. 👍🏼


Jun 27, 2023 at 09:00 AM
GroovyGeek
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Photo editing PC....


If you are not price sensitive and know that you will never ever want to do any upgrades to the machine, and/or are not necessarily tech oriented get an M2. The myth that Apple machines are more user-friendly than a comparably configured PC is just that, a myth, but that is not a fight worth fighting here or anywhere else.

Since you are looking for a photo editing machine you are likely not looking for portability. If you are so inclined you can build your own, which will be expandable for another 10 years. My recommendation is

1) Quality full sized tower case, for example Fractal Design
2) i7 processor, at least 8 cores or equivalent AMD
3) quality motherboard, ASUS makes some good ones, at least 4 DDR slots, at least 4 PCIe slots, support for at least 6 SATA and 2 NVME devices
4) quality fan, Noctua or similar, stay away from liquid coolers
5) power supply with at least 200W headroom over your current configuration, EVGA makes good ones
6) Nvidia 3xxx card. Stay away from Radeon, see below
4) At least 32G of memory, preferably 64G. Whatever your choice is, buy it as two sticks, not 4
5) Two NVME SSDs 1T+, one for boot and one for images that are in "active use". Samsung 970 EVO plus is fine for non-professional use. Plenty on Amazon used in like new condition
5) At least two 7200+ RPM HDDs, 4T+ for nightly backup of the SSDs and storage of "semi archival" stuff, e.g., older images

You will have a top notch rig that you can upgrade for not a lot of money 5 years from now.

Some notes:
Don't overspend on a CPU. No need to go with i9, but I would not go with an i5 either. Don't skimp on the fan unless you are a fan of fan noise. Noctuas are pricey for a fan but whisper quiet. Ditto for the case, you would be surprised how important that is to ensure upgradeability. The RAW denoising in the latest versions of PS is extremely GPU intensive and is optimized for Nvidia Cuda cores, hence my recommendation to go with that instead of Radeon. These days there are lots of used GPU cards on Amazon in like new condition. I recently bought a MSI RTX 3070 $400

I built a similar configuration to what I recommend in 2017. It worked fine till the latest update to PS with RAW denoising when the 1060 GPU showed its age. Spent $400 on the new card, $80 on another 32G of RAM, $150 on two NVME SSDs and now I have a machine that is good for at least another 5 years. My motherboard had the slots required for the GPU, the power supply had the headroom, and most importantly, full size case had space for it (if you have not seen high end GPU cards recently, you are in for a surprise how freakin big and power hungry they are.

Or you can buy an M2 laptop now and then another one 5 years from now.



Jun 28, 2023 at 12:57 AM





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