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What is the best PC platform for LR 4? Especially optimum video card and amount of RAM?

May 8, 2012 5:45 PM

Tags: #performance #optimization #video_card

I have a high end i7 Windows 7 64bit PC with 12GB ram and 3TB disks - some in RAID 0, yet LR sliders lag and image scrolling/rendering can take up to 5 seconds, which makes editing hundreds of images in a session a pain.

 

I am using an ATI Radeon video card and 27" monitor (2560x1440). I am prepared to buy any graphics card or even switch to an iMac, but want snappy LR performance.

 

What is the recommended setup, please?

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 8, 2012 6:37 PM   in reply to afq64n

    Graphics card is largely irrelevant.

     

    The most likely problem is software, not hardware.  That, and your high-res monitor causes a lot of extra work to be done during the sliding of sliders.

     
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    May 8, 2012 6:42 PM   in reply to afq64n

    I suggest adding SSD drives for OS, LR catalog, and the camera raw cache.

     
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    May 8, 2012 7:35 PM   in reply to afq64n

    I recommend taking your system drive out (and everything else, except monitor & keyboard), and putting a fresh one in - reformat, re-install OS & Lightroom. Better? - work your way back up until you're back to where you were except with better performance, or you run into something that does not play nicely with Lightroom... Not better? - problem is core system hardware / drivers, or system services...

     

    Adding faster hardware or more ram usually won't help at all until the basic problem has been solved.

     

    R

     
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    May 8, 2012 9:12 PM   in reply to afq64n

    Can you quantify "snappy performance"? Can you also quantify how much you are willing to spend to achieve said performance?

     
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    May 8, 2012 11:02 PM   in reply to afq64n

    OCZ PCI Express x4 SSD Revo drive on which you have: OS, pagefile, LR, Catalog, Preview catalog, & cache.  By far the most effective improvement, even before processor,  RAM or Vid card.   This will substantially reduce LRs non-database page faulting rate (pretty much the only reason LR is slow).  You may need a new motherboard that is listed to work with this drive.

     
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    May 8, 2012 11:35 PM   in reply to afq64n

    jrs, Rob, George,

     

    SSDs will not improve slider performance in Develop.

     
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    May 8, 2012 11:49 PM   in reply to Dorin Nicolaescu-Musteață

    I never thought SSDs would improve slider performance in Develop. But it does beg the question: "What should one do if the Develop sliders are performing poorly?" - any advice Dorin?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 9, 2012 12:20 AM   in reply to Rob Cole

    Sorry. No SSD in your post; I was reading too fast.

     

    As for performance... yes, Acr/Lightroom is sensitive to the area it has to

    render in Develop. On a big monitor it has to do a lot more work. I have no

    idea what is the normal expected performance level at 2560 resolution, but

    it is certainly slower than on a, say, 20" screen.

     

    On the other hand, there's been, and still are, performance related bugs.

     

    So, for the start, let us just try to isolate the issues. Afq64n, if you

    make Lr window smaller, say, below 20", does it make it usable?

     

    What version are you running?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 9, 2012 12:36 AM   in reply to afq64n

    I have a medium-end AMD system (win7/64) w/8GB (2 1920x1200 monitors using motherboard's on-board graphics), and the dev sliders respond instantaneously.

     

    I think Dorin's advice sounds the best so far - hang in there until Lr4.1 final is released and hope you get lucky, then try "Plan B"...

     

    Cheers,

    Rob

     
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    May 9, 2012 2:31 AM   in reply to Rob Cole

    As I mentioned in >this< thread, I saw substantial improvement by swapping a NVidia card for an ATI. I don't believe the card itself matters much, but the driver may. I have another workstation with an ATI card already installed, where the performance has been acceptable all along.

     

    I see the OP already has an ATI card, so maybe a newer driver will help.

     

    All in all I suspect this is one of those complex problems where a lot of factors contribute, hitting some configurations hard but not others, and it takes a little time to shake out the bugs all around.

     
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    May 9, 2012 2:43 AM   in reply to Rob Cole

    Rob,

    Just as a matter of record, what size/resolution are the raw files which you are manipulating in Develop? Are they DNG or Camera Raw (which camera). Has anyone documented a benchmark of any kind for LR speed?  It is on my Do List but not looking to reinvent the wheel. I built a new computer with the sole goal of being to run LR as fast as possible.  You have been around the LR community a long time and your thoughts and ideas are greatly appreciated.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated

    Fortunatly I have never experienced slowness from any of the develop sliders in this or previous versions

     
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    May 9, 2012 3:14 AM   in reply to bsincick

    Hi bsincick,

     

    Thanks for the vote of confidence.

     

    Most are NEFs from a D300, some CR2s from a G12, and a smattering of files from miscellaneous sources for testing plugins and other such stuff (some DNG, some not) - no problems with any of them.

     

    I've never seen any benchmarks, except for what Ian Lyons did to see how much SSDs help (not much). But develop sliders should be *very* responsive, as should culling in library module after previews are rendered. Rendering for develop is always slow, as is exporting, and general responsiveness of Lightroom in other cases varies - it can often be a bit sluggish, but if it's ridiculously slow - you've got one of those problems...

     

    As Lee & Dorin have suggested, most likely cause of abnormally slow performance is software not playing nice with other software. Graphics drivers are notorious for such stuff, and so in my opinion, a good first strategy is to update drivers and/or swap cards...

     

    I think hi-end systems tend to have the most performance problems, since they tend to resort to the most unusual measures or in any case newer methods for eeking performance.

     

    Anyway, I've heard of interference from Wacom drivers too...

     

    That's why I recommend yanking everything from the system that is not essential (hardware/drivers and software/services) and then seeing where you are. If it works better you know the source of the problem is something you yanked. If it doesn't work better, then you know the source of the problem has nothing to do with anything you yanked, but something you didn't...

     

    Summary:

    ------------

    If I were having problems like some people report, I'd try a new graphics card or two, and if still no go - strip my system...

     

    I mean, *if* you know how to analyze system logs and Lightroom tracebacks.. it can sometimes be revealing (or not), but the above mentioned trouble-shooting method anyone can do...

     

    Cheers,

    Rob

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 9, 2012 3:27 AM   in reply to afq64n

    afq64n wrote:

     

    • Running LR in a window, approx 1400 x 900 made the sliders responsive and smooth!

    Sounds like you've found a culprit.

     

    Begging the question - do some people have smooth slider response when running full-size 2560x1440?

     

    Develop slider response is about the same for me at 1920x1200 as 1400x900 - fast.

     

    Hint: If you try some new graphics cards, try the simple & cheap ones first, with the tiny little drivers... ;-}

     

    Rob

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 9, 2012 8:08 PM   in reply to afq64n

    Thanks for the report.

     

    Yeah - not sure why a few thousand more pixels should make such a difference, but for some folks it surely does. For me - not so much.

     

    Cheers,

    Rob

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 9, 2012 8:54 PM   in reply to afq64n

    win7/64. 1920x1200. I just re-checked - same performance at 1920x1200 as itsy bitsy - mostly fast n' fluid... I mean there is a bit of stuttering and jerkiness, it's just minor - not something I'd previously noticed, or that interferes with my workflow... So, I 'spose we could actually be having the same phenomenon but with different perceptions / expectations, except in my case it has nothing to do with window size, that I can tell. OK, after looking at it harder - the sliders are clearly less jittery at tiny size, although not dramatically so... Not sure what else to say. Perhaps one reason I never noticed it before is I usually use the keyboard instead of mouse for adjustments.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 10, 2012 6:05 AM   in reply to Rob Cole

    I'm using a 2560x1600 Dell monitor. Sliders are acceptable but applying a preset with a number if adjustments results in few seconds pause. I suspected the lr data file might be having som impact (I currently run it from ssd). As a test, I set up 8G as a RAM drive and ran the LR data file from there. There was no noticeable speed improvement. Seems the week link is not the data file. I expect that with the actual photos and cache on a RAM drive it would be faster but that is not practical. The other that I believe could sow some speed improvement is both import and export. For example, I was shooting some time lapse with several thousand photos. I noticed that during import the processors were working at about 20%. While it was still importing I started importing a second set. The processor usage went up to 50%. I added a third import set and the processors went to 80%. My conclusion is that the import algorithm should be able to divide up the workload better and at least speed up import by 200 to 300%.  Similar results showed up with export (raw to jpg).  If all processors and the video card are used (or used more efficiently) the import and export speeds could be substantially increased.  I do not use Neat Image any longer but it has a built in benchmarking program that shows the photo processing speed utilizing different number of CPU cores as well as the graphics card. On my system the GPU cut processing time in half. It also gives the optimal number of cores. After running the benchmark it saves the result and runs the optimal configuration. I would like to see a similar benchmarking indicator for LR.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 10, 2012 8:23 PM   in reply to afq64n

    afq64n,

    You have come close to describing my system (and I'm still not satisfied!).

    1. I'm using dual Xeon 6 core cpu's (total 12 actual cores, 24 virtual, with hyper thread). Speed is 2.66ghz. I have over locked to 3.9 ghz without incident. I did not benchmark LR and have since lowered back to stock speed (it crashed so I lowered the speed but found out it was another problem and never bumped it up again). When LR is exporting it shows usage of many cores. But none to 100% so I feel there is room for improvement there. If you can get a new CPU and OC to 4.5 or 5ghz it may show some improvement.

     

    2. I have 24G of ECC and can go to 48G if I thought it would help. LR. Does not, on it's own use even 12G. You could us a big chunk for RAM Drive if you want.

     

    3. I have OS (Win7-64) on SSD with a mirror on regular HD (using True Image Home). LR data file is on SSD with back-up to. RAID-1 on shutdown. My main drive for photos is a 5 drive RAID running from Areca caching controller. The HD Tach speed shows 800+MBPS (as opposed to about 250MBPS floor the SSD). I further back up all photos to individual removable hard drives, thn I further back-up to 5x2TB Drobo on the network. I am paranoid about losing data so I furer synchronize my RAID-5 set with another computer on my network (also with RAID-5).

     

    4. Most RAID controllers will keep the drives defragmenter in the background.

     

    5. Nvidia 580GTX water cooled DDR 5, 3GB Ram. Allthough I could add more cards in SLI configuration I am unconvinced it would help significantly.

     

    6. Fll screen is 2560x1600. LR seems a bit snappier when the window is less than full screen but I have not benchmarked.

     

    7. I have APC 3000 as UPS for computer and monitor (and router, switch etc).

     

    Seems we think alike!

     

    I plan to benchmark DNG processing. It costs some time to create DNG files, either on import into LR or as batch with Adobe DNG converter. Will it be faster to open, close, export, apply presets?? I don't know but I plan to check.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 10, 2012 11:12 PM   in reply to afq64n

    Afq64n,

    It would be interesting to see how the new iMac27" handles the LR process.

     

    I use 1DMK-IV, G12 and iPhone 4s. Raw from MK-IV are 16MB. Similar to your D4, I believe.

     

    I might revisit the RAM Drive for LR cache files and see what that does. It should nearly eliminate file IO delay.

     
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