26 Replies Latest reply: May 10, 2012 11:12 PM by bsincick RSS

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

    afq64n Community Member

      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?

        • 1. Re: What is the best PC platform for LR 4? Especially optimum video card and amount of RAM?
          Lee Jay Community Member

          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.

          • 2. Re: What is the best PC platform for LR 4? Especially optimum video card and amount of RAM?
            jrsforums Community Member

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

            • 3. Re: What is the best PC platform for LR 4? Especially optimum video card and amount of RAM?
              areohbee Community Member

              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

              • 4. Re: What is the best PC platform for LR 4? Especially optimum video card and amount of RAM?
                RickBu Community Member

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

                • 5. Re: What is the best PC platform for LR 4? Especially optimum video card and amount of RAM?
                  George in Seattle Community Member

                  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.

                  • 6. Re: What is the best PC platform for LR 4? Especially optimum video card and amount of RAM?
                    Dorin Nicolaescu-Musteață Community Member

                    jrs, Rob, George,

                     

                    SSDs will not improve slider performance in Develop.

                    • 7. Re: What is the best PC platform for LR 4? Especially optimum video card and amount of RAM?
                      areohbee Community Member

                      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?

                      • 8. Re: What is the best PC platform for LR 4? Especially optimum video card and amount of RAM?
                        Dorin Nicolaescu-Musteață Community Member

                        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?

                        • 9. Re: What is the best PC platform for LR 4? Especially optimum video card and amount of RAM?
                          areohbee Community Member

                          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

                          • 10. Re: What is the best PC platform for LR 4? Especially optimum video card and amount of RAM?
                            D Fosse Community Member

                            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.

                            • 11. Re: What is the best PC platform for LR 4? Especially optimum video card and amount of RAM?
                              afq64n Community Member
                              • Running LR in a window, approx 1400 x 900 made the sliders responsive and smooth!
                              • My system drive, which is also the LR Catalog is RAID 0 and is 250MB/sec access, which is as good as I can get with SSD
                              • I have an AT Radeon HD4800 video with latest driver
                              • I am running LR 4.1 RC2
                              • I have tried exiting all non-essential programs, including AV (with internet disconnected) - made no difference
                              • How much would I spend on a video card upgrade? Up to $750, however from what I am reading, LR doesn't use GPU acceleration so this is a waste of time and money.

                               

                              I am going to try my i-7 MacBook Pro, driving the 27" monitor, as a comparison, and report back.

                               

                              Thanks for all the responses so far. If you can add anything, please do so.

                               

                              Are there any configuration guidlines to make LR quicker, anywhere?

                               

                              My other band-aid is to manually transfer my project's raw files to the HDD, and then pre-view them with a fast browser, to weed out the rejects, before importing the rest into LR for editing and filing.

                               

                              I looked some good programs, for this:

                               

                              PhotoMechanic ($150)

                              Seems to be the ultimate, and is both Mac and Windows, however price is difficult to justify.

                               

                              Breeze Browser Pro ($70)

                              Fast but pricy compared to LR with all its features, but may be a goer, considering the time it saves.

                               

                              Fast Picture Viewer ($40 + $10 for code pack)

                              Also very fast, but no tree folder view, which I find limiting. Price is getting better.

                               

                              XNView (Free)

                              Good option. Bit slower than the paid apps, but still quite good.

                               

                              FastStone Image Vewer (Free)

                              Comparable to XNView, just a tad slower, but seems that development has been suspended. I did see a 64bit codepac though, which I hadn't look ed at.

                               

                              There are too many more to list. Do any of you guys use anything like this?

                              • 12. Re: What is the best PC platform for LR 4? Especially optimum video card and amount of RAM?
                                bsincick Community Member

                                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.

                                • 13. Re: What is the best PC platform for LR 4? Especially optimum video card and amount of RAM?
                                  George in Seattle Community Member

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

                                  • 14. Re: What is the best PC platform for LR 4? Especially optimum video card and amount of RAM?
                                    afq64n Community Member

                                    I am using Nikon NEF files out of a D4. Size is 16MB.

                                    • 15. Re: What is the best PC platform for LR 4? Especially optimum video card and amount of RAM?
                                      areohbee Community Member

                                      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

                                      • 16. Re: What is the best PC platform for LR 4? Especially optimum video card and amount of RAM?
                                        areohbee Community Member

                                        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

                                        • 17. Re: What is the best PC platform for LR 4? Especially optimum video card and amount of RAM?
                                          afq64n Community Member

                                          Anyone running LR on a 27" iMac? How is performance?

                                          • 18. Re: What is the best PC platform for LR 4? Especially optimum video card and amount of RAM?
                                            afq64n Community Member

                                            Further update:

                                             

                                            I connected my MacBook Pro 13" via a Dual Link DVI connector to the 27" monitor, which provides the full resolution of 2560x1440.

                                             

                                            At full screen LR4.1 RC2 exhibited jerky sliders, but to a lesser extent than on my Windows, even though the Windows machine was way more powerful. Running LR in a smaller resized window, produced smoother operation.

                                             

                                            So my final conclusions are that

                                            1. Number of pixels that LR is displaying in, makes a great deal of difference
                                            2. Increasing power of video card (currently, at least) has little impact, once you are over an acceptable threshold. My MBP has only the Intel HD Graphics 3000 on the mobo!
                                            3. Ditto for RAM once you are over the required amount. i.e. having 100GB ram will not produce faster peformance than 8GB of ram (numbers are for example only)
                                            4. In my experience, Mac OS-X version of LR seems to perform better than LR on Windows 7 (both 64bit), however I don't have scientific numerics to back this up

                                            Disclaimer: your milage may vary , these are just my own experiences, based on LR 4.1 RC2, using both Nikon NEF and Fuji RAF files.

                                            • 19. Re: What is the best PC platform for LR 4? Especially optimum video card and amount of RAM?
                                              areohbee Community Member

                                              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

                                              • 20. Re: What is the best PC platform for LR 4? Especially optimum video card and amount of RAM?
                                                afq64n Community Member

                                                Rob, what resolution is your screen? What is your hardware platform?

                                                 

                                                Cheers,

                                                paul

                                                • 21. Re: What is the best PC platform for LR 4? Especially optimum video card and amount of RAM?
                                                  areohbee Community Member

                                                  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.

                                                  • 22. Re: What is the best PC platform for LR 4? Especially optimum video card and amount of RAM?
                                                    bsincick Community Member

                                                    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.

                                                    • 23. Re: What is the best PC platform for LR 4? Especially optimum video card and amount of RAM?
                                                      afq64n Community Member

                                                      bsincick, thanks for reminding me about ram drives! Your post was very informative and got me thinking...

                                                       

                                                      If I was to build a photo oriented Windows PC, perhaps these ideas might be the way to go:

                                                      1. CPU: few cores and higher clock speed rather than the other way around, as LR doesn't make good use of multi cores
                                                      2. RAM: Use ECC ram as we are now looking at huge ram spaces and the statistical possibility of random ram errors are increasing. Allow for a significant RAM Drive, so perhaps go with 16GB dual channel, or 24GB tripple channel ram
                                                      3. DISKS: put OS and Apps on an SSD and mirror it to an ordinary drive in case of failure.
                                                        Put Page file on a small RAID 0 array of at least 2 drives, maybe more.
                                                        Configure a good size RAM Drive and use it for LR scratch space,
                                                        Use a RAID 1 or RAID 5 array for continuous backups, with a
                                                        Gigabit connected NAS or SAN for further backup
                                                      4. Defragment rotating drives regularly
                                                      5. VIDEO: Go with min 2GB video card with fast DDR5 ram, but not necessarily the dearest
                                                      6. MONITORS: Twin screens may be better than one large screen (for LR, at least)
                                                      7. UPS: mandatory

                                                      For backup, my favourite program is SyncBackPro and for imaging/mirroring it is True Image Home.

                                                       

                                                      What do you guys think???

                                                      • 24. Re: What is the best PC platform for LR 4? Especially optimum video card and amount of RAM?
                                                        bsincick Community Member

                                                        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.

                                                        • 25. Re: What is the best PC platform for LR 4? Especially optimum video card and amount of RAM?
                                                          afq64n Community Member

                                                          Hi bsincick glad that we seem to think alike, although you had clearly surpassed my suggested architecture, but in the same direction.

                                                           

                                                          I agree with you that any further additions to your monster system is unlikely to have much impact on LR. Your Areca access speed is likely to be a reflection of it's caching controller, but is truly fantastic!

                                                           

                                                          The only thing you hadn't mentioned, is using a ram disk. With tripple channel ram that should return full speed for its full size, equivalent to any buffer.

                                                           

                                                          I had recently bought a LaCie 4TB Thunderbolt enclosure, and this benchmarked to 240 MB/sec, which is more or less what SATA 2 SSD can do. I then booted my MacBook Pro off the external TB drive and all worked. This means that I can try the environment on any Mac with TB connection, such as a 27" iMac (in the Apple Store, in the city). I am told that Apple is shortly to release the next h/w update range, so I am trying to sell my MacBooks, and just keep the operating environment on the LaCie. Then I will consider the 27" iMac with internal SATA 3 SSD, combined with the LaCie and backup to a GLAN connected ReadyNAS PRO.

                                                           

                                                          What camera gear do you use? (I shoot D4 + X100). The DNG question is an interesting one, as I am fearful that the conversion might loose some stuff, and then there is no going back!

                                                           

                                                          Cheers,

                                                          • 26. Re: What is the best PC platform for LR 4? Especially optimum video card and amount of RAM?
                                                            bsincick Community Member

                                                            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.