I have a top spec Early 2013 15" MacBook Pro (2.7GHz i7 Quad Core, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, 1GB NVIDIA GT 650M) and yet, having invested so much money in this laptop due to it's higher-resolution screen and powerful specs, it still takes about two seconds to fully load a RAW photo captured using a Nikon D610 (24.3MP) for viewing. After waiting a second viewing a photo under 'Develop', it has loaded the image so you can make out what's in the photo, and then a second and a half later everything is loaded and I can make out all the details. Being a little impatient and having to work to tight deadlines with a single photoshoot usually containing around 600-2000 photos - any sort of waiting time gets frustrating when you're expecting lightning fast speeds.
I have looked at the following options but don't know what would speed it up:
-Purchasing 3x960GB SSDs to use in a NAS, configured with RAID-5. This is assuming it is the disk that's not fast enough, though my disk speeds are 411MB/sec write and 470MB/sec read.
-Purchasing a ViDock 4 to use a more powerful external graphics card. This is assuming it's not the disk, but the graphics card that's not powerful enough.
I have also noticed that when heavily using Lightroom, even when I have plenty of unused RAM free (around 5GB free), it won't utilize all of it, and my CPU usage rarely goes past 40%. I can't see any settings in Lightroom which will let me allocate more RAM or CPU usage... I have increased my disk cache usage from 15GB to 30GB, and played around with the other file handling settings but noticed very little or no improvement.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Neither a faster disk nor a GPU will noticeably improve the rendering times of an image. This is entirely controlled by your CPU. The only way to make non-trivial improvements to the speed of rendering these photos is to purchase and install a faster CPU.
The Develop module renders the image using the camera raw cache. The first time you select the image in the Develop module it is placed in the cache, but still will take 1-2 seconds to render. For this reason you should use the Library module for "browsing" images with its rendered previws and not the Develop module. When you make adjustments in the Develop module do the control sliders update quickly in the loupe preview image? If so then your system is behaving normally.