13 Replies Latest reply on Jul 9, 2017 2:25 PM by dj_paige

    System Components for speedy viewing, developing

    jonathan+7007

      I am a professional still photographer about to build a Win10 editing station around a socket 1151 Intel 7700K processor (Kaby Lake) to replace an IvyBridge 3770 I put together in early 2012. I see a few decisions for which I'd appreciate others' experience.

       

      Like all of us, I want fast response by Lightroom in Import, development tool response, and Export. I have been working  for a few years with 32Gig RAM and will do so on the Win10 system; it's clear that this isn't the only key to speed. I have read a lot about "balanced" systems that best deliver this outcome. I usually import no more than 500 images at a time. Often as few as 100. I won't be covering events that generate 2000-3000 images this next 12 months. I have started avoiding importation of JPEGs and doing a little culling before Import.

       

      First question for the community as  I start ordering the components for my new build: Will I get a significant, worthwhile, boost in speed by spending the extra $$ for PCI-channel memory as opposed to larger SATA-connected SSD?

       

      One detailed case/discussion here

      https://forums.adobe.com/message/9402475#9402475

      ...suggested splitting storage of recent images into a dedicated SSD as the best way to speed scrolling in either grid or loupe mode (whether previews were minimal, standard, or Smart). Interesting idea.

       

      NVMe PCI-based flash memory vs. SATA SSDs:

      I am experimenting with a new work step: copy all files from a card into an SSD, do some culling or organizing (like not bothering to Import JPEGs) and bring files into Lightroom from their new location. Of course, my catalog and previews are on an SSD (SATA). Further, I assign Photoshop scratch disk to my largest SSD.

       

      Future-proofing the motherboard choice calls for a chipset that can work well with the new memory channel. I am researching the M2 connection. I guess I'd buy at least a 512GB second generation NVMe unit like the Samsung 960. I currently have a Samsung 850 1TB SSD on SATA and will move it to the new machine. It's been in use for a year at most, and not every day. But I did see a reviewer say the improvement of NVMe over SATA in real-world use was minimal. The specs for transfer speed make that surprising.

       

      What is your experience?

       

      Overclocking:

      The current processors seem to gain only 10% throughput if thoughtful overclocking is applied. 10% doesn't seem like a big benefit if I am shortening the life of any of the system elements. I'll use only air cooling to avoid extra expense and maintenance time devoted to fancier cooling. I buy big airy cases. 
      I am a stills guy who might experiment with video during the next couple of years but do not anticipate becoming a videographer or have assignments require a lot of rendering time. I believe the extra $ for the "K" is worth it in case I do need the 10% in the future. I know the mobo will cost more but usually a better mobo like that has other features that are worth it.

       

      Disk I/O:

      My current mobo (Intel 3770-series "H" board) turned out the have too-few SATA connectors but that's because for a long time I depended on spinning hard drives. Smaller capacity 3.5 internal HDDs are more reliable than giant 8TB monsters internal or external but the whole storage scene has changed. I use an NAS elsewhere in the house for storage of close-in backups. Perhaps I can avoid needing a LOT of SATA ports.

       

      GPU:

      Quadro or FirePro still not worth it for me, it seems. Nvidia 1060, I think. My clients are NOT super-fussy about color - I am way more particular than they are. Adobe still not providing enough routines sped up by GPU to matter to me. I also do not see any important ways the current Adobe code uses the GPU well enough to have the "Use GPU" preference checked.

       

      Thanks for any feed back people would like to provide, positive or negative.

        • 1. Re: System Components for speedy viewing, developing
          JimHess Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          I don't know the answers to all your questions. But I will get the discussion started and perhaps generate some more qualified answers. Don't look at more than four cores. Lightroom doesn't deal well with more than four. You will not benefit from putting your images on SSD drives. There is no performance gain by doing so. I will defer to others for answers to the other questions.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: System Components for speedy viewing, developing
            ManiacJoe Adobe Community Professional

            I tend not to overthink the hardware.

            My current win10 box:

            32 gig of memory

            8 cores of high-end CPU (works great for me, the 4-core problem seems to be more of a mac issue maybe?)

            system C drive is an SSD. No user data there.

            Internal D drive - spinning, holds my temp files, LR catalogs and caches

            Internal E drive - spinning, holds my original images files.

            External N drive - spinning, contains my non-image data backups

            External P drive - spinning, contains my photo-related backups

            External Q drive - spinning, contains my less-used original images

            (Not all the external drives are connected all the time.)

             

            For me, the drive performance seems to be related to having the LR cache and catalog on a different physical drive than the original image files.

             

            Whatever video card I have, the LR GPU usage is turned off even though LR thinks it is supported.

             

            I do sports and events, so I am always "add" importing 600+ raw images. I export 50-100 JPG files as a batch as I am done processing them that group. My initial keep/delete round of triage is not done in Lightroom. The potential keepers (45-55% of the total images) are imported at a default rating of 2-stars, then LR is used to rate the images for which ones will be publicly viewable in a second round of triage/rating/sorting. The images rated 3 stars or higher (25-45% of the imported) get processed and exported.

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: System Components for speedy viewing, developing
              Jao vdL Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Adobe has been trying to fix the "more than 4 core slowdown" issue for a while now and it is still an issue in the current version. In general, I think that it is not worth it to completely trick out your machine. My main machine is a 2012 4 core i7 apple notebook and it is basically as fast as very recent tricked out machines that I have tried (windows and macs) in every day handling which is why I haven't upgraded except for adding a faster 1TB SSD to this machine. What matters is having enough memory (to a point, more than 32 GB does not do anything it appears), and having the biggest and fastest SSD you can afford. Currently there is no gain in getting more than a 4 core machine.

               

              I don't think anybody has found a magic bullet that really helps to make Lightroom fast.

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: System Components for speedy viewing, developing
                jonathan+7007 Level 1

                OP here. Thank you for these good suggestions.

                 

                Yes, the four-core thing is a known barrier beyond which there is no improvement. I noted in my post that I planned to pick the basic Kaby Lake i7 with four cores (i7-7700K).

                 

                There is excellent research into Lightroom-specific systems configuration optimization at the website for Puget Systems in Washington state. www.pugetsystems.com   Look that up! Great independent system builder willing to share their knowledge.

                 

                I am most interested right now (component picking and ordering as soon as possible) in the pure I/O speed advantage of the newer NVMe solid-state boards. Best practices dictates keeping catalog and previews on some form of SSD. Is the much faster I/O of NVMe reflected inside Lightroom?

                 

                ManiacJoe's work environment points to my other research finding that people who have big images sets and are pressed for time after shooting have started using tools like BreezeBrowser and Photo Mechanic for culling obvious rejects. The goal is to avoid Import process slowdowns by culling a significant portion of the files before entering Lightroom's environment. I already had a free package Faststone (although less capable than those previously mentioned) so I'm experimenting with that. For me the jury is out, although one big savings of this workflow is the savings in navigating once in Lightroom among this now-smaller set of images and waiting for images to "render" in Lightroom as I move around. This is an interesting element of the need for speed. Faster stepping through images inside Lightroom is a real efficiency benefit.

                 

                I'd rather not spend the $ for a good viewer/culler - it adds complexity. Should the same $$ go to NVMe?

                 

                In the Adobe Community Forum thread linked above (in my original post) a very technical user measured positively the benefit of segmenting image storage technology choice into "recent" (by which I think he means "active") images - and those images you don't have to touch often. He found a benefit to placing his recent images on SSD because the preview rendering - therefore image navigation - was faster. All other local image storage was relegated to spinning drives as most of us do it now.

                 

                In my storage case I have the image files on a USB3.1 external Raid array (Raid 1) and backed up on an internal drive, a NAS elsewhere in the house, and cloud backup somewhere on the planet. Then a drive in a safe deposit box in the next town, too (although I just moved and I have to set that up again.) I would consider bringing the RAID into my case and in some way made faster I/O, but the potential benefit of segmenting image storage by activity need is intriguing.

                 

                Photographers' storage needs differ in need for access by time, access by event, access by client - even months later, access by personal long-term interest, and whatever other distinction matters to the shooter. Our access speed should follow that need. Faster processing during editing is the grail we all seek and Jao said it well, "I don't think anybody has found a magic bullet that really helps to make Lightroom fast."

                 

                Thanks for adding to the discussion.

                jonathan7007

                • 5. Re: System Components for speedy viewing, developing
                  dj_paige Level 9
                  I am most interested right now (component picking and ordering as soon as possible) in the pure I/O speed advantage of the newer NVMe solid-state boards. Best practices dictates keeping catalog and previews on some form of SSD. Is the much faster I/O of NVMe reflected inside Lightroom?
                  I'd rather not spend the $ for a good viewer/culler - it adds complexity. Should the same $$ go to NVMe?

                   

                  Speed of the disk only affects catalog operations and does not effect develop operations at all. I've not heard complaints about speed of catalog operations from people who use a SSD for their catalog and previews, so I am skeptical that faster disks will really produce noticeable improvement. If the thought is to benefit from this speed to cull photos, I do not think that disk speed here improves the culling of photos as Lightroom still has to generate previews before you can cull the photos, and preview generation is almost entirely dependent on CPU speed and not disk speed.

                  He found a benefit to placing his recent images on SSD because the preview rendering - therefore image navigation - was faster. All other local image storage was relegated to spinning drives as most of us do it now.

                  This user is probably mistaken. Preview rendering is not fast because of the SSD, it is almost entirely dependent on CPU speed.

                   

                  I would consider bringing the RAID into my case and in some way made faster I/O, but the potential benefit of segmenting image storage by activity need is intriguing.

                  And again I say that disk speed will not have more than a trivial effect on your work in LR, it certainly does not affect develop speed or preview generation. Please read http://www.computer-darkroom.com/blog/will-an-ssd-improve-adobe-lightroom-performance/

                  • 6. Re: System Components for speedy viewing, developing
                    trshaner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    One of things no one has mentioned is monitor selection. LR's speed in the Library and Develop modules is directly proportional to the the display resolution. Use a single monitor with 2560x1440 or lower resolution and don't use full-screen mode or the secondary display for best results.

                    • 7. Re: System Components for speedy viewing, developing
                      jonathan+7007 Level 1

                      trshaner,

                      Do you urge us to set Lightroom to show in a less-than-full-screen mode clicking the "multi" icon in the middle box at the upper right corner simply telling Windows to size this program display into "partial-screen mode"?

                       

                      Odd. How could that make a difference? I'll happily do it if it will help!

                       

                      Like many I have two monitors, the larger of which is 2560x1440, so you suggest running LR at *just under* that resolution. I will try this out later today!

                      • 8. Re: System Components for speedy viewing, developing
                        trshaner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        jonathan+7007  wrote

                         

                        trshaner,

                        Do you urge us to set Lightroom to show in a less-than-full-screen mode clicking the "multi" icon in the middle box at the upper right corner simply telling Windows to size this program display into "partial-screen mode"?

                        No, this is not necessary.

                         

                        jonathan+7007  wrote

                         

                        trshaner

                        Like many I have two monitors, the larger of which is 2560x1440, so you suggest running LR at *just under* that resolution. I will try this out later today!

                        No, you should set the display to it's native 2560x1440 resolution.

                         

                        There are two issues you need to understand.

                         

                        1) The Loupe preview image size is what affects LR's performance. If you make Loupe window larger using menu WIndows> Screen Mode> Full Screen it will cause LR to run slower.

                         

                        2) The current GPU implementation does not support the Secondary Display window (dual displays). So it will naturally run slower if you have the GPU enabled and see some benefit in the Develop module primary window. The Library module also is not supported by the GPU, which is why it's important to update the LR Previews after an editing session. Rebuild the Standard or 1:1 Previews depending on your needs.

                        • 9. Re: System Components for speedy viewing, developing
                          jonathan+7007 Level 1

                          Thanks. I did not refer to the process of setting the Control Panel "Display" module to a non-native resolution. That is always really ugly, for sure. I looked at the LR Menu Bar to see that I am set(check mark) at Window->Normal. I thought you meant to avoid setting the MS Windows windowing control here: which surprised me.

                           

                          Note, too, above, I believe I wrote that I - like most LR users - have the GPU "off" as it clearly does not help on *my* current platform and even after my upcoming build I expect <GPU Off> will continue to be the better setting.

                           

                          Rebuilding - immediately after editing - Previews that you will invoke again... that is an interesting tip, thank you. Often I do not go back, however. I will keep this idea in mind.

                          • 10. Re: System Components for speedy viewing, developing
                            Jao vdL Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                             

                            Note, too, above, I believe I wrote that I - like most LR users - have the GPU "off" as it clearly does not help on *my* current platform and even after my upcoming build I expect <GPU Off> will continue to be the better setting.

                            Have you recently tried enabling it? I see major speed gains on my 4K display with it on especially using the basic tools in Develop. On earlier versions of Lightroom it wasn't as much of a difference and could actually hurt on lower res screens but it appears Adobe has made some strides in recent versions. It is still no good if you do a lot of brushing though.

                            2 people found this helpful
                            • 11. Re: System Components for speedy viewing, developing
                              trshaner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              I see the same results with my 2560x1440 display. Basic panel sliders are speedier with GPU enabled, but the Local controls are slower. I usually leave it enabled since I normally don't apply a lot of local adjustments.

                              1 person found this helpful
                              • 12. Re: System Components for speedy viewing, developing
                                jonathan+7007 Level 1

                                Very interesting that GPU coding may be improving. I do a lot of local adjustments so, based on this info, cannot yet benefit even with the newer nVidia rig I'll put in my new system. dj_paige, I know Ian Lyons excellent work testing these SSD improvements way back in 2011 and had read the post before and after his 2015 update. Lightroom testing is thin compared to some other computing environments, I would think, as there are so many variables and less a market affect of the information. That's why his efforts were so important.  Dj, you might be right that the user's report is wrong. OTOH he might be right. In the next few sentences you say "Since there aren't complaints..." which is what we had from this user. You can examine his experiment technique in his post. (You're having it both ways.)

                                 

                                (Edit: I see that you read his post in March 2017 and responded with a good clarifying question to which he did not repsond... wish he had.)

                                 

                                I agree with you that there's not a lot of info on SATA SSD vs. NVMe SSD -- and what there is is not cross-checked scientifically or in real-world use cases.

                                 

                                So, what I will do is future-proof my motherboard choice by picking one to which I can add M.2 drives in a year or so, maybe earlier... and go with the slower SATA SSDs. My existing 1TB drive will come over to the new rig, and a 256 that I have had for a while. I'll wait on the Samsung 960 style PCIe unit and "watch this space".

                                 

                                Dj, you are right to say I will get my biggest minute-to-minute task speed boost jump from this upgrade's focus on CPU speed. I am sticking with the four-core CPU. That I knew about.

                                 

                                And I may continue to adopt outside-of-Lightroom initial culling. That experiment is ongoing -- for me.

                                 

                                Thanks all!

                                • 13. Re: System Components for speedy viewing, developing
                                  dj_paige Level 9

                                  With regards to Ian Lyons' results versus the detailed case study ... Ian Lyons has done a thorough study and examined numerous different hardware configurations, and concluded that there were no cases of the photos on an SSD that produced a noticeable speed improvement compared to photos on a regular old spinning HD. In my mind, this evidence far outweighs a single person's observations of his own set-up (and furthermore, it is not proven in my mind, after reading that case study that whatever speed improvement is seen is due to the SSD).