12 Replies Latest reply on Nov 8, 2018 9:36 AM by ejbSFO

    Possible new hardware configurations for Lightroom CC?

    ejbSFO Level 1

      My venerable desktop died this week. This was the computer I used for Lightroom and PS. It had the following configuration:

      • SSD boot drive containing program files, including LR and PS, running Windows 10
      • A SATA 1TB hard drive containing the LR catalog and files
      • A SATA 5TB hard drive containing photos.

      I was planning on duplicating this setup, but thought I should check other options. Here's some possibilities:

      • High powered laptop with SSD drive, using an external drive (USB3) for LR cat and photos. (Can you do this?)
      • Simple desktop with SSD and maybe 1TB internal, with an external drive for photos. (Can you do this?)
      • Other options I haven't thought about?

      Price IS a factor; I don't have tons of money to spend, which is why recreating the original setup is still probably my best option, but I'd appreciate any other suggestions anyone might have.

       

      Thanks,

      EdB

        • 1. Re: Possible new hardware configurations for Lightroom CC?
          Ian Lyons MVP & Adobe Community Professional

          Folk love spending others money

           

          A 1TB SSD for your OS, catalog and previews. Ideally, internal or USB-C or 3.1. Your 5TB drive for photos should be fine.

          • 2. Re: Possible new hardware configurations for Lightroom CC?
            ejbSFO Level 1

            Folk love spending others money

            So true!

             

            Thanks for the suggestion. Sounds like you're thinking a desktop is the best way to go. Is there a difference between USB  and 3.1? The advantage I see to an external drive is the ability to dupe it easily and even run a parallel, but I don't want the USB to slow file access down.

            • 3. Re: Possible new hardware configurations for Lightroom CC?
              dj_paige Level 10

              Lightroom CC or Lightroom Classic CC?

               

              Is there a difference between USB  and 3.1?

               

              Well, yes, of course there is a difference. The real question is: will you notice the difference. USB will not slow file access down by anything more than a trivial amount that you will never notice. How do I know this? I read a rather thorough study by someone named Ian Lyons (you might notice the name is the same as in the reply above) which shows that photos on a USB external disk works just fine. Will an SSD Improve Adobe Lightroom Performance? | Computer Darkroom

              • 4. Re: Possible new hardware configurations for Lightroom CC?
                ejbSFO Level 1

                Lightroom Classic CC, up to date, Windows 10 system, Catalog has about 4 TB of photos in it. Drives are protected and backed up, so I'm not worried about that.

                 

                Thanks for the info on Ian's article. I'm reading it now.

                 

                I posted this because in the past there have been issues with 1) whether LR would allow an external drive to be used, and 2) if I get around that, would USB 3 be faster than the glacial USB2 ports on my ancient Dell.

                 

                Thanks.

                • 5. Re: Possible new hardware configurations for Lightroom CC?
                  Conrad C Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  ejbSFO  wrote

                  I posted this because in the past there have been issues with 1) whether LR would allow an external drive to be used

                  Lightroom has always worked easily with external drives. It's one of the big advantages of using Lightroom: It continues to catalog images on unmounted drives; you can do quite a lot with images even if they're not available. You normally can't use the Develop module until you plug the drive back in, but you can use the Develop module on unavailable images if you had generated Smart Previews in advance for them.

                   

                  My Lightroom catalog tracks images stored across several mounted and unmounted drives; it's never been a problem on my Mac. In Windows, there is potential for confusion based on the way Windows might change the letter assigned to a drive, but I think the fix is to permanently assign the drive letters.

                   

                  If you've heard cautions about this, you may be thinking of the fact that you can't store the Lightroom catalog on a network drive. But you can store cataloged images on an external drive, either directly attached or networked.

                  ejbSFO  wrote

                  2) if I get around that, would USB 3 be faster than the glacial USB2 ports on my ancient Dell.

                  Yes, it should be much better. This is another area of confusion, so here are the theoretical top speeds of the current standards you'll see on spec sheets:

                  USB 2.0 - 480 Mb (megabits) per second, or 60 megabytes (MB) per second

                  USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 Gen 1 - 5 Gb (gigabits) per second, or 625 MB/sec

                  USB 3.1 Gen 2 -  10 Gb/sec, or 1250 MB/sec

                   

                  For comparison, hard drives are around 100-150 MB/sec, and SATA SSDs are around 450-550 MB/sec, so that means while the low speed of USB 2 was a definite bottleneck, any form of USB 3 is fast enough to not hold back a hard drive or SATA SSD. (Why would you need USB 3.1 Gen 2 or Thunderbolt 3? For SSD RAIDs, or external PCIe SSDs that can reach 3000MB/sec.)

                   

                  If your new computer has USB-C ports, it should support USB 3 or better but check the spec sheet.

                  • 6. Re: Possible new hardware configurations for Lightroom CC?
                    dj_paige Level 10

                    ejbSFO   wrote

                    2) if I get around that, would USB 3 be faster than the glacial USB2 ports on my ancient Dell.

                    Yes, it should be much better. This is another area of confusion, so here are the theoretical top speeds of the current standards you'll see on spec sheets:

                    USB 2.0 - 480 Mb (megabits) per second, or 60 megabytes (MB) per second

                    USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 Gen 1 - 5 Gb (gigabits) per second, or 625 MB/sec

                    USB 3.1 Gen 2 -  10 Gb/sec, or 1250 MB/sec

                    So, under USB 2.0, 60 megabytes per second, most digital photos ought to transfer from the drive to memory in under a second. With USB 3.0, most photos transfer in 0.1 seconds or less. Are you really going to notice that difference, especially in the develop module where the CPU then has to take time to render the image? I don't really see anybody noticing the difference. (And none of this affect speed in the develop module, which is not continually reading from the disk, it reads the photo from the disk once).

                    • 7. Re: Possible new hardware configurations for Lightroom CC?
                      Conrad C Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      dj_paige  wrote

                      So, under USB 2.0, 60 megabytes per second, most digital photos ought to transfer from the drive to memory in under a second. With USB 3.0, most photos transfer in 0.1 seconds or less. Are you really going to notice that difference

                      I mentioned that they were theoretical maximums because the real world throughput is a lot less. USB 2 had enough overhead that even though FireWire 800 had a lower theoretical top speed of 50 MB/sec, in the real world it typically performed faster than USB 2. Given that the real world throughput of USB 2 may be around 30–40MB/sec, reading in an image could take up to twice as long as your estimate.

                       

                      Even if the speed difference wasn't very noticeable in Lightroom, USB 3 will still save time in other parts of the photo workflow, such as speed of importing images, moving and copying images, and especially backing up hundreds of images.

                      • 8. Re: Possible new hardware configurations for Lightroom CC?
                        dj_paige Level 10

                        I agree with the part where you say USB 3 will improve moving, copying and backing up images.

                         

                        I don't see importing as a place where you will see a speed improvement in Lightroom (other than a very small barely noticeable difference) because most of the time is spent while the CPU renders the image and previews.

                        • 9. Re: Possible new hardware configurations for Lightroom CC?
                          ejbSFO Level 1

                          Thanks for the posts. Ian's article is quite interesting; the differences among the various configurations are negligible, which is surprising. I assumed that because Windows so clearly benefited from install on an SSD, all programs would and that's clearly not the case.

                           

                          As to my original query, I'm thinking of a basic tower with an SSD as primary and just moving the two other drives (LR cat, photos) over from the dead machine and be done with it.

                           

                          Oh, one last question: graphics cards. From what I'm reading on the forums, there's no real advantage to getting a fancy (read: expensive) graphics card either. What are good graphics cards for LR/PS for someone who doesn't otherwise use a lot of graphics (ie, not a gamer).

                           

                          Thanks.

                          • 10. Re: Possible new hardware configurations for Lightroom CC?
                            Jao vdL Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            As already said. Best setup regardless of whether you get a desktop or a laptop is to put the catalog and previews on an internal large enough SSD drive (usually that means around 1TB) that you can also put the most recent images on for convenience (in the case of a laptop) and an external drive to offload older images onto or store all images (for a desktop). The speed of the external is not that important but generally get USB3 or better. USB-c in general does not add anything noticeable and going SSD for the external is generally not noticeable.

                            • 11. Re: Possible new hardware configurations for Lightroom CC?
                              dj_paige Level 10

                              ejbSFO  wrote

                               

                              Oh, one last question: graphics cards. From what I'm reading on the forums, there's no real advantage to getting a fancy (read: expensive) graphics card either. What are good graphics cards for LR/PS for someone who doesn't otherwise use a lot of graphics (ie, not a gamer).

                               

                              I would not agree with your conclusion about what the forums are saying.

                               

                              If you have a 4K or larger monitor (maybe even a 3K monitor), you need a GPU. If you have a 1920x1080 monitor, you can get a low end GPU and not have problems. Rather than recommend specific cards, let me just say that if you have a 4K or larger monitor, you probably want a good graphics card.

                              • 12. Re: Possible new hardware configurations for Lightroom CC?
                                ejbSFO Level 1

                                Thanks for your help, everybody. I much appreciate it.  --Ed