chris_niestepski's profile

2 Messages

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180 Points

Fri, Apr 8, 2011 3:30 AM

Lightroom: How do I optimize Lightroom performance? (System Configuration Recommendations)

An Adobe article on what constitutes a reasonable system configuration for LR is overdue. Specific brand-component precertification, as done with graphics cards for CAD, may not be necessary, but LR has evolved to where one must seriously consider the hardware platform needed to run it efficiently, and currently the answer isn't obvious.

While some have experienced no critical slowdowns with LR3, many have judged it unusable and reverted to LR2. Even with anti-virus off, it brought my Xeon workstation to a crawl: re-displaying previews already generated took up to 10 seconds, and the sub-1:1 noise reduction begged for turning off. Granted, while this was on a 2004 XP system limited to 3 GB RAM, I was surprised to find users including photo professionals with far superior builds, PC and Mac, feeling similarly limited. The ubiquitous question from Adobe Support and LightroomForum to DPReview, LuminousLandscape, and FredMiranda has become: how does one build a computer for LR, especially without a Mac Pro budget?

Some consensus has emerged. It's not graphics rendering but data read-write speed that's critical (especially write, according to one source). This should be addressed via CPU, RAM, and drive configuration and file allocation, in that order. However, merely choosing the fastest and the mostest of the first two (along with a 64-bit O/S) apparently isn't enough. What number of drives, what RPM and drive cache, whether to use an SSD and/or RAID 0, and where to put the program, catalog, previews, ACR cache, and image files, has become a science for people outside of Adobe and NAPP.

Thankfully, after my nine months of research, an Adobe Certified Expert revealed this drive configuration:

1) 120gb SSD for OS/Apps
2) 120gb SSD for catalog, previews + ACR cache
3 & 4) Two 2TB 10,000 RPM Hard Drives for RAW/JPEG files in RAID 0

God save the Queen - at least it's something "official" to go on. From top-of-the-line Digital Lloyd to Joe-hobbyist, one can find a myriad of variations on this theme, with some even putting the ACR cache on its own HD/SSD and claiming a noticeable improvement, or not. There may be no single right answer. The point is, the current tutorials and articles out there suggesting catalog optimization, pre-rendering of previews, and other measures (most dating back to LR 1 or 2) clearly need updating. LR users really should not expect reasonable performance with everything on one spin-drive any more than an engineer running SolidWorks on a $50 graphics card, but the average user has been left to figure this out on their own. Otherwise, one wouldn't be reading the likes of this from a like-minded enthusiast (from photography-on-the.net):

"Which brings me back to my question about expectations for Lightroom. I haven't ever heard of an application requiring four disks to solve performance issues. Hasn't Adobe ever heard of RAM? I can still run a wide range of applications on my current PC. Now I'm spec'ing a top of the line PC, and I need to consider four disk drives, for one application? What can I expect with one drive, like every other modern application that's been written since 1989? Not to mention what else I'm bringing to the table, a terabyte 6Gps drive, 6GB memory and four CPUs that we once would have called super computers? Rhetorically, and comically, what else does Adobe think I need for their one application?"

While technology advances and, hopefully, code efficiency improves, I strongly feel Adobe should officially address this issue, somewhere, with drive and file configuration recommendations in addition to minimum CPU, RAM, and O/S requirements.

Chris Niestepski
Newport News, VA

Responses

Official Solution

61 Messages

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2.7K Points

10 y ago

I've created the doc Optimize performance in Lightroom in response to this discussion. I hope it's helpful.

4.5K Messages

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76.3K Points

10 y ago

I'm all for elaborating system "requirements" (maybe "dependencies" would be a better term), e.g. instead of just

"Minimum requirements to run"

Maybe 3 tiers:

- Minimum
- Medium
- Super-station.

With some typical benchmarks, so you can tell if your system is operating normally or abnormally.

On the other hand, this:

"Even with anti-virus off, it brought my Xeon workstation to a crawl: re-displaying previews already generated took up to 10 seconds..."

indicates a bug, not a lack of hardware oomph.

I think if everything is working bug-free, so to speak, the performance criteria are like for any other app: faster cpu for the cpu intensive ops, faster disks for the disk constrained ops, and separate disks for the disk files accessed simultaneously...

Summary:
------------
The more info about this stuff the better, but all the info in the world wouldn't have changed the performance problem you were having with the preview display. Even a 2GB dual core at 1.5 GHz can get a fully rendered preview up on the display in under a second when things are working correctly.

30 Messages

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654 Points

10 y ago

I am not sure if your question could ever be answered, there are simply too many components to it, and in a case like yours, it seemed that simply throwing enough money at the problem solved it... plus, a couple of variables are under nobodies control: i.e. sata raid0 performance (aka hitting the 600MB/s brickwall), RAM, OS, SSD developments (which are getting better every 6 months)... I found it relatively easy to look at digilloyds reviews (and barefeats.com), and derive a solution that is economical for my budget and workflow.

Adobe Administrator

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15.9K Messages

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296.4K Points

10 y ago

We're looking at producing such a document. It's very similar to the articles we have out there for Photoshop:

Photoshop: How do I make Photoshop run faster?

This is an old article on Optimizing Lightroom 2:

http://macperformanceguide.com/Optimi...

Champion

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1.1K Messages

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21.6K Points

10 y ago

And here is what Ian Lyons, another ACP wrote: http://www.computer-darkroom.com/blog...

In short: CPU bandwidth and RAM for previews, SSD for fast database access (keywords, filters, etc)

One has also to ponder what kind of develop settings the files do have: heavy NR, sharpening, lens correction? With the addition of parametric tools comes the need for more power. The latest systems having more bandwidth and processing power than older ones, even top of the line.

2 Messages

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180 Points

10 y ago

I'm thankful all of you have replied; I will look at these links also, and am glad Adobe is looking at updating the official help available. I know there's no one-size answer, but it would help many with a limited budget find a decent starting point.

I'm not sure if Rob means a bug in LR, or a virus; I did have Norton remove one last year before trying LR3. Again, I know my system was limited, but I still couldn't see how LR3 was struggling quite that much. Well, I'll have a new system soon, and we've already progressed by a couple of subreleases, so we'll see. Thanks, folks, for your help!

12 Messages

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510 Points

10 y ago

The comment about RAM is very appropriate. Ram is very very cheap vs. the performance boost that it should be able to provide. LR should be better able to make use of this ram by doing more stuff in the background and "guessing" what we're about to do next. Like scroll down in the Grid. Or load the next photo. etc. I've bot 16GB of ram - I'd like LR to use it.

In the meantime, I'm blowing cash at multiple SSD's and faster processors to make LR less lethargic.

4.5K Messages

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76.3K Points

10 y ago

Its worth remembering the two aspects of performance:

1. When things are operating normal.
2. When Lr performance is crippled due to bug(s).

Its pointless to try and optimize performance until the bug issues are resolved, although changing your configuration may resolve them.

If its taking 10 seconds to display a preview, the bottleneck is a bug.

Definitions:
- Bug: I don't like to point fingers. I mean the bugs may be operating system bugs or driver bugs or Lightroom bugs... But, one of the things every software manufacturer must do is put in code to work-around other software's bugs - its just how things are...

Any system config recommendations you'll find are assuming things are operating normally, and hence may not apply in your case.

61 Messages

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2.7K Points

10 y ago

Sorry to come to the party late, but Martin Evening has an excellent article that's right on point, The ideal computer setup for Lightroom. It's an excerpt from his book, "The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Book."

61 Messages

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2.7K Points

10 y ago

We do document known issues, in the Release notes, but I doubt you'll see us publish benchmarks. Sounds like a how-to-optimize-performance doc would be useful, a la Optimize performance | Photoshop CS4, CS5.

Adobe Administrator

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15.9K Messages

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296.4K Points

10 y ago

Thanks Anita, This is stellar. Thanks for responding to and implementing this request.

513 Messages

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11.1K Points

10 y ago

Anita, many users will find your document very useful!

You might have also mentioned criteria for choosing a good location and size of the ACR cache. IMHO, many people choose ridiculously high sizes for no good reason and have unrealistic expectations about the gain. It may also be worth pointing out that a location on a (fast) drive other than the catalog drive may slightly improve performance.

61 Messages

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2.7K Points

10 y ago

Thanks for the suggestion. TK. I added info on the cache.

144 Messages

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3.7K Points

10 y ago

Another suggestion, assuming it's still true -- working with some of the panels closed can improve performance. For example, the histogram and the navigator. Displaying some metadata in grid cells may slow things down too.

All this was true in 1.x, and I remember a discussion about it somewhere... Don't know if things have changed since then. I know that far more things are done in background threads now, so perhaps it's not as big a deal as it used to be.

242 Messages

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9.1K Points

10 y ago

Do you have recommendations on number of hard drives, and where to store images/cache/previews? For example, is this a way to optimize performance:

Drive C: Operating sytem, Programs; Lightroom catalogue and Previews.
Drive D: ACR Cache
Drive E: images.

As far as I can tell, the catalogue and the previews have to be in the same drive.