Lightroom: What can Lightroom really utilize and take advantage of to speed up production and decrease any possible lag?

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This conversation has been merged. Please reference the main conversation: Lightroom: How do I optimize Lightroom performance? (System Configuration Recommendations)

I need to know what computer components are most heavily used when using a program. For Lightroom it seems especially important. When researching this topic all I can find are others asking the same question with very generic and uninformed responses. Why can't the program, under the help menu, make it a point to inform the consumer not only of the minimum system requirements, but of the main system resources used. Is the program heavy on RAM, CPU, GPU? I have no way of knowing what my weakest link is so I can therefore upgrade my system appropriately and ultimately thoroughly enjoy the use of the product. What DOES Lightroom really need, or rather, what can Lightroom really utilize and take advantage of to speed up production and decrease any possible lag?
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David Loja

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Posted 8 years ago

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Lee Jay

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The weakest link depends heavily on what you are doing with it.

For rendering, it's CPU, and to a lesser degree memory (unless you run out during large renders).
For library searching and manipulation, an SSD for the catalog is most important.

Read this: http://www.computer-darkroom.com/blog...
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TK

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LR does not need high GPU performance. You can check its RAM usage using OS tools (such as the Task Manager on Windows). Provided you don't run out of RAM, to the best of my knowledge CPU speed and whether or not LR somehow takes issue with your hardware (there were big problems with certain machines before LR 3.2, not sure how big this issue still is) are the biggest factors.

You can also try some tweaks -- see "Optimize performance in Lightroom" for example -- but AFAIK, no dramatic performance increases will result from distributing data to different hard drives, etc.

If you are suffering from performance problems, your best bet will be LR4 which might bring some performance improvements.
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David Loja

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Well, this questions was more important to me a month ago, before I chose my parts to upgrade my system. It is still important to me, however, because like everything in life there is always room for more upgrades (except my wife, love you babe! :)

I hadn't read either of the articles mentioned, thanks Lee Jay and TK! I had figured out most of the suggestions already, but it was nice to confirm that the way in which I'm using my SSD (which I should point out has read/write speeds almost twice that of the one used in the article) is the best way to use it (best practical way anyway, being application, catalog, and cache on SSD, images on storage drive).

More importantly I hadn't been confident about a good Cache Size and was only set at 2GB (I must have nervously up'd it from the default of 1GB thinking it seemed really small, but not wanting to be wrong :) I am a professional photographer shooting an 18MP camera in RAW, so my average file size after converting to DNG (which helps a ton) is still almost 20MB each! 1GB is only good for 50 images in that case, so for now I have increased my Cache to 15GB (which is located on my 120GB SSD, along with only applications, lightroom catalogs, and whatever might be on my desktop at any given time). At the moment this would leave me with just over 1/3 of my SSD free. I'll consider going a little higher if I need to later. This change alone should help a lot with my slight issues (I really don't ever want to see that loading bar).

After my hardware update I in no way felt Lightroom 3 was slow (especially having seen it run on my 3.5 year old system), but also realized that it wasn't perfect and still has some lag. I am in Lightroom for many hours just about everyday, and while I've increased my production efficiency insanely already, I feel I can do even better.

For the curious, I am now running:

Intel 510 Series 120 GB SATA SSD
i7 2600k CPU (only a tiny bit overclocked as I haven't upgraded the cooling system... yet)
P67 ASUS Motherboard
8GB of Corsair Memory Vengeance 8 Dual Channel Kit DDR3 1600 MHz RAM (Planned to get another set making 16GB, but wasn't sure if it would help. Watching the task manager shows the RAM never maxes out, but I suspect that is due to the software having preset limits on what % of the RAM it will allow to be used. After reading that Lightroom can certainly utilize 12+GB of RAM I think it's time for that upgrade, and while I can still pair it with the same set I currently have)

My only real downsides are my GPU, which is a 3.5 year old Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB and Seagate Barracuda ES ST3320620NS 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB storage hard drives.

As I fill and buy new Hard Drives the plan is to get 2TB WD Green's or Black's. I used the Green's in my NAS system, and they are nice and cool, but if it is going to provide any noticeable performance I will use Black's in my desktop (the downside being extra heat and twice the cost). I sort of assumed that the new Green's (w/ 6GB SATA connections) will out perform my 3.5 year old (current) 3GB SATA drives, and that Black may not be necessary...?

In short I will go ahead with the RAM upgrade to 16GB as it's really cheap ($80), I want to get a matching set while I can, and I use other RAM heavy programs and do tend to have multiple programs running at all times. I will also be buying new storage HD's because I need the room and will simply try to make sure that what I buy is faster than what I have now. That leaves either CPU cooling systems (meaning overclocking the CPU more) and upgrading to a newer GPU. From what I can find it seems the GPU upgrade wouldn't really do anything for Lightroom (?) but anything to help the CPU out would (although overclocking is a bit more worrisome). Oh, and maybe a RAID setup, although at this point I'm not sure if that would help either?

I have also learned many reasons that I should break up my catalogs (some say per event even) for speed and reliability. The downside being that I'd have to switch catalogs constantly, and don't believe I would be able to view all my favorites from all shoots across catalogs or some such at that point?

Well, this turned into quite the long post, but I hope it's helpful to others, and I'm all ears with any other thoughts or suggestions! Thanks everyone!
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Lee Jay

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"I have also learned many reasons that I should break up my catalogs (some say per event even) for speed and reliability."

I personally think that's silly.
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David Loja

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I'm really not psyched about it, but I think I'll give it a shot to see how it works. I know for a fact it will keep Lightroom running very fast and snappy. I am adding thousands of very large photos (~ 80GB worth) every month or less, and half of those get at least somewhat touched up. The bigger concern for me with a fast machine is dependability. One large catalog can not only get corrupt easier, but if it does it affects everything. On the other hand, my catalogs, along with everything else, are automatically backed up continually onto a NAS (which keeps the 3 most recent versions), so I should be able to retrieve the previous version before it got corrupt and only lose at most a weeks work. A weeks work is a lot though, and not knowing exactly what was effected is even worse.

Basically, it's just scarier having one big catalog, but much more convenient! Like I said, I think I'll try separate catalogs and see how it goes in case it's not as bad as I imagine it to be. At the very least I'll be speeding up Lightroom's performance and make it much faster/easier to move a specific clients photos to a different computer for viewing (inside of Lightroom).
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john beardsworth

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David

Fragmenting control of your work isn't the solution - it's good backup procedures, and following the info in that Adobe article (especially about optimising the catalogue). Breaking up your workflow brings all sorts of inefficiencies. How will you find images across catalogues? How will you be sure your keywords match in different catalogues? How would you use Collections? How will you use Publish Services? Can you guarantee an image isn't catalogued in more than one catalogue? And so on. FWIW I work with guys who shoot 1200-1500 raw images 4-5 days a week, and wouldn't think of encouraging them to work as you suggest.

One possible approach for you is with an Inbox and Master catalogues. New work goes into the Inbox catalogue and moved to the Master catalogue when the job's closed. It can still be messy though.

John
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David Loja

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I must say I agree with you. I really don't want to break into lots of smaller catalogs, but after reading so many people getting corrupt catalogs it is certainly hard to not want the security it offers. As I said, I believe my backup system should cover me in case something did happen. I have Lighroom create its backup once a week as it optimizes as well, but my own NAS backup system is continuous, and should always have 3 generations of the catalog on hand. My only worry with that is what if it somehow backs up 3 version before I realize its corrupt and stop it (which should be very unlikely, but at that point I would still have the other backup which would be less than a week old). I certainly go back and forth on whether it's a smart and safe idea, or ridiculous lunacy that should be stayed far away from!
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john beardsworth

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You only hear about the few who do experience corruption, David, and perhaps less about people with catalogues of tens or hundreds of thousands of images who've never had a problem. I take your point about the possibility of backing up an already-corrupted catalogue for a few weeks, so maybe switch to being prompted for a backup every exit? That's what I prefer, as it does an optimisation and also an integrity check. It's only a minor irritation to be prompted every time I exit LR, and I only let it backup once a day.
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john beardsworth

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By the way, does your system mean you are backing up a catalogue when it is open?
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TK

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David, unlike Lee I don't think it is silly to maintain multiple catalogs. I had multiple issues with my catalogs and dread the thought each time *all* catalog information for *all* my images had been at stake. If things go pear-shaped (and unfortunately they tend to), I'd rather deal with a subset of my images than have everything affected.

Regarding your ACR cache size: Note that the actual file sizes in the cache are smaller than you think. In my case they have about 2/5 the size of the original RAW images. This means the cache will fit many more images than you think according to your calculation.

Also note that the speed up enabled by the ACR cache is rather marginal. It helps a little bit but I don't see the point of having huge amounts of hard drive space allocated to the ACR cache. AFAIC, the cache size need not be much larger than to fit the number of images you will typically work with in one LR session. If you generate 1:1 previews for all the images you want to work on at the start of a session then this will also generate the respective ACR cache entries and you are good to go. Unless you are expecting to revisit the images again later, the cache entries are no longer needed and don't need to be preserved by an extra huge cache.