Speed up PC for photo editing? What to upgrade?

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Speed up PC for photo editing? What to upgrade?

Postby haring on Mon Jul 13, 2015 5:25 pm

I would love to make my pc faster for photo and video editing. Adobe is trying to help us with some ionstructions on their website but it is not clear how much processing power I gain via replacing one or two components of my desktop. I have read tons of threads on the issue however but I don't seem to find the right way to do it... I would like Lightroom to respond faster when I switch between two images. I would love Portraiture to finish processing the photo I am working on faster in Photoshop, etc My PC: Windows 7, CPU: i7 3770K, Memory 16GB

My questions:
- How much speed do I gain by upgrading the memory to 32GB?
- Would an expensive video card help? Which one?
- Should I upgrade my CPU? Which one do you recommend? Have you done these modifications before?

What is your experience? Which upgrade yielded the best results? Thanks so much!
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Re: Speed up PC for photo editing? What to upgrade?

Postby tommyg on Wed Jul 15, 2015 11:49 am

I recently went through this, and I found the best upgrade for Photoshop I could do was to put an extra drive in the machine - specifically an SSD and make this the scratch drive for Photoshop. I would go with minimum 256 gb or larger, doesn't need to be an expensive one, as if it fails no issues as nothing is stored on here.

Also, accessing files directly on the machine has a significant speed improvement, so we then put a second SSD drive in - in our case a 1TB Samsung. We then use this for our work drive, where we have all the images etc. we are currently working on, and then once finished with them, transfer them to a standard drive elsewhere.

In regards the graphics card, getting one that can be used for the GPU does give some benefits - especially in video editing. You don't need to spend a huge amount here though as the difference between a top-end card and a mid-range one is huge in price, but not in Photoshop performance.

Finally in regards the CPU and memory, there will be some improvement for each of these, more for the memory I think than the CPU, but these will be negligible IMO. If upgrading the CPU you may find you also need to upgrade the motherboard which then becomes more expensive.

Regards
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Re: Speed up PC for photo editing? What to upgrade?

Postby Aussie Dave on Thu Jul 16, 2015 10:42 pm

Some good tips above and I agree with the SSD's.... Best bang for buck for any computer.

16GB of ram should be plenty, even for video editing.... and more importantly you reallyneed to be using 64bit versions of the software to make anything more than 4GB ram worthwhile.

The IT geniuses at my work built me a video editing machine and insisted they knew better than me. $7K later and I had a 6 core (12 thread) xeon cpu with a $1000 cad graphics card, 512GB SSD and a whopping 24GB of RAM. And then they purchased 32bit software and I have NEVER seen it use more than 3.5GB of ram.

It renders pretty good but certainly not what you'd expect for a $7000 build (and this was about 3 or so years ago).

And as for Lightroom being slowish I'm afraid its actually the program itself that is slow when changing between images. Its a known issue and the new CC version is better but still not perfect.

I'd start with SSD's and see what this gives you and then go from there.
And I would highly recommend the Samsung EVO 850's. Decent pricing and good performance.

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Re: Speed up PC for photo editing? What to upgrade?

Postby tommyg on Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:31 pm

I missed the issue with Lightroom switching between images speed.

The reason for this is around building of previews, in the Develop module Lightroom needs a 1:1 preview to work on the image. When you switch between images, Lightroom goes off and creates the preview image from the RAW file. I have found the best way to speed this up is to generate all of the previews for images I am currently working on - usually overnight. This sped up moving between images from a few seconds to virtually instantaneous.

Alternatively, when you first import the images - select to build 1:1 previews at this time, rather than the small previews - these are used when you are looking at the postcard-sized versions of the photo, but as soon as you go into the develop module - it wants a 1:1 preview to work with. This will however impact on the time it takes to import images.

Finally they now have smart-previews, which are fairly similar to how 1:1 previews work, except you can work on these when the original RAW images are not available.

Cheers
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Re: Speed up PC for photo editing? What to upgrade?

Postby gstark on Fri Jul 17, 2015 5:50 pm

tommyg wrote:I missed the issue with Lightroom switching between images speed.



Very useful information. Thanks.

As to the OP's question, the basic hardware configuration already seems to be fairly good, with my only real question being as to what specific version of the Core i-7 is in use here, but regardless of that, the information provided is, I think, right on the money.
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Re: Speed up PC for photo editing? What to upgrade?

Postby Aussie Dave on Sat Jul 18, 2015 11:16 am

This is true Tom and a good suggestion.
However, my only issue with creating the 1:1 previews during import is that I may be creating large previews for files I don't end up wanting to edit.
If others are like me, they tend to keep almost every photo taken.

I guess as a compromise I could import the images, then go through the selection process and flag the one's I wish to edit and THEN set Lightroom to create a 1:1 preview for those images.

I find that the slight delay when changing through images in the develop module isn't a huge issue (to me) and it means I don't have to worry about creating large previews for images I don't edit and I don't need to worry about adding another step in my import process - but each to their own.

At least there is a workaround for those that really don't like the delay.
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Re: Speed up PC for photo editing? What to upgrade?

Postby Murray Foote on Sat Jul 18, 2015 5:58 pm

There is another alternative here: Fast Raw Viewer. See this summary and links to reviews.

Even with 1:1 previews, Lightroom can still be a bit slow to turn over from one image to the next, especially probably for D800 files. Fast Raw Viewer (FRV) is a method I am starting to adopt for assessing and culling images prior to working on them in Lightroom. It is very fast and offers genuinely accurate information on RAW exposure. It is just a viewer, not an editor. It is produced by the makers of RAW Digger.

I don't find their method of marking for deletion useful so I just assign a red label and later delete in Lightroom. If you have already imported the files to Lightroom, LR will identify metadata conflict so you just have to select "override from disk". LR can be a little slow to pick this up so one option is to close and then reopen LR.

FRV is available for $US15 until 31 July.

...

Another option that has not been mentioned here for speeding up a computer is RAID. I have a RAID 10 array as my data drive.
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Re: Speed up PC for photo editing? What to upgrade?

Postby haring on Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:49 am

tommyg wrote:I missed the issue with Lightroom switching between images speed.

The reason for this is around building of previews, in the Develop module Lightroom needs a 1:1 preview to work on the image. When you switch between images, Lightroom goes off and creates the preview image from the RAW file. I have found the best way to speed this up is to generate all of the previews for images I am currently working on - usually overnight. This sped up moving between images from a few seconds to virtually instantaneous.

Alternatively, when you first import the images - select to build 1:1 previews at this time, rather than the small previews - these are used when you are looking at the postcard-sized versions of the photo, but as soon as you go into the develop module - it wants a 1:1 preview to work with. This will however impact on the time it takes to import images.

Finally they now have smart-previews, which are fairly similar to how 1:1 previews work, except you can work on these when the original RAW images are not available.

Cheers
Tom


Tom,

How do you generate all the preview images before you start editing?

Thanks so much!
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Re: Speed up PC for photo editing? What to upgrade?

Postby Mr Darcy on Mon Jul 20, 2015 10:31 am

(LR5)
To build 1:1 previews on import
File->AutoImport->AutoImportSettings->InitialPreviews->1:1

To build 1:1 previews for your existing catalog
First select the photos you want then for then...
Library->Previews->Build1:1Previews.

It is well worthwhile getting one of the many books on Lightroom and working through it. Even the bits you think you know. Perhaps especially those bits.
I use Martin Evenings books, but there are others out there just as good.
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Re: Speed up PC for photo editing? What to upgrade?

Postby tommyg on Mon Jul 20, 2015 11:35 am

Aussie Dave wrote:This is true Tom and a good suggestion.
However, my only issue with creating the 1:1 previews during import is that I may be creating large previews for files I don't end up wanting to edit.
If others are like me, they tend to keep almost every photo taken.

I guess as a compromise I could import the images, then go through the selection process and flag the one's I wish to edit and THEN set Lightroom to create a 1:1 preview for those images.

I find that the slight delay when changing through images in the develop module isn't a huge issue (to me) and it means I don't have to worry about creating large previews for images I don't edit and I don't need to worry about adding another step in my import process - but each to their own.

At least there is a workaround for those that really don't like the delay.


I don't find this an issue, as when I have finished with the images (selection/editing etc.) - I then select to delete all of the preview images, freeing up the disk space. Then, if I go back in the future to make changes to a few images, I just let LR re-create the previews for the few images I need.

Cheers
Tom
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Re: Speed up PC for photo editing? What to upgrade?

Postby tommyg on Mon Jul 20, 2015 11:39 am

Murray Foote wrote:Even with 1:1 previews, Lightroom can still be a bit slow to turn over from one image to the next, especially probably for D800 files.


I have a D810 and D700, and find once I have generated the previews that the switching time between images is inconsequential. Each year we do the photography for a local dance group - 9 shows over 2-3 weeks, and end up with close to 20k images to edit - and building the previews cuts down our editing time by about 30-40%, with so many images we do hardly any actual editing, just selecting whether to keep or not, so the speed switching between images is our most important aspect.

Cheers
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Re: Speed up PC for photo editing? What to upgrade?

Postby Murray Foote on Mon Jul 20, 2015 3:38 pm

tommyg wrote:
Murray Foote wrote:Even with 1:1 previews, Lightroom can still be a bit slow to turn over from one image to the next, especially probably for D800 files.

I have a D810 and D700, and find once I have generated the previews that the switching time between images is inconsequential. Each year we do the photography for a local dance group - 9 shows over 2-3 weeks, and end up with close to 20k images to edit - and building the previews cuts down our editing time by about 30-40%, with so many images we do hardly any actual editing, just selecting whether to keep or not, so the speed switching between images is our most important aspect.
Cheers
Tom


That's not my experience. I quite often find LR slow to turn over, and the loading warning can come up for say two or three seconds for each image even though they have been imported with 1:1 previews. This is not merely D800 images but also D3s, X-T1 and X-E2 images.

I just did a check on a folder I am working on with 6,000 images. Initially the turnover was instant but as I went down to the bottom of the folder I got a small wait. Then I reapplied my current filter and clicked on what happened to be the last image I was working on, a Fuji RAW file. The loading warning came up for over three minutes till I clicked on another image. Clearly something is going on I don't understand, whether LR operation or underlying processes but the delays do not occur with FastRaw Viewer.

I don't know how many images I have taken in the last year because many of them are deleted. It's probably around 30,000. However, in the last 12 months I have published 2,900 images to my Blog and published 800 live music images in JAlbum for Festival organisers and bands. That's over ten a day. I don't have a minimal processing approach at all, just whatever it takes, often quite intensive, but turning over of images in LR as I select or cull them has definitely been annoying at times.
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