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Northstar

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I'm not much of a techie, need some advice on my iMac...
« on: February 22, 2013, 10:39:14 AM »
I have an iMac that I bought new about a year ago - i5 processor and 8GB of ram.

My question...when working with large 50-100GB RAW files (in Aperture) I notice that the computer slows down, so I'm wondering if another 8GB of ram to bring it up to 16GB would help much?

Would it be a little better or much better?

edit....sorry, I had GB's on my mind...I meant 50-100 MB files.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2013, 02:05:01 PM by Northstar »
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I'm not much of a techie, need some advice on my iMac...
« on: February 22, 2013, 10:39:14 AM »

Dukinald

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Re: I'm not much of a techie, need some advice on my iMac...
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2013, 11:27:40 AM »
Memory is cheap nowadays. I say max it out and you can see only improvements in performance. I always do that to my laptops and imac. Dont buy from apple too as their prices for memory are much higher.
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Re: I'm not much of a techie, need some advice on my iMac...
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2013, 12:13:27 PM »
I think extra RAM is unlikely to make an enormous difference.  Either way the files are far larger than your available RAM.  Faster, defragmented hard drives (with plenty of available space) and faster video cards are more likely to make a bigger difference, I think. 


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bseitz234

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Re: I'm not much of a techie, need some advice on my iMac...
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2013, 12:19:18 PM »
Other World Computing is a great place to get RAM, and any other Mac upgrades from, I use them regularly.

However 50-100GB RAW files, that makes no sense. A 21MP RAW file is about 25MB, to get into the GB category you need to be talking about layered TIFF's or PSD's, but to get into multiple GB files you are talking serious stitching or a very inefficient workflow, or a typing error :-)

I am not an Aperture fan, I gave up on it after Lightroom 2 came out, but if your files truly are in the multiple GB size then I suspect something is wrong.

that was my thought, too. How are your images that huge?

But yeah, I've been thinking about upgrading my iMac (older than yours) to 32GB. I say go for it... can't hurt!
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Drizzt321

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Re: I'm not much of a techie, need some advice on my iMac...
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2013, 12:28:46 PM »
Adding more memory might help if you have a lot of memory hungry applications running as well. Say you have Firefox running with 40 or 50 tabs over multiple windows. You're easily talking 1-2GB there. If you're doing Photoshop as well, that can easily eat up another 1-4GB or more, depending. iTunes to listen to music undoubtedly eats up another 300-400 MB. So, it can add up. But, if you basically only have Aperture open (windows closed on an application doesn't count, you have to actually exit the application), then more memory is unlikely to result in any real performance gains.

I'd say you're more likely to get some performance gains off of using an SSD for Aperture file cache, and definitely if you have a newer processor. Even if it's the same speed, simply going up 1-2 processor generations often results in some pretty good performance gains. Watch the Activity Monitor. If the  CPU usage is basically pegged, or nearly so, you just need to bite the bullet and upgrade, either now or when the next updated iMac comes out. That will also net you newer graphics processor, which may result in some minor performance improvements since OS X includes so much eye candy and affects. Or switch to PC and get Lightroom which will let you upgrade incremental parts as needed.
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Re: I'm not much of a techie, need some advice on my iMac...
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2013, 12:51:55 PM »
100GB or 100MB raw files?

RAM can do so much, the real bottleneck these days are s-l-o-w s-p-i-n-n-i-n-g drives.

You can speed things up by having two drives, say one for CR2's and one to save your TIFFs or JPEGS to (that way one drive head isn't trying to read and write big files at the same time through one bus.

Some imacs (27's) had space for a second internal drive, so maybe this the way to go, a wee blazingly quick esata SSD or something big for storage.  Either way your machine will run faster.
 
Either way it sounds like your single HDD trying to is the write and read problem at the same time.

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iKenndac

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Re: I'm not much of a techie, need some advice on my iMac...
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2013, 12:52:50 PM »
Going from 8Gb to 16Gb will absolutely increase Aperture performance — I know because I've done the same thing.

Sure, individual RAW files are unlikely to fill 8Gb, but you need to remember the system is also running an operating system and a bunch of other applications.

That, and Aperture likes to cache stuff in memory to improve performance, so if you're moving between photos it'll likely fill up a ton of RAM keeping them (or 1:1 previews of them) in memory. That way, switching between photos is instant rather than having to re-load them each time.

Case in point: I just loaded Aperture and skipped through an album of 18MP images from my 60D. Without any editing, memory usage went up to 4.4Gb in a minute or so: http://cl.ly/image/140y3Y451R2C

RAM is so cheap these days, you may as well just do it!

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Re: I'm not much of a techie, need some advice on my iMac...
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2013, 12:52:50 PM »

bseitz234

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Re: I'm not much of a techie, need some advice on my iMac...
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2013, 01:06:05 PM »

Either way it sounds like your single HDD trying to is the write and read problem at the same time.

what's going longer bit Takes a. it? Doesn't out to work

copy-paste glitch? ;-)
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Re: I'm not much of a techie, need some advice on my iMac...
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2013, 01:40:00 PM »
I know MacBooks are a little restrictive in terms of what is replaceable (I think only the ram chips) but iMacs are a little more flexible. Start with the ram, it's cheap, super easy to install yourself, just max it to what ever spec OTW says is ok for your machine. Then if its still slow for your liking look into the video card and hard drive.

Drizzt321

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Re: I'm not much of a techie, need some advice on my iMac...
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2013, 01:59:05 PM »
100GB or 100MB raw files?

RAM can do so much, the real bottleneck these days are s-l-o-w s-p-i-n-n-i-n-g drives.

You can speed things up by having two drives, say one for CR2's and one to save your TIFFs or JPEGS to (that way one drive head isn't trying to read and write big files at the same time through one bus.

Some imacs (27's) had space for a second internal drive, so maybe this the way to go, a wee blazingly quick esata SSD or something big for storage.  Either way your machine will run faster.
 
Either way it sounds like your single HDD trying to is the write and read problem at the same time.

what's going longer bit Takes a. it? Doesn't out to work

Well, actual processing seems a bit more CPU limited, at least when it comes to Lightroom. A faster drive/SSD might help a bit, but at least for me, Lightroom tends to be CPU bound when I move from one image to the next and it has to render the full 1:1. Once it's rendered and in memory, actual edits are fast, but it's that 2-4 second (more sometimes!) rendering times when I switch to another image.
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Northstar

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Re: I'm not much of a techie, need some advice on my iMac...
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2013, 02:06:56 PM »
Other World Computing is a great place to get RAM, and any other Mac upgrades from, I use them regularly.

However 50-100GB RAW files, that makes no sense. A 21MP RAW file is about 25MB, to get into the GB category you need to be talking about layered TIFF's or PSD's, but to get into multiple GB files you are talking serious stitching or a very inefficient workflow, or a typing error :-)

I am not an Aperture fan, I gave up on it after Lightroom 2 came out, but if your files truly are in the multiple GB size then I suspect something is wrong.

that was my thought, too. How are your images that huge?

But yeah, I've been thinking about upgrading my iMac (older than yours) to 32GB. I say go for it... can't hurt!

I edited my original post....typo - 50MB RAW files.
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7enderbender

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Re: I'm not much of a techie, need some advice on my iMac...
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2013, 02:13:52 PM »
I don't have a Mac (yet) and I obviously don't work with Aperture. But I follow these discussions since I'm planning on moving to the Mac platform at some point this year.

What I can offer though is that I'm on a ancient Thinkpad laptop as my main photo editing computer (because those had really good high resolution screens that are surprisingly true to colors when calibrated). It's a Dual Core Pentium with 4GB memory - make that 3GB since it's running on XP. That thing handles raw files from my 5DII under both Lightroom 3 and PS CS5 pretty well as long as I don't open too many at once (5 or so is totally fine).

So, more memory is always a good thing but I also find that newer computer with "modern" operating systems are not necessarily much faster. For instance, my work-work computer is an HP Elite Book with i5 and 4GB Ram. Give it a little more complex stuff to do and it caves in.

The other thing to consider are speedier drives. That made a difference for me also in the past when I installed fresh 7500rpm drives in my old Windows machines. On an iMac that is obviously difficult to do but you could hook something up via firewire or thunderbolt, e.g. an SSD drive, and see if that helps. I don't know how Aperture manages it's files but CS5 uses a "scratch disk" and you want that to be in a fast place with enough room also.
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bseitz234

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Re: I'm not much of a techie, need some advice on my iMac...
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2013, 02:16:57 PM »
That sounds much more in line with what I'd expect.

Here's an experiment: open Activity Monitor (should be in Utilities), and pin it to your dock. Go up to View -> Dock Icon -> Memory Usage. You'll get a pie chart in the dock, showing your system RAM. Red is active, Yellow is Inactive, Blue is Wired, and Green is Free. The first three are basically "RAM being used". Green is what you have available. Go about your workflow, but check on it when things start getting slow. Do you have any green? If you have available RAM, then upgrading probably won't help. With 50MB images, you theoretically probably have enough. As others have said, it depends what else you're doing simultaneously, etc. I've found that 12 is usually enough for me for LR processing, but when I run into trouble is when I have PS stitching together panoramas.

Sparknotes: If things get slow and you have no available RAM, an upgrade would definitely help. If you have available RAM when you experience slowdowns, the bottleneck is elsewhere.
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Re: I'm not much of a techie, need some advice on my iMac...
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2013, 02:16:57 PM »

Northstar

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Re: I'm not much of a techie, need some advice on my iMac...
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2013, 02:26:18 PM »
Going from 8Gb to 16Gb will absolutely increase Aperture performance — I know because I've done the same thing.

Sure, individual RAW files are unlikely to fill 8Gb, but you need to remember the system is also running an operating system and a bunch of other applications.

That, and Aperture likes to cache stuff in memory to improve performance, so if you're moving between photos it'll likely fill up a ton of RAM keeping them (or 1:1 previews of them) in memory. That way, switching between photos is instant rather than having to re-load them each time.

Case in point: I just loaded Aperture and skipped through an album of 18MP images from my 60D. Without any editing, memory usage went up to 4.4Gb in a minute or so: http://cl.ly/image/140y3Y451R2C

RAM is so cheap these days, you may as well just do it!

good to know...thanks!


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Re: I'm not much of a techie, need some advice on my iMac...
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2013, 02:29:00 PM »
If you do turn out to have enough RAM you could add an SSD.

I put an SSD where my optical drive used to be in my 2009 iMac and it makes everything much quicker. I got my local apple authorised service provider to do the work and it cost, I think, £60 plus the cost of the SSD and a caddy to hold it in place.

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Re: I'm not much of a techie, need some advice on my iMac...
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2013, 02:29:00 PM »