Lightroom: The BS of High Performance Enhancements
Somebody, no name will be mentioned (at least by me) wrote an article on speeding up Lightroom. I never attended his Lightroom workshops, and hopefully they are of a much higher caliber than his “High Performance Enhancements” advice. The advice sounds like advice from a guy from the computer store and the guy has never used Lightroom. Please note that the bolds in the quotes are my emphasis and I have fixed a couple of spelling mistakes.
Improve on the Lightroom minimum system requirements. Stuff as much RAM as you can into your computer. 16 GB is the max for newer laptops. Giving Lightroom access to more than 4 GB of RAM can significantly improve performance.
I have 2 main catalogs, one has 18,000 photographs and the other one 160,000 photographs. Currently, I use Lightroom 4.1 on Windows 7-64:
|Programs||Total Memory Used||Program Memory Used|
|Windows 7||830 Mb|
|Lightroom 4.1 with 18,000 photos||1.23 Gb||400 Mb|
|Lightroom 4.1 with 160,000 photos||2.1 Gb||1.2 Gb|
To go pass the 4 gigabytes of RAM that is on the current base/standard computer, you will need a catalog with at least 400,000 photos and you will need a 64 bit operating system. To use the 16 Gigabytes of RAM, you will need a catalog with at least 3 million photos! It could happen, but will it happen for you? With 3 million photos, you will have more pressing problems that the amount of memory like disk space with at least 30 terabytes for the images and then there are the backups… Now with PhotoShop, it's another matter, it possible to quickly reach and pass the 4 gigabytes of memory, 3 or 4 complicated images with dozens of layers will gobble memory like no tomorrow.
Fast Hard Drives @ 7200 rpm or Opt for Building your computer with the “solid state” Hard Drives or Look for the Ultra-Fast, High-Performance Thunderbolt Interface Technology for Mac computers
Here is some ‘good’ advice, but he doesn't even know why. The Solid State Drives (SSD) are a fantastic new technology, but not for the photos or the Lightroom catalog. Use the SSD drive for the
CAMERA RAW CACHE location
Preferences > File Handling > Camera Raw Cache Settings > Location > Choose. You could also move the catalog and the previews to the SSD drive, but you will need to make sure that you backup the catalog (not the previews) to a “real” hard drive. And that's where you will be the highest speed improvements.
Make sure you have some extra space on your hard drive. Your computer’s primary startup drive (normally the C: drive on a PC or the Macintosh HD on a Mac) should be no more than 50% full at any time.
Pure BS, both Windows and Mac use a swap file that should be at least twice the amount of RAM. If you are using only one hard drive on your computer, Windows is not happy there is less than 20% of free disk space. The MACs start complaining around 10%. It's not a good idea of not having enough disk space, Lightroom creates a lot of temporary files with the Camera Raw Cache and with the Previews, it can add up quickly, but that will not change the speed of Lightroom.
And last, a good video card with at least 1GB or more of on board ram can be beneficial.
Both Lightroom and Photoshop have the same Camera Raw module for processing the images, but they display the images in completely differently ways. If your computer has a fast video card with lots of memory, Photoshop will use it but Lightroom will NOT! Oh I wish it was the case that Lightroom would use the video card hardware acceleration instead of the OS, it would significantly speed up the applying of the changes on large collections. You can see it in operation by opening the Task Manager > Performance and looking at the CPU, then open a very large collection in Lightroom and do not touch the keyboard anymore. Try something similar with Photoshop by opening a big and complicated image with hundreds of layers and you will see the difference.