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Author Topic: PC performance upgrades for LR, the results  (Read 1193 times)

bobtowery

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PC performance upgrades for LR, the results
« on: March 27, 2017, 07:55:08 PM »

Thought I'd share some recent upgrades and results with the LuLa forum readers. I have been a LR user since V2.

My PC is a slim tower Lenovo, two years old or so. Intel i7-4770 running at 3.4 ghz. 16 GB memory. It has a regular physical C: drive.

I prefer to use drive docks for my photography needs. These are external "toasters" and you just pop regular internal drives in them. (I believe these have tremendous merit but that discussion is for another day.)  The capacity of drives available has always been in synch with my collection of images and my LR catalog files Thus initially I had a 1tb drive and everything fit. Then a 2tb. Then a 4tb. Then, my current, a 6tb. I use Western Digital drives exclusively, mostly the Black version.

As the new versions of USB become available, I generally upgrade the docks since they are so cheap.  USB 3.0 is nearly as fast as eSTATA, so my dock/drives are practically as fast as an internally connected drive. Besides my cloud backup, the dock arrangement makes it dead easy to backup to drives that are stored in my safe plus offsite. (Also, my catalogs and last two years of images are copied to an internal HD each night).

I shot a lot last year and realized I was about up to 5.5 tb for my images (going back to 2001 when I started digital) and my 3 catalogs (1 main, 2 for other purposes and rarely used). My main catalog is about 3gb with 250k images.

Since I was going to get a bigger drive, I decided to see what else I could do at the same time to increase performance.

I bought:

  • 10 tb Western Digital GOLD. While an 8tb would have likely kept me going for a few more years, this Big Daddy means I have more room for video, etc.
  • Samsung 950 NAND card based 500gb SSD drive
  • New drive dock that is USB 3.1
  • USB 3.1 PCI card

(Also note that Windows defrags all my drives on a routine basis so disk fragmenting is not an issue IMO)

My intent was to upgrade each piece one at a time and see what it did to my own personal benchmark, which is LR starting up after a fresh boot (and all services have started).

I really did not have a problem with any LR performance. But startup was quite lengthy - 1:40 (i.e. 100 seconds).  Let me tell you what I define as "startup." When LR opens (in Library module FYI), it is very busy reading the DB/disk and populating the drive and folder area/collectionss on the left panel, and keywords on the right. My definition of startup being complete is when the keyword counts get populated, and I click on one of them and those images appear in the center screen. This is purely my own benchmark and YMMV. Also note that I did a minimum of two boot/start cycles at each point to get an average time (they were always very close anyway).

Upgrade Process

First I replicated my 6tb drive to the new 10tb using my existing 3.0 docks.

My benchmark time increased to 2:00 minutes. So the new drive is not quite as fast as the old one. (you can read up on WD's intent for the drives based on color scheme.)

Then I planned to try the new dock. I got the PCIe USB card  installed. But then realized I didn't have the right cable to connect the new card to the new dock. Whoever designed all these different effing USB connectors, I owe you a kick in the nuts.

So I changed my plan and then went to implement the Samsung SSD. These little goodies are a game changer in that they either connect directly to the motherboard with what is called an M.2 connector, or via a PCI card. Thus the interface to the SSD is via PCIe, not SATA, which is slower. Since my motherboard has no M.2, I use the PCIe card to make the connection.

When this arrived I went to install it and found that I really only have one spare PCIe slot in this small form factor tower. So the USB 3.1 card would have to go.

I installed mounted the SSD on the card and installed. When I booted, I formatted and named the drive. I then copied my LR catalogs and previews to this drive.

HERE'S THE GOOD PART After rebooting (always a clean boot for the timing test), I found that my LR startup (as described above) was now 20 seconds. That is a sixfold increase in performance.

I then decided to reinstall LR on the SSD instead of the C: drive. The CC app made this super simple. I found that startup was now 18 seconds, a modest increase.

I also note that if I shutdown LR and then restart it (without rebooting), some info is cached and my startup is 12-13 seconds.

Overall, the "seat of the pants" feel is that LR is snappier all over. No matter what image I select, could be one I haven't looked at in years, when I hit Develop the full res image is displayed and the Develop panel is ready to go in about .5 of a second. The 128 gb version of the Samsung 950 is going for $130 on Amazon currently, a pretty small amount for such a huge performance gain.

It does not look like I'll be able to use USB 3.1 for my dock (motherboard limitation), a shame since it is such a higher level of performance. But given how LR works with the DB and cache, it might not make much of a difference anyway. And during a large write operation such as an import, my card/reader is going to be the limiting factor not the write speed of the USB version for the drive.

I'm not a Mac guy so I have no comment on this type of upgrade process for them, sorry. But for PC guys/gals, something to consider!

Rhossydd

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Re: PC performance upgrades for LR, the results
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2017, 03:26:03 AM »

My definition of startup being complete is when the keyword counts get populated, and I click on one of them and those images appear in the center screen. This is purely my own benchmark and YMMV
It seems a curious aspect to look at when seeking "performance".
Startup is only a tiny part of an overall LR session.

For me, the aspects of LR "performance" that are important are;
1. How quickly can it load a card of images and build it's previews.
2. How responsive the operations are, loading an image - response to controls in develop etc.
3. How quickly it can render and save finished output files TIFFs, JPGs, books, prints, saving catalogue back ups etc.
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hogloff

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Re: PC performance upgrades for LR, the results
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2017, 09:03:20 AM »

It seems a curious aspect to look at when seeking "performance".
Startup is only a tiny part of an overall LR session.

For me, the aspects of LR "performance" that are important are;
1. How quickly can it load a card of images and build it's previews.
2. How responsive the operations are, loading an image - response to controls in develop etc.
3. How quickly it can render and save finished output files TIFFs, JPGs, books, prints, saving catalogue back ups etc.

Same here. I can live with a longer LR startup as long as it's snappy during use.
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CeeVee

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Re: PC performance upgrades for LR, the results
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2017, 08:31:37 AM »

Maybe a "selling point" would be to have the computer up and running quickly while you got a client looking over your shoulder. Certainly one less thing to be prepared for.
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Simon Garrett

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Re: PC performance upgrades for LR, the results
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2017, 05:56:16 AM »

For me also, start-up time is not a factor.  On my system start-up as defined by the OP takes about 10 seconds on my machine.  That's an i7-6700K with an M.2 Samsung 950 SSD for catalog, raw cache and previews.

I'm not generally bothered about background operations such as exporting and building standard-sized previews.  It's interactive response that I'm interested in. 

Images appear standard size in Library pretty quickly (well under a second) even if there isn't a preview built.  In Develop it takes about a second for 36M pixel images, and ideally that would be quicker. 

Where I would like to see more speed is in building 1:1 previews in real time while I'm looking at an image in Library or Develop.  On my machine, building a 1:1 preview of a 36M pixel image (where there isn't one already built) takes about 1 second in Develop module (OK) but about 3-4 seconds in Library (a bit slow). 

This is odd, but I've just checked: on my machine, 1:1 rendering builds faster in Develop than Library, standard sized rendering is faster in Library than in Develop. 

Also, rendering in Develop can get a bit sluggish when there are a large number of local edits. 
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Hans Kruse

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Re: PC performance upgrades for LR, the results
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2017, 04:24:08 PM »

The performance is pretty much what I have on my MacBook Pro 2016 15".
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