Best (summer 2019) choices for Mac Lightroom Classic performance and Workflow

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    Topic: Best (summer 2019) choices for Mac Lightroom Classic performance and Workflow Read 3676 Times
  • Stephen Starkman
    Stephen Starkman
    Participant
    Posts: 10
    Computers & Displays
    on: July 3, 2019 at 6:59 am

    Wow! If I type fast enough this post may be the first one in this section of the Forum. Pretty neat!

    VERY LONG POST: NP if it’s not for you….

    Ok. Here’s where I’m at.
    Long time LR Classic user, 60K or so images in catalog (yes, too many), recently many thousands are high res 42-44mp etc.
    Current computer setup: MacBook Pro late 2016 15″, 2.9ghz i7, 16GB, Radeon Pro 460, 1TB internal storage.
    Displays: Internal MacBook Pro (duh), external LG 5K and my old friend, NEC 3090 at 2560×1600. Driving all 3 at max resolution. Very nice actually.
    Photoshop and Photoshop filters (ie: Nik, Topaz) as needed…..

    Issues: Almost exclusively on the processing side – would like better performance with local adjustments. Import, Previews, Export are not critical to my WF. But better responsiveness with image editing functions would be desirable.

    Other uses: No video editing or other high end computational stuff. No games. I’m old. 🙂
    Excluded considerations: Moving completely to Capture One (I have a license and use it as an adjunct to LR for processing, but not the library, so I’m going to stay LR centric for now)
    Any Windows alternative (been there, did that in a prior life for work)

    Budget: well, I’m in Canada. Everything looks to be astronomically priced. I’m more concerned about best guesstimates for life-cycle. I don’t mind spending a lot of money if it remains a productive machine for a number of years. So value is the key concern, not acquisition price. My last MacPro is the 2009 cheese grater. Still works. Gave me almost 7 years of great service in photo editing apps. The 2019 Mac Pro looks like it will far exceed my requirements (remember, no video or 3d modelling or such), so not likely a good value. Lottery winner money.

    Considering
    – 2019 iMac – 64-128GB 8 Core
    – 2017 iMac Pro – 64GB 8 or 10 Core
    – 2018 Mac mini. 6 Core. A slight but noticeable improvement over my current laptop for most functions I’d be guessing.

    I actually don’t need the iMac screen – but there’s no Mac desktop in the range below the 2019 Mac Pro and the 2018 Mac mini.

    I’ve seen reports online (including YouTube – the denizen of sound and trustworthy reviews and comments — er, just kidding) of 2017 iMac Pro running Lightroom Classic and the UI responds at a snails pace.
    Something about Adobe not optimizing the pipeline to push almost 16mb of 1:1 LR image pixels at a 5K display. Sorta makes sense.
    But my MacBook Pro 2016 runs OK with the 5K display, internal 15″ retina and external NEC (2560×1600).

    According to specs, the 2019 iMac will not support both external monitors that I have (at the same time). Bummer.
    But the iMac Pro will.

    Long post. Sorry.

    Thoughts, questions, advice or other……?

    To see the types of images I shoot and print check here:

    https://www.instagram.com/stephen.starkman/

    Thanks!

    Miles Flint
    Miles Flint
    Participant
    Posts: 2
    Re: Best (summer 2019) choices for Mac Lightroom Classic performance and Workflow
    Reply #1 on: July 5, 2019 at 10:27 am

    Similar dilemma here:

    1: New Mac Pro seems to be overkill for stills photographers

    2: iMac doesn’t appeal as I have adequate monitors

    3: Ideal would be an updated ‘Trashcan’ Mac Pro – same form factor with 4 or 6 TB3 ports, Gigabit ethernet. We can dream I  suppose.  My 2013 model still works well with IQ3100 files and a big C1 Catalog.

    4: Mac Mini is its latest incarnation is an excellent machine. 32GB RAM and 2Tb SSD is quite enough for me and indeed in some way is the successor to the 2016 Trashcan in my mind – TB3, 10 Giga Ethernet

    Short-term I have upgraded the current Mac Pro to 64Gb RAM. Any funds that might have gone to the new Mac Pro are no staying in the bank.

    I would be interested to hear what others for whom the 2013 Mac Pro has been a good solution are thinking.

    Miles Flint
    Travel and Documentary Photographer
    UK and Beyond

    Chris Kern
    Chris Kern
    Participant
    Posts: 20
    Re: Best (summer 2019) choices for Mac Lightroom Classic performance and Workflow
    Reply #2 on: July 5, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    Stephen Starkman:

    Issues: Almost exclusively on the processing side – would like better performance with local adjustments. Import, Previews, Export are not critical to my WF. But better responsiveness with image editing functions would be desirable.

    Since you don’t need a machine with an integrated monitor, you might want to consider a used 2013 Mac Pro.  The one I use as my primary post-processing platform—six 3.5GHz cores, 64GB of primary memory,* and a 1 TB solid-state drive—is very responsive when running Lightroom and Photoshop/ACR.  Unless you frequently use some other applications that require a great deal of graphics compute cycles (e.g., the Topaz suite), it is a very capable desktop machine.  OWC currently sells a used configuration identical to mine for (U.S.) $2359.

    Miles Flint:

    Short-term I have upgraded the current Mac Pro to 64Gb RAM. Any funds that might have gone to the new Mac Pro are no staying in the bank.

    I would be interested to hear what others for whom the 2013 Mac Pro has been a good solution are thinking.

    I’m sticking with mine indefinitely. As you point out, the new Mac Pro doesn’t seem to be a good fit for still photographers—at least, not price-sensitive ones.  Apple seems to have targeted it for the institutional workstation market, to compete with the likes of Hewlett-Packard for commercial video production, scientific computing, and the like.

    Of course, if you develop a need for high-performance graphics, a consumer-grade MS-Windows machine will probably be more economical than the new Mac Pro; integrators like Dell actively court the gamers, who make up a big chunk of the market for high-end graphics subsystems, and there is plenty of very powerful hardware to choose from.  Windows is not an option for me since I use a lot of custom software with UNIX dependencies.  If at some time in the future I find myself running a lot of neural network applications that requires more graphics cycles than my 2013 Mac Pro offers, I’d probably have to pop for one of the new models.  But for the Adobe apps, the cylinder I have now is more than adequate.

    ———

    * This is fairly important.  If I was configuring the machine today, I would be tempted to stuff it with 128GB.

     

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    Photostream: https://www.flickr.com/chriskernpix/

    Stephen Starkman
    Stephen Starkman
    Participant
    Posts: 10
    Re: Best (summer 2019) choices for Mac Lightroom Classic performance and Workflow
    Reply #3 on: July 5, 2019 at 6:38 pm

    Hi Chris, Miles,

    I hadn’t seriously thought of a 2013 Mac Pro.

    And I’m unlikely to move that way.

    Why?

    First, at least in Canada, the trashcan 2013 Mac Pro has vanished from the Apple Store as a new product for sale. That’s ok, I’m sure it’s available refurb or used. But it does point out that the 2013 Mac Pro is 4-5 years closer to end of support from Apple than an iMac Pro or 2019 5K iMac. It’s not a warranty issue, it’s the thought of spending thousands of dollars to acquire a 2013 Mac Pro in mid 2019 as the product will be that much closer to end of support (OS updates, security updates, parts, repairs) from Apple. To me, not a good use of money unless I can find one hell of a deal. Different story if I had been running a 2013 Mac Pro already. I’d see how long I could push it with perhaps some incremental upgrades.

    Unfortunately, I’ve resigned myself to an iMac or iMac pro. I don’t need the extra 5K screen, but it’s going to be nice to have with my workflow.

    So now my questions have morphed to:

    – Would a 2019 27″ 5K iMac be the best value? Probably. Great advantages such as relatively moderate price, user upgradeable RAM and for now the best LR and Photoshop performer as Adobe is still not utilizing multiple cores and graphics processors to the extent they should or most likely will. However, I don’t think this computer will support my external LG 5K (yes, I already have it – would be nice not to have to sell it) and my 30″ NEC calibrated non Retina display all at the same time. Having 3 displays is a great benefit for workflow! Going to talk to Apple on Monday.

    – Would an iMac Pro prove to be a better computer? Xeon processors, two Thunderbolt 3 busses, all that. But it’s very expensive, non user upgradeable, slower single core scores than 2019 iMac and 2 years old now. Future improvements in software may help it perform better for Creative Cloud photo apps. But who knows, and when? And when will Apple refresh it? This year? Next? Never?

    If I learn anything relevant from Apple next week I’ll post a message here.

    If you have a dirt cheap 2013 Mac Pro message me pronto LOL!

    Thank you both for contributing to my message – it is much appreciated. Still would love to hear any more thoughts you may have, experiences or those of other people.

    Stephen

     

     

     

    Miles Flint
    Miles Flint
    Participant
    Posts: 2
    Re: Best (summer 2019) choices for Mac Lightroom Classic performance and Workflow
    Reply #4 on: July 6, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    One other thought is that the old tower Mac Pro ran very hot and was intrusively noisy. The 2013 Mac Pro runs far more quietly and emits less heat. Before committing to a new 2019 Mac Pro I’d want to be sure that it would not be like a radiator under the desk – and noisy too.

    Miles Flint
    Travel and Documentary Photographer
    UK and Beyond

    Stephen Starkman
    Stephen Starkman
    Participant
    Posts: 10
    Re: Best (summer 2019) choices for Mac Lightroom Classic performance and Workflow
    Reply #5 on: July 6, 2019 at 5:29 pm
    • N

      Before committing to a new 2019 Mac Pro I’d want to be sure that it would not be like a radiator under the desk – and noisy too.

    • Hi Miles – Not planning on getting a 2019 Mac Pro as I mentioned earlier. But a 2019 iMac Pro – yes. By all accounts it runs very quietly. One has to read product names so carefully these days!
    Chris Kern
    Chris Kern
    Participant
    Posts: 20
    Re: Best (summer 2019) choices for Mac Lightroom Classic performance and Workflow
    Reply #6 on: July 6, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    One other thought is that the old tower Mac Pro ran very hot and was intrusively noisy. The 2013 Mac Pro runs far more quietly and emits less heat.

    I haven’t seen the new Mac Pro in action, and Apple engineering has a well-deserved reputation for expertise in managing heat dissipation—as well as the concomitant cooling noise—however, obviously a big box with high-performance CPU and GPU options, and large primary memory and secondary storage capacities (even if if the latter is, by default, exclusively solid-state), isn’t going to run fanless.

    According to the reports I’ve read, there are three large fans behind the grill of the new enclosure.  The “sleds” containing the optional high-end graphics modules apparently do not include additional blowers, just a large heat sink, but no doubt the latter is going to need considerable airflow to maintain an acceptable working temperature.

    Apropos of which, I’m reminded of something I was told many years ago by a hardware designer for a major U.S. computer manufacturer.  He worked on big iron—multiuser machines—but I think the principle holds true for personal computers and particularly high-performance workstations like the new Mac Pro.  He told me that while it might seem counterintuitive, the best way to dissipate heat was to create a constricted space around hot components: you needed to narrow the point in the path where the forced air moved around them in order to accelerate the airflow.  That meant trading off additional wind noise to achieve cooling efficiency.

    So while the new Mac Pro may seem quiet compared to a computer gamer’s steroid-accelerated PeeCee, I would be surprised (very pleasantly so, needless to say) if it wasn’t much, much louder by default than the essentially silent 2013 Mac Pro.  (Mine sits about 18 inches from my right ear in a very quite home office, and I need to stand up and lean over it to hear any fan noise, even when I am running an application that stresses the GPUs.)  With high-end options installed, I suspect Apple will throttle-up the fans to keep the innards within acceptable cooling limits, which will increase the baseline noise in order to maintain the temperature of the cooling stream.

    Note: this is conjecture on my part.  As I say, I haven’t seen one of these boxes myself, and I am not privy to any inside information from Apple.

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    Photostream: https://www.flickr.com/chriskernpix/

    Stephen Starkman
    Stephen Starkman
    Participant
    Posts: 10
    Re: Best (summer 2019) choices for Mac Lightroom Classic performance and Workflow
    Reply #7 on: July 6, 2019 at 6:16 pm

    Hi Chris,

    Interesting information, however, as my original question stated, I’m interested in learning what is the best option for LR and Photoshop (ie: still image processing) available currently (summer of 2019).

    I highly doubt, as has been mentioned previously, that the 2019 Mac Pro would represent a good choice for me, given the cost, for LR and Photoshop work.  If money were no object (but it is….).

    So even though discussion of the architecture and speculative performance of the 2019 Mac Pro may be interesting, this isn’t where I’m hoping the discussion will focus. But perhaps for another thread.

    Thanks, Stephen

    Jeremy Roussak
    Jeremy Roussak
    Keymaster
    Posts: 251
    Re: Best (summer 2019) choices for Mac Lightroom Classic performance and Workflow
    Reply #8 on: July 7, 2019 at 4:30 am
    • N

      Before committing to a new 2019 Mac Pro I’d want to be sure that it would not be like a radiator under the desk – and noisy too.

    • Hi Miles – Not planning on getting a 2019 Mac Pro as I mentioned earlier. But a 2019 iMac Pro – yes. By all accounts it runs very quietly. One has to read product names so carefully these days!

    My 2018 iMac Pro runs pretty much silently, no matter how much I stress it.

     

    Jeremy

    Stephen Starkman
    Stephen Starkman
    Participant
    Posts: 10
    Re: Best (summer 2019) choices for Mac Lightroom Classic performance and Workflow
    Reply #9 on: July 7, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    Hi Jeremy, nice to see you here!

    So are you using your iMac pro with Lightroom, and Photoshop? Any comments – good, bad or “ugly”? 🙂

    Thanks! Stephen

    Jeff Schewe
    Jeff Schewe
    Participant
    Posts: 55
    Re: Best (summer 2019) choices for Mac Lightroom Classic performance and Workflow
    Reply #10 on: July 8, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    I’m running an iMac Pro (2017) which is the official model…

    Here’s the specs:

    Model Identifier: iMacPro1,1

    Processor Name: Intel Xeon W

    Processor Speed: 3 GHz

    Number of Processors: 1

    Total Number of Cores: 10

    L2 Cache (per Core): 1 MB

    L3 Cache: 13.8 MB

    Memory: 64 GB

    Video card: Radeon Pro Vega 64

    I’m actually fairly pleased with the system–I’m running an NEC PA 302W as primary display and the iMac display as a second/pallet display. After considerable futzing I’ve got the two displays to pretty much match (although the iMac 5K display has some “issues” trying to down throttle the luminous output and the display size of app ui)). I’m running Lightroom on the NEC display for color.

    I’m still struggling with the whole USB 3/Thunderbolt 3 curfuffle… not all USBC devices are TB3 compatible so ya gotta be careful finding stuff. I’m also using a 2016 MacBook Pro on the road so moving drive back and forth can be an issue since the laptop in TB2/USB 3. The road drives I’ve got are LeCie TB2/USB3 that can connect at USB 3 speeds to USBC/TB3.

    I’m actually pretty well satisfied with Lightroom/Photoshop performance.  I’m still running 10.13.6 cause, well I’m chicken of 10.14.5 which is actually working ok on my laptop. I’m just reluctant to change something that’s working well.

    Feel free to ask specifics…

     

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by Jeff Schewe.
    Bernard Languillier
    Bernard Languillier
    Participant
    Posts: 16
    Re: Best (summer 2019) choices for Mac Lightroom Classic performance and Workflow
    Reply #11 on: July 8, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    I am facing a similar situation. My overspecced Mac Pro 2013 is slowly dying of a mysterious death (high and totally random occurrence of Kernel panic since I have installed Mojave) and I am unsure what to do next.

    – The new pro is of course appealing, but do I want to spend 15,000~20,000 US$ on a good config?
    – A windows workstation class machine, typically a Lenovo, comes at about the same price point and Win10 is arguably a better OS than OSX nowadays, but there are quite a few apps I use that only run on OSX,
    – The lack of upgradability of the iMac/iMac pro worries me and I hate glossy screens (I used to use an iMac as my living room PC until then went with the glossy sceen only version).

    As of now I am most likely to invest in a Mac Pro, but I am not really sure this is the best option either.

    Cheers,
    Bernard

     

    Chris Kern
    Chris Kern
    Participant
    Posts: 20
    Re: Best (summer 2019) choices for Mac Lightroom Classic performance and Workflow
    Reply #12 on: July 9, 2019 at 9:38 am

    I am facing a similar situation. My overspecced Mac Pro 2013 is slowly dying of a mysterious death (high and totally random occurrence of Kernel panic since I have installed Mojave) and I am unsure what to do next.

    Operating system crashes are almost always caused by flaky hardware in modern UNIX systems.  (Actually, I’m tempted to omit the “almost.”)  In my experience, uncorrectable memory errors are the prime suspect.  Apple reportedly made memory management more aggressive with the MacOS 10.14 (Mojave) release, resulting in swaps between primary and secondary storage even when there is plenty of free RAM available.  I suspect this means the same memory modules tend to be used more frequently than in previous revs of the operating system.  Isolating a defective module is sometimes tricky, but Apple’s diagnostic tools are a good place to start.

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    Jack Siegel
    Jack Siegel
    Participant
    Posts: 18
    Re: Best (summer 2019) choices for Mac Lightroom Classic performance and Workflow
    Reply #13 on: July 9, 2019 at 11:26 am

    I own the Trash Can (Mac Pro 2013).  I had to replace my original one last year when Apple couldn’t fix the original one.  I am upgrading the RAM, but will not be purchasing the new 2019 model.  It is overkill for still photography.   For the time being I will be fine, but longer term, I am not sure what to do.  My household is Apple, so I am reluctant to go back to Windows.  I am watching the Mac mini evolution.  I don’t want the Mac screens.

     

     

    Stephen Starkman
    Stephen Starkman
    Participant
    Posts: 10
    Re: Best (summer 2019) choices for Mac Lightroom Classic performance and Workflow
    Reply #14 on: August 24, 2019 at 10:50 pm

    Hi Jeff!

    Thank you for the reply – I didn’t get notified of any responses on this topic (thought I had turned it on) and it’s been a bit before I had time to get here.

    Your post is very helpful!

    I do understand that the 10 core build is a better performer than the 8 core even though the 8 core has a faster clock speed, and that faster clock can be an advantage to single core processes. Hopefully LRClassic will continue to improve in regards to multi-core and graphics processors. The latest August update better on my existing hardware (Late 2016 15″ MacBook Pro).

    As of late, I’m having problems with my 10 year old NEC 3090 (not) communicating with my MacBook Pro.  So I can’t calibrate it using SpectraView (error -32). It did work earlier in the year – same hardware. I replaced/subbed all the cables and adapters (have to go TB3–>MiniDisplayPortAdapter–>Dual Link DVI adapter—>Dual Link DVI cable to monitor). Long road trip huh? As I said, it all worked until just recently!

    So I’ll get this sorted first (trying maybe to avoid buying another 30″ display, even though I’d like a PA 302W).

    I’m also curious what, if anything, Apple may do with the iMac Pro in terms of next release.

    Lastly, yes a question. In terms of working with your iMac Pro, what would you identify as the most significant bottleneck or limitation for your workflow?

    Best regards – Stephen

     

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