December 27th, 2010
Back in November I gave my backup MacBook Pro to a up an coming young 11 year old photographer friend that wants to learn video and photo editing. Since I don’t like to be without a backup machine I bought a new iMac. When purchasing the iMac on the Apple site the configuration panel now has a radio selection button for a “256 GB Solid State Drive”. I’ve heard people raving about the performance of the solid state drives on the new MacBook Air’s so I pushed the button. Also, since I was tired of Aperture running like such a slug in 4 GB of RAM I also pushed the selection button for the maximum amount of RAM (16GB).
I’ve been using the iMac now for almost a month and my goodness this thing is still taking my breath away! It boots in seconds and applications load instantly. This YouTube video gives a sense of what it feels like when you have a SSD for your system drive.
This new hardware configuration, with an obscene amount of RAM and SSD, finally gives Aperture 3.0 the resources it needs. It finally runs as fast as Lightroom. I suspect I may have gone farther than I need to, to get Aperture to run acceptably. I could probably have stopped at 8GB of RAM. Now that Aperture 3.0 runs better for me I’m using it much more. There are many things about Aperture 3 that I really like:
- Brush features: Aperture 3 brushes are one of my favorite features. They are so easy and intuitive to use. They work much like layer masks but are much easier to use.
- The interface: Aperture has a distinctly Apple feeling interface and is integrated into the Mac OS and other Apple products like me.com, iMovie and the iPad.
- Video: You can mix videos with stills very nicely.
- Creating Books: Aperture 3 has a wonderful feature for creating photo books that I’m just beginning to explore. I had planned to make a photo book of my grand kids for Christmas but life has been too busy and I didn’t make it.
This whole experience with my new iMac and SSD drive has demonstrated to me that if there is one single thing you can do to speed up your computer it’s put a SSD drive in it. There are many smaller ones but a 256 GB SSD drive cost about $600. I think it is well worth it.