Lightroom CC/6 Speed Improvements – What Hardware Do You Need To Run Lightroom?

May 4th, 2015

LightroomCC-GPUEric Chan hardware comments
Eric Chan, a Camera RAW engineer at Adobe, made some recent comments in the Adobe forum about the speed improvements in Lightroom CC and 6. He explains that the speed improvements in Lightroom are from using your Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). Here is a summary of his comments:

  1. GPU support is currently available in Develop only.
  2. Most (but not all) Develop controls benefit from GPU acceleration.
  3. Using the GPU involves some overhead (there’s no free lunch). This may make some operations take longer, such as image-to-image switching or zooming to 1:1. Newer GPUs and computer systems minimize this overhead.
  4. The GPU performance improvement in Develop is more noticeable on higher-resolution displays such as 4K. The bigger the display, the bigger the win.
  5. Prefer newer GPUs (faster models within the last 3 years). Lightroom may technically work on older GPUs (4 to 5 years old) but likely will not benefit much. At least 1 GB of GPU memory. 2 GB is better.
  6. We’re currently investigating using GPUs and other technologies to improve performance in Develop and other areas of the app going forward.

The above notes also apply to Camera Raw 9.0 for Photoshop/Bridge CC.

What kind of hardware do you need to run image editing software?
A related subject is what do hardware do you need to run Lightoom? A comment by a PFRE reader on the Lightroom CC announcement post said, “My laptop is an A8 AMD with 6GB of RAM. I figure that’s pretty fast. Guess not!” Yes, this is not enough hardware to run Lightroom well.

My experience has been that professional image editing software like Lightroom and Photoshop need lots of RAM to run well. I gave up using just 8 Gig several years ago and have been very happy I did. Now very machine I purchase now is 16 Gig of RAM with a SSD drive. Not using the fastest hardware wastes your time (money) in the long run. Now, based on Eric’s comments above, using a modern GPU with 2 Gig of RAM is also a benefit. Hardware is cheap in the overall scheme of things.

What are others experience with Lightroom CC?

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14 Responses to “Lightroom CC/6 Speed Improvements – What Hardware Do You Need To Run Lightroom?”

  • I tried installing Lightroom in my other laptop which is 8GB ram and is only an i3. It runs much better than the A8 with 6GB of ram. It’s not super fast but at least I can do other things while it’s processing. With the AMD A8 machine everything is locked up until the processing has finished. I installed Photomatix Pro in both my machines and batch and individual processing works fast and flawlessly in both of them. So it is possible to create HDR without hogging resources.

    I hope in the future they improve this or at least supply a slider that would allow it to run slower in the background but free up some foreground resources. Not to mention provide batch processing.

    Needless to say my next computer will have gobs of ram. I’m not sure that adding more ram to an A8 processor will do the trick?

  • I think the new version is kinda bogged, especially for switching between images, and I’m running an i7 2xquad with a bumload of ram. Switching is probably what I do most, so being bogged down kind of defeats the purpose of having great hardware, no?

    Even though I can batch sync, for real estate I still have to look at each image to see if they need individual attention, and frankly, the bogged down speed makes me sleepy, so much so that’s it’s hard to actually stay awake to get through 100 files. It feels exactly like driving fatigue.

  • These new requirements kinda suck. So i’ve had to repost this comment three times. Forgot what all i said. Any way, desktop i7 2600k works fine, laptop i5 2310 bogs down, soon i hope i will double ram in both.

  • Sorry, forgot to mention, i have 8gb ram in desktop, 4 in laptop.

  • Kelvin, you must be running alot of auxiliary programs or applications.

  • Kelvin, look at your task manager and find whats using all your RAM up?

  • My current rig is an Intel i7 6 core, 32Gb ram, dual 4GB GTX 980s, 2 Samsung 850 pro SSDs in a RAID 0. While the previous LR ran very well, I personally notice a significant boost in overall speed in the new version. Especially in areas such as cropping and gradients which now run like butter. I am very happy with this new version and just thought i’d share the experience from the high end machine side of things. I haven’t timed it or anything but I really feel like my overall processing time has gone down significantly with this new version of LR.

    -Sean

  • Lightroom CC will not run on my seven year old laptop so I’m stuck with LR 5. It does run on my 5 year old desktop but I only have 250MB in my GPU memory. So it runs slowly on the desktop but when I process images in ACR it zooms through. Basically, I find Lightroom useless. I get better and faster results using Photoshop.

  • Kelvin,
    What hard drive(s) are you using? If you aren’t using at least an SSD for your C: drive than that is most likely the problem. You also don’t mention your video card. 🙂

  • So far for me, LRCC/6 is a bit slower than LR5 with the exact same PC specs. It launches slower, imports slower, loads images slower, and exports slightly slower. And that WITH my new $400 graphics card helping out. Something’s fishy.

  • @Jeff – What are your PC specs? how much RAM and how much RAM on graphics card? SSD?

  • I just remembered, May 4, there was an update for LR from the cloud. I think it mentioned something about speeding it up among other things.

  • Larry,

    My CPU is an i5, 16 GB RAM, and the video card is GTX 780 Ti with 2 GB RAM. HDD is traditional spinner, not an SSD. Considering my CPU isn’t exactly top of the line, I find it strange that the new LR would actually be slower WITH the GPU helping out.

    One of these days I will employe an SSD for temporarily culling & editing, but those things still make me nervous since they can die very suddenly and without much hope of data recovery. But I have cloud backup too, so that fear is probably unfounded. 🙂

  • It’s back to LR 5.7 for me, for now.

    I-7 4770K
    32GB RAM
    Samsung SSD

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