May 4th, 2015
Eric 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:
- GPU support is currently available in Develop only.
- Most (but not all) Develop controls benefit from GPU acceleration.
- 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.
- The GPU performance improvement in Develop is more noticeable on higher-resolution displays such as 4K. The bigger the display, the bigger the win.
- 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.
- 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?