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Six Things to Do to Optimize Lightroom's Performance

Published: 11/04/2017
By: larry

Since Adobe Lightroom is the go-to post-processing application for most real estate photographers, we have talked many times about what you can do to make sure Lightroom is running as fast as possible.

I recently ran across this valuable video by Anthony Morganti on quick tips to optimize Lightroom's performance. It covers these six subjects:

  1. Previews
  2. Metadata
  3. Cache
  4. Graphics processor
  5. Smart previews
  6. Optimizing your catalog

If you use Lightroom, it is well worth the 15 minutes it takes to watch this video.

7 comments on “Six Things to Do to Optimize Lightroom's Performance”

  1. While I agree that those steps can help, I am of a mind that a well-crafted application should not require the end user to "tweak" it to achieve maximum performance. I am convinced LR is in serious need of a core re-write as there is growing evidence it does not perform well for many photographers on certain platforms, no matter what they do to try to make it run better. Photoshop runs so much faster when doing the same adjustment tasks, so I know LR has to be capable of much better performance.

    Just today DIY Photography came out with this article comparing Photoshop performance on a MacBook Pro and a PC with the new Ryzen processor (AMD):

  2. I just created a RAM disk on my computer, and it made a significant difference. I have 32gb RAM, so I was able to use some for that. Something to look into.

  3. I agree with Reed. Lightroom is horrific in terms of performance. I just upgraded from a Core i7 2600k w/ 24 gb to a Ryzen 1800x w/ 64 gb of ram and a 1 tb 960 EVO SSD (one of the fastest on the market) and there were no perceivable increase in performance. Its obvious the bottleneck is not on the computer itself but on the software. I don't think Lightroom is written to take advantage of multi-core cpu's and therefore, it's quite slow. I am actively looking for an alternative to Lightroom as the lack in performance a time waster.

  4. Catalog size can be a problem. I currently try to keep my catalogs down to no more than 10k images. Where I used to have one catalog for my general images, I split off flora and fauna into separate catalogs. LR takes advantage of multiple CPUs for tasks that can use them. When exporting images on my Mac Pro, all four cores are close to 100%. I have a little program called "Menu Meters" that shows various things such as memory usage, disk activity and CPU usage in the tool bar. LR and PS never use up all 12gb of the installed RAM. There are some times when things slow down that it may be the internal busses that are maxed out and no amount of RAM, disk speed or CPU speed is going to make any difference.

  5. My approach was 'basically' the same as Jim Bolen's. I had done a number of upgrades based on past experience: entire computer, faster hybrid drives, graphic card... In the end, I came across an article discussing Lr's heavy dependence on scripting. So, instead of a RAM drive (I remember doing those 30 years ago) per se, I used SSD (basically a RAM drive, hee hee). Installing a 240GB SSD as Z:, I shunted all TEMP type variables to it. I also went looking for any/all Lr variables I could point to the SSD as well. All those scripts are file I/O heavy, so anything to improve disk speed essentially, has a dramatic effect on Lr.

    In the end, it was setting up the SSD that had the impact, as in Day/Night. I don't disagree with 'also' doing what Anthony suggests. Its just that _none_ of those approaches had any meaningful impact for me.

    While all my main drives are SSD, now, I still maintain the separate Z:. It does two things: Lr is installed on it, and, the temp pointers go to it.


  6. Ok, I spent a good deal of time today troubleshooting slowness in Lightroom on my MSI Dominator Pro GT72 VR 6RE laptop. I got it customized from Computer Upgrade King - 64 gig of RAM, two 1TB m.2 SanDisk hard drives, Intel I7 6700-HQ processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 video card. It seems like that should be enough firepower to run any application quickly, doesn't it? Well, Lightroom hasn't run well for me since I installed it. I tried all the tweaks recommended above. I upgraded from a high-end Lenovo machine because I thought I had worn it out because LR ran so badly.

    Today I delved into all my drivers and internal devices to see if there was something - anything - that could be the culprit with the dogged slowness I have been experiencing.

    The first thing I found was the drive I was running LR on was only transferring at 3 Gbps - it's a SATA 3 drive, so that should have been 6 Gbps. I had to update the firmware on the drive to get it up to full speed. Not sure why one m.2 drive had an outdated firmware, and the other was current... That seemed to have a bit of an effect. Then I found the BIOS on my video card had an update. I've been keeping my drivers up-to-date, but I never looked at the video card firmware. I applied that. Then I went to the manufacturer for all my devices to find the latest drivers and firmware for every device. There wasn't much - sound driver and network driver and some maintenance software that came on the laptop.

    Then I went back into LR and changed the cache location to a temp drive on the C: drive instead of the D: drive and unchecked the 1:1 previews box on the Preferences/Performance tab, then tested moving from one photo (300+ mb tif files) to others in the develop module - once with the GPU box unchecked and once with the GPU box checked. Bingo! GPU box checked had a big effect on performance - even though LR is not using the GPU, it is using OpenGL on the card with it checked. I hadn't noticed that before I upgraded the video card firmware. Tested the spot removal tool - while not snappy like in Photoshop, there is a marked improvement. Now if I just had an RE project to test it our on from start to finish, I would know for sure if I have fixed it. Monday will tell the story, I think.

    I'll let you know what my experience is!

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