Lightroom - Catalog files and cache in SSD


Vin

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Jul 16, 2002
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#1
Will locating catalog files and cache in SSD improved the speed WHILE EDITING in the Develop Module?
Sometimes I encounter some lags while making adjustments to the image. RAW files (over 20MB) are used for editing.

I've already increased the RAW file cache size to maximum but don't feel any significant improvement.
HDD defragmentation and catalog optimization also done.
Excluding the catalog and cache folders in Anti-Virus program
Render 1:1 previews

My setup
Processor AMD Phenom II X4-955 3.2GHz
Windows 7 64bit
Lightroom 3.4 64bit
8GB DDR3 memory
7200rpm HDD (with sufficient free space left)
1GB DDR5 Video Card

I've search the web and so far people only compare the photo importing speed and how fast the photo get rendered scrolling through the photos in Library/Develop module.
I'm looking at improving the responsiveness of Lightroom while editing photos.
 

daredevil123

Moderator
Staff member
Oct 25, 2005
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lil red dot
#2
Will locating catalog files and cache in SSD improved the speed WHILE EDITING in the Develop Module?
Sometimes I encounter some lags while making adjustments to the image. RAW files (over 20MB) are used for editing.

I've already increased the RAW file cache size to maximum but don't feel any significant improvement.
HDD defragmentation and catalog optimization also done.
Excluding the catalog and cache folders in Anti-Virus program
Render 1:1 previews

My setup
Processor AMD Phenom II X4-955 3.2GHz
Windows 7 64bit
Lightroom 3.4 64bit
8GB DDR3 memory
7200rpm HDD (with sufficient free space left)
1GB DDR5 Video Card

I've search the web and so far people only compare the photo importing speed and how fast the photo get rendered scrolling through the photos in Library/Develop module.
I'm looking at improving the responsiveness of Lightroom while editing photos.
Do you do a lot of cloning, healing on top of brush adjustments in LR?

Remember LR is a non destructive editing tool. Which means, what you see on screen is a render of all the actions you did on top of the RAW file. It does not save anything anywhere, not even in scratch file. So if you did a lot to a picture, everytime you leave that pic and comes back, it will take time to render.
 

Octarine

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Staff member
Jan 3, 2008
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Pasir Ris
#3
You could do some system analysis to see where the lag comes from. Monitor disk utilization and read / write operations. This will show you whether the bottle neck is with the disk.
The cache is an extension of the RAM and should sit on the fastest possible drive. Also, check the swap file settings of Windows. If it's all on the same physical disks (which is the stupid default on most Windows systems) then all your actions will not have any big effects. Writing to cache and writing back to image file is going to the same physical disk with the same interface etc.
Get a second HDD, connect to 2nd controller (2nd Master for PATA disks, SATA disks don't share controllers), put your swap space for Windows and LR cache to this drive. You can also explore options of RAM drive.
 

Vin

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#4
Do you do a lot of cloning, healing on top of brush adjustments in LR?

Remember LR is a non destructive editing tool. Which means, what you see on screen is a render of all the actions you did on top of the RAW file. It does not save anything anywhere, not even in scratch file. So if you did a lot to a picture, everytime you leave that pic and comes back, it will take time to render.
Thanks for the quick reply.

I use those but not on every photo. I’m aware it is non destructive editing and it takes time to render each time I leave and come back to the photo.
I was asking about while editing a photo. Does LR have to re-render all the actions even though I only make a single change while still in the same photo?
 

daredevil123

Moderator
Staff member
Oct 25, 2005
21,652
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lil red dot
#5
Thanks for the quick reply.

I use those but not on every photo. I’m aware it is non destructive editing and it takes time to render each time I leave and come back to the photo.
I was asking about while editing a photo. Does LR have to re-render all the actions even though I only make a single change while still in the same photo?
It will have to rerender everything that is impacted.

Lets say you did some cloning with overlapping cloning. Then some brush adjustments over it. Then add a gradient adjustment. If you want to do some more cloning on top of what you have done in the same area, when you do it, LR will have to re-render everything before you see your end result on screen. I found this is especially slow if you have quite a bit of overlapping cloning done.

If it is a fresh photo, and you make a single change, yes, LR need to render that change. But it should not take too long. In instances like these, I see no lag.

The other thing you want to think about is catalog size. If you do a lot of edits, cloning etc... the entire catalog will slow down as well. Different people manage it differently. For me, I start a new catalog for a new project (shoot). It makes it easy for me also, when I want to transfer entire project to another team member, or to a different machine.
 

Last edited:

David Kwok

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Aug 23, 2008
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#6
I don't use lightroom for this form of editing and after I review it, I feel it will be a more ideal environment if such editing are performed on PS. In any case, there is a cache directory which you can placed it under the SSD which may bring you some performance, but I doubt it will be a lot unless the operations are not CPU bounded.

SSD will certainly allow much faster loading of the images but once the images are cached in the memory(not scratch disk), it will make little difference.

To exactly know if your workflow is CPU or I/O bounded, keep your CPU graph in the Resource Monitor on top while you are editing in those process that you now know is slow. Look at the CPU if it spike when it feels slow. If so, it's CPU bounded. It is extremely hard to observe disk bounded activities because of the high dependencies with CPU.

For the IT perspective, if your process is I/O bounded, you will observe little disk access, but this little disk access can also be interpreted as no disk access from the application, which you cannot easily differentiate unless you also check on the I/O queue depth. That is if you are a full fledge IT fella looking at performance tuning.

If you can identify that the CPU is spiking, and your disk access is low, it is very likely a CPU bounded operation and hence changing to SSD will have little impact on the performance. If you find the CPU is not spiking and the disk is also low, you need to look further because there is no conclusion here. It can be CPU is not spiking because it is waiting for I/O and yet at the same time the disk is slow to response. It can also be taken as CPU is not spiking and it requires no demand from the disk which is why the disk is not spiking in access too.

It's a black art to such kind of optimization and very often consumer just blame it on the disk when it's slow, which is not entirely true. It can also be a bottleneck at the software and other areas such as RAM(though less likely).

Will locating catalog files and cache in SSD improved the speed WHILE EDITING in the Develop Module?
Sometimes I encounter some lags while making adjustments to the image. RAW files (over 20MB) are used for editing.

I've already increased the RAW file cache size to maximum but don't feel any significant improvement.
HDD defragmentation and catalog optimization also done.
Excluding the catalog and cache folders in Anti-Virus program
Render 1:1 previews

My setup
Processor AMD Phenom II X4-955 3.2GHz
Windows 7 64bit
Lightroom 3.4 64bit
8GB DDR3 memory
7200rpm HDD (with sufficient free space left)
1GB DDR5 Video Card

I've search the web and so far people only compare the photo importing speed and how fast the photo get rendered scrolling through the photos in Library/Develop module.
I'm looking at improving the responsiveness of Lightroom while editing photos.
 

Last edited:

Vin

New Member
Jul 16, 2002
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#8
Thanks Octarine, daredevil123 and David Kwok.

I will observe the Resource Monitor and hopefully be able to pin point the "weak link".
 

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