Why is Lightroom so slow on my computer?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by mgk1966, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. Hi,
    I was wondering if someone with more expertise than me could help me figure out why LR 3 runs slow on my machine. It takes me about 8-12 seconds to render a preview, and then there is a lag in processing every time I do an action. Since I process about 1200 images per wedding, this is not acceptable for me. Here are my computer specs:
    LR v3.4.1
    3 GB RAM
    Windows 7, 64-bit
    AMD Turion Dual-Core 2.1 GHZ
    Laptop connected via HDMI to HP LP2475w Monitor 1920x1200
    ATI Radeon HD 3200 Graphics
    I'm keeping my working files and catalogs on the C: drive. At the beginning of processing, I click "Render 1:1 Previews" and let it go. I have no other applications running. Windows Task Manager shows
    If this is an inadequate system, please let me know what the minimum I need to purchase to get the program running smoothly.
    Thanks in advance,
  2. Yes, it is an indaqequate system. It's a very slow dual core laptop, and Lightroom is a demanding application. I'd recommend a newer quad core i5 or i7 desktop, ~3Ghz or faster, with 8+gb of RAM, a decent video card and a faster hard drive. A SSD for the boot drive + a larger drive for image storage would also help out.
  3. I agree that Lightroom can be demanding but the first "upgrade" to make is to simply get the Lightroom library on it's own drive. This does several things. For one, it keeps your library off your OS drive. Now the OS drive is free to run the computer and the library drive is free to cache the images. Currently, you have one drive trying to do two things: run the OS AND fiddle with images. Keeping your library on a separate drive might be all the upgrade you need.
    After that, increase the RAM if you can. The more the better, especially if you are running Windows 64-bit. As a matter of fact, I fail to see why you would even need 64-bits with under 4GB of RAM in the first place?
    If those don't do the trick.... then it's time for a new computer. But keep in mind, even with a new computer, keeping the library on a separate drive is still going to be much faster. So that upgrade is a wash so to speak. Adding the memory will certainly help. As to whether it helps enough is really only for you to say. But if it doesn't, you are out whatever you spent on the memory.
  4. Thanks Sheldon & John.
    I actually had the .NEF directory and the catalogs on an external USB drive until recently. I moved it to the C: drive to try to help the speed issue, but that obviously didn't work.
    So if the task manager doesn't show I'm using the full 3GB RAM, would any more actually help?
    Thanks again,
  5. In my observation, Lightroom is first and foremost demanding on the processing power of your CPU. All of the edits that you make require calculations, re-rendering of the image then redrawing of the screen. I have a little CPU monitor widget on my desktop, and anytime I'm doing anything in Lightroom all four cores of my computer start spinning, and I've got a 3.6Ghz quad core.
    Lightroom is not particularly a RAM hungry program, especially if it's the only program you're running. It also doesn't place huge demands on the hard drive to move a lot of data. It's mainly a database, so there is a fair amount of small reads and writes to the hard drive, but no big moves of data unless you are importing/exporting. A drive with fast seek/write times like an SSD will help, but it's secondary to the CPU issue.
    Your primary problem is that you have a very slow CPU. No amount of hard drive changes or RAM addition is going to fix that issue.
  6. Guys, thanks for interesting answers.
    Please allow me to hijack the thread a bit. I also have experiened LR being slower and slower on my older Dell. I have my images on a USB 2.0 WD harddrive. Is the computer, LR, or the WD-drive the problem? LR seemed quite OK a few weeks ago. On the drive I have approx 35000 images.
  7. Before you spend money, check the usual things - i.e. is the hard drive getting full (80% plus) / has it been a while since it was defragmented / etc. Both those things will slow down your processing.
  8. jfz


    I believe your graphic card is the problem. I could be wrong, but, I think your graphic card uses part of the system RAM as its video memory (shared memory). Depending on how the system allocates its RAM for different tasks, the display process itself can become the bottle neck.
  9. Aside from what the others said, isn't your preference for rendering 1:1 previews on all the files is going to create a huge pile of previews that slows the machine down? I have a 2.8 gHz/8GB RAM,Dual-processor, 5400rpm HDD machine(MacBookPro)and LR3, which in general speeds merrily along, but...ALL the raw/original files are on [multiple]external drives(FW800 throttled down to FW400 because of old drives being used). USB2 also is not very fast in today's world.
  10. I'm on a machine pretty similar to the OP's and LR seems to perform ok. I have a 2-yr old Dell Inspiron 537S desktop with a Pentium 2-core CPU E5200 @ 2.50 GHz and 4G RAM. All files are on the same HDD. When I bought this, I went cheap, not thinking CPU performance was a big deal.
    When I next upgrade, I would probably get a higher-end machine and probably a laptop with a docking station. Maybe in the interim I would add more RAM, but it seems like my machine is working ok, even when I'm running LR + Outlook + Internet Explorer + other stuff.
    Frankly, I'd rather spend my $$$ on more glass, like an 85 f2.8 TS-E or a 400 f2.8.
  11. First realize that Lightroom is slow because it wasn't designed to be fast. It was designed so that it would be easy for the software guys to bring new features to it.
    So hardware recommendation is easy, just buy the fastest thing you can afford. Preferably not a laptop because they are much slower even at seemingly comparable specifications. That's because they are optimized for conserving power.
    Lightroom has a preview cache and it can render the previews when you import or later. It also have different sized previews and by default you need to set 1:1 preview to be rendered in advance if you want to be able to zoom to 100% in a reasonable time. It really means that you need to choose if import will be slow or if you want to render 1:1 previews after import and then wait or if you want LR to render 1:1 preview so you need to wait when you zoom in. Either way you need to wait.
    I don't remember the settings you need to change but if you run it on it's default settings on a computer like yours it will be very slow. Google lightroom and speed and you get billions of hits and find the exact settings you need to change.
    My no 1 tip for making Lightroom faster when you are shooting large volumes of images is to only bring in the images you are delivering into LR. Photomechanic is the speed king for selecting and culling.
    I would also split up the images into preparations, ceremony, reception or whatever parts you find useful. Then you have fewer images to work with at the same time, yet these images share the same lighting, often similar WB etc. etc. That will speed up things as well.
  12. Pres coment
    " Preferably not a laptop because they are much slower even at seemingly comparable specifications. That's because they are optimized for conserving power"
    This might have been true a few years ago but with high end laptops with 64bit quad core processors like the i7, that is a thing of the past . I use an i7 in my desktop and an i5 Macbook given the same ram and HDD speed there is no reason why a laptop will be inferior in performence to a desktop.
    That said; most laptop screens with the exception of Mac are not as satisfactory as a good Desktop screen.

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