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Late 2015 5K 27 inch iMac performance

Skyhawk

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I have read a number of posts on the internet that the previous model did not have enough grunt to provide smooth performance in the Development mode with a number of sliders. Has anyone bought one of these and can comment on Lightroom's performance?

For the record, I have a late 2012 27 inch iMac fully specced out with 32 GB of RAM and use Lightroom 2015.1.1 without any problem. However, this is not a 5K screen. I recently read a review of the new iMac from a photographer's viewpoint which was very positive.
 
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I have read a number of posts on the internet that the previous model did not have enough grunt to provide smooth performance in the Development mode with a number of sliders. Has anyone bought one of these and can comment on Lightroom's performance?

For the record, I have a late 2012 27 inch iMac fully specced out with 32 GB of RAM and use Lightroom 2015.1.1 without any problem. However, this is not a 5K screen. I recently read a review of the new iMac from a photographer's viewpoint which was very positive.
I have a late 2011 iMac with 16GB. My RAW file are 36mp Nikon D8xx so I have a lot of pixels to manipulate. I'm happy with the processing capabilities of my current configuration. I'm currently running LRCC2015.3 on a dual display and I'm comfortable with the processing speed, although I wonder if more RAM would be a little faster.

My current screens are 2560X1440 and have a pixel density of ~110/inch. I am thinking of getting a 5K replacement. However, I have reservations. The OS windows controls are minuscule at 2560X1440 and would likely be even smaller with a 5K screen which has a pixels density ~220ppi. A character from a font at standard resolution might be 1/10" high and on the 5K would only be 1/20" tall.

LR does not adapt well to the screen that I have, since Adobe insists upon using light gray text on a darker gray background.
 

Skyhawk

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I have a late 2011 iMac with 16GB. My RAW file are 36mp Nikon D8xx so I have a lot of pixels to manipulate. I'm happy with the processing capabilities of my current configuration. I'm currently running LRCC2015.3 on a dual display and I'm comfortable with the processing speed, although I wonder if more RAM would be a little faster.

My current screens are 2560X1440 and have a pixel density of ~110/inch. I am thinking of getting a 5K replacement. However, I have reservations. The OS windows controls are minuscule at 2560X1440 and would likely be even smaller with a 5K screen which has a pixels density ~220ppi. A character from a font at standard resolution might be 1/10" high and on the 5K would only be 1/20" tall.

LR does not adapt well to the screen that I have, since Adobe insists upon using light gray text on a darker gray background.

Thanks for the reply.

I have now taken the plunge and will hopefully receive a maxed out spec-wise late 2015 5K 27 inch iMac with 4 Gz CPU and uprated 4GB graphics, initially with 32 GB memory.

I shall put it though its paces when it is up and running and report back with my findings. I shall be hoping that I have not wasted a lot of money and will see the performance increase over my last model. I do a lot of video editing too hence the spec. t will be interesting to test out your reservations.
 
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Thanks for the reply.

I have now taken the plunge and will hopefully receive a maxed out spec-wise late 2015 5K 27 inch iMac with 4 Gz CPU and uprated 4GB graphics, initially with 32 GB memory.

I shall put it though its paces when it is up and running and report back with my findings. I shall be hoping that I have not wasted a lot of money and will see the performance increase over my last model. I do a lot of video editing too hence the spec. t will be interesting to test out your reservations.
If you are over 40, tiny print will no doubt be an issue. Since I want to upgrade too, I am extremely interested in your thoughts on the size of the Window controls and fonts.
 

smcf

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We're queuing up to hear your impressions Skyhawk. I too have been looking at the same spec but am a little reluctant to fork out the money if the 5K resolution is an issue.
 

Skyhawk

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OK folks, yes I did get my iMac and have Lightroom CC 2015.3 running. I delayed replying to you all, as I wanted to make doubly sure that sufficient early adopters had shared their experience with the latest version of LR. In fact, I "upgraded" last night. Everything appears to work without hitch and I have noticed nothing untoward with the 5K screen. It is blistering fast (have opted for a 1 TB SSD hosting my LR catalog with all my photos on a dedicated Thunderbolt 2 drive and the 4GB upgraded graphics card)

I hace so far limited experience with the configuration but will post afresh if anything comes to light. However, my initial impression is all positive and subject to my caveat would not hesitate in saying how pleased I am with it. Well worth the money, so be brave and shell out...lol!
 

smcf

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Wow! Good news there. Did you max out the RAM? I was thinking of skimping on the SSD and going with the smallest SSD since all but the OS (generally) is on external drives or NAS here. How do you find the UI? Text not too small? Oh and do you have the monitor at its native resolution? Cheers,
S.
 
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Skyhawk

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Wow! Good news there. Did you max out the RAM? I was thinking of skimping on the SSD and going with the smallest SSD since all but the OS (generally) is on external drives or NAS here. How do you find the UI? Text not too small? Oh and do you have the monitor at its native resolution? Cheers,
S.

Yes at the moment I have 32 GB installed, although I understand you can in fact install 64GB (not sure I need that overhead, but we shall see how it goes). I would go for the largest SSD (1 TB) for 2 reasons: 1) Its faster, and, 2) It has actually come down in price over recent months. The UI is great without experiencing text too small (in fact the text is crisp and very readable even by my "blind as a bat" standards) and yes, the thing is running at its native resolution.

So, hope this answers your points. Don't think you will regret it if you put more money into Apple's overbrimming pot!
 

Barbarian

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OK folks, yes I did get my iMac and have Lightroom CC 2015.3 running. I delayed replying to you all, as I wanted to make doubly sure that sufficient early adopters had shared their experience with the latest version of LR. In fact, I "upgraded" last night. Everything appears to work without hitch and I have noticed nothing untoward with the 5K screen. It is blistering fast (have opted for a 1 TB SSD hosting my LR catalog with all my photos on a dedicated Thunderbolt 2 drive and the 4GB upgraded graphics card)

I hace so far limited experience with the configuration but will post afresh if anything comes to light. However, my initial impression is all positive and subject to my caveat would not hesitate in saying how pleased I am with it. Well worth the money, so be brave and shell out...lol!

Hello,

I'm interested in buying new iMac 27 with SSD. Initially I wanted to purchase single 500GB SSD and no other drive for Lighroom editing. Now I've read a lot about performance issues = loading images/1:1 previews.
If I end with single (no external drive) 500 SD for OS, Applications, Photos/Videos, Lightroom catalog is it going to be that slow?
As I understood you have your photos and videos separately on Thunderbolt 2 Drive.
I don't think I have that much money for Thunderbolt but would be a good choice to end with USB 3.0 external drive for photos and videos or single 500 SSD will do good job?

What I mainly do is Landscape photography = 15 images panorama stitching, HDR and so on. Sometimes I use photoshop to stack Focusing or Image Averaging= AStrography.

What would be the best solution?
I would really appreciate feedback.

Michal Mazur
 
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Hello,

I'm interested in buying new iMac 27 with SSD. Initially I wanted to purchase single 500GB SSD and no other drive for Lighroom editing. Now I've read a lot about performance issues = loading images/1:1 previews.
If I end with single (no external drive) 500 SD for OS, Applications, Photos/Videos, Lightroom catalog is it going to be that slow?
As I understood you have your photos and videos separately on Thunderbolt 2 Drive.
I don't think I have that much money for Thunderbolt but would be a good choice to end with USB 3.0 external drive for photos and videos or single 500 SSD will do good job?

What I mainly do is Landscape photography = 15 images panorama stitching, HDR and so on. Sometimes I use photoshop to stack Focusing or Image Averaging= AStrography.

What would be the best solution?
I would really appreciate feedback.

Michal Mazur
Welcome to the forum.
I don't have a 5K iMac, but I do have an older iMac. My conventional 1TB primary HDD has only 488GB free. I keep only the most recent (actively processing) image on the local drive. Any images older than ~3 months I have moved to a USB2 EHD. By keeping only the most recent (active) images on the faster drive I get reasonable performance. I think you can do alright with the EHD on USB3. But I think the 500GB primary drive is going to eventually be too small.

I'm thinking about the 5K iMac too but for me it will have an internal 3TB fusion drive ($100 less than the 512 SSD)
 

Opa

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Thanks @Skyhawk (and others). A fully tricked out iMac is $4k. The 512gb SSD > 1Tb SSD is $500 alone and SEEMS the place to save money but you think not? Others?

Cletus, it sounds like you believe having working stuff locally on a fusion is more valuable than the higher performance of the SSD?
 
Last edited:

Skyhawk

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Oct 14, 2015
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Hello,

I'm interested in buying new iMac 27 with SSD. Initially I wanted to purchase single 500GB SSD and no other drive for Lighroom editing. Now I've read a lot about performance issues = loading images/1:1 previews.
If I end with single (no external drive) 500 SD for OS, Applications, Photos/Videos, Lightroom catalog is it going to be that slow?
As I understood you have your photos and videos separately on Thunderbolt 2 Drive.
I don't think I have that much money for Thunderbolt but would be a good choice to end with USB 3.0 external drive for photos and videos or single 500 SSD will do good job?

What I mainly do is Landscape photography = 15 images panorama stitching, HDR and so on. Sometimes I use photoshop to stack Focusing or Image Averaging= AStrography.

What would be the best solution?
I would really appreciate feedback.

Michal Mazur

Hi Michal,

as has been mentioned elsewhere, if you go for the Flash Drive/SSD option, I would try to go for the 1 TB if funds allow. I have eaten up about 50% of my SSD with Adobe, Lightroom, Photoshop, Premier and Apple Final Cut Pro (FCP) plus Office 365 and a few other bits and pieces. Although, for example in FCP, the concept of a Scratch Disk for speed and ease of access has been dispensed with, I want to be able to use the fastest storage available to me (the remaining 50% of my SSD for processing whether stills or video. Loading RAW images and saving their Lightroom processed variants on an external Thunderbolt 2 drive (Have 4TB) is both very fast and convenient. I find they load super fast and have no problems whatsoever with 1:1 previews.

As far as I can tell most of the earlier concerns about the performance of Lightroom on a 5K iMac related to a combination of slower hard drive access combined with a poorer graphics card with the then CPU straining to satisfy the enormous pixel density of the fastest 5K screen. I held off and deliberately and missed the first iteration of the first Retina 5K version for these concerns and I think I was wise to do so. I have no reservations about performance issues now with the later model. In this I speak of my experience of using Lightroom and Photoshop for stills photography. I have yet to evaluate it as a video editing platform which is one of the most demanding applications. I have high hopes that it will also perform well here as well and, for those interested, will let you know how I get on in due course.

Hope this useful.
 
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Go for the 2TB fusion drive. This will give you 128GB SSD as the active cache for the slower HD.
Look closely at how much of the physical drive area you actually use.
The Fusion drive on Apple (or Intel Smart Response for Windows) allows the files which are not accessed frequently to migrate to a slower HD off the faster SSD. This is all done by the OS and saves you managing it manually.

Tim
 
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Thanks @Skyhawk (and others). A fully tricked out iMac is $4k. The 512gb SSD > 1Tb SSD is $500 alone and SEEMS the place to save money but you think not? Others?

Cletus, it sounds like you believe having working stuff locally on a fusion is more valuable than the higher performance of the SSD?
The Fusion Drive is part SSD and part spinning disk. OS X migrates infrequently used files to the spinning disk automatically. The fusion drive is the best of both in one disk. Over all I'm not convinced the SSD will out perform the Fusion drive more than be marginally better.
 
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