Speed up PC for photo editing? What to upgrade?

haringharing Major grinsPosts: 280Registered Users Major grins
edited July 19, 2015 in Digital Darkroom
I would love to make my pc faster for photo and video editing. Adobe is trying to help us with some ionstructions on their website but it is not clear how much processing power I gain via replacing one or two components of my desktop. I have read tons of threads on the issue however but I don't seem to find the right way to do it... I would like Lightroom to respond faster when I switch between two images. I would love Portraiture to finish processing the photo I am working on faster in Photoshop, etc My PC: Windows 7, CPU: i7 3770K, Memory 16GB

My questions:
- How much speed do I gain by upgrading the memory to 32GB?
- Would an expensive video card help? Which one?
- Should I upgrade my CPU? Which one do you recommend? Have you done these modifications before?

What is your experience? Which upgrade yielded the best results? Thanks so much!I would love to make my pc faster for photo and video editing. Adobe is trying to help us with some ionstructions on their website but it is not clear how much processing power I gain via replacing one or two components of my desktop. I have read tons of threads on the issue however but I don't seem to find the right way to do it... I would like Lightroom to respond faster when I switch between two images. I would love Portraiture to finish processing the photo I am working on faster in Photoshop, etc My PC: Windows 7, CPU: i7 3770K, Memory 16GB My question: - How much speed do I gain by upgrading the memory to 32GB? - Would an expensive video card help? Which one? - Should I upgrade my CPU? Which one do you recommend? Have you done these modifications before? What is your experience? Which upgrade yielded the best results? Thanks so much!
I would love to make my pc faster for photo and video editing. Adobe is trying to help us with some ionstructions on their website but it is not clear how much processing power I gain via replacing one or two components of my desktop. I have read tons of threads on the issue however but I don't seem to find the right way to do it... I would like Lightroom to respond faster when I switch between two images. I would love Portraiture to finish processing the photo I am working on faster in Photoshop, etc My PC: Windows 7, CPU: i7 3770K, Memory 16GB My question: - How much speed do I gain by upgrading the memory to 32GB? - Would an expensive video card help? Which one? - Should I upgrade my CPU? Which one do you recommend? Have you done these modifications before? What is your experience? Which upgrade yielded the best results? Thanks so much!

Comments

  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainPosts: 18,933Administrators, Vanilla Admin moderator
    edited July 13, 2015
    haring wrote: »
    I would like Lightroom to respond faster when I switch between two images. I would love Portraiture to finish processing the photo I am working on faster in Photoshop, etc My PC: Windows 7, CPU: i7 3770K, Memory 16GB

    My questions:
    - How much speed do I gain by upgrading the memory to 32GB?
    - Would an expensive video card help? Which one?
    - Should I upgrade my CPU? Which one do you recommend? Have you done these modifications before?
    Lots of questions here, so let's try to take this apart a bit.

    1. 16 GB of RAM is more than adequate for most photo processing, but YMMV depending on just what you are doing as well as the size of the pic files you are processing. Mulitframe HDRs or pano stitching uses more resources than tweaking a single frame. There's an easy way to check, which is to set the little dropdown box below the preview in Photoshop to "Efficiency." If you see it dropping below 100% that means you are swapping to disk, and additional RAM will give you a big performance boost (assuming your motherboard can support more). If you never see it below 100%, then adding RAM will not make any difference at all.

    2. If you are using the latest version of LR, a good video card might help you in the Develop module, but the rest of the modules do not use it, and earlier versions of LR do not use it at all. PS does take advantage of a GPU. The difference is more noticeable in video processing than in photos.

    3. Your i7 has lots of horsepower, but again it depends on what you're doing with it. Try leaving the Windows Task Manager open at the resources tab while you are working and see if all eight logical CPUs are maxed out. If not, a new processor probably isn't going to buy you much.

    4. You haven't mentioned what disk drives you are using. If you are using spinning platters, then consider installing a solid-state drive for Windows and PS. The performance difference is dramatic, in my experience, and the prices are pretty reasonable these days if you just use it for processing and short-term, working storage--500GB should be more than enough; I do just fine with half that. Unless you are seriously short on RAM (which I doubt) this is probably the most cost-effective upgrade you can make.

    5. Try to minimize the use of other programs while you're working--a browser with a bunch of tabs open consumes a fair amount of memory, for example. It's also worth taking the time to see what's running in the background--Windows does seem to attract a lot of crapware/bloatware, not to mention malware, all consuming resources. Eliminating unnecessary stuff can give you a surprising performance boost. Look at the process report in Task Manager and Google for stuff that you don't recognize. Concentrate on those processes using the most CPU and RAM.

    Other than adding RAM to an older machine once, I generally haven't upgraded my hardware. For me it made more sense to wait and buy a new system and get all the upgrades at once.

    HTH.
  • NikonsandVstromsNikonsandVstroms *and Olympus Boston, MAPosts: 990Registered Users Major grins
    edited July 14, 2015
    Richard wrote: »
    Lots of questions here, so let's try to take this apart a bit.

    1. 16 GB of RAM is more than adequate for most photo processing, but YMMV depending on just what you are doing as well as the size of the pic files you are processing. Mulitframe HDRs or pano stitching uses more resources than tweaking a single frame. There's an easy way to check, which is to set the little dropdown box below the preview in Photoshop to "Efficiency." If you see it dropping below 100% that means you are swapping to disk, and additional RAM will give you a big performance boost (assuming your motherboard can support more). If you never see it below 100%, then adding RAM will not make any difference at all.

    2. If you are using the latest version of LR, a good video card might help you in the Develop module, but the rest of the modules do not use it, and earlier versions of LR do not use it at all. PS does take advantage of a GPU. The difference is more noticeable in video processing than in photos.

    3. Your i7 has lots of horsepower, but again it depends on what you're doing with it. Try leaving the Windows Task Manager open at the resources tab while you are working and see if all eight logical CPUs are maxed out. If not, a new processor probably isn't going to buy you much.

    4. You haven't mentioned what disk drives you are using. If you are using spinning platters, then consider installing a solid-state drive for Windows and PS. The performance difference is dramatic, in my experience, and the prices are pretty reasonable these days if you just use it for processing and short-term, working storage--500GB should be more than enough; I do just fine with half that. Unless you are seriously short on RAM (which I doubt) this is probably the most cost-effective upgrade you can make.

    5. Try to minimize the use of other programs while you're working--a browser with a bunch of tabs open consumes a fair amount of memory, for example. It's also worth taking the time to see what's running in the background--Windows does seem to attract a lot of crapware/bloatware, not to mention malware, all consuming resources. Eliminating unnecessary stuff can give you a surprising performance boost. Look at the process report in Task Manager and Google for stuff that you don't recognize. Concentrate on those processes using the most CPU and RAM.

    Other than adding RAM to an older machine once, I generally haven't upgraded my hardware. For me it made more sense to wait and buy a new system and get all the upgrades at once.

    HTH.

    This post is pretty comprehensive so I'll just add to it:

    2) For video editing and photoshop the video card will help even more than lightroom and I wouldn't be shocked if they put more GPU optimization in it.

    3) Being a K model it can be overclocked but that depends on if your BIOS will allow it. There's no CPU currently that would be a great upgrade, you'd gain 20% at stock clock rate for 300 dollars (that's if your CPU and the current top end i7 quad core use the same socket) which doesn't sound like a good deal to me. And I'd make sure you have all 8 logical cores like Richard said. Lightroom 6/CC finally really utilizes hyperthreading and I got a noticeable increase in performance when I turned it on (IIRC ~15-20% but I'd have to look at the test results again).
  • haringharing Major grins Posts: 280Registered Users Major grins
    edited July 19, 2015
    You have saved me some money! Thanks so much!
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