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Aperture slow, library too large?

19646 Views 67 Replies Latest reply: Mar 12, 2010 8:46 AM by macorin RSS
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melkbus Calculating status...
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Sep 10, 2009 3:13 AM
I am currently having big trouble with Aperture (2.1.4) running on my iMac 24" 3.06 GHz (running 10.6). The problem has nothing to do with the Snow Leopard/Aperture issue: I had the same problems running Leopard.

It takes just painfully long to adjust images (white balance, rotating, etc.). I see this rotating rainbow all the time, so frustrating! I only use RAW images from my 400D.

My library is currently 135GB big. Should I split it or something, so that Aperture can handle it better?
If so, is there a 'maximum size' the library should be?
Or is there an other solution for this problem?

Message was edited by: melkbus
Imac, Mac OS X (10.6)
  • Kevin J. Doyle Level 1 Level 1 (90 points)
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    Sep 10, 2009 6:38 AM (in response to melkbus)
    Your library is not too big, I have over 800GB in my main Library, and it runs fine.

    The "rotating rainbow" delay is most likely Aperture swapping pages in memory. From experimenting, I have found having 6GB (8GB would be better) of RAM solves this issue. I assume you have a big video card too, as this is a critical Aperture component.

    Apple includes a great (albeit a bit technical) program called Activity Monitor, and it will give you real answers regarding Aperture performance, not the conjecture I read here on a regular basis.

    Look at the System Memory usage in Activity Monitor (found in your Utilities folder, inside your Application folder). Anyway, while Aperture is running, look for "Page outs" count being more than zero at the bottom of the window. Without a lengthy UNIX explanation, if you are seeing Page outs, your usage of the system has caused it to exceed the available space in RAM, and UNIX automatically copies the contents of RAM to the virtual memory allocation on the hard disk, and that takes time. Bottom line, have enough RAM so that you do not see any Pageouts while you are doing your regular work on the computer, and it should be screaming fast the great majority of the time. You can see a ton of tech info in this app while operating Aperture (or any other apps).

    Other issues that will cause problems are disks that are above 75% full. I don't use any primary storage media at beyond 50%, but that is just because I only care to use the fastest part of the disk. Hard drives are read from the outside in, and are fastest in the first outside half of the disk. If you are doing a striped RAID array, and want the ultimate speed, partition the RAID stripes to be only the outside of the disk, meaning map this part first. You will see on average a 25% overall speed increase over using the entire disk, more for each spindle you add.

    Your iMac is a great machine, my only gripe with it is that you cannot use anything faster than a Firewire 800 storage system.

    A Mac Pro and a MBP with an Expresscard slot can run an eSATA host adapter. All of the MBP sizes had the slot until now only the 17" new MBP has it.

    The differences in operational speed in Aperture running with a eSATA host adapter and appropriate drive setup is vast. A single eSata 7200RPM drive is over 90Mb/sec, more than double FW 800. When traveling I get 150Mb/sec from a striped 1TB array...two 2.5" drives. That is 3 times the speed of FW 800. I use the Sonnet Tempo SATA PRO adapter ($199) and two Seagate Momentus 7200RPM 500GB drives, striped via AppleRAID and running into the two channels separately. I have 6GB RAM and this setup is brutally fast. Whole pages of thumbnails in the Aperture browser simply blink onto the screen as I scroll through thousands of images. I copy the library at the end of the day to a dual mirror setup.

    When I am not travelling, I have a 3 stripe. dual mirror five disk system that provides 230MB/sec. This system uses the first half of three SATA disks in a stripe, and the other two drives are dual mirrors of that stripe. I swap out one of the mirror drives every night and the system rebuilds the spare mirror with a drive I take offsite. Data is always protected, because a mirror is always running, even when swapping the second mirror. The beauty of this is that I could operate immediately with the offsite mirror in a new rig if a fire hit my office. The system is so fast, it can rebuild the entire setup in less than 6 hours.

    If you buy the current crop of MBP 15s, all you get is an SD slot, and FW800, maxing out about 50MB/sec if you aren't doing anything else. That is simply too slow IMHO.

    Basically, spend your money on storage and RAM...Aperture is a VERY hungry app, and will not run well if constrained in either way. Activity Monitor tells the whole story...look at disk activity tab as well for real read/write speeds...most folks are surprised that they are not anywhere near specification. Another tidbit, do not have more than two external FW800 devices on the bus if you have a need for speed...again, experiment in Activity Monitor and it will show you what I am talking about.
    MBP 17" Glossy HiRes 2.6 4GB RAM, NVIDIA 8600 GT Video w 512MB, Mac OS X (10.5.6), 30" Cinema Display and External RAID for Library
  • SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,665 points)
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    Sep 10, 2009 9:51 AM (in response to melkbus)
    melkbus wrote:
    Good to hear that the size of my library is no problem.


    Although Library size may not yet be a problem for you, under Aperture's default "Managed Masters" library size usually sooner or later does get to be a problem due to overfilling the internal hard drive, especially on laptops and iMacs. Set up a Referenced-Masters-Library workflow with Masters on external drives.

    Do you think the type of RAM could be the problem? I'm using 2x 2GB Kingston RAM


    Unless RAM is defective or the wrong RAM for the computer the brand should not matter.

    -Allen Wicks
    AP 2.1.1; 2.66 Mac Pro, 8 GB RAM, HD 2600 XT; 17" C2D MBP, 3 GB RAM; Nikon D2x, Mac OS X (10.4.11)
  • SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,665 points)
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    Sep 10, 2009 9:55 AM (in response to Kevin J. Doyle)
    Kevin J. Doyle wrote:
    When I am not travelling, I have a 3 stripe. dual mirror five disk system that provides 230MB/sec. This system uses the first half of three SATA disks in a stripe, and the other two drives are dual mirrors of that stripe. I swap out one of the mirror drives every night and the system rebuilds the spare mirror with a drive I take offsite. Data is always protected, because a mirror is always running, even when swapping the second mirror. The beauty of this is that I could operate immediately with the offsite mirror in a new rig if a fire hit my office. The system is so fast, it can rebuild the entire setup in less than 6 hours.


    Nice!

    -Allen
    AP 2.1.1; 2.66 Mac Pro, 8 GB RAM, HD 2600 XT; 17" C2D MBP, 3 GB RAM; Nikon D2x, Mac OS X (10.4.11)
  • Kevin J. Doyle Level 1 Level 1 (90 points)
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    Sep 10, 2009 10:22 AM (in response to melkbus)
    OK, too bad, I thought you had the latest 3.06, which goes to 8GB. The sad fact is that Aperture, running by itself will generate pageouts at 4GB. If you are running PS CS4 with Aperture, even 6GB pages out once in a while. Of course with PS, you gotta have a big and very fast scratch disk allocated and pointed to, or it has its own brand of slow.

    Restarting your Mac resets pageouts to zero. If you are watching the Activity Monitor when you are exercising Aperture, you will see the pageout occur, and typically Aperture will show that spinning cursor.

    Aperture's speed problems I have found all lie in the hardware config. It would have been nicer, and more honest for Apple to just tell folks you need this large capacity, or this professional app will not behave professionally. Operating with minimum specs does the program a disservice, and tends to upset a lot of people, as witnessed daily on this board.

    Setup right Aperture is a joy to use, and faster, cleaner workflow than anything else out there.
    MBP 17" Glossy HiRes 2.6 6GB RAM, NVIDIA 8600 GT Video w 512MB, Mac OS X (10.6), 30" Cinema Display and External RAID for Library
  • CalxOddity Level 3 Level 3 (680 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 10, 2009 1:51 PM (in response to Kevin J. Doyle)
    The 2008 24" iMacs can take 6GB RAM, even though the official spec says 4GB. There are several links available via a quick google. I'd try other options first though, as not all swaps of one of the 2GB modules with a 4GB one will necessarily play nice.

    Regards,
    Calx

    Message was edited by: CalxOddity
    iMac 24" 2.8GHz 4GB RAM, Mac OS X (10.5.5)
  • Shuttleworth125 Level 2 Level 2 (415 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 10, 2009 2:03 PM (in response to melkbus)
    We've got a 2.8GHz iMac, we run aperture with a managed library around 300GB on an external 1TB drive connected by Firewire 400 (actually it's USB now, SL killed the FW!!). The only time it's been slow was when the FW packed in after SL. We don't see the beachball and adjustments usually happen in a second or less.
    iMac 24" 2.8GHz, Mac OS X (10.5.6), iPod Touch 8Gb 2gen, Time Capsule, Airport Express, Apple TV.
  • macorin Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 11, 2009 6:49 AM (in response to SierraDragon)
    Sierra,

    I currently have my Aperture Library setup as the default "Managed Masters", and though my Library isn't huge (about 6500 average Jpegs of between 3 and 5 Mb) I do recognize the need to switch the managed masters to a referenced masters library setup. I'm sure it is not difficult to do this, but in my tinkering, I haven't quite been able to figure out what to do and I don't want to "screw" anything up by accident.

    Obviously I am aware that I will need an external disk, but could you guide me in the direction of what I need to do to convert my Managed Library into a Referenced Library?

    Thanks,

    MK
    Macbook Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.8), 2.93 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB 1067 MHz DDR3
  • macorin Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 11, 2009 6:57 AM (in response to Kevin J. Doyle)
    Kevin,

    You seem to be quite the expert in putting together storage systems. I was just starting to think about setting one up myself so that I could switch my Aperture default managed masters library to a referenced library without losing a step. I do have the newest macbook pro 17 inch with the eSata slot and was thinking of getting a 7200 rpm 1TB G-Tech G Raid 3. I'm not necessarily looking for product recommendations, but rather some things to think about in terms of how to go about setting up an ideal storage solution that will facilitate lightning quick transfer for a speedy workflow, while also being a safe and reliable backup solution.

    I'm not a professional photographer, but an avid hobbyist, and my managed masters library is starting to get large and my internal disk is getting past 50% usage.

    Thanks for any advice.

    MK
    Macbook Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.8), 2.93 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB 1067 MHz DDR3
  • macorin Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 11, 2009 7:03 AM (in response to SierraDragon)
    Sierra,

    I have a mbp 17" and was wondering if I switched my managed library to a referenced library, would I still be able to use Aperture while I was away from the external disk? I'm just not sure how Aperture works internally, so I don't know if the program needs the masters present in order to view and/or make edits to existing photos?

    There are times that I will want to do that, and/or show my photos to someone on the computer while I am away from home? Perhaps Aperture keeps the thumbnail previews present so that you can view them and/or make edits while you are away from the masters, keeping track of the data changes and then making the actual changes to the masters once you are back connected to your referenced library? Or, do you need to have a truly portable external disk to take with you if you want to edit/view photos in Aperture while on the road?

    Thanks for any feedback.

    MK
    Macbook Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.8), 2.93 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB 1067 MHz DDR3
  • SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,665 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 11, 2009 10:31 AM (in response to macorin)
    macorin wrote:
    Sierra, I have a mbp 17" and was wondering if I switched my managed library to a referenced library, would I still be able to use Aperture while I was away from the external disk?


    Yes. The Aperture Library(s) should live on the internal drive.

    I'm just not sure how Aperture works internally, so I don't know if the program needs the masters present in order to view and/or make edits to existing photos?


    You can view Previews but not add edits to unconnected Masters.

    ...show my photos to someone on the computer while I am away from home?


    Yup, works great. Just set Preview size to be the dimensions of your laptop display, and make sure that you always build Previews before disconnecting from Masters. For best Aperture performance I recommend that Previews be built manually during times when aggressive editing is not being done.

    ...do you need to have a truly portable external disk to take with you if you want to edit/view photos in Aperture while on the road?


    All pix with Previews can be viewed just from the internal drive's Reference-Masters Aperture Library, up to many TB of Reference-Masters images without having a connected external drive. And by keeping the internal drive underfilled by generally using externally referenced Masters the internal drive can also have enough room to temporarily put a limited number (~100 GB) of (referenced) Masters on the internal drive when in the field and do full editing on them, relocating the Masters to external drives at a later date.

    However an external drive is IMO mandatory for backup in the field.

    Good luck!

    -Allen Wicks
    AP 2.1.1; 2.66 Mac Pro, 8 GB RAM, HD 2600 XT; 17" C2D MBP, 3 GB RAM; Nikon D2x, Mac OS X (10.4.11)
  • SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,665 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 11, 2009 10:52 AM (in response to macorin)
    macorin wrote:
    Sierra,

    ...my Library isn't huge (about 6500 average Jpegs of between 3 and 5 Mb) I do recognize the need to switch the managed masters to a referenced masters library setup. ...could you guide me in the direction of what I need to do to convert my Managed Library into a Referenced Library?


    You can leave your existing images as-is and simply reference from here on out. Just choose a logical location(s) for your external Masters. You may want to try this workflow as described below in an earlier post of mine:
    --------------
    I feel pretty strongly that card-to-Aperture or camera-to-Aperture handling of original images puts originals at unnecessary risk. I suggest this workflow, first using the Finder (not Aperture) to copy images from CF card to computer hard drive:

    • Remove the memory card from the camera and insert it into a memory card reader. Faster readers and faster cards are preferable.
    • Finder-copy images from memory card to a labeled folder on the intended permanent Masters location hard drive.
    • Eject memory card.
    • Burn backup hard drive or DVD copies of the original images (optional strongly recommended backup step).
    • Eject backup hard drive(s) or DVDs.
    • From within Aperture, import images from the hard drive folder into Aperture selecting "Store files in their current location." This is called "referenced images." During import is the best time to also add keywords, but that is another discussion.
    • Review pix for completeness (e.g. a 500-pic shoot has 500 valid images showing in Aperture).
    • Reformat memory card in camera, and archive originals off site on hard drives and/or on DVDs.

    Note that the "eject" steps above are important in order to avoid mistakenly working on removable media/backups.

    Also note with a Referenced-Masters Library that use of the "Vault" backup routine backs up the Library only, not the Masters. Masters should be separately backed up, IMO a good thing from a workflow and data security standpoint.
    --------------

    HTH

    -Allen Wicks
    AP 2.1.1; 2.66 Mac Pro, 8 GB RAM, HD 2600 XT; 17" C2D MBP, 3 GB RAM; Nikon D2x, Mac OS X (10.4.11)
  • macorin Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 11, 2009 1:01 PM (in response to SierraDragon)
    Allen,

    A few questions if I may. All was very helpful.

    First, dating back to the prior post regarding viewing images while away from a referenced masters drive: I have only used Managed Masters, so when using referenced masters, does it keep a separate library for referenced masters as opposed to the managed masters in the Aperture Library folder?

    Moving on to this post and the workflow, I have a couple of questions:

    1. When picking a place for the location of the referenced masters, how organized does it have to be? What I mean is, is it okay to create one folder called say, Aperture Referenced Images on an external disk and then to drop all images into that folder forever with no other sub folders? Or, do you need to create a folder and many sub folders each time you add a new shoot to the referenced folder? I am figuring that Aperture won't care one way or the other so long as it knows where to look for your referenced images and you don't move them. But what about for your own organizational needs and for when you want to locate an image quickly on that external disk without using Aperture to locate it for you?

    2. Is it really that beneficial to import the images off the card through a memory card reader rather than dragging them right off of the card while the card is inserted in the camera? I don't understand the precaution here.

    3. All good stuff about backing up and ejecting cards, disks, etc. I'm good there.

    4. I understand about importing the images in their current location. Can you divulge a bit more on why you suggest adding keywords at the import stage? I can see the benefit from the standpoint of then being able to categorize or locate images right from the get go, but is there an issue if you add keywords later? I am always finding better and more meaningful ways of keywording my images, so I often times add keywords later. What is your suggestion based on?

    5. I understand and agree with everything else you wrote. Lastly though, I wanted to ask you a bit about vaults, as I find what should be a relatively straight forward and easy concept confusing. I have tried using vaults with my managed library and all it did was create a copy of my library and store it on my internal drive. Well, that obviously doesn't work because it serves no purpose on the same drive it would seem and takes up a ton of space. Does Aperture create vaults automatically? Can you explain a little about how and when to use vaults? I am assuming to create a vault and then store it on an external drive. I am assuming a vault is more than just a backup of your Masters, and that it is the masters plus all of the instructions given in the edits? When creating a vault, do you need to manually update it after making changes to photos? Also, will a vault that has already been created include new photos that were imported since creating it if you update the vault?

    I know this is a lot, so thanks for any input advice you might have.

    MK
    Macbook Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.8), 2.93 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB 1067 MHz DDR3
  • sizzling badger Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 11, 2009 2:11 PM (in response to macorin)
    The meta data for the referenced files will be contained in the same library as your managed files.

    1) Organising the folders for your images is entirely your choice. Aperture won't care if it is one large folder or a set of sub folders. I would certainly try a to make an effort to organise it though. It can be much easier to move and recover files if there is some sense to the way they arranged. Date is quite a good system year/month.

    2) I see no benefit in copying to the hardrive with Finder first. Aperture uses the same OS system calls as finder so there is no extra risk. (I would argue that finder is more dangerous as it can delete images but Aperture reads only) Using a card reader can be faster and saves using your camera battery.

    3) All agreed there I think.

    4) Adding global keywords during import will save you time. You can ad / remove keywords later as well.

    5) You have to manually set up a vault (external drives are obviously best). A vault contains all your images and the meta data. It doesn't contain the previews which helps save some space. You have to manually update the vault it is not automatic. I would like to see an automatic option in a future release. The vault icon changes colour when it is out of sync (ie you have added/modified an image) When you start Aperture up it also gives information about what isn't stored in the vault in the splash screen. When you update a vault it copies all new images across and all changes to metadata.

    You can restore you entire Aperture system from the vault. The previews can be rebuilt so they don't need to be backed up.
    iMac 24" 4GB & Macbook Pro 4GB, Mac OS X (10.6)
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