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best mac laptop for aperture

868 Views 14 Replies Latest reply: Dec 27, 2012 7:58 AM by léonie RSS
Swiggen Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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Dec 15, 2012 5:14 AM

I currently use a 1.7Ghz core i5 Air so it has 4GB RAM.


I am aware that RAM is very important so I close all applications and restart and open Aperture, I have use an extrenal USB 3.0 hard drive and it really is a bit slow, I see the spinning beach ball alot when I get into an involved project. I recently compeleted a 40 page book and it was almost unuesable by the end.


I use an external monitor but it would be nice not to have to. I am an amatuer not a pro but get pretty involved in the porcessing using Nik and Photomatix plugins.


I am thinking of upgrading  assume the following:


Min 512 GB HD


It does not have to be that light but another Air would be ideal but cannot see that this would satisfy my needs.


Advice please

MacBook Air, OS X Mountain Lion
  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,735 points)
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    Dec 15, 2012 7:06 AM (in response to Swiggen)

    I am currently using Aperture on two different MBPs with Mt. Lion, both 17" models:

    • OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2), 2.4 GHz I.Core i7, 16GB RAM, 500GB SSD, 1TB HD
    • OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2), 2.2 GHz I.Core i7, 8GB RAM, 1TB HD

    Both Machines work very well with Aperture, but the 2.4 GHz I.Core i7, 16GB RAM, 500GB SSD combination is way faster, i.e. with very large raw files. When working with moderately sized jpegs the 8GB RAM version should be o.k. To have more disk space, i replaced the DVD super drive by a second internal disk, so that I have enough space for videos, music projects , and image files.


    But I am concerned about the lagging performance you are seeing with your MBA; It is expected that Aperture may be slower with 4GB RAM, but you should not be seeing the beachball all the times, i.e. if no other applications are running at the same time. This looks like something might be wrong. You may want to check, if you are running out of disk space - try to keep a minimum of 10GB hard drive free for the system to use, better would be 20GB, also I recommend to repair your Aperture library (Repairing and Rebuilding Your Aperture Library: Aperture 3 User Manual); the beachball may be the result of a corrupted library or of importing a corrupted image file or video, that Aperture cannot process. Also you may have installed an incompatible video codec, the 3ivxVideoCodec.component is known to cause this behaviour, see Aperture 3: May be unresponsive or have slower performance with third-party video codec. A faster mac will not help, if tere is a problem with your Aperture library.




    OS X Mountain Lion, 2.4 GHz I.Core i7, 16GB, 500GB SSD
  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,735 points)
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    Dec 15, 2012 8:07 AM (in response to Swiggen)

    Only six GB free disk space is really problematic.



    Is there anyway that I can get Aperture to use HD space on an external drive?


    You might turn your Aperture library into a referenced library. See this chapter of the Aperture 3 User manual: Aperture 3 User Manual: Working with Referenced Images


    The procedure would be to relocate your original image files to your external drive and set the Aperture preferences to automatically build previews for all images. This way, you wil save space on your internal drive. Aperture will reference the original raws on the external. Only when you want to edit your images you will need to connect your external volume. You can browse the images, tag them, rate them, edit the captions based on the previews, and share them in the Media Browser, even when the external drive is not connected. I have all my older projects relocated this way and only keep the newest projects on my internal SSD.



    Another oddity that sometimes happens is that an image will suddenly appear like a dark green wash has been applied and when looking at the info it says that it was processed using an older version of Aperture. It then asks me if I want to reprocess it, which I do and then it is fine.


    This may happen, when the raw support has been updated and is nothing to worry about, if reprocessing the raw will solve it.




  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,735 points)
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    Dec 15, 2012 10:23 AM (in response to Swiggen)

    is it much faster using the internal ssd?

    It does not make much difference to have the original image files on the SSD, but the Aperture library itself on a very fast drive (thunderbolt, SSD) helps a lot.

    Assuming a minimum of 8GB RAM and 512GM internal hard drive I guess the real question is portability versus retina screen and processor.

    I only have the retina screen on my iPad, but it is a joy to view photos with that fine resolution.

  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 Level 6 (11,590 points)
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    Dec 15, 2012 1:49 PM (in response to Swiggen)

    6 GB free space on your system drive is asking for disaster.  I would treat this as a data emergency.  Do not run Aperture.  Back up your drive (preferably by cloning) and then trim it.


    My casual observation is that Aperture uses at least part of the Library drive as a scratch drive.  I have seen performance decline when the Library drive goes below about 10% free space.  I aim to keep 20% free space on any drive that hold an Aperture Library.  (I am just a user and not a hardware engineer or even a hardware maven.)


    I purchased a mid-2012 15" MBP-Retina to run Aperture (2.6 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB RAM, 500 GB SSD).  I am pleased with the purchase.  This was a sooner-than-expected upgrade to my mid-2009 13" MBP (2.26 Core 2 Duo, 8 GB RAM, 500 GB HD).  The upgrade was driven by my using an iPad-Retina.  The display is unrivaled -- so much so that I do as much editing as possible on the MBP-R and less than ever on my large NEC monitors.  (Imho, the Retina display is already completely changing our expectations of what pictures should look like.  While shooting tethered for run-of-the-mill clients, I have had to move the Aperture Viewer to my 15" screen from my 27" NEC wide-gamut (PA271W) monitor at the client's request.  "Is your big monitor fuzzy?" is not a question one wants to hear.)


    I notice the difference in Aperture performance every time I use my old machine.


    Search the forum for informed discussions about spec'ing a machine for Aperture.  The Air is out of the question, imho.  When I bought my MBP-R there was no option for upgrading RAM after purchase, so I went for the max of 16 GB.


    My experience with performance is that I can't have enough.  This machine has allowed me to do things -- extensive work with source Images 7,500 x 10,000 px -- that I wouldn't have tried before.


    Budget for storage and back-up.  I advise buying drives for Aperture in _triplicate_: one for the Library and two, rotated, for on-site and off-site back-up.  (As Léonie points out, the Library should be a _fast_ drive.  Originals should be on "not-slow" drives.  Back-ups can be on anything that works.)  This has nothing to do with whether you make a living as a photographer:  only you can place a value on your data.  Your data, and the time you put into organizing and manipulating it, are irreplaceable.


    My experience with USB-3 drives is that they work great.  If yours works haltingly, something is not right.





  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,735 points)
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    Dec 16, 2012 12:08 AM (in response to Swiggen)


    are you using Time Machine with your laptop? If you have enabled Time Machine backups, then one reason for running out of space may be local snapshots. Time Machine will store hourly snapshots on your system drive, while you are not connected to the backup drive. You can disable this feature, to be able to see, how much free disk space you really are having:

    See Pondini's FAQ: What are Local Snapshots?




  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,735 points)
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    Dec 27, 2012 5:32 AM (in response to Swiggen)

    Apart from that I am thrilled.

    You got yourself a great machine! Have fun with it.

  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 Level 6 (11,590 points)
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    Dec 27, 2012 7:43 AM (in response to Swiggen)



    The Retina display changes everything you think an image is.


    I have a 15" rMBP.  I have the same feeling towards it I have towards my Sony full-frame cameras:  I am thrilled to be alive a moment when engineers and businesses have made affordable (more or less) machines with abilities close enough to my own to be interesting to use.


    "Losing control" was most likely a wise and excellent response.  Enjoy.

  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 Level 6 (11,590 points)
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    Dec 27, 2012 7:51 AM (in response to Swiggen)

    Happy New Year!

  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,735 points)
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    Dec 27, 2012 7:58 AM (in response to Kirby Krieger)

    The Retina display changes everything you think an image is.

    I can imagine - I see the difference on my iPad. Even poor pictures look terrific on that screen.


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