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SSD for working project library?

1066 Views 13 Replies Latest reply: Jul 7, 2011 12:05 AM by d60Dave RSS
d60Dave Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
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Jun 8, 2011 2:59 AM



I use Aperture on my '09 quad core MacPro with 8GB ram. I use a 1TB WD Black Caviar HDD to hold the library. This disk is less than half full and regularly defragmented and is seperate from the sytem disk.


When I shoot an event I return and load maybe 500 pictures into an new project on the disk.

I then go through them cropping, leveling and perhaps adjusting the exposure to get the best out of them before exporting as jpegs and uploading to my website for people to view and hopefully buy. I try to do this process the same night or the next day whilst people are still keen and interested.


Even with a good spec machine and HDD I find the delays in making these adjustments make the task tiresome. Often when cropping a picture which I do to most shots there is a delay of maybe 1 to 2secs but other times it's almost instant.


Anyway I was thinking of purchasing a small solid state drive (SSD) say 40GB, perhaps the OWC Mercury Extreme model. This would be used to hold just the latest project whilst working through it. Then once done the project would be exported and loaded into my main library on the 1TB HDD.


Has anyone any experience of using an SSD with Aperture files and does it make much difference to performance?


Any advice much appreciated.





MacPro, 2.66GHz Quad Xeon 8GB (Sept '09), Mac OS X (10.6.5),
  • Frank Caggiano Level 7 Level 7 (22,820 points)
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    Jun 8, 2011 6:42 AM (in response to d60Dave)

    While an SSD will speed up many operations I'm not sure cropping or other making other adjustments is one of them. The adjustment is done on an image that is already loaded in from the library, I don;t believe there is a lot of disk access going on during the process.


    Before plunking down that kind of money you need to try and figure out where the bottleneck is. I think you might find its more of a cpu/gpu issue.

  • SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,665 points)
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    Jun 8, 2011 6:12 PM (in response to d60Dave)

    SSD helps a lot. Masters do need to load for cropping.


    I have my Referenced-Masters Library on SSD and it absolutely rocks. I intend to always keep the Library on SSD, buying larger SSDs when necessary. I cannot say enough good things about SSD. I initially keep the referenced Masters on the SSD and then later move them to a HD.


    Your CPU should be fine but Aperture demands a strong GPU too and yours is not identified.


    I encourage you to move to SSD. 40 GB however seems like a waste of time. I would buy a larger size.


    -Allen Wicks

  • SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,665 points)
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    Jun 9, 2011 3:55 PM (in response to d60Dave)

    Yes I think it probably is a bottleneck.


    The last time I checked the Radeon HD 5870 was very good but the Radeon HD 5770 is cheaper. has tests at


    There are newer/stronger choices now, but sometimes an older box may not get everything out of a new GPU. And of course cost matters a lot.






    P.S. Let us know how that workflow works out with the SSD.

  • Tony Gay Level 4 Level 4 (1,625 points)
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    Jun 9, 2011 11:29 PM (in response to d60Dave)

    A thread with someones experiences that might relate.



  • SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,665 points)
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    Jun 10, 2011 1:37 PM (in response to d60Dave)

    IMO your own real workflow tests are more relevant than things like Activity Monitor because OS X and Aperture work all parts (RAM, CPU, GPU, i/o) at once and certain setups work more synergistically than others.


    SSD will present improved Aperture overall performance.


    Stronger GPU will present improved Aperture overall performance.




  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 Level 6 (11,570 points)
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    Jul 4, 2011 6:15 AM (in response to d60Dave)

    Hi Dave -- thanks for posting your experience.  I'm curious -- and I think the knowledge would be generally useful -- if there is any any noticable advantage of doing what you seem to be doing vs. just putting your Masters on the SSD.


    So, first let's confirm what you are doing:  Importing newly-made photographs from a camera card to a Project in a Library on your SSD, with all images having Managed Masters, doing your adjustments and metadata, and then exporting as a Project, importing that Project into your "main" Library on another drive, and deleted the Project in the Library on the SSD.


    The workflow I'd like to be tested is similar, but avoids the entire Library-on-the-SSD.  Using such a set-up one would:  Import newly-made photographs from a camera card to a Project in one's main Library on the system drive, with all the Images having Referenced Masters stored on the SSD, doing one's adjustments and metadata, and then relocate (or consolidate) the Masters for all Images in that Project.


    This seems to be a better workflow to me -- but I don't know and can't measure the cost in performance.  If you think it might work for you and give it a try, let us know what you find out.



  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 Level 6 (11,570 points)
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    Jul 4, 2011 9:37 AM (in response to d60Dave)

    Wary is sensible -- but there's nothing to worry about.  Aperture needs a Master to create an Image, and it needs to know where that Master is.  The default is for Aperture to manage the placement and storage of the Image's Masters:  it stores them in a sub-folder of your Library package.  These are Managed Masters.  Your Masters, though, can go anywhere you want.  You use Aperture to move them, and Aperture keeps track of where they are.


    What I'm suggesting here is that when you import your photograph files, you import them into your main Library, but tell Aperture to store them on your SSD.  The will:

    . create an Image in your Library

    . create a copy of your photograph file on your SSD

    . link the Image to the file on your SSD


    Viola! -- those Images now have Referenced Masters.


    You can change Images' Masters from Managed to Referenced or from Referenced to Managed at any time.  These changes must be done from within Aperture (don't ever do any file operations other than copy on any Masters).


    What fits with your current workflow (as best I can tell from the information you've provided) is to import your photograph files as above, make all your initial adjustments (with the Masters on the SSD as Referenced Masters), and then use "File→Consolidate Masters" on those Masters to move them from the SSD to inside your Library (and thus on your system drive), thus changing them from Referenced Masters (on the SSD) to Managed Masters (inside the Aperture LIbrary wherever it is, in this case on your system drive).


    While I can assure you there is nothing untoward about what I've suggested, regular precautions should always be applied: back-up your photograph files prior to importing them into Aperture.  (Fwiw, I treat the original on my card(s) as my back-up, and never delete it until I have both imported my photograph files and backed them up.)




    Message was edited by: Kirby Krieger


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