Without knowing all the details, that is a pretty healthy machine; Aperture should be flying. It certainly chugged right along on my Mac Mini with 4 GB RAM, 500 GB 5k RPM drive and a managed Library of 10k images.
Some thoughts, as I have been playing with Aperture a lot since I bought an SSD. (FWIW, the SSD is nice, but it doesn't seem to do much for or against Aperture, the biggest thing is RAM and, to a lesser degree, the GPU.)
An 8 GB MBP with SSD should simply fly.
If you upgraded, You might want to try the "Bergsma Bash." I found this really helped when I migrated from Aperture 2 to 3.
Hard Drive/Users/(Your user)/Library/Caches
Also delete this file:
Hard Drive/Users/(Your user)/Library/Preferences/com.apple.aperture.plist
You might want to create a backup first, just in case. But there shouldn’t be any danger here, since we’re dealing with cache folders and a “settings”-file for Aperture 3 (you’ll have to modify settings again, if you’ve changed them in the first place).
Doing the things above and restarting my Mac, solved my Aperture 3 issues."
No guarantees, but I found it helpful and have never had any problems or beachballs with Aperture 3, except on a 2 GB, 2006 MBP.
The other suggestion is to note exactly when Aperture slows down as, at different times, it uses more disk, processor, or RAM. You may find Activity Monitor useful here. Look especially for paging.
For example, scrolling the library is disk/RAM intensive. Brushing, especially with a large file, is processor intensive; you should see all your cores load up.
It is really annoying when Apple software doesn't "just work" but, in the case of Aperture, there is usually a cure. I have a very old, but healthy machine and Aperture runs very nicely.
If all else fails, make an appointment at your local Apple store (should you have one) and get them to help. There are not many Aperture freaks around, but they can read Activity Monitor.
Been doing a lot of playing with Aperture since I sprang for an SSD. Doing different things and watching the Activity Monitor I notice:
-- First pull of any image takes about 1-2 seconds. (I currently have large, quality 8 previews.)
-- Zooming to full res can take another 2-3 seconds. This is for a 10 MP NEF on a dedicated drive. a 100 MB TIFF takes a bit longer.
-- These speeds are largely constant, whether everything is on the SSD or on a conventional HD.
-- Scrolling 11,000 images in the browser takes less than 1 second per screen. Maybe a bit faster with the SSD. ALWAYS faster the second time. (Logical, given the way OSX and, by extension, Aperture caches. This is probably the reason that purging the caches helps; there is probably a lot of Aperture 2 routine still stuck in there.)
-- Brushing and sharpening a 100 MB file will get all of the CPU's engaged. These processes will also generate lots of HD reads and writes. Again, logical, as you are editing the Version file and then demanding that the GPU refresh the screen. There is usually a lagging "Loading" message (and a "Processing" message in the Aperture Activity Monitor. Again, logical when you consider how Aperture works. Surprisingly, running on the SSD does not make that great a difference.
-- RAM makes more difference than anything else. Paging is about the slowest thing you will encounter. In my case (and I usually have Safari and Mail open when I am using Aperture), going from 13 GB of RAM to 21 GB reduced paging to zero. At this point, I could see that things like brushing were limited only by the actual speed of the CPU.
-- Putting Aperture, the Library, and even some of the Masters on the SSD made much less difference than I would have expected. Again, tribute to OSX's effecive caching and a lot of RAM. With less RAM, and more paging, then the SSD would probably be a bigger speed boost. That said, the SSD is very nice for speed of boot, reboot, application loading, and other things. It is just not the panacea for Aperture speed that RAM is.
As always, YMMV.
Agreed 1000000%. The SSD is great for booting and some tasks but as the read/writes are sequential it does not really figure into the equation. My entire lib is sitting on a Thunderbolt drive which is pretty fast in most case. I also have an exact duplicate of my library on a F/W 800 drive as a backup. I tried making adjustments with that as well and it does not seem to experience any "beach ball" behavior. I will continue testing. I am also considering moving away from my MBP and maybe purchasing a MacPro if Apple decides what they are going to do regarding the future. As it stands right now, things appear to be okay. I hope Apple adds lens corrections and a few more goodies that LR has.
White balance brush
Custom Crop Presets
Highlight & Shadows toning
Improved noise reduction
Improved vignette tied into crops
Improved book features along with template sharing
Add Calendar making
Improved image stamping/sync'ing with previous button
Give a choice for editing in jpeg instead of just tiff or psd
Anything to keep me out of Photoshop and to be able to do non-destructive editing. I've tried LR4 and love a lot of the features but I like how the images look with apertures raw converter better.
My work in Photo retouching has me in Photoshop. Looked at Aperture and I cannot find anything for it to do. Aperture seems locked into amazing complex file something. Today I airbrushed out a gravel dump blocking a mountain view in PS. The work files in PS, others in JPEG. Same system back to a G3 Apple. I tried Aperture on the gravel dump and got a blurry mess and that was that. No time for face search or maps whatever.
Looking at this and your other posts, it is clear that you have not grasped the purpose behind Aperture, or Lightroom, for that matter. They are not pixel editors like Photoshop, but rather an alpha to omega photographic workflow tool.
These quotes, lifted from DPReview, are very relevant:
I actually hated Aperture for over a year because I was fighting it and trying to dumb it down to my old Photoshop and folder method. One day it all began to make sense and it changed everything. I cannot believe it took me so long to accept the philosophy and the simplicity that makes it so effective, but it does take some time to fully understand the concept. So I have gone from swearing at it to swearing by it and I am now a huge fan of Aperture.
This is a great comment. A lot of the more heated discussions in the earlier days of Aperture V Lightroom V Photoshop threads were examples of people with different expectations and philosophies struggling to let go of old (previously necessary) habits.
Aperture liberated the raw workflow from a whole load of processes that previously got you bogged down in management processes and dogma. At it's old price it was invaluable, at its current price it's a steal.
I would add that Aperture starts with the issues of workflow, liberating you from RAW converters/file browsers and worrying about tasks like tracking multiple copies of the same image in different file formats. It is a fairly powerful image editor, but focuses on photographic tasks like exposure, cropping, etc. It is not the best tool for heavy pixel bashing, like getting Aunt Mary out of the picture or anything that requires layers, etc. For that, it is the perfect base for sending an image to Photoshop or similar and then doing all of the work of keeping track of the new file you have created.
If, on the other hand, you have a small collection of images, never need to worry about finding an old one, or actually like managing files, then you are correct, Photoshop is a much more powerful pixel editor. Most of us use both. It is just that with Aperture I need Photoshop for only about five in 100 images.