Not enough RAM and you probably have one or more hard drives overfilled. Please advise how full every hard drive is and how they are connected.
One test is put a small test Library on the SSD and see how it performs.
More to follow. That is an old box (I have a simillar old MBP kept for emergencies) and Aperture performance is limited by the hardware.
Like I said above RAM is probably too low but 4 GB is probably the max on that older MBP (my 2.33 GHz MBP maxxed at 3 GB RAM).
Evaluate whether or not you have adequate RAM by looking at the Page Outs number under System Memory on the Activity Monitor app before starting a typical Aperture work session; recheck after working and if the page outs change (manual calculation of ending page outs number minus starting page outs number) is not zero your workflow is RAM-starved. Ignore page ins, the pie charts and other info in Activity Monitor.
If your test shows that page outs increase at all during operation it is affecting performance (however the SSD should make page outs more tolerable, so I am puzzled, and suspect there may be another issue. but first do what I discuss here). You can
- add RAM if feasible
- Run as few other apps as possible when running Aperture. Browsers especially can suck RAM Aperture would otherwise take advantage of. Your SSD boots in 20 seconds and apps load in 3 seconds so always run Aperture by itself.
- Restart before every Aperture session to clear any memory leaks
- and/or switch from 64-bit operation to 32-bit operation (which will make some additional RAM space available). Note that your Mac may already default to 32-bit. See Switching Kernels:
- For sure run a workflow with the Library on the internal drive and Masters on external drives.
Personally I recommend upgrading your hardware to a 2011 MBP with SSD and top graphics. I did, and it rocks. The recent speed bumped MBPs have even better graphics. All the 2011 CPUs are strong for Aperture but be sure to get a box that will upgrade to at least 8 GB RAM, and I recommend the stronger graphics of the top MBPs if a laptop is to be your primary Aperture box.
The meaningful variation is in RAM, graphics and SSD. Do not even consider a box without SSD.
P.S. Try to verify that all 4 GB RAM is actually working.
P.P.S. Drives slow as they fill so reporing on how full drives are is important.
Thanks for the insightful answers, time and thought.
I understand everyone's concern about hardware- mine's old & I understand my hardware limitations, and accept the somewhat slow performance overall- not an issue there. I sure have my eye on what apple offers us next, and will be buying!
But that's not what I see as the issue-
It will act fine for a time, but randomly it goes into 'thinking' mode. It's not gobbling up CPU or RAM, it's just beach ballin'. Other programs work fine while it's throwing a tantrum.
I've been fixing macs all my life and this is stumping me. Some sorta database thing I'm thinking.
Yup, here's more data.
- Internal Crucial 128GB SSD C300, ~50gb free
- Yanked the DVD drive, dropped in a caddy with a Samsung 1tb, 150gb free.
- All 4gb of ram are fine. Maxed out.
- I will export a library to the SSD to see if it still beach balls.
- No relevant console messages I can interpret.
- Page outs- couple hundred MB change from beginning to end.
- In 64 bit mode, but this was happening in 32 bit mode as well.
sorry, I didn't read all of the first post. I would try what someone else sugested and try running a small library and see how it performs. I have a newer macbook pro with the latest and greatest processor and ram and I am still running into problems working off of large library. I am in the process of consolidating my old photos and cleaning up some older work so that I can start a new library. That way aperture will not have to process an excessively large library everytime i want to work in a smaller project. everytime i open aperture, i stare at that little rainbow wheel for countless minutes. very upsetting. good luck!
You have not described whether managed vs. referenced Masters. As the Library grows use of managed Masters slows operation, and sooner or later it usually becomes problematic.
Being 85% full has seriously slowed down the HD, and with the Library on it I would expect very poor performance. Lame hardware needs to be optimized rather than compromised. See my earlier posts.
Be sure Previews are set to be created manually, not automatically, and do not create Previews while editing.
Made a 20gb library from my big library. On the SSD. Of course it's fast! Smaller and on SSD.
Something interesting- I did an import from a standard small folder of images, and it got stuck half way through- a new issue..
It didn't freeze, but it did hit the processors up to ~130% all night. I told it to quit, and tried to cancel the import in the Activity window, but it just didn't. Forced quit this morning. Re imported and it worked as usual.
Sierra- managed masters. And yes, I think the 450gb library size is an issue, but not for the stalls with no cpu usage. Something else is happening there.
The empty HD space, changing preview settings, etc are all non-mac like. We shouldn't have to worry much about this- True though, I have noticed when Previews are being created, fogettahbout working until it's done.
From former xbench marks I took, it was at a 52 when half full, and now is at 44 (for disk only testing.)
So, not really the HD space.
We need a super nerd that can tell us what's going on when we're beach ballin', and there is no CPU usage. And no Console messages... :/
I can 'sample' the app in Activity Monitor, but I don't think I'll be able to interpret it.
My recommendations regarding optimizing Aperture on your seriously inadequate hardware (which I also ran for years on similar lame hardware) are above. To the extent that you choose not to follow those recommendations like overfilling hard drives, usage of large managed-Masters Library, etc. I expect that you will continue to experience more poor Aperture performance than necessary from your old MBP.
Note that your SSD test Library proves the process can work. No super nerd needed to tell us that or to tell us why minimalist hardware is underperforming while trying to run maximum strength pro image software on huge managed-Masters Library sizes.
In case I was previously unclear, I recommend:
• No hard drive more than, as a rough guideline, 70% full; even less full is better. With top hardware we may get away with intentionally making drives underperform by overfilling them to 85%, but with lesser hardware we must optimize at every possible bottleneck (at least that is my philosophy, which worked with my 2006 MBP).
• Aperture Library on the SSD, 100% by reference. You have not told us the SSD size, but usually if one keeps Preview sizes small and keeps Masters and other non-instantly-necessary data off the SSD one can use the below workflow (I do).
• Masters referenced, not managed. Ideally put Masters on the SSD, back up originals to external drives before import into Aperture, then import into Aperture, then edit, then from within Aperture move Masters from referenced on the SSD to referenced on hard drives. If the SSD fills then do not put even unedited image Masters on the SSD.
If you want the full epistle on why managed-Masters are inappropriate in most cases please let me know.
Thanks everyone for your ideas- while none of them really account for the beach ball and 0% processor usage for minutes, I never thought I would find an answer. I'm using some of the insight here to change some things that'll probably fix it, or make it better.
Here's what I'm going to do.
Wait for the next iteration of Aperture, and see how things act there.
I will probably then relocate my masters to a folder on my 1tb internal, and keep the Aperture library on the SSD, which will hopefully be under 50gb.