6 Replies Latest reply: Dec 27, 2014 6:09 AM by w james
Dana D'Alessandro Level 4 Level 4

I just ordered a new Macbook Pro 15" and shoud be here Friday!  I was wondering if anyone has used the sdxc card slot to contain an entire iPhoto library?

I am thinking of getting a 64GB card and either running iTunes or iPhoto exclusively from the card.  (more than likely iPhoto as I don't use it as much).


The main reason is that I opted for a 128GB SSD for the primary partition and am looking to conserve where possible. 


Any thoughts or experiences are greatly appreciated.

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.7.3), iPhone 4s (32GB) iPad2 16GB
Reply by eww on Mar 28, 2012 3:47 PM Helpful

Running a large iPhoto Library from an SD card will be unbearably slow. It should work, but you won't be happy doing it.

All replies

  • eww Level 9 Level 9

    Running a large iPhoto Library from an SD card will be unbearably slow. It should work, but you won't be happy doing it.

  • Dana D'Alessandro Level 4 Level 4

    I was hoping that a fast(ish) xc card would help but feared as much. 

    Any recomendations?  Should it be fine for "storage" of random files?  I just don't want to fill up the SDD too quick and don't really want to lug about an external drive either.  I was hoping that the new sdxc chips would be faster than a USB HD with 5400rpm drive in it.

  • fane_j Level 4 Level 4

    Dana D\'Alessandro wrote:


    I was hoping that the new sdxc chips would be faster than a USB HD with 5400rpm drive in it.

    What 'slow' means depends on several factors, including what your expectations are. If your MBP's card reader is on the PCIe bus, it may not be so bad.


    Read this old review




    to understand how to judge SD performance relative to hard disk (keep in mind they didn't yet have Class 10 or XC on the market back then).


    Then read




    to see how to check the max speed supported by your card reader.


    IMHO, in the end, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Get the fastest, meanest SD card you can afford and test iPhoto Library on it. If performance is acceptable, fine. If not, you'll find other stuff to put there, never worry.


    Btw, if you do try, it would be nice if you posted back here what card you got and how it worked out.

  • Ned Block Level 1 Level 1

    I am using a 128 GB sdxc card (133x) for my iphoto library and it is unbearably slow (with a MacBook Air).  Even copying a 64 GB iphoto library to it takes all day.  There is a new 400x card from Lexar that perhaps will be much faster.  I find that using a USB drive for the iphoto library is much much faster.

    Someone mentioned reformating the card using case sensitive journaled.  Has anyone tried that for an iPhoto library?

  • BioHazzard Level 1 Level 1

    I know this is an older thread.  As an update, I'm using a 128GB SDXC Card with a 90MB/s transfer rate.  My entire iPhoto library is stored on it and it works fine.  Library loads up as quick as it would from the internal SSD on my Macbook Air.  No issues that I can see and it was a **** of a lot cheaper than trying to find a larger SSD for my Macbook.

  • w james Level 1 Level 1

    My wife has a 13" retina display Mac Book Pro with a 256GB internal SSD.  Her current operating system is Mavericks.  Her iPhoto library has grown to 117GB and she was seriously running low on space.  I purchased a 256GB PNY Elite SDXC card and last night attempted to move her iPhoto library onto it.  Slow.  Very painfully slow - the estimated time showing for the copy got up to several days after just a couple of gigabytes and I quit.  After doing some research here and elsewhere I reformatted the single partition on the card from exFAT to Apple's Journaled HFS+ and once again dragged the iPhoto library onto it.  At first it ran faster than painful but it was still going to take days.  Once it got past the few gigabytes I had originally copied it really took off and was done in just a couple of hours.  I double clicked it in its new location (on the card) and iPhoto opened on it with no problem.  I read somewhere that this is all I had to do to tell iPhoto to look in the new location from now on and it seemed to work.   I looked around in her library displaying photos in several albums and it was very quick.  I haven't trashed her originally iPhoto library yet, just renamed it to avoid confusion and will wait a few days for her to play with it in its new location before I delete  it from its internal SSD location. 


    Even if all continues to go well I have one concern - this is a laptop we're talking about, it's portable and gets moved around.  If she accidentally bumps the card out (not really all that easy to do???) while it's being written to I am concerned that this library may be corrupted. I will be changing her TimeMachine configuration to include backup of the SDXC card from now on.