thanks fpr the tip! I found out now, that my performance problems result in the use of VSCO filters. even if I edit a project on the SSD only, the 100% view of a 50MB file with VSCO filter takes at least 10 seconds. without filter it still is 2 sec.
I will try to edit that project on a new mac pro in the local apple store to compare the performance...
checked the new mac pro today (smallest machine) with an Aperture project I brought with me. it was a big surprise to learn, that this machine is not faster than my 2008 mac pro in terms of "switching to 100% view in a 50 MB raw file with a lot of post processing changes"!
so my performance problem lies in Aperture itself, it is not the hardware... actually I hoped a new computer would solve the problem
Interesting. But this operation isn't fast here either.
(It seems like Aperture isn't top-notch to handle today's image sizes in several ways. I also often find the tool brushes to be too small, there are no gradient brushes, and using brushes on a 36 MP file often causes the "spinning wheel" or application crashes. Aperture is still great for sorting, organizing and basic editing, but much of my advanced editing is done with various plugins, Photoshop and even Adobe Camera Raw.)
I have not been on the board for a long time, I was just interested to read what the community was doing with the new Mac Pro. However, after seeing this article I had to say something, and for those who know me, it is always rather long-winded, but hopefully helpful.
I just read that Macworld article and found it to be INCREDIBLY inaccurate, most especially the part about RAM. As an engineer and programmer for 40 years, this kind of published misinformation makes me furious because it costs trusting users time and money chasing the wrong things. That was 100% wrong, and it is easy to prove this and see the reality for yourself. This way informed decisions about how a computer handles the work you are actually doing are easily made, with very small amounts of actual technical knowledge, and a couple of software tools that Apple provides on all systems for free: Activity Monitor and Terminal.
Trust me the #1 thing Aperture needs for maximum performance is RAM, and you all have the utility software on your Macs to prove this to yourself, no conjecture, no guessing, you can see it happening in real time. This free app is called Activity Monitor, and it is in your Utilities folder. With this tool you can easily see the RAM use of all apps and processes in your system, and you will see as you work on Aperture that it has a big desire for free system RAM.
First of all, let me make a blanket statement that all OS X machines will increase performance with more RAM is going to be true until you get to the VERY high end of RAM usage, over say 96GB RAM, and that is only possible in the Mac Pro in special cases. SOOOO...that means that every other Mac that is not a Mac Pro will only deliver its maximum possible performance with the maximum amount of RAM the system allows.
Why am a saying this with 100% certainty? Simple...stay with me here... to understand this fully, I need to introduce 2 UNIX terms, pageins and pageouts. I will show you where your Mac displays these figures, and as part of the very old school architecture of UNIX, these two numbers are kept by your system continuously, and only reset to zero when you restart your Mac. A pageout is when the operating system runs out of RAM for a current task, and the UNIX OS writes the current contents of a chunk of RAM to a tempoary "page" on disk to free up that RAM space. When the app needs that data it pagedout again, it will have to re-read that data from the pageout file on disk back into ram or "pagein" before it can use it again. Obviously, read/write access to RAM is orders of magnatude faster than disk access, even if that disk is an SSD. You can only avoid paging if your system always has sufficient free RAM for your apps to work with, and therefore never has to page or swap data from RAM to disk and back again.
Therefore, UNIX RAM usage methodology dictates if you can keep RAM pageouts to a mimimum. ideally zero, your CPUs are processing at maximum speed, limited only by I/O. Paged storage is also called virtual memory or VM by the UNIX system.
OK, fair enough, then do you have enough RAM to avoid this slowdown of paging memory? Simple to answer....open your Terminal app. When it opens, type the word top and hit Return. A verbose screen full of techincal items will appear, and the 6th line down shows status of Virtual Memory, labeled VM:. At the end of that line will be figures for number of pageins and pageouts. If your Pageouts are zero, congratulations your Mac is operating 100% in RAM (at least since your last reboot, as Pagein and pageout is reset at each system restart). Most likely, your Pageout count is a very large number. I now suggest restarting your Mac, when it reboots open Terminal again, type top and check the Pageout value to now be zero, then run Aperture for a while and type top and check the Pageouts again. Given my own systems, after using Aperture for an hour or so of regular array of tasks, I will see some Pageouts unless I am using one of the systems over 48GB. Then, I will see them if I am working with some of my medium format files or large film scans. The dead giveaway for a pageout is the beachball, btw...unless you are doing something else in the background, when you see a beachball in Aperture it is paging.
To see more details on actual RAM usage, I suggest you open Activity Monitor and keep it visible and look at the free RAM as you work with Aperture. Remember, being a UNIX system, the key performance element in all applications is avoiding pageouts.
From reading a lot of the questions here about the new Mac Pro configs, I figure I should write up my conclusions on where I stand with current configs.
I have to sign off now but I will tell you the sweet spot config for my work is 6 core, 64GB RAM (buy 12GB from Apple, buy the RAM from Datamem or OWC), 1TB storage. The GPU selection requires discussion to understand, but the cost difference between D300 and D500 is very small, and the 500 is Tahiti-based.
More to come later in the week, hope this helps.
Always enjoy your posts. I have had my nMP since late February. I had configured my order with input from the business desk specialist at the Apple Store. I told them my need would primarily be Aperture and Final Cut Pro X. They led me to order the 6 Core, with 1 TB drive, D500 graphics cards, and 32 GB of RAM. Very happy thus far. I may add third party RAM some day, but 32 is double what I was using on my Quad core rMBP.
Glad to see a familiar name, and congrats on the nMP!!!
I have been away from work for a few months, and was not around to jump on the nMP at opening. Awaiting arrival of mine, so please allow me to live vicariously if you will for a bit.
Since you have been using this for a month or so, and I assume few if any restarts during that time, what is your current Pageout count? If zero or very low, 32GB RAM is perfect. If it is a big number, going to 64GB will significantly increase performance.
To get a current daily number, restart your Mac, then run a regular day of Aperture and look at the Pageouts when done. If it is still very low, than you are ok with the 32GB.
Also operating Aperture with Activity monitor open and looking at System RAM usage should speak volumes as well. You can readily see how certain behavior in Aperture causes it to grab more and more RAM....which is fine, of course, as long as what it is grabbing is actually free RAM and not causing paging to disk.
oh one more thing....bit off topic, but I add this as I have really been enjoying this product. A friend gave me a Das Keyboard for Mac as a gift recently, and OMG I love it. I can type so fast and effortlessly on this I cannot believe it. It is a mechanical keyboard, using German made Cherry MX Blue keyswitches, meaning it clicks when you hit the keys...but it is the feel that is truly amazing. I was always a fast typist as a kid, I just thought the years, arthritis and the like took that away. Nope...I can say with happy certainty that these stylish but numb, dead silent chicklet keyboards like Apple's and Logitech are the culprit. PLUS, the das has a nice high gloss piano black finish with matte keys that will look great with the Mac Pro. I have been telling everyone about this thing, and the folks at work cannot get over how much faster and better everyone types on this. My business partner loves the fact that I am overjoyed with a product that we did not have to argue about spending thousands for, lol. We offered a das for all the guys when they get their nMP, and they all said yes.
Anyway, I am getting called back to work, great to hear from you.
Keep in mind that Mavericks is using memory in a whole new way. Neither Activity Monitor or Top reports paging, now as Mavericks is compressing memory to keep what it can in memory. It can still swap if it has to.
From an iMac running Maverick
Activity monitor shows what it calls Memory Pressure a moving graph of the state of memory/compressed memory.
As I said it's a whole new ball game.
Interesting about the keyboard. I am doing my primary typing tasks on my old MP, where I use wired keyboard with real keys, and clicks.
On the nMP, I am using a Bluetooth keyboard, and the Magic Trackpad. I like this for both editing in Aperture and FCPX
I concurr with Frank that monitoring memory management is a whole new ballgame in Mavericks, which I first switched to on my rMBP. I have seen no evidence of memory management issues on the nMP, and I was thinking just today that I don't remember if I have ever had a restart other than some software update that required it.
With FCPX, which has been especially optimized for use on the nMP, I have seen CPU usage go to at least 950%, via the use of the virtual cores and hardware cores -- this was during Importing of clips. With Aperture, I don't think I have seen more than 700%, and that while SmugInPro was rendering versions for uploading. Aperture, to my knowledge, has not received any tweaks for the nMP. CPU usuage during the stamping on large groups of images has only produced numbers in the 350% range.
I personnly think that the nMP is managing graphic memory much better with my giant images file from my Nikon D800. I suspect graphic memory was being overwhelmed when I was using my old MP and Lion with Aperture, and to some extent on my rMBP.
Not enough experience data, yet. I think a 4 Core, based primarily on my experience with my rMBP Quad Core, would be enough for Aperture, only. But I still think the best graphics cards would be best for large Originals.
Both the rMBP and the nMP easily handle video in full form, and no need to use proxy media.
I think RAM is just as important, if not more so, for large images versus video.
For me, having the latest interface ports was extremely important. TBolt and USB3 are the way to go. I use TBolt drives as primaries, and USB3 as clone backup targets.
If I get a chance, I will try to duplicate a large import on both the rMBP and the nMP.
If I were to bet, I think the nMP will really come into its own with any new version of Aperture that might make an appearance, vs the benchmarks I have seen comparing an iMac and the nMP. And thus far, I have not seen Aperture tested that way.