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Slow operation while performing basic edits

Explorer ,
Feb 12, 2024 Feb 12, 2024

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Hi there

I have been struggling with the same issue for a long time which is that on my laptop Lightroom runs SO SLOW! And every time I use it, even for basic edits like cropping or adjusting white balance, I get a spinning wheel and have to wait several seconds for each adjustment to be applied. Plus the fans on my computer go crazy and the Activity Monitor says LR is using many hundreds of percent of my CPU.
I have persisted for a long time as I didn’t know what else to do, but I recently bought a Canon R5 which has much larger file sizes than my old Canon 5D IV and now it’s making editing anything almost impossible. 
I really don’t think I should need to buy a new computer, but perhaps I have no choice! However, my system seems to be well above the minimum requirements.
I am running:
LR Classic 13.1 release (but this is has been a problem with previous versions too)
MacBook Pro 13-inch, 2020.
Processor 2.3 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core I
Graphics Intel Iris Plus Graphics 1536 MB
Memory 32 GB 3733 MHz LPDDR4X
macOS Ventura 13.6.1
Is there a way to solve this or is my only option to buy an even more powerful computer?
Thanks
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macOS

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LEGEND ,
Feb 12, 2024 Feb 12, 2024

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Plus the fans on my computer go crazy and the Activity Monitor says LR is using many hundreds of percent of my CPU.

 

This is due to heat build-up in the Macbook. When this happens, often the Mac OS will throttle back the CPU so it produces less heat, and this could be the cause of the slow operation of LrC.

 

You want to vaccuum out all the air vents on the case, and also make sure none of the vents are obstructed by a wall or furniture. If possible, open the case and vaccuum it out as well. Consider using a laptop cooling device like this.

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LEGEND ,
Feb 12, 2024 Feb 12, 2024

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The problem is the integrated graphics. I use a 16 inch 2020 MBP at work with the 4GB discrete Radeon Pro 5300M (which is a mid-range card but WAY better than the Iris Plus) and it runs great, no slowdowns working with RAW files.

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Explorer ,
Feb 13, 2024 Feb 13, 2024

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Thank you for answering. So you're saying I DO need a new computer? Even with 32 gig of memory? 

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LEGEND ,
Feb 12, 2024 Feb 12, 2024

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Community Expert ,
Feb 12, 2024 Feb 12, 2024

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I have a similar 13-inch MacBook Pro from 2018, and it does the same thing. This is exactly the reason Apple gave up on Intel and chose to spend a pile of money to develop their own more efficient Apple Silicon computer processors. And unfortunately, the 2020 is the last version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro to use Intel processors, so it is the last one to run hot and loud under this type of editing.

 

I used the word “unfortunately” because 2020 is the year Apple rolled out the first M1 Mac laptop, a big jump up and far superior to any Intel Mac laptop in almost every way. Yes, having to buy a new Mac is an expensive solution, but literally any Apple Silicon laptop right back to the original M1 MacBook Air from 2020 is going to be a much better photo editing experience than any 13-inch Intel MacBook Pro. Especially with the higher megapixel images from newer cameras.

 

For example, if you were to get a 14" MacBook Pro, either the new M3 or (now old and discounted, so very good value) M2, either option would provide stunningly higher performance than a 2020 13" Intel MacBook Air, and, without overheating. Also, the graphics hardware in any M1 or newer is much more capable than the Intel integrated graphics on the Intel 13" MacBook Pro, by a wide margin. For example, the GPU in my 2021 14" M1 Pro MacBook Pro runs Lightroom Classic AI Denoise several times faster than my 13" Intel MacBook Pro.

 

If you are on a budget, and you mostly work on images one or two at a time, even a current 13" or 15" MacBook Air would be a major step up in performance, and there is no fan to hear. (The MacBook Pro can handle a higher workload because it has fans, but you usually won’t hear them.)

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Explorer ,
Feb 13, 2024 Feb 13, 2024

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Thank you so much for this very clear and helpful reply! So basically there's no workaround, and having just dropped 8K on new camera gear, I'm now going to need to fork out another £2K on a new laptop? 😞 

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LEGEND ,
Feb 13, 2024 Feb 13, 2024

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Adobe products make heavy use of the GPU. The 13" Intel machines simply don't have much GPU power.

A US$600 Mac mini would run circles around that MacBook Pro.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 13, 2024 Feb 13, 2024

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Please understand that this is not intended to sound snarky, but one way to put it is that you may need to buy a new computer because you just dropped 8K on new camera gear.

 

In other words, in the back of my mind I know that if I make a big jump in my next camera, like if I decided I want one of those 50 megapixel or 100 megapixel cameras, I am very aware that might only be the beginning of my expenses, triggering a whole lot of other expenses. It would increase the number of pixels I am storing and editing, so I would have to rethink whether my current processor, memory, graphics hardware, storage, backup storage, and camera cards are enough to efficiently handle 50MP images (over twice the pixels of my current cameras).

 

At the very least, I would know that I would be running out of card storage, computer storage, and backup storage twice as fast if I got a 50MP camera, so I would have to re-budget to be able to upgrade those sooner.

 

Also it is important to point out again that this is not something that will always happen. The special consideration in this case is that Intel MacBook Pro is one of the last Intel Macs. It was just unfortunate timing. For example, comparing two Mac laptops released in the same year, 2020, the last 13-inch Intel MacBook Pro and the first 13-inch M1 MacBook Air (their lowest model), the M1 MacBook Air would be much more likely to handle Canon R5 images smoothly. Same year, big jump in technology.

 

Yes, it sounds harsh, and I know it is just not good to have to spend a lot more money because now the computer has to be upgraded. I did not really want to spend on a new Mac only three years after buying my Intel 13-inch MacBook Pro, but the M1 Pro was such a major step up that it solved a lot of problems and, with that M1 Pro now over two years old, I have no regrets and it performs so well I don’t feel any temptation to upgrade to an M3. (At least, not until I decide I want a higher megapixel camera… 🙂 But who knows, maybe this M1 Pro could handle 50MP…)

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Explorer ,
Feb 16, 2024 Feb 16, 2024

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The man at the Genius bar yesterday told me my computer is fine and should be plenty strong enough to cope with R5 RAW files. I was fully prepared to be upsold a new machine and he really didn't want to do that.

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LEGEND ,
Feb 13, 2024 Feb 13, 2024

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"And every time I use it, even for basic edits like cropping or adjusting white balance, I get a spinning wheel and have to wait several seconds for each adjustment to be applied."

 

Even with the low-end graphics processor on your Macbook, LR shouldn't do that when doing basic edits. Before considering a new computer, I recommend testing dj_paige's suggestion that your computer could be overheating due to clogged vents or fans. Many people have reported symptoms similar to yours that were caused by such overheating.

 

Intel no longer makes it's free utility available, but there are other Intel Mac temperature utilities, e.g. 

https://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/59725/temp-monitor

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Explorer ,
Feb 14, 2024 Feb 14, 2024

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Ok thank you, I will try that first. Though TBF, the fan thing has been happening ever since I got the computer brand new a few years ago, and it only starts up as soon as I fire up LR, not at any other time, so I don't think it's that. It's just even worse now with the R5 RAW files.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 14, 2024 Feb 14, 2024

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One way to try and take a closer look at what’s going on there:

 

If the fans mostly come on in the Develop module, it might be more likely to be related to the GPU (graphics hardware) not being powerful enough to handle the R5 files and so the CPU must, which will run hotter.

 

If the fans mostly come on outside of the Develop module, particularly in Grid view, it is more likely to be related to having to now build previews at the higher number of megapixels of the R5 images, which becomes a lot of work for the four cores in the Intel Core i5 in a 13" MacBook Pro. (For comparison, the low end M1 has 8 CPU cores, and the current Pro models can have many more.) It might be possible to make previews less processor-intensive by choosing Lightroom Classic > Catalog Settings, click the File Handling tab, and experiment with reducing the Standard Preview Size and the Preview Quality. Of course, you want to keep them at a size and quality setting that you find useful.

 

You might also try choosing Lightroom Classic > Preferences, and trying these other suggestions:

  • In the General tab, disable Replace Embedded Previews with Standard Previews at Idle Time. 
  • In the Performance tab, disable Generate Previews in Parallel. 

 

Also, when importing, in the File Handling tab, Build Previews option consider selecting Embedded & Sidecar.

 

Those actions might place less of a load on the computer by not requiring it to generate previews all the time (because that can generate a lot of heat), but the consequence will be that it might take a little longer to view each image in Loupe view, and longer for the unbuilt previews to appear in the grid.

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Explorer ,
Feb 14, 2024 Feb 14, 2024

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Yes, it only happens when I switch to Develop module. It's quiet in Library, but as soon as I switch to Develop the fan starts up, even if I don't even click on an image or do anything at all. 

I'm using Standard previews, not smart previews, as I seem to remember a long time ago asking for help with the same issue and someone telling me to turn them off. 

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LEGEND ,
Feb 14, 2024 Feb 14, 2024

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Previews, whether standard or 1:1, have no impact on the Develop Module. Smart previews can make a difference in the Develop Module, and can reduce the amount of work the CPU and/or GPU has to do, depending on what you are doing.

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LEGEND ,
Feb 14, 2024 Feb 14, 2024

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quote

Ok thank you, I will try that first. Though TBF, the fan thing has been happening ever since I got the computer brand new a few years ago, and it only starts up as soon as I fire up LR, not at any other time, so I don't think it's that. It's just even worse now with the R5 RAW files.


By @bellaf95161709

 

... or it is becoming even worse now because the vents are clogged?

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Explorer ,
Feb 16, 2024 Feb 16, 2024

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I took it to the Genius bar, they ran some tests and gave everything a clean bill of health. They also told me I definitely don't need to buy a new computer, mine should be plenty powerful enough. I've been advised to switch from Chrome to Safari (Chrome is eating my GPU) and if that doesn't work, there may be a bug in my system and I'll have to do a factory reset and then manually copy back apps and docs one by one to avoid copying it across.

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LEGEND ,
Feb 16, 2024 Feb 16, 2024

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Did they (or you) vaccuum out the vents?

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LEGEND ,
Feb 16, 2024 Feb 16, 2024

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You NEVER want to copy apps from an older computer, especially Adobe. Always do a clean install on a new system. BTW I used to work as a Mac Genius. I can work on 50MP RAW files from my 5DSr on my 2011 13" MacBook Pro, but its painful. My 2015 MBP with Radeon card is a lot better, but my M1 handles them with no issues.

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Explorer ,
Feb 17, 2024 Feb 17, 2024

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Thank you. If I do buy a new one with an M3 Pro chip, do I then need less memory? My current computer has 32gb but is still struggling. The new M3 pro Macbook Pros come with 18gb as standard. Upgrading to 36gb costs £360 extra but I don't know if it's needed if i have a better chip? Also what is the difference between 11-core CPU / 14-core GPU and 12-core CPU / 18-core GPU and which one do I need?

Thanks!

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Community Expert ,
Feb 17, 2024 Feb 17, 2024

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quote

Thank you. If I do buy a new one with an M3 Pro chip, do I then need less memory? My current computer has 32gb but is still struggling.

By @bellaf95161709

 

The answers change depending on which applications you use the most, so the answers below are specific to Lightroom Classic.

 

Memory:

 

18GB should work, but the upgrade to 36GB will be worth it for a camera with more megapixels (such as the R5), or if you edit files with large pixel dimensions (e.g., panoramas), do a lot of merges (multi-frame merges to HDR or panoramas), or add many layers in Photoshop. My M1 Pro has 32GB, and based on what I see from watching memory usage and where software is going, I think 32GB is my minimum in the future.

 

For Mac photo editing, one big reason to avoid the minimum amount is that the memory is shared with the graphics hardware (GPU). So when using an application such as Lightroom Classic that can use the GPU to enhance performance, it’s good to have more than the minimum so that the OS, applications, and GPU all have the memory they need for full potential performance.

 

Again, having owned a similar Intel Core i5 13" MacBook Pro, I continue to believe the problems your current Mac has are not related to the memory amount, but due to the older, less powerful CPU and the very limited graphics hardware it comes with. An M1/M2/M3 will address those problems.

 

quote

Upgrading to 36gb costs £360 extra but I don't know if it's needed if i have a better chip? Also what is the difference between 11-core CPU / 14-core GPU and 12-core CPU / 18-core GPU and which one do I need?

By @bellaf95161709

 

Upgrading the chip and the memory are sort of different subjects, but again it depends on the application. In general, though, if you have demands that need a more powerful chip, that usually means you shouldn’t bottleneck it with too little memory. In other words, having a balanced system is important because everything works together.

 

Regarding the cores and Lightroom Classic:

 

If you get more CPU cores, some activities that involve processing many images at once should be faster, like building/updating previews in parallel and maybe pasting edit settings on many images at once. But the 11-core base model should be quite good as it is, so I don’t think this is the highest priority. (Mine has 8 CPU cores.)

 

If you get more GPU cores, activities that use GPU acceleration should be faster. Those can include the Develop module on high megapixel images, AI masking, and bulk export of hundreds of images at the same time. Right now the biggest beneficiary of GPU cores is AI Denoise; if you use that feature often or plan to, the number of GPU cores is directly related to how fast AI Denoise goes. Generally, twice the GPU cores will run AI Denoise twice as fast, which for some people is the difference between needing an hour vs a half hour to batch AI Denoise 60 high-megapixel images.

 

If you’re looking only at the M3 Pro, the performance difference between 11/14 and 12/18 CPU/GPU cores might not be enough to notice, especially if you tend to edit only one or two images at a time. That is part of the reason I went with the base Pro to save some money. (Doubling of cores comes with the expensive M3 Max, and the M3 Ultra which is not out yet. The people who should get the M3 Max do high volume shoots at least a few times a month.)

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Explorer ,
Feb 21, 2024 Feb 21, 2024

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Thank you again for taking the time to write such a clear and helpful reply.

 

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LEGEND ,
Feb 21, 2024 Feb 21, 2024

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LATEST

Get the 36GB of RAM.

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