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Lightroom Classic used on new 16" Macbook Pro with Radeon Pro 5500M

Dec 18, 2019

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I’ve had my new 16” MacBook Pro now for about a week. It’s equipped with the 2.3 GHz processor, 32 GB ram, AMD Radeon Pro 5500M GPU (4GB) and Intel UHD 630 GPU (1536MB), 2 TB SSD of storage. I would like to know if the behavior I describe below is unique to my MBP using Lightroom Classic or if others have had the same experience.

It’s loaded with Catalina v 10.15.2 and I subscribe to Adobe for Lightroom Classic CC v 9.1, Camera Raw v 12.1 and Photoshop 2020 v 21.0.2.

The first time I attempted to use Lightroom with this new MBP I noticed that it seemed generally all-around slow, especially when using the Adjustment Brush tool. Under Lightroom Preferences > Performance, “Use Graphic Processor” the AUTO was selected. Further investigation revealed that the AMD Radeon Pro 5500M GPU was not in use. This was evident by Activity Monitor's Energy page, right side on the Lightroom Classic line under Graphics Card there was a NO. Also on that Activity Monitor page at the bottom in the Graphics Card box said “Integrated”, meaning the integrated Intel UHD 630 GPU was in use. Also, under About This Mac, Overview & Display, Graphics the Intel UHD Graphics 630 is listed.

Next I opened Photoshop and used the Spot Healing Brush tool without any slowness or hesitation. Looking then at the Activity Monitor, Energy (Lightroom is still open) and to the right side on the Photoshop line under Graphics Card there was a YES. Also on that same Activity Monitor page at the bottom in the Graphics Card box it said High Perf. indicating the AMD Radeon Pro 5500M was now in use. Interestingly thought next to Lightroom Classic it still said NO under Graphics Card.

Going back to Lightroom Classic (Photoshop still open) and attempting the same use of the Adjustment Brush that was sluggish before was now very quick and responsive.

Mac OS System Preference under Energy, "Automatic graphics switching" is defaulted to being checked. This being checked intends for battery energy to be saved by using the integrated GPU when high graphics demand is not needed and to automatically switch to the Radeon Pro GPU when needed. I do not know if being plugged into a power source or being on battery only makes difference in the logic, but I pretty much thus far have only been plugged into a power source with my new MBP.

In any case my issue is: when opening Lightroom before or without Photoshop open, with Automatic graphics switching enabled in System Preference, I will not have the Radeon Pro GPU for Lightroom photo processing.

Work-arounds:

Uncheck Automatic graphics switching in Mac OS System Preference > Energy. This alone will not speed up Lightroom Classic even though under About This Mac, Overview the Radeon Pro and the Intel GPUs will be listed and under Displays the Radeon Pro will be listed. So additionally under Lightroom Preferences > Performance, next to “Use Graphic Processor” AUTO needs to be changed to CUSTOM and the boxes “Use GPU for display” and “Use GPU for image processing” needs to be checked. This will demand the Radeon Pro to be the used GPU.

Note: Strangely with these steps taken Activity Monitor’s Energy page will still show NO for Graphics card next to Lightroom Classic . If by going back to Lightroom Preferences > Performance and to the right side of the page (right top) and clicking “System Info” then click “Close” on the window that comes up, you will then see a YES on the Activity Monitor’s Energy page for Lightroom Classic under Graphics card.To me this is very, very weird...

Seems to me that the auto switching to the high performance GPU, as it is with Photoshop, should also be the same behavior in Lightroom. I have no idea if this is particular to my MBP (something corrupted) or if this is a known issue. I did reach out to Apple support and after latterly two days of going back and forth I was told it's most likely an Adobe issue. I tried to contact Adobe by phone but gave up after waiting a very long time.

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Lightroom Classic used on new 16" Macbook Pro with Radeon Pro 5500M

Dec 18, 2019

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I’ve had my new 16” MacBook Pro now for about a week. It’s equipped with the 2.3 GHz processor, 32 GB ram, AMD Radeon Pro 5500M GPU (4GB) and Intel UHD 630 GPU (1536MB), 2 TB SSD of storage. I would like to know if the behavior I describe below is unique to my MBP using Lightroom Classic or if others have had the same experience.

It’s loaded with Catalina v 10.15.2 and I subscribe to Adobe for Lightroom Classic CC v 9.1, Camera Raw v 12.1 and Photoshop 2020 v 21.0.2.

The first time I attempted to use Lightroom with this new MBP I noticed that it seemed generally all-around slow, especially when using the Adjustment Brush tool. Under Lightroom Preferences > Performance, “Use Graphic Processor” the AUTO was selected. Further investigation revealed that the AMD Radeon Pro 5500M GPU was not in use. This was evident by Activity Monitor's Energy page, right side on the Lightroom Classic line under Graphics Card there was a NO. Also on that Activity Monitor page at the bottom in the Graphics Card box said “Integrated”, meaning the integrated Intel UHD 630 GPU was in use. Also, under About This Mac, Overview & Display, Graphics the Intel UHD Graphics 630 is listed.

Next I opened Photoshop and used the Spot Healing Brush tool without any slowness or hesitation. Looking then at the Activity Monitor, Energy (Lightroom is still open) and to the right side on the Photoshop line under Graphics Card there was a YES. Also on that same Activity Monitor page at the bottom in the Graphics Card box it said High Perf. indicating the AMD Radeon Pro 5500M was now in use. Interestingly thought next to Lightroom Classic it still said NO under Graphics Card.

Going back to Lightroom Classic (Photoshop still open) and attempting the same use of the Adjustment Brush that was sluggish before was now very quick and responsive.

Mac OS System Preference under Energy, "Automatic graphics switching" is defaulted to being checked. This being checked intends for battery energy to be saved by using the integrated GPU when high graphics demand is not needed and to automatically switch to the Radeon Pro GPU when needed. I do not know if being plugged into a power source or being on battery only makes difference in the logic, but I pretty much thus far have only been plugged into a power source with my new MBP.

In any case my issue is: when opening Lightroom before or without Photoshop open, with Automatic graphics switching enabled in System Preference, I will not have the Radeon Pro GPU for Lightroom photo processing.

Work-arounds:

Uncheck Automatic graphics switching in Mac OS System Preference > Energy. This alone will not speed up Lightroom Classic even though under About This Mac, Overview the Radeon Pro and the Intel GPUs will be listed and under Displays the Radeon Pro will be listed. So additionally under Lightroom Preferences > Performance, next to “Use Graphic Processor” AUTO needs to be changed to CUSTOM and the boxes “Use GPU for display” and “Use GPU for image processing” needs to be checked. This will demand the Radeon Pro to be the used GPU.

Note: Strangely with these steps taken Activity Monitor’s Energy page will still show NO for Graphics card next to Lightroom Classic . If by going back to Lightroom Preferences > Performance and to the right side of the page (right top) and clicking “System Info” then click “Close” on the window that comes up, you will then see a YES on the Activity Monitor’s Energy page for Lightroom Classic under Graphics card.To me this is very, very weird...

Seems to me that the auto switching to the high performance GPU, as it is with Photoshop, should also be the same behavior in Lightroom. I have no idea if this is particular to my MBP (something corrupted) or if this is a known issue. I did reach out to Apple support and after latterly two days of going back and forth I was told it's most likely an Adobe issue. I tried to contact Adobe by phone but gave up after waiting a very long time.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 19, 2019

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This has been reported by a few other folk but I can't recall if there was an answer provided or not. That being said, the description of the actions you took re “Use Graphic Processor” AUTO needs to be changed to CUSTOM and the boxes “Use GPU for display” and “Use GPU for image processing” are consistent with what can be expected when the GPU card has not been fully tested for compatibility with Camera Raw  & Lightroom. This wouldn't be unusual given the newness of the computer/gpu combination.

 

BTW, rather than checking whether the GPU is functioning with the Activity Monitor Energy panel I sugegts you open the GPU History panel from the Activity Monitor >Window menu (Cmd 4).

 

 

 

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Dec 19, 2019

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Hi Ian_Lyons and thanks for the reply.

 

Yes CUSTOM it is. I only selected AUTO temporaly in my attempt to diagnose the behivor. Thanks for the Cmd 4 tip. Currently I'm planning to uninstall Lightroom Classic CC and reenstall to hopefully eliminate any aberrant behivor.

 

Steve

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Jan 12, 2020

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Hello,

I have the same machine and the same problem. Everything you describe is the same for me.

Thank you for your description, I can use my graphic card now ! And I wait for an update from Adobe...

 

Pierrick

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Jan 12, 2020

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Hi Pierrick and thanks for the reply.

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Feb 08, 2020

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So glad I found this timely discussion, as I am on the verge of purchasing the same machine you describe, and was investigating compatibility of Lightroom and the AMD Radeon Pro 5500M GPU 4 or 8 GB (another question, would the 8gb present any gain.) I hope I'm understanding you to say that once you change the settings as you describe they are sticky (need setting only once) and that these changes solve speed issues. Since it's almost 2 months since your original post I'm hoping that things are now humming along for you.

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Feb 08, 2020

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Greetings Barbara

Yes, the settings do remain in effect and Lightroom will continue to access the high performance GPU. As far as speed issues are concerned, it seems a little spotty at times in both Lightroom and Photoshop and I'm not sure it's because of the GPU, the 4 GB of RAM, or just the computer itself. That is to say at times there seems to be a slight delay when using the Adjustment Brush in Lr or the Brush in Ps (but nothing akin to the delay when using the Adjustment Brush with the Integrated GPU). This may be normal considering the typical file sizes I render are 45 to 50 MB. I'm pretty much happy with the Macbook Pro 16". I've had two 15" MBP in the past and this new maching is pretty zippy.

 

Hope this helps - Cheers,

Steve

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Feb 08, 2020

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Helps a lot, Steve!

Since I posted, I've found others on various sites with similar MBP 16" /  AMD Radeon Pro 5500M GPU complaints about Lr + Ps, as well as other Adobe apps. No one, including Adobe peeps, seems to have bashed away as you have. I'm grateful you took the time to describe the issue, investigate it, and explain the fix completely. I too have had two MBP's, but mostly use MP. (vintage 2009) Comparing iMac Pro and Mac Pro, I was advised that either would be overkill and that the laptop would do just fine for Lr / Ps. Also looking at Caldigit dock with many ports, and DVI to thunderbolt adaptor for 30" monitor. Anyway, I was stuck until I found your info.

Thanks!

Barbara

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Feb 08, 2020

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Hey Barbara, glad I could help. I can't speak about the iMac Pro or the Mac Pro with regards to over kill using Lr or Ps in your applications, but as far as the MBP 16" is concerned, it's fine for what I do. I'm an amateur photographer and as I said, process fairly large RAW files and my MBP seems to handel everything quite well. Also, the convenience of having a laptop for travel is very nice! Regarding the 16" MBP and the AMD 5500M you might want to watch this video. It's aimed mainly at fan noise when the MBP is plugged into an external display but the videographer adds a segment on software that installed, can control switching between the integrated and HP GPUs.

See:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkmdHVfk4XE

 

Steve

A bunch of people are returning their 16" MacBook Pro's or exchanging them and having the same issue. Heres 3 ways to FIX it! 16" MacBook Pro ($300 OFF) ➡ ht...

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Feb 09, 2020

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Thanks for this bonus, steveh96983136,

I haven’t had a chance to check out the youtube yet, but it looks right on time. The bit about a software to "control switching between the integrated and HP GPUs” tells me I have a little more homework to do, though from what you've said, I will be pulling the trigger on MBP 16" and other goodies soon. Photography is livelihood and passion, but honestly, up to now, that a graphics card was part of the hardware was all I could tell you. Look forward to delving into this subject in more depth.

Barbara

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Feb 10, 2020

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Hi Barbara

One other bit of info that I've become aware of as of late. Now, presumably due to the latest Catalina 10.15.3 update, the switching to the AMD 550M GPU when using Lightroom is now evident when viewing Activity Monitor > Energy. Next to Lightroom there now will be a YES, where as before there would be a NO even though at the bottom of the same page it would say High Performance GPU. So I guess that bug is fixed, although I was convinced it was an Adobe issue...

 

Steve 

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