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Requirements for smooth 6K lightroom editing?

New Here ,
Jan 18, 2023 Jan 18, 2023

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Current use case I'm shooting 20 megapixel R6 raw files, but want some future proofing towards 40-50 megapixel raw files down the line. Editing in Lightroom CC on an old windows desktop with 34" 3440x1440 monitor, but more often on my ipad mini 5, simply because it's that much faster. Last year I edited an afternoon on a friends Mac Mini M1, running a 1920x1080 display. I was blown away by the fluidity: going between photos, zooming in, using sliders, masking: such a pleasure when it happens instantly.

Wish: fluid editing on large, high PPI monitor Goal is to upgrade to a desktop + large monitor that makes editing photos in Lightroom feel great: immediate updates on the full screen image when making (keyboard) inputs. I'm aiming for the Dell U3224KB coming out 23H1. It's a 31.5" monitor with 16:9 aspect ratio, with high colour accuracy and 6144×3456 resolution, which is about 21 megapixels. The rationale is that I want to move beyond 27" but stay in the ~220 PPI green zone for retina scaling on Mac.

Proposed Mac specs To balance performance & cost, I'm inclined to go for a Mac Mini with M2 Pro SoC (CPU: 6 perf + 4 efficiency cores, GPU: 16 cores, Neural Engine: 16 cores), 16GB of RAM & 512 GB SSD, storing all photos on external SSD. This config costs €1.569 where I live. It will have 2 extra performance cores and double the GPU cores compared to the Mac Mini M1, but it will have to drive a monitor with ~10x the pixels compared to full HD 1920x1080. I know the Mac Studio M1 Max has +2 more CPU perf cores, +8 GPU cores and 32GB of RAM, but it costs €2.328, a €759 price compared to the config above.

Questions to the community

  • Any experience with 5K displays on M1 Pro Macs? It is fluid in Lightroom?

  • Any experience in 16 vs 32GB of RAM for fluid editing, on 5K+ screens?

  • What part of Apple Silicon is primarily driving the fast on-screen update whilst editing? CPU cores, GPU cores or Neural engine? On Apple M1 the move to Max silicon mostly increases the GPU count compared to M1 Pro. Knowledge on how Adobe leverages the apple silicon HW would guide the buying decision.

Essentially I'm looking for confirmation whether M2 Pro with 16GB of RAM will suffice on a 6K display or not. I'd rather spent money on new fast glass to shoot with then over-speccing a new Mac 😉All input is very much appreciated! 🙏

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