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What's bottle-necking my editing speed?


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Hey everyone, 

Been on these forums for over 4 years but rarely post anymore since I've been so busy with school but this is a question that just been begging to be answered since it's slowing me down astronomically. 

Firstly, I'm using LR 5.3 64-bit. The main issue is speed of applying edits to images as well as going through the images and using the zoom at any factor. 

Here's the specs of my computer:

Asus Z170A LGA1151 MOBO
16GB - Crucial Ballistix Sport DDR4-2400Mhz RAM (stock clock)
i7 6700k 4.0Ghz Quad-core (stock clock)
Radeon Sapphire R9 280 (stock clock)
EVGA SuperNOVA 750W PSU
Crucial MX100 256GB SSD (contains all programs and OS) 
ProRaid HFR2-SU3S2 Raid system with 4X HGST Deskstar 3.5in 2tb 7200RPM drives plugged in via Firewire to USB 3.0 (This setup contains all of my work files [CR2 files and edited files])

That should be all of the important information. My best guess is that my RAID system is just too slow for the rest of the system, but other programs slow down too and I did a test with files on my SSD and it was no different. Catalogs are on the RAID too. I'm pretty frustrated after spending $1400 on a computer several months ago and getting hardly any better performance over my previous laptop which was 4 years old and had similar specs but much older. 

Any help would be great! 

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You really REALLY want to get a eSata card to and use that eSata port on the ProRaid. I know USB 3.0 is rated to 5Gbps, but from what I've experienced in person, that's a lab test result. I'd start with a eSATA to PCI Express card. They retail for about $25-$30. In addition, RAID0 will be the fastest, but there is no redundancy going that route. 

You mentioned LR. Just to let you know, the more photos you have in a catalog, the slower it runs. This is especially true if you have 30,000+ photos in a single catalog. I know Adobe touts LR being this awesome photo management thing, but the catalog file way of doing things sucks. Once it gets bloated, things slow down to a crawl. 

As for why things haven't changed when using a SSD, I'd create a new catalog and put that on the SSD and not the RAID EHD. (Just as a test.) See if running 100% off the SSD drives helps things. If not, it could be a BIOS setting that needs to be tweaked. 

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Oh, one more dirty secret. Adobe Photoshop and LR are not designed to take advantage of the Intel's i7 architecture that makes it so fast. In fact, there is only about a 5-7% performance gain between a i5 and i7. So it doesn't surprise me that you really aren't experiencing earth-shattering performance gains. 

LR and PS rely more on RAM and the video card GPU / VRAM for a performance boost. I don't think LR 5.3 has this feature, but I could be wrong. Make sure "Use Graphics Processor" (or similar wording) is checked in PS preferences and LR preferences if it's an option. 

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