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Computer Graphics

w4pictures is off-line
27 April 2014 10:58
w4pictures
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w4pictures
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London
Chiswick

Here's a question for the many here who know more about this than I do.

Most of us, I imagine, specify a fast graphics card to help with the intensive stuff such as batch processing or the larger file sizes from D800s and the like.

But, over the past few years, the size of most image files seems to have steadied at 12-20Mb but the onward march of computing speed has continued unabated.

So, for single image editing, does this mean that the need for a graphics card in photography is now less than it was say 2 or 3 years ago?


HowardJ is off-line
27 April 2014 11:18
HowardJ
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HowardJ
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Surrey
West Midlands

I read somewhere that photo editing is more constrained by:

- CPU speed
- OS you want a 64 bit one so it can access shed loads of RAM
- RAM if you have lots you can do more in memory and it'll be faster
- Scratch disks - maybe 4 disks are needed as a minimum and SSDs play a part

Graphics still play a part but less so now.

Graphics cards are also pretty cheap so upgrading is easy to do.


Hugh Spence is off-line
27 April 2014 11:59
StNeots
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StNeots
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Bedfordshire
Potton

Graphics card improvements have been driven by the needs of game players for many years now. The improvements have been in speed of changing frame rates rather than increasing colour accuracy or bit depth - which are the overriding needs of photographers. For static displays like photographs these are next to meaningless.
I'd be more worried about CPU speeds and the availability of memory to do adjustments without needing to use virtual ram.


CSD Images is off-line
27 April 2014 11:59
CSD_Images
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CSD_Images
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Grampian
Aberdeen

Three things required for fast editing:

Fast GPU, preferably OpenCL/OpenGL optimised. Adobe is moving towards GPGPU offloading for many of it's filters and rendering engines (such as Mercury). Lightroom is not using a GPGPU compute model yet sadly.

Lots and lots of RAM, 16Gb should be the bare minimum for a workstation, with 32Gb being preferable for medium format images and multi-layer/16bit images.

Fast sub-system storage. SSD primary and scratch disks or PCI RAM disks for sheer speed (a poor man's version is RAM Disks). Having a a image cache or Lr Catalogue on a fast disk works wonders for your workflow, this is one case where SSDs really beat SAS RAIDs as scratch disks. SAS RAID arrays can stand up to more punishment in the longer term though unless you pay for enterprise SSDs.

Processor is very much a last choice when you're looking at the above, as long as it's multi-core and reasonably fast then it can handle the workload. I use a 4 year processor on my workstation (AMD Phenom) and I can easily edit 1-2Gb PSDs with relative ease, this is because I have a reasonably fast SAS disk set up.

It should also be noted Lr isn't workstation optimised. So it doesn't take advantage of dual CPU rigs and it may not be fully optimised for a multi-core CPU in my experience. Ps and Bridge can and do take advantage of resources. So the only things you can do for Lr is SSD sub-systems and RAM.
www.flickr.com/photos/csd_images | www.celticshadows.co.uk


Steven Jardine is off-linePlatinum Member
27 April 2014 14:36
RedChecker
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RedChecker
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United Kingdom
Buckinghamshire
Stoke Mandeville

Quote from CSD_Images
 It should also be noted Lr isn't workstation optimised. So it doesn't take advantage of dual CPU rigs and it may not be fully optimised for a multi-core CPU in my experience. Ps and Bridge can and do take advantage of resources. So the only things you can do for Lr is SSD sub-systems and RAM.



My understanding was that LR utilises multi-threaded operation when exporting multiple images (although that's the only time I believe it does use it, but IMO it doesn't need it for anything else anyway).  Here's an old article but it proves the point I'm making

Getting the LR catalogue onto an SSD massively boosts performance in my experience, and considering the cost of them nowadays I'd perosnally be tempted to dedicate a single SSD to this task.
When you are dead, you do not know that you are dead. All of your pain is felt by others. The same thing happens when you are stupid.


CSD Images is off-line
27 April 2014 14:53
CSD_Images
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CSD_Images
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Grampian
Aberdeen

Aye it uses process distribution rather than multi-core optimisations, so it's useless for single image exports which arguably defeats the purpose of Lr. Hence my comments about the CPU being the last consideration, I've ran Lr on a dual Xeon (24 cores total ) workstation and it ignored the second CPU, this was Lr 4. Annoying as it was crippling itself by not using all the resources available. When it comes down to optimisations Lr is a bit of a pig, then again it's not really tailored to those markets.
www.flickr.com/photos/csd_images | www.celticshadows.co.uk


Steven Jardine is off-linePlatinum Member
27 April 2014 14:58
RedChecker
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RedChecker
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United Kingdom
Buckinghamshire
Stoke Mandeville

I don't see how you can say that single image export is the purpose of Lightroom. To me it's power has always been in its ability to batch process and I'm sure many would agree with me (as well as doing so in a non-destructive manner).

Besides, as I said you don't really need multi-core power for anything other than patch process with it (exporting a single images takes a second or two, not worth worrying about).
When you are dead, you do not know that you are dead. All of your pain is felt by others. The same thing happens when you are stupid.


HowardJ is off-line
27 April 2014 15:34
HowardJ
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HowardJ
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Surrey
West Midlands

it always pays to the fastest processor you can afford as extends the life of a machine.


CSD Images is off-line
27 April 2014 15:40
CSD_Images
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CSD_Images
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United Kingdom
Grampian
Aberdeen

Not really Howard, CPU's have been good enough for 90% of people's needs for the last 4-5 years. It's only when you start going into fringe areas like heavy duty editing, CAD/CAM, Video, 3D etc that you start to push what's there.

The fact I'm using a 4 year old processor and I can handle 1-2Gb multi-layer PSDs and medium format images shows this. It's the underlying framework that's more important and it's pretty much always been that case. Most photographers could probably get away with a AMD Phenom or an Intel i5.

Steven, my point is that Lr is designed for event type workflows and not single image rendering hence what I said about single images. It's still poorly optimised and Adobe should really do more, Lr 5 was even a step back in performance when it came to rendering out previews.
www.flickr.com/photos/csd_images | www.celticshadows.co.uk


Steven Jardine is off-linePlatinum Member
27 April 2014 15:47
RedChecker
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RedChecker
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United Kingdom
Buckinghamshire
Stoke Mandeville

+1 to CSD's response to Howard. Been there, done that, waste of money. The performance benefits of the fastest processors typically only give an extra 10 or 20% more speed for what could be something like double the cost.

Sensible money will go on as much RAM as you can get, and fast/large drives.
When you are dead, you do not know that you are dead. All of your pain is felt by others. The same thing happens when you are stupid.



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