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2013 Mac Pro: Aperture Import Raw

Last updated 2014-02-06 - Send Feedback
Related: 2013 Mac Pro, Mac Pro, Macs, workflow

Get Mac Pro at B&H Photo. See also MPG’s computer gear wishlist as well as diglloyd-recommended performance packages for Mac Pro.

A big thanks to Other World Computing for loaning MPG the upgraded 2013 Mac Pro! Ditto for B&H Photo for loaning the 6-core Mac Pro. 64GB memory kit for 2013 Mac Pro provided by OWC.


Apple Aperture plays a distant 2nd place to Adobe Lightroom, but it does have its own useful feature set.


See the test machine configurations.

Import 36MP Nikon D800E 14-bit NEF files with max quality full-res preview generation, face recognition and similar off.

The 12-core 2.7 GHz Mac Pro with D700 fails to impress! A hugely costly machine with 12 cores and the D700 GPUs, and yet Apple’s own Aperture can only match the 6-core model with D500 GPUs.

The 3.3 GHz 8-core offers only a ~9% advantage over the 3.5 GHz 6-core, suggesting that a 3.7 GHz 6-core might match the 8-core, and that the stock Apple 3.0 GHz 8 core would fall behind the 6 core. Both 2013 Mac Pro models beat the 12-core 3.33 GHz 2010 Mac Pro.

Note that if a 3.0 GHz 8-core were used, it would likely add ~10% over the runtime of the 3.3 GHz, and this would then be about equal to the time of the 6 core.

Aperture is 10% slower with a 4-core Mac Pro than a 6-core— a disappointing performance with 50% more computing power available.

As an Apple product, one might expect Aperture to use the dual GPUs in the 2013 Mac Pro to great advantage. Times are 2 seconds for each 36MP file for importing, which is not not as fast as the ~1.5 seconds per file of CaptureOne Pro which definitely uses the GPU. Since there is no way to disable GPU support in Aperture, it’s hard to say one way or another. CPU core usage was seen to be consistent with an all-CPU conversion process (creating the image previews from the raw files).

2013 Mac Pro performance: import 128 Nikon 36MP NEF files at high quality full size previews
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