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2019 Mac Pro: Lightroom Import/Export
Related: 2019 iMac 5K, 2019 Mac Pro, 4K and 5K displays, computer display, CPU cores, GPU, iMac, iMac 5K, Lightroom, Mac Pro, Macs, memory, Photoshop, video
MPG tested the $9399 Apple 2019 Mac Pro with 384GB OWC memory vs the top-end $3849 2019 iMac 5K 3.6 GHz Intel Core i9 8-core / Vega 48 with 128GB OWC memory. The memory difference is not a factor in this test.
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Lightroom is popular among photographers, with about 90% market share. Key tasks in Lightroom include importing files and exporting JPEGs, withthe most important and most heavily used, since it always is required.
Results: Lightroom Import / Export 100 Sony A7R IV 60-Megapixel raw files
Tests were repeated on two different days with identical results.
The Mac Pro puts in a spectacular pro performance with Lightroom Classic. This is why you buy a pro machine.
Kudos to Adobe for stellar usage of CPU cores and overlapping I/O with computation! See the CPU and GPU utilization analysis further below.
The performance difference is impressive, and greater than I would have thought likely. Several factors may apply. The Mac Pro has 3.6X the memory bandwidth, but the under-engineered dual-channel memory of the iMac 5K is inadequate for 8/16t CPU cores (4-core iMac 5K models has similar memory bandwidth with half the cores). Also, with the iMac 5K downclocking to 3.6 GHz for 8 cores versus 3.2 GHz for 16 cores on the 2019 Mac Pro—that’s a 77% difference in computing cycles (3.2*16 / 3.6 * 8). Plus much more cache memory on the Mac Pro to further improve speed of access to memory. Every workload is different, but it seems that Lightroom really loves the Mac Pro architecture.
It seems likely that performance would scale well to a 24 or 28 core CPU because there is no sign of throttling during the entire test.
Performance Analysis — CPU and GPU Usage
Kudos to Adobe for stellar usage of CPU cores and overlapping I/O with computation! To nitpick an otherwise perfect performance, maybe the GPU could be used simultaneously to boost speed further, perhaps doubling it? The GPU is not used for either Import or Export.
This performance is as good as it gets for CPU utilization. Based on seeing I/O overlap with computation and the Mac Pro trouncing the iMac 5K so soundly, it suggests that a 24 or 28-core CPU would scale beautifully.
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Lloyd recommends 32GB RDIMM modules for most users (more expensive LRDIMMS are for 512GB or more).