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How to Speed Up Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

It’s surprising how many professionals using Photoshop or Lightroom still suffer through sluggish peformance using a conventional hard drive for guaranteed marginalized performance.

For a fast Lightroom or Photoshop system, three things are needed:

  • Adequate memory— this depends on file size, but for Mac Pro users, 24GB or 32GB covers average needs well. Take any other system to its max (16GB) or 32GB (iMac). Get more memory.
  • Fast CPU — cannot be changed on most Mac, though the 2010 Mac Pro CPU can be upgraded.
  • Fast working drive — Lightroom’s catalog and Photoshop’s scratch disk both benefit from eliminating disk I/O as a factor, so that the CPU can run at its full speed.

For a fast working drive, one can almost eliminate disk I/O speed as a factor with the right choice of solid state drive (SSD): place the Lightroom catalogs, the Photoshop scratch drive, the ACR cache, temporary files, current work all on that fast SSD.

The OWC Mercury Accelsior PCIe SSD is the right choice, offering a substantial bump in performance over any SATA SSD. It can be installed internally in any Mac Pro, or externally in the OWC Helios case for any Mac with Thunderbolt. So that any Mac, even a MacMini can have lightning fast workflow (to the limit of CPU speed).

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