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2012 MBP Retina — RAW Conversion to JPEG

Last updated 2012-06-21 - Send Feedback
Related: laptop, MacBook, MacBook Pro, Macs, RAW, raw file processing, SSD

This is primarily a CPU speed test, but some disk I/O is involved.

  • 2012 MBP Retina: 2.7 GHz, 16GB, Apple 512GB SSD.
  • 2011 MBP 17": 2.5 GHz, 16GB, OWC 240GB 6G SSD.

The Macbook Pro Retina 2.7 GHz is about 10% faster here— but since its CPU clock speed is 8% faster, this does not impress on the basis of CPU generational efficiency. Its speed gains are almost entirely due to its higher clock speed.

Still, for those looking for every bit of speed, the 10% is welcome.

Convert 500 Nikon D800 RAW (NEF) files to max-quality JPEG

Batch convert.

This operation is also a proxy for Lightroom 4 Import with 1:1 high quality preview creation. While I/O time is slightly higher for the ~35MB JPEG files generated here, it should account for less than a minute out of the ~35 minute operation, because the SSDs used for this test were all hyper-fast (6G SSD or faster). And Lightroom has to write its previews to disk also, so this test is a close match for Import.

Time in seconds, lower is faster

Why is the 3.33 GHz 6-core Mac Pro slower than the MacBook Pro?

Because the newer CPUs in the MBP are inherently more efficient, and because Adobe wastes the CPU cores:

  • Adobe Camera RAW processes one file at a time in sequential order, thus serializing all operations including disk I/O.
  • Adobe Camera RAW does not make full use of six or even 4 CPU cores! Average core use is roughly 2-3 cores, not 4 and not 6.

Thus, the computer with the fastest CPU wins, those 6 cores of the Mac Pro are wasted by poor choice of algorithm.

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