I’m constantly reading articles on the best ways to speed up Adobe Lightroom. . . forum posts as to why Lightroom is so slow on my computer . .. what should I upgrade to make Lightroom faster etc.?
So in this article, I would like to shed some light on this topic.
Adobe Lightroom is slow. That is a fact. You cannot fix an inefficient and unoptimized underlying codebase by throwing more hardware at it. To prove my point on how much code optimization is a factor, use Lightroom mobile on an iPhone or a flagship Android phone. Yes, typically it will be faster on the mobile CPU and GPU than Lightroom on the desktop. I have read complaints about overclocked 7700ks pushed to 5 GHz for great IPC, 16-32 core Xeons for multithreaded performance and ten core CPUs in between. With super high-end GPUs raid 0 PCI-E NVME drives 32-128 GB of ram and performance is still well …… inadequate.
So stop asking what changes should I make to my hardware and start looking at your software.
This will fix it. Nope they wont
In my experience Capture One Pro is 7-10x faster in terms of raw speed and its usable on an AMD A8 based laptop whereas Lightroom can’t run on my i7 4790 CPU based desktop rig.
Here are all things you can try that will make little to no difference:
Updates to improve performance
As I was writing this article Adobe released a few updates that “address performance issues some users have experienced”. So I took it for a spin on what I would consider a pretty typical system, an i7 quad core 16 GB ram 512 GB SSD and a new catalog for each.
Lightroom 6 with 252 Canon Eos 7d 18mp raw files:
2.5-4gb of memory usage smart previews eleven minutes and fifty seconds
1 to 1 previews twenty-eight minutes and thirty-eight seconds
Lightroom 7.2 Same files
5.7-6 GB of memory usage smart previews seven minutes eleven seconds
6.4 GB memory usage 1 to 1 previews took twenty-three minutes thirty-five seconds
So smart previews had a 38% speed improvement, while 1 to 1 had a 17% speed improvement
Which may seem like a lot at first glance until you realize that Capture One Pro took four minutes and thirty-three seconds which is approximately 66% faster than the LR 7.2 smart previews. In addition to this, the computer wasn’t locked up like it is in while LR is building its previews. Of course if Lightroom has features that you need that you can not find elsewhere, then the improved speed will be a help. If speed is of paramount importance to you, then I believe that Capture One Pro may be a better choice.
For some other alternatives to Lightroom take a look at these programs also:
Capture One Pro
Photoshop replacement while we are at it.
You may also find it useful to look into Affinity Photo for the best Photoshop replacement I have used. In addition to that it costs only 50 dollars.
Good luck and happy editing (if you switch:).