But this post is about speed. If you are like most photographers you are happier behind the camera than you are behind a keyboard. So, when you are processing images on your computer you are usually taking time away from shooting. It doesn’t matter if you are a pro or an amateur, I’m sure you’d rather be shooting than editing. Like a lot of photographers I have investing in computer hardware and software that allows me to get in, do my job and get back out again.
But, the question that always seems to come up is; how much faster is one computer than another? Magazines and websites do tests of processors, RAM, graphics cards under a variety of situations and these results are often interesting and informative but don’t always tell me how much faster one system will be than another when I’m doing the type of real-world work that I do.
So I thought I’d do a real world Aperture test on 3 different machines and see what the results are.
For the test I copied the exact same Aperture library on to all three machines. The test I performed was to select 42 images from a project and export them out of Aperture to JPG format (as you might if you were sending sample images to a client). The images in the project were all Canon RAW files from an EOS 30D and were aproximately 8MB each. The export settings were same for all test, Export to JPEG and fit within 1024×1024 pixels, use current version name, and save to a folder on the desktop.
The machines tested were as follows:
1) Power PC, Dual Processor 2.0Ghz G5, 3.5GB RAM, Radeon X800 XT with 256MB RAM
2) MacBook Pro, 2.33Ghz Core Duo (2 processors), 2GB RAM, Radeon Mobility X1600 with 256MB RAM
3) MacPro, 2.66Ghz (4 Xeon processors), 2GB RAM, Radeon X1900 with 512MB RAM
So here are the results of the test:
The Power PC G5 machine took 3 minutes and 31 seconds to complete the task
The MacBook Pro (laptop) took 3 minutes and 14 seconds to complete the task
The MacPro took 1 minute and 25 seconds to complete the task
So the bottom line is that my old G5 machine takes about 2 1/2 (2.48)times longer to complete the test task than my new MacPro and my MacBookPro laptop takes about 2 1/4 (2.28) times as long as the MacPro.
It should be noted here that the Aperture library on the MacBook Pro was on an external USB 2.0 drive (Lacie 250GB drive) because it will not fit on the laptop’s drive. This fact may have cost the laptop some time on the test, but I’m not sure … the Lacie drive might be just as fast as the internal 5400rpm drive? All that being said, I think it’s fair to test the laptop with an external drive becasue that’s the way I actually use it. As I said, I wanted this to be a “real world” test.
So, it seems that the old saying is true …. you do get what you pay for when you invest in an new MacPro, this is truly an amazing machine when coupled with Aperture. The MacBookPro on the other hand is not much faster than my old Dual G5 machine, but it is portable and that’s really worth something when you are on location or traveling.
Until next time,
Allen Rockwell Photography