Aperture on a MacBook Pro? Consider a 17"

MacBook Pro 17

Over the last couple months, I've talked to quite a few photographers who are running Aperture on the new Intel-based MacBook Pros. This includes me. (Yes, I talk to myself too.) I use Aperture on a 17" MacBook Pro and have been satisfied with its performance.

But at times I would hear comments from some of the others that Aperture wasn't running well on their Intel-based laptops, and that they were seeing the spinning beach ball more often than they cared to. Finally, I sat down with one of these fellow shooters, and we both opened our laptops and launched Aperture. Sure enough, mine performed better -- not only on launch, but during sorting and editing too. My friend was using a similarly configured 15" MBP, and I the 17".

I then began to retrace my earlier conversations. Sure enough, those who were not as happy with Aperture performance on MBP were using the 15" models, and those happier had 17" laptops.

When I ran System Profiler on the test laptops, the specs were very similar, including RAM (2 GBs). One difference on my 17" is the 7200 RPM hard drive compared to the 5400 RPM drive in the 15". But the 17" still performed well when I accessed libraries on external 5400 RPM drives.

This is purely anecdotal, but it seems to me that if you're going to run Aperture on a laptop, give a good look at the 17" model. You may be a bit happier with the performance. We'll see if the next rev of MBPs closes this alleged gap any. My guess is that we'll see upgraded machines by the end of the year.

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IF you do go for a 17", get the 7200rpm disk.

Due to me moving around alot, i now use the 17" as my primary workstation and editing images from the 1d/1ds with the 5400 drive and apeture was a massive issue.

The rest of the machine is quick, but with files over 20mb, the bottleneck is the disk (5400 rpm one)

Other than that, it works a treat

It's more than likely that the main difference is the graphics card (GPU). The 17" has 256 MB of VRAM while the standard 2.0 GHz 15" only has 128 MB. You can get 256 MB on the 15" model, but reports have shown that the clock speed on the 17" model is faster than the 15", even with the upgraded VRAM.

Aperture relies very heavily on the GPU for many of its features. What this means is that a faster GPU will give you better performance than a faster CPU. And since the GPU on the 17" MacBook Pros is faster than the one on the 15"ers then you're likely to get better Aperture performance on the 17" MacBooks.

When I ordered my MBP15", I optioned for the 7200rpm, and I point my Aperature library into my external HD, as well as Final Cut files... the performance is good, but space on the MBP is tight, (music, a few apps, ect...)...it can be a struggle to keep it on the spacious side...I'm really
considering the MacPro just to not have to worry about disk space, and use the MBP for out in the field downloads,music and travel.

OK, Derrick, here's a loaded question. Which one do you like better, Aperature or LightRoom? BTW, I used to think that "LightRoom" was a strange name for the program and was calling it "LightTable" or "LightBox" as often as "LightRoom". But then I read that Adobe used the name "LightRoom" to contrast with Dark Room. Now, it makes sense.

The Lightroom vs Aperture question is an interesting one. At the moment, I prefer Aperture for photo editing, rating, keywording, slideshows and web galleries. I like Lightroom's Develop module a lot, and the Print module is pretty hot too. Will be fun to watch both of these apps evolve.

Having just gone from a 15" MBP to a 17" one, it's also my experience that Aperture is smoother on the 17". And that's running with a 5400RPM drive in the 17" comapred to a 7200RPM drive in the 15". And that's with images from a Canon 5D.

We need some standard speed tests for Aperture in order to compare different systems and release versions. This would greatly help in choosing the best configuration for Aperture.

aperture was really slow on my 2GB core dou 2.16 ghz 15 inch MBP. until I figured out the culprit - DASHBOARD

after turning off dashboard and freeing up a gig of ram, aperture runs speedy and responsive!

The 17 MBP's graphic card is clocked higher then its 15 ones. Since Aperture uses the Macs GPU as well as its other resources this might be a factor why the 17 seems "zipper" then its 15 inch cousins.

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