General Performance Tips

If you feel like you've done everything possible to ensure optimal Lightroom performance on your machine and want to cut to the chase, skip over to the Smart Previews topic.

Squeezing every ounce of performance from our aging machines has become a ritual that usually begins with upgrading to the latest and greatest Lightroom release and ends with us scouring the internet trying to figure out some magic recipe of settings that return our computers to their pre-upgrade performance.

There's a vertable cornucopia of online articles and forum posts dedicated to this subject, but this is the gist of it:

  • Use a 64-bit multi-core processor, with at least 6 cores.
  • More RAM is better, so shoot for 16GB.
  • Use SSD hard drives, which are faster than spinning disks.
  • Put your catalogs, cache folders, and images on separate drives. Do not use the same drive where your OS lives.
  • Leave autowrite XMP turned off.
  • Don't run other apps you don't need.
  • Render previews up front (SEE: Smart Previews)
  • Optimize your catalogs.
  • Keep your catalogs small.
And here's our #1 performance tip that should be in those articles, but isn't... Smart Previews to the rescue!