Lightroom Hardware Requirements
The information below gives you in-depth information to configure your computer hardware for peak performance when editing photos using Lightroom.
Best Processor for Lightroom
Lightroom is not a highly-multithreaded application so it will work best with a CPU that emphasizes frequency over the number of cores. The best CPU that fits this requirement is Intel’s i7 7700K.
However, if you do a lot of full screen previews or exporting of images to disk, a higher count CPU may give a slight benefit. This would mean Intel’s i7 6800K.
Graphics/GPU Requirements for Lightroom
The Develop module is the only part of Lightroom that uses the graphics card. A mid-range graphics card like Nvidia’s GTX 1060 has more than enough processing ability to take care of these effects.
If you use a 10-bit monitor, a quadro workstation graphics card like the Quadro M2000 will make use of the full color capabilities of your monitor.
If you work in 4K or you work with large images, think about getting a card with at least 4GB of RAM. Otherwise 2GB is sufficient.
Memory/RAM Requirements for Lightroom
As you edit your images, Lightroom continually makes multiple copies of your images so that no original data is lost. Lightroom stores these copies in your computer’s memory or RAM. The rule of thumb here is to get 4-5 times more memory than the size of the images you are working with in Lightroom. So for example, if you have images of 4-5GB of images open in Lightroom, you’ll need 20-25GB of RAM. Sufficient RAM also enables you to have many programs, plugins and images open on the desktop simultaneously. When Lightroom runs out of RAM, it uses the scratch disk which is usually the C: drive. However, RAM is many times faster than even the fastest hard drive so if you have enough RAM you will never have to resort to using a scratch disc.
Storage Requirements for Lightroom
The best hard drive configuration for editing images is to have one solid state drive for the operating system and applications. This ensures that your computer will boot quickly and programs like Lightroom will load quickly. Choose a separate hard drive for active projects as the second hard drive. You may want to choose a third mechanical hard drive for short term storage or for somewhere to dump your image files after a photoshoot.
Importing and Exporting Images in Lightroom
The CPU is the bottleneck when exporting images in Lightroom so it won’t be affected by the speed of your hard drives.
The speed of importing images on the other hand is determined by the slowest hard drive in the chain. If for example, are importing images from your camera’s flash card to the storage drive, the flash card is usually slower than the hard drives in your computer so the import will be as fast as the flash card can transfer that data. A solid state storage drive in your computer won’t increase that import speed.