What's new

Using Surface pro 3 to import and render files in Adobe Lightroom

Moonsurface

Super Moderator
Staff member
Today I had a Photoshoot with a model and took 268 images on my D800 (36mp DSLR). The lossless-compressed RAW files from the D800 are approximately 40MB each in size. I decided to give the my Surface pro 3 (i7 with 8GB RAM 256GB HDD) a very difficult task to do.

I started up Lightroom 5, and started an import from the SD card, via a USB 3 hub, but I used a standard card reader which is probably USB 2.0. I decided to keyword each of the entries on import, copy them to the SSD, and also asked Lightroom to render both 1:1 preview AND smart previews for each of the files. This is a task which is VERY intensive and even takes quite a long time for my desktop PC to run.
I ran the Surface on battery for the whole test. The Surface was showing 83% battery life. I also plugged my Colormunki in to the hub and asked the Surface to measure the ambient light and rebuild the display profile based on it. This was at the same time as the device was copying the files onto the drive not much CPU activity and the device was completely cold. The import was started at 6:30pm.

After the import had finished at about 6:40pm, Lightroom showed two progress bars for “Rendering Smart Previews” and “Rendering 1:1 previews”. The CPU activity ramped straight up to 100% and stayed there. It started at about 2.7Ghz, and then after a minute or two (when the fans spun right up) dropped to 2.3 Ghz but stayed there or just above, it didn't get lower.

At 6:55 the rendering of the smart preview finished and the processor activity dropped to around 50% but the speed appeared to increase back to a max of about 2.83Ghz, though the activity varied in a cyclical fashion while it rendered each preview.

At 7:29pm the Surface completed the task, soon after the fan switched off (or at least became inaudible). At this stage the battery was now as 39% after 40 minutes of intensive processor and fan activity. During which the screen was on ( I needed to keep interacting with it to prevent it turning off, which also stopped the program running). All this time Task Manager was running and I was regularly using the Surface pen to clip the task manager screen and write notes in one note. I did reduce the display brightness right down to the lowest setting while it was running the task in Lightroom. I did bring it back up to about 40% while I wrote this in MS Word.

It took my Surface Pro 3 i7 with 8GB RAM 1 hour to import and render 1:1 and Smart Previews for 268 approximately 40mb, D800 RAW files (lossless compressed), during which time it used 4GB RAM consistently throughout the process and stayed at a stable CPU speed of at least 2.3Ghz and used approximately 34% of the battery. The back of the device did get hot, but as soon as the task was finished, quickly cooled down and the fan went off.

I am very impressed with the performance, it probably would not be necessary to render 1:1 previews for everything on import, and possibly it might be better to separate the tasks, however the Surface has proved it is up to the task even with very high resolution and large files. Incidentally the high resolution of the screen shows these files off VERY well..!
 
OP
Moonsurface

Moonsurface

Super Moderator
Staff member
That's awesome!
I think so..!!

On my desktop to be fair I would be starting to edit the photos while it was still rendering previews so I'm not really sure exactly how long it takes, but I didn't do this (and probably wouldn't try) on the Surface, but then my desktop PC is an i5 (but 3.8Ghz) processor and it also has 16GB RAM, A dedicated Nvidia graphics card... and LOTS of air/fan space...LOL.
 

Zog1971

Active Member
So happy to read this and that you finally have your SP3. :) This is precisely the type of info that I longed for prior to purchasing my i7,256gb. Actually, it's good to know even now as I have not had a chance to fully put my SP3 through the paces in all of the Adobe programs. Cheers and hope you continue to enjoy your device! :)
 
I have been searching for info like this on the Surface Pro 3 for ages...
thank you for posting.

I decided to order one anyway, I pick it up tomorrow (or the next day, but I keep telling myself tomorrow).

I have a MacBook Pro in the studio (fully spec'd) which will do our heavy lightroom and Photoshop work but great to know the SP3 can handle some smaller "on the run" jobs :)

Can't wait!
 
OP
Moonsurface

Moonsurface

Super Moderator
Staff member
Well I've now been using my Surface to edit pictures in Lightroom, Google Nik and Photoshop CC for the last 2 hours on battery power. The device has kept very cool, only occasional fan use, it's very quick, very smooth and even at present where I have LR, CC and Nik windows open plus this browser window it's positively flying along. I've even been editing pictures in tablet mode without the keyboard attached, whilst lying flat on my back on my bed... sitting cross-legged on the bed etc... All the totally non ergonomic ways of working... I'm finding the pen just BRILLIANT for this... to be honest I'm liking this more than editing at my proper desktop computer!

Totally in love with the SP3 now!
 

mohcho

Active Member
Awesome writeup. This is why this system is awesome. You can do REAL work and still have it light and super portable.
 
OP
Moonsurface

Moonsurface

Super Moderator
Staff member
I can also say that the Nik plugin looks awful when run direct from Lightroom as a standalone. It doesn't scale at all well, however when run as a photoshop plugin it looks ok, the interface is a little tiny but at least there's no jagged edges like in the standalone version....but I guess that's google for you. I doubt they are jumping to support the surface, shame as I really like the Nik suite. I'll be using it from PS in the future. Rather than directly from Lightroom.

I was very impressed with how it handled everything no slowing down and hardly any fan activity. The worst fan activity was just when skipping through the pictures quickly in Lightroom. Very impressed it actually feels better to use than my desktop in many ways. I couldn't be more pleased as I purchased. The surface specifically for this reason never having spent more than about half of this much on a computing device before.
 

Jeff Au

Member
One of the usage for my SP3 is also working with Lightroom but my use case is far more simpler than yours (OP). It's good to know the SP3 I7 can handle a LR workflow as intensive as yours, which means mine workflow should be a no-brainer for my SP3. :)

thanks for the share!
 
OP
Moonsurface

Moonsurface

Super Moderator
Staff member
I made it intensive on purpose to test it out thoroughly, very impressed with it as that is likely to be one of the most prolonged processor intensive tasks I would use it for.
 

Staff online

Members online

Top