Help Spec-ing a new mac 4 PhotoLab 6

Im new to DxO apps coming from LR and Photoshop. I’m ready to update my 2017 iMac Pro and considering a wide range of Mac options from M1 iMac to M1 Mac studio to M2 Mac mini to 16” M2 laptops all with advantages and disadvantages to my needs. I’ll be using a 5k monitor if i don’t go for the M1 iMac which appeals to me for its use of desk space. Cost isn’t an object but i don’t want to spend for the sake of spending. I’m a photography amateur enthusiast with years of experience and a style more reminiscent of Provoke Japanese photography than contemporary sharpness and detail. I’m currently working with Fuji 26mb and Ricoh griiix 24 mb images but I have at times owned high mpx cameras and might again (up to 100mpx). I’m using PhotoLab 6 and film pack 6. I probably don’t work with more than 50 images at time and don’t do bulk export. I’m not asking what I should buy but curious what the above 2 DxO apps require for smooth and instantaneous responses to mucking about and experimenting with the various sliders. I hate fan noise (my iMac Pro fan screams a lot under the 2 apps) so I want to know about number of CPU and GPU cores, how many are necessary, any added benefits to more and how much RAM for smooth work. Any help/suggestions or personal experience would be appreciated!

Hi and welcome,

I’m not a Mac guy but I’m pretty sure that any of those Macs that you are considering will work very smoothly with PL6 and FP6. I’m not sure about the fan noise or which one would be quieter, but I know that Apple’s Neural Network is capable of processing DPXD files very quickly so I don’t think that any of the M1 or M2 Macs would have a lot of fan noise. Be advised though that currently there is an issue with color rendering with DPXD and the Neural processor, but it will eventually get fixed, probably in one of the next couple of point releases.

Anyway a Mac user will come along soon and sort this out for you. I would recommend that you not save money on RAM. Get as much as you can(at least 16GB).

I use an M1 MacBook Air from 2020.

  • 8 CPU
  • 8 GPU
  • 16 GB memory
  • 1 TB storage

DPL works as smoothly on it as on my 2019 iMac and export times are about the same. If I’d have to start from scratch, I’d probably get a Mac mini with an external display that might or might not support hardware calibration and a wider than sRGB gamut.

Be aware of a possibly important issue of DPL with Apple Silicon processors: DeepPRIME XD introduces purple overlay/chromatic aberration.

I almost never use DeepPRIME XD, so it does not hurt me, YMMV.

As others have said get as much memory as you can.

I am also working on 26mp (X-Trans IV) files and also 20mp MFT files and since DPL5 my aging MacBook Pro with an 8 core i5 and 8gb ram (not by choice just what I already had and currently can’t justify a replacement whilst it still works) is beginning to struggle.
Delays is response to adjustments and over 2 minutes to export with DeepPrime applied.
Things are more responsive in LRc but not by much.
I just batch edit set to export and go do something else now!

By contrast I also have a 2021 M1 iPad Pro and its performance in LR (not ‘c’) vs LR (again not ‘c’) on my MacBook is night and day. It really blows the MacBook out of the water.
So for me, and I know we don’t really have a choice now, l will happily upgrade to an ‘M’ chipped Mac.

I’m sorely tempted by the new M2 MacMini which you can go to town on now with Pro chipset and 32gb ram. Gets pretty expensive fast though and haven’t looked into how they stack up against the Studio now, which could be another consideration for you especially if cost is not an issue and you already have a good monitor.

I’ll probably end up with a MacBook Pro again but better spec as space is an issue for me but would prefer a big monitor setup really.

Good luck deciding but I don’t think you can go far wrong with a new M2 machine.
I’ll end by saying don’t forget with Apple your choice is final with no upgrade path once bought so depending on how long you intend to go before next upgrade it may be worth up spec-ing now rather than have issues later. You may be fully aware of this already though.

If you want an iMac replacement (desktop only), I would go for a Mac Mini with 16GB memory and 1TB disk. You can use an external USB-C SSD if you want more disk space - they seem fast enough with a 1000MB transfer rate. Pair that with the 27" Studio Display and you don’t take up any more desk space but have, essentially, an iMac.

At the moment, I am using a 16" MacBook Pro (Intel) with 16GB and 1TB plus external USB-C SSD and don’t have any problems with speed or performance. I am presently using an older 27" Apple Cinema Display as my main monitor, which allows me to simply unplug the laptop and take it anywhere without having to transfer files.

I’m entering the discussion here because of my similar situation.

I think my Mini (Late 2012, quad core i7) is now old enough for a replacement. Now I fluctuate between a M2 and M2pro Mini.

Are 2 Performance Cores and 6 GPU-Cores worth the 400€?
Are the GPU-Cores used by PL6 at all? AFAIK the Neural Engine is most important…

BTW: I’m using 20MP and 24MP RAW Files from my SONY RX100M5 and Alpha-7 Mk.1 respectively.

Due to the issue mentioned in my post above and if one needs DeepPRIME XD, the current workaround is to use the GPU instead of the ANE. I don’t say that one therefore needs as many GPUs as possible, specially in the optimistic view that DxO and Apple will sort out the issue eventually.

Is it worth to invest in additional processing units? Hard to say! The important thing is system performance, which is a balance of how well the separate entities can interact. Raising processing power does not make sense, if the bottleneck is shifted to e.g. the connection between CPU and GPU. Try to find the respective information before investing…and consider that Apple Silicon machines cannot be upgraded later. While extra spending hurts for a while, it might still be less annoying than pinching your pennies and suffer the consequences each time you use your new device.


I’ve been doing some research and for anyone wondering what to buy you might find something useful.

From DxO website

  1. “…DxO DeepPrime leverages the native core ML software and the M1 hardware GPU, leading to great performance improvement compared to the latest equivalent MacBook or Mac Mini.”
  2. “DeepPRIME and DeepPRIME XD* is fully GPU optimized, on Windows as well as on macOS.”
  3. DxO says preferred set up is “apple silicon and 16mb of memory” but (from me) if one has other apps running when using PL6 more memory may have advantages
  4. DxO, PL6 and PL5.3 supports apple silicon natively, PL5.2 and below only support apple silicon through emulation.

YouTube channel ArtIsRight (he’s a professional photographer) is chock full of highly detailed tests on M1 Macs comparing memory, gpu, cpu and other parameters on photography related apps. Here is one on PL5 unfortunately before it was fully optimised for apple silicon. DXO PhotoLab & PureRAW M1 Pro & M1 Max MacBook Pro Benchmark - YouTube

M2 Thoughts & Configuration Advice on the new Mac mini M2, M2 Pro 14" & 16" MacBook Pro M2 Pro, M2 Max - YouTube

Mac Studio: lots of complaints about fan noise even at idle but others say theirs is totally quiet. No explanation.

1 Like

Thanks a lot! Quite helpful YouTube videos IMHO. :slightly_smiling_face:

I use the same generation MacBook Pro, which differs only in having a fan that can avoid some throttling of the performance. (Not much, though.)

It’s completely fine. I just processed 20 photos this morning and the only complaint I have is PL6 took a little longer than I would like to update the preview when (of all things) I changed the white balance. But it isn’t enough to make me want to upgrade. Not even close. I only really noticed it when I went through multiple photos setting the white balance on each in turn. If setting while on a single photo and making other adjustments, it’s just a very minor inconvenience.

You do not need more than 16 GB of memory. Consider that a full RGB, 100 megapixel, 14 bit image is around 525 MB of data. For 24 megapixels, only ~126 MB. If you were doing multi-frame actions on 100 megapixels (panorama, HDR, etc) then it might start becoming a problem, but just processing one photo at a time in an app like PL is not going to push 16 GB.

The M1 iMac will be fine (it’s pretty much identical to my MacBook Pro, functionally) and any of the M2 models will be better.

Regarding your iMac Pro’s screaming fan… did you ever see a fanless Intel system? The difference in power draw (and thus heat generation, and battery life) between Intel and Apple Silicon is night and day. My fan does not become audible with DeepPRIME exports until it’s done many, many images in a batch (probably >50). I didn’t notice it at all with this morning’s 20 image batch, and that was using the GPU because of the current issue with the Neural Engine (introduced colour casts). The Neural Engine is more efficient for DeepPRIME (and XD).

Just as I see this … is the cooling path and outlet clean, so that it can work properly?

not too easy to get access but I just stuck a hand held vacuum up to the outlet vents and no change. good suggestion though.

Personally I wouldn’t go lower than 32GB of memory. On those M1/M2 chips the GPU shares the memory with the computer, so 16GB is shared between the GPU and the system…Considering that an entry-level GPU today usually comes with 8GB and considering how bad macOS is when scaling the screen resolution, 32 is the way to go IMO…

Speaking of fan noise, M1/M2 laptops are dead-silent. Even during 3D rendering, noise is barely audible and most of the time fans are just idling.


You can, of course, simply not scale the display. I run a 5K and the built in screen (1440x900) both at “native” 2x, and can run Lightroom and PhotoLab, and various other apps (particularly Safari with plenty of open tabs) at the same time in 16 GB of RAM on an M1.

Comparing Apple Silicon to ‘traditional’ GPUs (and CPUs) is folly. Yes the memory is shared, but some of that used by a traditional GPU would have come from main memory anyway, and the speed with which Macs can swap out to ultra-fast on board SSD masks what swapping does occur rather well.

Again… I only have 16 GB on a 1st generation M chip and it’s rarely a problem. I know people who don’t do photo work (other than Apple Photos on phone pics) who say the same about their 8 GB machines.

The issue about scaling, is really something Apple should fix in the future.

And BTW, at the moment, Apple’s best GPUs aren’t able to match Nvidia’s performances.
My $1300 PC just smokes my specced-out M1 Max on Deep prime / XD as well as on 3D software like Blender…


I bought a new Mac mini M2Pro yesterday (16GB RAM, 10core CPU, 512GB SSD).
Today I upgraded to PL6.2 (41) and installed it on the new machine…

I compared the development time of a single RX100M5A RAW Image (20 MP) with DeepPrime (notXD) between:

  • MacMini (Late2012) 4core i7, 2.6 GHz with PL5.7

  • MacMini (2023) M2Pro 10core base configuration with PL6.2

OK, this was only a first test, but I’m still totally overwhelmed:
The new Mini took 5s (Neural) or 8s (GPU)… the old Mac 3 Minutes!

10 years of technical progress - quite impressive! :smiley:

Regards - Matthias


That’s brilliant! Would like to hear any other reactions as I’m seriously considering a similar M2 mini though I’d probably bump the RAM to 24gb

That’s not possible. Either 16 or 32 GB RAM for a M2Pro-Mini, and that was too expensive for me. And not necessary for 24MP RAW files.

Oops, I meant 32gb. I have another app which I run all the time in the background which I have to consider as well as too many browser tabs.

My mbair m1 has 8 gb, and i can process a batch of 100 photos with pl5, and browsing, mail and some small programs at the same time no problem.
The only problems i have had wit 400 photos in topaz photo ai some versions ago, where they had a problem with memory leaks