Starting to find performance slow... suggest me a PC upgrade?

Hopefully it’s OK to post this here, it does relate to the software but not 100%.

I’m finding my desktop PC is getting increasingly slow when dealing with photo editing software (PhotoLab, Lightroom, Photoshop). It’s built around an older CPU (Xeon E3-1231 v3) which was quite a tank in its day but I’m starting to wonder if it isn’t time for a change.

I’m well out of the loop regarding PC upgrades so don’t know what’s a good option (or a bad one) these days. My main purposes for upgrading would be the above photo editing and some gaming too… but I appreciate that’s more a GPU concern (hopefully any CPU that’s good for crunching Photolab edits will also be able to run games at least as well as my current system).

I’m not keen to throw thousands of £££’s at this, but accept a complete (or nearly complete) upgrade may run to around £1,500, not including the monitor and peripherals (so Mobo, CPU, RAM, GPU, PSU, SSDs and assorted other innards).

Is there anyone with a “finger on the pulse” here who could provide the right advice?

The bottleneck in your PL photo editing is almost certainly not down to your CPU but related to your GPU, specifically, the lack of a ‘decent’ GPU.

My desktop PC is old, it only has a third gen. Intel i5 CPU (latest i5 is 13th gen.) yet because it has a dedicated GPU, also old and technically below DxO’s min spec. (it’s a Nvidia GTX 1050ti), it can export an edited Canon 30 MP RAW file in about 30 secs.

So, when you say you PC is getting increasingly slow:

  1. How slow is increasingly slow?
  2. What GPU does your machine have?
  3. What OS version are you on, Win 7 / 10 / 11?

So the GPU is a GTX 1080Ti - I know it’s not modern but it is quite a tank regardless! I’m running Windows 10 Home (Win 11 upgrade not available on my current hardware).

The pauses / slowness I speak of aren’t so much during exporting (which could be faster, but I can cope with it). It’s actually during editing and using Photolab.

There’s micro-pauses even switching between editing tabs. Loading, editing and saving local adjustments has noticeable lag. Or (for example) when dragging the Selective Tone sliders, there’s a delay between the movement on the slider and the update of the image.

(The same sorts of issues exist using Lightroom too).

Meanwhile - just for comparison - I have Lightroom loaded on my work laptop and that’s incredibly fluid and slick. That system is: Win 11 Enterprise, Intel 12th gen i5-1235U, 12GB RAM, DX12, Intel UHD graphics w/ 8GB onboard memory).

In theory my 1080Ti should wipe the floor with the laptop’s onboard graphics, but my desktop’s CPU is much older (2014 vs 2022).

You do not say how much memory you have in your desktop machine. It’s possible that you may not have enough memory and it is using the page file which may not be big enough and/or if the page file is controlled by windows, there may not be enough space on the disc for windows to increase it.

Sorry, you’re right. My full specs are:

  • Xeon E3-1231 v3
  • Asus H97-PRO GAMER Intel 1150/Intel H97 ATX
  • Corsair Vengeance Pro Series 32GB DDR3 1600Mhz
  • GTX 1080Ti (12GB Vram)
  • Samsung 850 EVO Solid State Drive (a couple of these)
  • Windows 10 Home (my system specs aren’t suitable for Win 11)

I think in terms of “numbers” everything is decent… 32GB memory, 12GB Vram… but it’s all “old tech” so to speak.

Now you have got me puzzled. With that amount of memory it shouldn’t be using the page file. As far as the Xeon is concerned. I do not know that CPU at all. So I can’t help you there.
Hopefully somebody else might be able to help you.

1 Like

To add to my last comments. It’s looking like a new motherboard, CPU, memory, and possibly a new power supply.

Use Windows task manager and resource monitor to see what’s going on during those hiccups. It could simply be a failing SSD.


1 Like

No problem! I don’t think it’s the memory, I just followed @Egregius’ suggestion below and that showed a big CPU spike…

Aha, scientific - I like it.

So I just ran a very brief test of doing nothing (to work out what ‘normal’ is with PhotoLab running).

Then I went nuts with some sliders and there’s definite spikes in CPU usage although it didn’t ever seem to max out, so I wonder if there’s power there I could better utilise?

You can see in the picture below, after playing with the sliders, that memory utilisation remains fairly low, as does GPU usage (almost non-existent actually) but CPU really spikes when I’m playing with settings.

First, your setup is powerful enough to be comfortable with PhotoLab, unless you have a very pixelated sensor and heavy use of DeepPRIME XD. First question, do you have the latest Nvidia driver for your graphics card?

f you really want significantly faster performance, you have to completely change your PC, except the SSD that you can keep.

I suggest that you assemble yourself (or have assembled by a store) the components of your choice:

  • Branded gaming motherboard, Last generation CPU (Intel or AMD, around £300 is enough)
  • GPU Nvidia RTX 4xxx or Radeon RX 6x00 XT, up to £400
  • A good silent case (e.g. bequiet!)
  • A good and powerful (750W, depends on your GPU) power supply (ex. bequiet!)
  • 32GB of RAM
  • etc.

A bit of a long shot idea, could it be that the problem is that DxO’s code is not optimised for Xeon architecture??

Those old Xeons were really nice. Though yours is well within the recommended requirements for PL.

If your Windows installation or other software is not the issue, then at a minimum, get a new CPU with suitable motherboard and RAM. bequiet! PSU, yeah if you have the extra money and want to pay for the German flag printed on their packaging. You might get better value from another brand especially when in the UK. For productivity, go with Nvidia for your GPU. Otherwise as @noir.fonce suggested.


Just CPU-wise, any modern (low to middle of the range) CPU will be at least between 3x and 5x faster than your current hardware.

Your GPU isn’t that bad for deep prime / xd, perfectly workable I would say.
I guess the feeling of overall slowness is rather do to the almost 10yrs old Xeon…

Sometimes people just focus on the GPU here, because of deep prime. But everything else should not be neglected either. A computer is a system working in concert with all “pieces”, it’s not just a matter of a single component…


1 Like

So how come my PC with its possibly slightly older Intel Core i5 3570 CPU (released in 2012) and only 8 GB RAM and only a GTX 1050ti GPU doesn’t feel slow to me?

Perhaps because I’ve not known anything faster and I don’t process that many files??

There is a difference between “horse power” and needs, but needs might evolve quicker than you think.
One can have a very old (and slow) computer while being perfectly fine with it, for different reasons.

Usually, when you feel you “need something more”, it’s because you do. Let me tell you a little story…

I remember back in the days, when I tested a friend’s brand-new Pentium III. I mainly used my PC (a regular Pentium) to browse the early Internet, and it was perfectly fine, I would even say perfect! I never felt that my computer was slow by any means…until my friend let me do a quick test on his hardware.

The first thing I did, was, you can guess, browsing the web, pointing at my usual websites…and I was shocked!!! Just browsing seemed 10x faster than my PC, and it was! I furiously tried all the websites I was used to, and I discovered a brand new world made of new needs. In a few seconds I realized I didn’t realize I was so sloooooow. I went home, and “checked” my PC, just to be sure: and browsing was painfully slow now that I had something more powerful to compare against (because, suddenly, your needs have been upgraded).

The following day I bought a new PC.

If you have the occasion to test a recent computer with your usual software, do it. Then you’ll have some data to eventually make a new purchase if you need that extra power offered by modern technology.



give us one raw sample and the deepprime config, let us show how fast/slow our system is :wink:

or may be do 6mp raw files from some ancient dSLR w/o any GPU-involved NR …