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Part of my computer upgrade process included trying out some new software, but I've returned to my previous approach of using Lightroom and DxO Optics together. Adobe handles all of the cataloging and converts the easy stuff, while Optics steps in for my more important images. Nothing that I tried could beat it.

Optics takes – and can use – a lot of power, and that was a big part of why I chose a six-core Mac Pro as my new computer. The screen shot of the Process Monitor window above makes me very happy. That first peak is Optics exporting ten Nikon D800 files in just under two minutes, maxing out the computer power in the process. The second peak is Optics exporting five high-iso D800 images with "prime" noise reduction enabled in five minutes and two seconds. That's amazing. I've set Optics to process five images at a time, and it's neatly splitting every available scrap of power to do that. It's also commendable that 36Mpx D800 files take just over twice as long as the 16Mpx Ricoh GR raw files, which suggests tremendous efficiency.

This weekend I upgraded Optics from v9 to v10, along with the Viewpoint module, and just familiarizing myself with the new options has already produced solid results. Adjusting complex controls and re-rendering the preview lags slightly with D800 files, which probably means that it's constrained by my meagre 12MB of ram, but it's very snappy with smaller images. This makes the program very easy to use and means that I'm putting much better data back into Lightroom for its final tweaks and storage.

Have a look at the power graph one more time. That feebly stuttering valley between the two Optics exports is Lightroom 4 working as hard as it can to import and render the previews for the files that Optics is feeding it.

That just makes me feel sad.