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Optimizing Zerene Stacker on High Core-Count Macs Like the 16-Core 2019 Mac Pro

Consult with Lloyd on the best Mac Pro configuration (or other Mac) for your own specific workflow needs, including CPU, GPU, memory, backup, RAID. etc. Also, the best camera system choice for your needs!

See also 2019 Mac Pro: Zerene Stacker.

I use Zerene Stacker a great deal for focus stacking. Here are key tips that deliver the best performance:

  • Store the input files on the fastest drive available (fast SSD) so that delays from I/O are minimized.
  • Use uncompressed TIF. Do NOT use compressed TIF. JPEG can be used, but it is also compressed, which will have a slight negative performance impact (unless the files are on a slow drive where I/O speed dominates).
  • Disable Options => Preferences => Preprocessing => Use External TIFF Reader (make sure it is unchecked).

CPU utilization with Zerene Stacker is optimal if and only if uncompressed TIF is used. Using compressed TIF impairs performance only a few percent on an 8-core iMac 5K, but exacts about a 20% speed hit on a 16-core 2019 Mac Pro and more than that on a 24/28 core Mac Pro.

Below, this is excellent CPU utilization, though there is a modest amount of room for improvement (virtual CPU cores partially idle usually are not meaningful).

2019 Mac Pro: Zerene Stacker CPU usage, uncompressed TIF

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