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2021 MacBook Pro M1 Max: Real World Photoshop: Make Multi-Res Image Series

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MPG tested the Apple 16.2" MacBook Pro with M1 Max Chip Z14X000HR, a maxed-out model in all ways except 4TB SSD instead of the maximum 8TB SSD.

2021 MacBook Pro M1 Max


This test is as real world as it gets, one that I (Lloyd) do frequently for generating lens rendering aperture series, such as for this lens comparison. It is a time-consuming and work-stopping task, so performance gains are very welcome. It is a workflow that might have limited significance for the workflow of others. Still, if workflow is scripted in Photoshop, it likely applies.

This javascript-driven automation script generates series of images which in part does not lend itself to multiple CPU cores. However, the task is mostly about Image sizing, Smart Sharpen, and saving a JPEG.

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OpenCL makes a large difference, especially for the MacBook Pro. A big part of this is the implementation of Smart Sharpen, which is single-threaded on CPUs when OpenCL is disabled. But even with OpenCL enabled, Smart Sharpen is quite a lot slower than the Intel Macs.

Here the MacBook Pro disappoints, and the reason is not at all clear, but both CPU and GPU usage are at low levels (single CPU, 1/3 or 1/4 of the GPU). And while GPU usage is also low on Intel, I see 3 to 8 CPU cores being used, vs one (1) core for the M1 Max.

This being my (Lloyd’s) single most important task in Photoshop, the one that slows my work the most, it’s a bummer for the M1 Max architecture. But it looks more like troubled Photoshop code than an M1 Max architecture. It seems likely that Adobe should be able to improve a lot upon what is seen here.

Create multiple resolution aperture series (126 output images of varying sizes)
2021 MacBook Pro M1 Max vs 2019 iMac 5K, 2020 iMac 5K, 2019 Mac Pro: Photoshop :
2021 MacBook Pro M1 Max
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