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Photoshop CS5 Performance Surprises

Last updated 2011-01-27 - Send Feedback
Related: software, Software, Photoshop

Assumptions about what is faster for any specific program or task can easily be incorrect, and both time and money can be spent more productively by knowing the facts. 

This multi-page article covers five areas in which Photoshop CS5 performance runs contrary to commonly held beliefs.  I hope to save you time (every day!), but also wasted money from buying more hardware than needed, which might ironically run more slowly.  There can be exceptions, so always measure your own workflow situations without assuming things.

Assumptions about performance are only a starting point to be proven by measurement based on the tasks actually performed.

When I examine performance, I measure it; what matters is what actually happens.

Test platforms used on following pages

• 3.33 GHz 6-core Mac Pro with 24GB memory
• 3.33 GHz 12-core Mac Pro with 48GB memory

The 12-core Mac Pro was specially upgraded to dual 3.33GHz CPUs;  Apple’s fastest 12-core model is 2.93GHz.

Memory for both machines was optimal in terms of CPU speed, and no virtual memory swapping or other disk activity was relevant.

Testing used Mac OS X 10.6.6 64-bit kernel build 10J567, and 64-bit Photoshop CS5; A future Mac OS X software updated could change matters, or a future revision of Photoshop.   The Windows version of Photoshop might or might not show similar issues.

Rigorously lab tested and OWC certified.
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