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Lloyd recommends 64GB for iMac or Mac Pro for photography/videography.
Mac Pro Westmere Photoshop Performance: diglloydHuge
The diglloydHuge benchmark measures core Photoshop operations, generating a huge 56GB scratch size. Even a Mac Pro with 64GB of memory will show some speed impairment.
With a hard drive, the differences shown here would be much greater; all the machines here used dual 200GB Mercury Extreme Pro RE SSDs in a 400GB RAID-0 stripe for scratch, which is as fast a scratch drive as Photoshop can utilize.
CPU core usage
See Monitoring system performance with Activity Monitor. Black areas are idle, red and green are usage.
Very poor use of CPU cores, with about 80% or more of the computing power squandered.
This graph shows 1 iteration on the 8-core 2.93GHz Mac Pro Nehalem with 64GB memory.
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