Posted September 2, 2012 by Gavin Hoey in Articles

How fast is Photoshop?

speed-actionOver the next few weeks I’ll be posting some tips on how to squeeze more speed from your computer to make Photoshop run faster. Of course you may not be aware that your computer could run faster or even what the benefits are. In which case let me put it this way… The faster Photoshop runs the more enjoyable it is to use.

I use two PC’s on a regular basis. Now I wrote about upgrading my main PC a while back and its speed is unbelievable. My second computer however, is a small laptop that I use on locations and at talks. Recently I’ve had to use it quite a bit but compared to my regular PC it was painfully, frustratingly, annoyingly slow. Working with even medium sized images showed up its lack of power making using Photoshop a bit of a chore.

The Speed Test
Of course that was just my perception of speed so what I wanted was hard facts. Is Photoshop on my laptop really slow or am I impatient? So to put Photoshop through its paces I’ve created an action that will push it hard.

If you fancy testing you’re Photoshop then you can download my Speed Test action, grab a stopwatch close any images and run the action.

You can get an idea of what the Speed Test Action does by looking at the screen grab. Basically it creates an image, up samples, applies a few transformations, creates layers and fills Photoshop with data to really make it work hard. It will stretch the system RAM and scratch disc before tidying everything up and saying STOP! The faster your computer the quicker the action will play through.

The Results
I ran the speed test a few times and then averaged out the results. Adobe claim Photoshop CS6 is faster then CS5 so I also wanted to put that to the test, so I ran the same speed test in both versions.

Laptop:   CS5 = 157.5 Sec           CS6 = 139.5 Sec
Intel i5 with 8GB Ram

Desktop: CS5 = 36.5 Sec             CS6 = 27 Sec
Intel i7 with 24GB Ram and SSD scratch disk

OK so Adobe were right, Photoshop CS6 is faster then Photoshop CS5 but I was also right, my laptop is much slower then my main PC. So I’m left with three choices…

  1. Accept that’s the way it is and get on with life
  2. Upgrade the hardware where possible
  3. Retire my laptop and buy a new one.

Option 1 isn’t my style and option 3 is tempting but expensive. Stay tuned to see how well I get on with option 2.

If you’ve run the speed test on your computer add your results to the comments below. I’d love to know PC or Mac i3 i5 i7, how much ram and of course the time.

Speed Test

Gavin Hoey