April 16, 2010

Photoshop CS5 64-bit benchmarks

Running Photoshop in 64-bit mode produces some big improvements when using large data sets (scenarios where you’d otherwise run out of RAM and have to hit virtual memory). Here are benchmarks from a 2 x 2.66GHz quad-core Nehalem Mac Pro with 12GB of RAM (OS X 10.6.3):

Running the Retouch Artists Speed Test:

CS4: 36.09 secs

CS5 64bit: 14.78 secs

2.4 times faster*

Running the diglloyd benchmark Actions for Photoshop:

diglloydSpeed1

CS4: 38.05 secs

CS5: 23.1 secs

1.7 times faster

diglloydSmall

CS4: 56.01 secs

CS5: 26.48 secs

2.1 times faster

diglloydMedium

CS4: 120.15 secs

CS5: 83.85 secs

1.4 times faster

Opening a large (3.75GB) PSB file

CS4: 80.33 secs

CS5: 52.43 secs

1.5 times faster

Obviously these are big, big wins for any Photoshop users working with large images. I do however want to be careful not to oversell the benefits of 64-bit. As I’ve said from the start, 64-bit is a really big deal when you’re using large amounts of memory. Otherwise it’s not likely to make a very noticeable difference (e.g. your Web design tasks won’t run twice as fast).

What about other Creative Suite apps? As I’ve mentioned, After Effects & Premiere Pro are both 64-bit native on both Mac & Windows (64-bit only, in fact, unlike Photoshop). I haven’t seen benchmarks yet, but given the data-intensive nature of video, the wins should be huge. Meanwhile Illustrator has raised the limits on RAM usage, from 2GB in CS4 to 3-4GB (depending on system configuration) in CS5.

* I’m using the same “times faster” nomenclature that Apple uses when talking about 64-bit performance on Snow Leopard. If you prefer to think in percentages, the operations are (from top to bottom above) 59%, 39%, 53%, 30%, 35% faster than CS4, respectively.

Posted by John Nack at 3:00 PM on April 16, 2010
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