Photoshop CS3 on Intel Macs, Faster than a Cheetah on Speed!

Adobe just released the beta of Photoshop CS3 and already tons of preliminary benchmarks are starting to funnel in. CS3 is a very significant version of Photoshop for Mac users, because it is a universal binary that will run on Intel Macs. Before this beta, Photoshop users had to run previous versions in Rosetta, Apple’s PowerPC emulation software. This caused significant slow downs with Photoshop making it unpractical for professional work on an Intel Mac. But as the benchmarks are clearly showing, Photoshop CS3 is smoking on the new Intel Macs.

Several sites are reporting impressive numbers with CS3, especially on the Mac Pro. Some tests show up to a 70% improvement over a quad-core G5 running CS2.

Here is a summary of the preliminary Photoshop CS3 benchmarks:


Informal benchmark testing was performed by various forum members with access to both Intel-based and PowerPC based systems and the beta Photoshop software using the RetouchArtists benchmarking test. These tests have shown significant improvement in Photoshop CS3 speeds vs. Photoshop CS2 speeds on Intel hardware.

The 2.66 GHz Mac Pro showed a nearly 60% speedup by upgrading to the CS3 beta. However, PowerPC systems appear to have not felt any boost in speed, and at least one PowerPC user had speeds actually decrease when upgrading to the CS3 beta.

Model CS2 Time (s) CS3 Beta Time (s)
Mac Pro 2.66 GHz, 2GB RAM 62 36
Quad G5 2.5 GHz, 5GB RAM 36 36
Quad G5 2.5 GHz, 2GB RAM unavailable 4

Smaller time is better.

Bear Feats

1. CS3 is much improved in overall speed now that it runs in native mode on the Mac Pro. The MP6 test ran 41% faster and the Retouch Artists test ran 70% faster than CS2. The launch times improved as well.

2. The Mac Pro running CS3 is 86% faster than the Quad-Core G5 running our MP6 test (20 History States). However, it is only 10% faster running the Retouch Artists’ test (20 History States). That second stat is especially interesting when you take into account the Mac Pro’s 20% faster clock speed.

3. On the Quad-Core G5, Photoshop CS2 actually ran our benchmarks 2% to 5% faster than CS3.

CONCLUSION: We’ve waited many moons for the UB version of Photoshop. Mac Pro owners will appreciate the dramatically improved performance that CS3 offers. Now all we need is OS X “Leopard” so we can define a memory cache larger than 3GB.

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1 Response to “Photoshop CS3 on Intel Macs, Faster than a Cheetah on Speed!”

  1. 1 The Picune Blog Trackback on Mar 14th, 2007 at 6:56 am
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