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When Intel launches a new set of CPUs, the main question everyone wants to know is how fast they are compared to the models they are replacing. In this article, we will be looking at how the new Intel Core i7 7700K and i5 7600K perform in Photoshop compare to the previous generation Intel Core i7 6700K and i5 6600K. In addition, we will also be looking at a number of "High-End" Core i7 CPUs from Intel including the i7 6850K, i7 6900K, and i7 6950X.
If you want to skip straight to the conclusion, feel free to jump ahead!
To see how the new Core i7 7700K and i5 7600K perform in Photoshop, we used the following configurations:
|Motherboard:||Asus PRIME Z270-A||Asus Z170-A||Asus X99 Deluxe II|
|CPU:||Intel Core i7 7700K 4.2GHz
(4.5GHz Max Turbo) 4 Core
Intel Core i5 7600K 3.8GHz
(4.2GHz Max Turbo) 4 Core
|Intel Core i7 6700K 4.0GHz
(4.2GHz Max Turbo) 4 Core
Intel Core i5 6600K 3.5GHz
(3.9GHz Max Turbo) 4 Core
|Intel Core i7 6850K 3.6GHz
(3.7-4GHz Turbo) 6 Core
Intel Core i7 6900K 3.2GHz
(3.5-4GHz) 8 Core
Intel Core i7 6950X 3.0GHz
(3.4-4GHz Turbo) 10 Core
|RAM:||4x Crucial DDR4-2133 16GB
|8x Crucial DDR4-2133 32GB ECC Reg. LRDIMM
|GPU:||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB|
|Hard Drive:||Samsung 850 Pro 512GB SATA 6Gb/s SSD|
|OS:||Windows 10 Pro 64-bit|
|PSU:||EVGA SuperNOVA 1600W P2|
|Software:||Photoshop CC 2017|
These test configurations include three different platforms along with seven CPU models. For Photoshop, we typically would recommend a quad core CPU with a high frequency since Photoshop is mostly single or lightly threaded, but we also wanted to include some of the "High-End" Core i7 CPUs with 6-10 cores. We don't expect them to fare all that well against the new Kaby Lake CPUs, but Photoshop is very commonly used in conjunction with other applications like Premiere Pro or After Effects so knowing the relative performance with these CPUs is still very useful.
To benchmark Photoshop, we used an action set that included everything we wanted to test and created a custom AutoIt script to precisely time how long it took for each one of these actions to complete. With the exception of Smart Blur (which we tested using a 109MB image), all of our testing was performed on a 1GB image with a resolution of 21500×16718. The relative performance between the CPUs should not change significantly based on the size of our test image, but using a larger image makes each action take longer which should increase the accuracy of our results.
Raw Benchmark Results
|Intel Core i7 7700K||Intel Core i5 7600K||Intel Core i7 6700K||Intel Core i5 6600K||Intel Core i7 6950X||Intel Core i7 6900K||Intel Core i7 6850K|
|Time to Launch Photoshop||1.7||1.8||1.7||1.8||2.3||2.2||1.9|
|Time to Save 1.17GB PSD||15.8||18.7||17.5||20.8||18.3||22.2||17.7|
|Time to Open 1.17GB PSD||5.1||5.5||5.6||6.2||6.3||5.9||5.9|
|Rotate Image 38 degrees||3.6||3.7||3.9||4.1||3.9||3.9||3.9|
|Resize 1GB Image to 109MB||6.9||7.3||7.4||8.1||9.4||9||9|
|Convert to CMYK||2.6||2.9||2.9||4.5||2.3||2.2||2.5|
|Convert to RGB||3.9||5.8||4.4||6.5||2.8||2.8||3.4|
|Camera Raw Filter||13.2||17.4||13.7||19||10.6||10.8||12|
|Adaptive Wide Angle||144.9||154.6||183||176.7||307.8||309.7||223.4|
|Generate Normal Map||9.8||10.4||11.4||12||13.9||12.9||12.9|
Normally we would spend quite a bit of time going through the results action by action, but the performance of the new Kaby Lake CPUs compared to the older CPUs is actually remarkably consistent. So instead, we are simply going to jump ahead to our conclusion to look at the overall average.
If we normalize all our results to the Intel Core i7 6700K (which until now was our go-to CPU for Photoshop), you get a great idea of how well the Core i7 7700K or i5 7600K will perform. Overall, the i7 7700K is a healthy 9% faster than the i7 6700K although considering the raw frequency is 5-7% higher as well, the performance gain isn't quite what we expected. The Core i5 7600K is a hair slower than the i7 6700K, but only by 2.4% which is not very much especially considering the i5 7600K should be about 2/3 the price of an i7 6700K. If you compare the i5 7600K to the old i5 6600K, however, the 7600K is faster by a good 11%
Looking at just the two new Kaby Lake CPUs, there is actually a decent amount of performance difference with the Core i7 7700K coming in at about 12.6% faster than the Core i5 7600K on average.
While the results from the majority of our test actions were within a few percent of the average, there are two we wanted to call special attention to because they didn't match the norm:
- Liquify – For whatever reason, the new Kaby Lake CPUs under-performed for this action. Instead of the i7 7600K being 9% faster than the i7 6700K, it was instead about 7.5% slower. The i5 7600K was also slower than normal, clocking in at 23% slower than the i7 6700K instead of the 2.4% slower we saw on average.
- Adaptive Wide Angle – Opposite of liquify, the new CPUs performed very well when applying the adaptive wide angle filter. For this action the i5 7600K was actually 18% faster than the i7 6700K and the i7 7700k was 26% faster.
While many might downplay a roughly 10% increase in performance from the new Kaby Lake CPUs, this is actually what we have come to expect over the last few years. Huge 50% performance gains simply do not happen anymore as we get closer and closer to the limits of current manufacturing technologies. Is a 10% gain in performance worth upgrading from an i7 6700K to an i7 7700K? That is really only something you can answer for yourself. Is it worth using an i7 7700K if you are purchasing a new system? Since it shouldn't be any more expensive than the old i7 6700K we would definitely say "yes!"
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