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Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 Intel Core i7 7700K & i5 7600K Performance

Written on January 5, 2017 by Matt Bach


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!

Test Setup

To see how the new Core i7 7700K and i5 7600K perform in Photoshop, we used the following configurations:

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 21500x16718. 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
Liquify 17 20.3 15.7 20.2 19.6 17.4 16.7
Camera Raw Filter 13.2 17.4 13.7 19 10.6 10.8 12
Lens Correction 40.4 44.6 46.4 49.8 53 52.6 52
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
Reduce Noise 51.1 60.2 56.1 66.9 59.8 60.9 62.7
Field Blur 25 27.4 26.6 28 29 29.2 29.6
Iris Blur 27.7 32.4 29.5 33.5 29.7 29.9 31.2
Tilt-Shift Blur 26.9 31.1 28.6 31.9 29.3 29.6 30.9
Motion Blur 5.1 5.1 5.3 5.5 5.7 6.2 6.3
Smart Blur 20.5 22.4 22.9 25.1 27.1 25.4 24.1
Water Color 44.3 47.7 49 53.4 57.4 57.2 57.3
Pallette Knife 65.2 70.7 72.1 79.2 75.9 76.5 76.9
Stained Glass 135.7 146.7 150 162.9 133.3 133.5 134.3
Lighting Effect 8.1 8.8 8.8 9.5 9.2 9.4 8.7

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.


Photoshop CC 2017 Core i7 7700K Core i5 7600K Benchmark Performance

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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Tags: Adobe, Photoshop, CPU, Processor

Some great info here!

Any idea how to quantify the performance differential over older CPUs? Have you run the same benchmark on older systems?

I'll be upgrading soon from an i5 2500K based system (likely to an i7 7700K) and would be curious how big a jump in performance I'll be looking at in Photoshop CC.

Posted on 2017-01-04 18:11:03

That is actually something I really want to do. I'm pretty sure we still have CPUs going back to the i7 2500K and I am really curious to test to see how performance actually compares across the various generations. Right now we are pretty swamped, but I definitely have this on the to-do list.

Just out of curiosity, do you think we should only change the CPU (and RAM depending on what the CPU supports) and keep the GPU and hard drive the same? Or should we also go back and use older video cards and storage? I think we still have most of the different GTX Titan generations around, but older storage might actually be a bit tougher.

Posted on 2017-01-04 18:30:26


I'd probably change the minimum possible in order to support the older hardware, to make it as apples-to-apples a comparison as possible in the CPU department. Also, that's probably representative of what a lot of professionals/enthusiasts are actually running. I myself, while still running an i5 2500K and a 2011-era motherboard, have maxed out the RAM and updated the graphics card and storage last year.

A performance comparison of just the different GPUs (all else the same) would be interesting too. I really have no intuition for how those compare in Photoshop usage. I've currently got a GTX 750 that only replaced an old 9600 GT because I needed DP 1.2 for 4K support. It doesn't "feel" like that was a giant change, but too many other variables changed at the same time to really know for sure. Also, I feel like GPU support in Photoshop is sloppy enough that it'd be good to know the nuance there.

Maybe also a test of an "example all 5-year-old hardware build" or similar just to show how everything together has progressed.

Posted on 2017-01-04 18:40:09

Yea, I'm a bit torn myself. Just changing the CPU is best from a pure CPU perspective of course, and most tech-savvy people like you tend to upgrade the GPU and storage more often than the CPU since it is much easier and cheaper to do so. On the other hand, the majority of our customers are not the type to upgrade their own systems regularly and when they do they tend to simply purchase a new system instead. So for them complete platform comparisons make the most sense for us to test.

Knowing me, that probably means I will test both (or all three if I opt to do a GPU-only comparison). It is more work, but honestly setting up the testing and finding the old hardware will probably take more time than the testing itself so it might not be that bad.

Posted on 2017-01-04 18:58:14

That sounds like it does make sense for you. That way you could confidently say fairly blanket statements like "An upgrade will improve your Photoshop performance x% compared to your typical 3-year-old PC, or y% compared to your typical 5-year-old PC." to your customers.

Posted on 2017-01-04 20:22:44

One issue with longitudinal comparisons is that things have moved on especially if you have to compare apples to apples. Likely you will be comparing systems not only with different CPUs, but also different chipsets, different memory configurations etc.

Posted on 2017-01-05 16:08:51

this is awesome. thanks Matt!
Can't wait for the After Effects comparisons on the new chips!

Posted on 2017-01-07 00:36:35

Just as a warning, After Effects isn't super high on our list of testing for Kaby Lake at the moment. Z170/Z270 can only use a maximum of 64GB of RAM and given how useful large amount of RAM is for AE, our recommend systems for AE (https://www.pugetsystems.co... use the X99 platform and the "High-End" Core i7 CPUs. The 7700K should actually perform extremely well for most AE projects, but 64GB isn't all that much for most professional AE users. We will probably eventually test it since there are AE users who don't need more than 64GB of RAM, but right now we are focusing on the software packages where we would typically recommend a CPU like the i7 7700K.

Posted on 2017-01-07 01:22:23

Thanks for the reply Matt.
I wasn't aware of the max ram for Z270, so you're right. that's not ideal. I guess i'll have to keep my eyes still on the 6900K!
Do you know if there's going to be a refresh of High-End CPU's for Kaby-Lake? or are they not being updated this time around?

Posted on 2017-01-07 03:25:43
Junsung Lee

was waiting for long time.

Posted on 2017-01-08 15:17:42

I shoot Phase One medium format equipment and the current 80mp back generates 458mb 16 bit images. I do lots of stitching via Photomerge in PS CC and have done as many as 24 images. This is very slow. I also run several HDR programs which are also slow, but not compared to Photomerge. Could you put up some data on 8-10 images near the size I use in Photomerge, and 5 in the PS HDR? Thanks.

Posted on 2017-01-08 17:36:02

We don't have any images near that size, and although we could always resize images I prefer to use native if possible. Do you think you could send us some images to use in our testing? I'd be happy to do some quick tests for you and we could use them for future testing as well. If so, toss me an email at mattbach@pugetsystems.com

Posted on 2017-01-08 17:47:03

Hi do you have any idea how Photoshop would perform on one of the Kaby Lake Y chips, such as in the new Dell XPS 13 2-in-1? I know they are less powerful, but am interested in overall performance in their range of chips. Thanks.

Posted on 2017-01-24 01:03:14
Kim Brockie

Thank you so much for these guides, especially the Photoshop & lightroom one, in the progress going from Mac (After years) to a custom PC build, and this knowledge was golden. Was quite surprised how well the 7700K fared compared to the multicore bunch, but I'll see if I can be patient and await the upcoming refresh from intel, hopefully before August. Keep up the good work

Sincerely Kim

Posted on 2017-02-06 21:07:04
Ghaeth Wardeh

In November of 2017, is i5 7600k recommended as entry-level budget build to trening on Photoshop and illustrator or we should to go with 8th generation?

Posted on 2017-11-13 22:52:47