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Adobe Photoshop CC Multi Core Performance

Written on April 20, 2015 by Matt Bach


When designing a computer there are literally thousands of different hardware components from which you can choose. Each one will affect the performance of your system in different ways and depending on the software you will be using some will be more important than others. In the case of Adobe Photoshop CC, one of the most critical hardware components is the CPU. Even then, there are still hundreds of different CPU models to choose from and each have their own unique specifications.

So the question is: how do you know which CPU will give you the best performance in Photoshop CC?

Before even attempting to answer this question, it is important to understand the two most basic CPU specifications:

  1. The frequency is how many operations a single CPU core can complete in a second (how fast it is).
  2. The number of cores is how many physical cores there are within a CPU (how many operations it can run simultaneously).

In an ideal world a CPU that has the same frequency but twice the number of cores would be exactly twice as fast. Unfortunately, making software utilize multiple cores (and do so effectively) is difficult in most situations, and almost impossible in others. Add in the fact that higher core count CPUs tend to have lower operating frequencies and it becomes even more difficult to ensure that you are choosing the best possible CPU.

In this article, we want to find out how well Photoshop CC can utilize multiple cores - known as multi-threading - to help determine what type of CPU (either one with a high frequency or a high core count) will give you the best possible performance. If you want to skip over our testing procedure and individual benchmark results and simply view our conclusions, feel free to jump ahead to the conclusion section.

Test Setup

To help us determine how many cores Photoshop CC is able to use in a variety of situations, we based the majority of our testing around two benchmarks: Hardware Heaven's now-discontinued Photoshop benchmark and ClubofOne's Photoshop Speed Test. However, since we want to determine what actions in Photoshop are multi-threaded and not just benchmark the performance of our system, we had to make a few changes to the benchmark scripts.

First, for both benchmarks we dramatically increased the test image size. We increased the Hardware Heaven's test image to 500MB and the Speed Test's image to 2GB. This was done so that the various actions we will be recording would take long enough for us to get accurate results. Second, we added "stop" actions to the Speed Test action list which will allow us to accurately measure CPU core loads and to time how long it took for Photoshop to perform each individual action rather than the entire group of actions.

In order to have a large amount of CPU cores available, we used the following hardware:

Since we want to determine how many CPU cores Photoshop can effectively utilize, we are going to alter how many cores are available by setting the affinity for Photoshop in Task Manager. This way we can accurately benchmark Photoshop with anywhere from a single core to the full ten cores available with this setup.

To analyze the data, we will be presenting our results in terms of how long it took an action to complete compared to how long it took with only a single CPU core. This should give us a clear indication of how many CPU cores each action is able to effectively utilize.

Hardware Heaven Multi-threading Results

The Hardware Heaven Photoshop benchmark is no longer active, but still works great as a basis for our testing as it includes many popular effects such as image resize and rotation, various blurs and a number of other miscellaneous effects. The major change we made to this benchmark was to increase the test image size to 500MB in order to increase the accuracy of our measurements.

Photoshop Image Benchmark

Starting with image rotation, we saw a decent increase in performance going from one core to two and increasingly smaller increases all the way up to five CPU cores. Resizing the image, however, was really only able to effectively use one or two CPU core.

Photoshop Blur Benchmark

Blurs are one of the few effects in Photoshop that are actually capable of using a high number of CPU cores. Not all blurs are multi-threaded (for example, Smart blur can only use one core), but many blurs will actively load every CPU core you make available to Photoshop. However, even though Photoshop is actively loading all the cores, there is a steep drop-off in performance benefits. In fact, none of the blurs we tested showed any benefit to having more than 5 CPU cores.

Photoshop Benchmark

For all the miscellaneous effects included in the Hardware Heaven benchmark script, most only ever used a single CPU core. The lighting effect is the only one that used more cores, and even then there was only a miniscule increase in performance with two CPU cores available.

Speed Test Multi-threading Results

Our second benchmark is based on Photoshop Speed Test. For this benchmark, we again increased the test image size (this time to 2GB since the effects tested are all relatively quick) and also added short pauses between each action so that we could time individual actions. Normally Speed Test is intended to measure how long it takes to complete everything in the script, but for this article we are more interested in each action independantly.

Photoshop Image resize benchmark

Interestingly, we found that resizing the image was able to utilize up to three CPU cores. This is different than the Hardware Heaven benchmark where we only say a single CPU core being utilized effectively. The only other action that showed the benefit of having more than a single CPU core was changing the canvas size which was able to utilize two CPU cores.

Photoshop filters benchmark

The unsharp mask and gaussian blur portions of Speed Test showed that both effects are capable of multi-threading. However, unsharp mask peaks after about six cores and gaussian blur sees diminishing returns after about five cores. 

Photoshop color mode benchmark

Of all the effects we tested, converting to different color modes showed the greatest benefit of having multiple CPU cores. With ten CPU cores we saw up to a six fold increase in performance. That's not perfect, but it is actually pretty decent in terms of multi-threading efficiency. 

Photoshop adjustments benchmark

The final portion of our Speed Test benchmark run involved a number of image adjustments including level, hue/saturation, and brightness/contrast. Hue/saturation actually benefited pretty well from having a high core count, although it leveled off around seven CPU cores.

Multiple CPU Performance

So far, we've only looked at how well Photoshop is able to utilize ten cores on a single CPU. So far, we have seen no indication that Photoshop should be able to utilize larger numbers of cores through the use of a Dual Xeon system with two CPUs but we felt we needed to test it just in case we see an unexpected result. Two CPUs does mean twice the memory bandwidth since only half the RAM is on each CPU so it is possible that we may see higher performance with two CPUs.

For this section, we used the following test system in addition to the X99 system that was used in the rest of this article:

To see if multiple CPUs help, we compared the Hardware Heaven results from our X99 system to three different CPU configurations on our Dual Xeon system:

  • Single CPU only (second CPU physically removed from the motherboard)
  • Dual CPU, but affinity set to only allow Photoshop to utilize the cores on the primary CPU
  • Dual CPU, no limitations set

This should give us a clear indication of how well Photoshop works with our Dual Xeon system and allow us to detect any odd performance issues. Unlike the rest of our results in this article, we will not examine the result in terms of x times single core performance but rather of the raw time in seconds to complete each action:

Photoshop Multiple CPU Benchmark - Blurs

Blurs were one of the best effects for multi-threading in the Hardware Heaven benchmark (with the exception of Smart Blur) so they should have the best chance of showing a performance benefit from having two CPUs. However, if you examine the results you will see that this is not at all the case. We performed multiple rounds of testing, even to the point of completely reloading the OS and replacing hardware but the results never changed significantly. Instead of improving performance, adding a second CPU actually increased the time it took to apply a blur effect by 30-50% 

What is interesting is that with only a single CPU installed into the Dual Xeon system, performance was almost identical to the X99 system which effectively rules out an issue between Photoshop and the hardware we used for our testing. However, once we adding the second CPU performance decreased by about 20-35% for the Field, Iris, and Tilt-shift blur. Setting Photoshop to only utilize the primary CPU helped, but still resulted in a performance decrease of about 10-16% for those same blurs.

Luckily, this drop in performance appears to be limited to the few effects that attempt to utilize a large number of cores. The majority of Photoshop actions showed no difference in performance with the Dual Xeon system:

Photoshop Multiple CPU Benchmark

Considering that having two CPUs technically gives you twice the computing power (and twice the memory bandwidth), it is very disappointing that you will actually see lower performance in Photoshop with two CPUs than you would see with just a single CPU. Why this is the case is a completely mystery to us. We have reached out to Adobe to see if we could get an answer, but so far have not had any luck discovering why there is such a drastic drop in performance. Our best guess is that since Photoshop does not utilize large numbers of cores very efficiently, having to go over the QPI link (which essentially connects both CPUs together) adds enough of a performance hit to completely offset any performance gained by having more CPU cores available.
The good news is that this drop in performance only applies to actions that are highly multi-threaded. Single or lightly threaded actions (which are the vast majority of Photoshop) appear to be completely unaffected.


Based on our testing, there are three major conclusions we can come to regarding the multi-threading capabilities of Photoshop CC:

  1. Photoshop does not work well with multiple physical CPUs. Most effects are not impacted, but anything that is highly multi-threaded (like many blurs) will actually take up to 30-50% longer if you have two CPUs versus just one. If you have a system with multiple CPUs, we highly recommend setting the affinity of Photoshop so that it will only ever try to use one of your CPUs.
  2. Most actions in Photoshop are either single threaded or lightly threaded. This means that you will get the exact same performance whether your system has two CPU cores or twenty CPU cores. For these actions, a CPU with a high operating frequency is key.
  3. Multi-threaded actions hit a point of diminishing returns after around 6 CPU cores, and most completely stop improving after 8 CPU cores. This includes effects like color mode conversion, many blurs, hue/saturation, brightness/contrast, and shadow/highlight. The best multi-threaded effect (converting to Lab Color mode) had a decent multi-threading efficiency of about 94%, but most of these effects had an efficiency closer to 80% which isn't so great.

One thing we want to point out is that the raw number of cores different Photoshop effects can utilize is only a starting point when choosing a CPU for Photoshop. Even though Photoshop may at times be able to use eight or even ten physical CPU cores, our testing has shown that it doesn't typically do so very effectively. Because higher core CPUs also tend to have lower operating frequencies, this means that the best CPU for Photoshop will be one with a moderate core count but a high operating frequency.

After examining the results of our testing, we believe that - of the Intel CPUs available at the time of this article - the following three models should give you the best possible performance in Photoshop CC:

Which CPU you choose is going to depend on a number of factors including which chipset you want to use and how much system RAM you need. The Intel Core i7 4790K is a great CPU and probably the overall best of the three, but the chipset it uses is limited to 32GB of RAM which may not be adequate if you work with very large images. For large images, the Intel Core i7 5930K will allow up to 64GB with current technology while the Intel Xeon E5-1650 V3 will let you use up to 768GB of RAM through the use of Registered ECC memory. The 5930K and E5-1650 V3 will both be a bit slower than the 4790K for most Photoshop tasks, but if you need more RAM the performance of the 4790K will be more than offset by not needing to use a scratch drive.

One last thing we want to point out is that our testing only covered the base features that come with Photoshop CC. If you regularly use a third party plug-in our testing may not be accurate. In our experience plug-ins tend to be almost entirely single-threaded (just like Photoshop itself), but there is the chance that a plug-in may benefit from having a large number of cores.

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Tags: Photoshop, Hardware, Multi-threading
Alexandros Makris

Quite informative article as usual. However, I would like to see an AMD recommendation (CPU & GPU). Not everyone has the budget for an Intel/Nvidia combination. In my country, at the price of an i7 4970k I can buy both CPU & GPU from AMD and instead of a GTX 900 series or even a mid level GTX 700, 16GB @ 1866MHz of RAM.
Photoshop, no matter how popular it might be, it is a photo manipulation software not a video editing application. So, why spending so much just for editing photos & using almost exclusively Photoshop on your computer. Just a thought.

Posted on 2015-04-23 07:59:21
Tamás Márton Klein

The problem is that AMD's single threaded performance is plain weak. see:
But if you can live with the 32GB memory limit then i believe that i3's might be an option to consider. And i would love to see tests on CPU's like the i3-4170 or even The Pentium G3470.
Work is work. Video editing is not "higher" work than photo editing.

Posted on 2016-04-14 04:48:33
Lr Home

That's not true anymore. Ryzen 5 3600 can easily outperform a 7th generation i5 or i7.

Posted on 2020-01-05 23:57:18
Tamás Márton Klein

You are right... The last 4 years changed a lot.

Posted on 2020-01-12 15:55:47

I'd rather get a Haswell/Skylake i3 compared to a fx-6300 or fx-8350 due to significantly higher IPC. Or better yet used Sandy/Ivy i5-i7.

Posted on 2016-05-21 16:11:31

Thanks for the test!
Sadly Surface Blur was not tested, it is very slow with big 16 bit images, but looks like
for RAW conversion Lightroom 6(ACR 9 ?) is using all cores from the i7-5960X.
Minimum or Maximum with Preserve Roundnes and radius 500 would be nice too :)

Posted on 2015-04-27 02:57:42

It would be great if you could test Photoshop stitching of say 10 images to see if multiple cores helps with this task. HDR assembly would also be interesting.

Posted on 2015-04-27 20:37:15

That's a good idea, I'll make sure we include that in our next round of testing. Kind of related, we are actually doing a very similar test for Lightroom right now since the latest version has panorama and HDR functionality built-in. I would assume that the multi-threading efficiency for those tasks should be similar between Lightroom and Photoshop (they are both made by Adobe after all), but it will be interesting to see if that is true.

Posted on 2015-04-27 21:06:55
Nakean Wickliff

Just did this. Not a test but peaked in Task Manager and I'm getting a single thread being used on a 28 core machine! SO sad photshop (adobe in general) so sad. Creative cloud needs to be designed from the ground up. With little competition and the subscription model, it's doubtful that will ever happen.

Posted on 2017-03-09 22:39:43

You might want to check out our newer articles on Photoshop performance, if you are curious about how and where it will use more cores. Also, remember that some types of calculations simply cannot be multi-threaded: any time the results of one calculation are required before the next can be performed, you will be limited to a single thread handling that series of calculations.

Posted on 2017-03-09 22:44:36

Wow, this is perfect. I had just started thinking about doing a build for web/software development and I was very interested in what the best processor would be for Photoshop. The 4790 keeps coming up on sites for gaming and other stuff as essentially being the best bang for the buck. I was thinking about possibly going to an even higher end, but it seems like the 4790K is a good all around processor.

Posted on 2015-05-14 13:59:01

Yea, the 4790K is really great for a ton of different software simply because there still isn't much out there that can utilize more cores effectively. There are exceptions like video rendering or scientific computing that really takes advantage of more cores, but lots of other software that tries to use more cores often won't use those cores efficiently enough to overcome the high operating frequency of the 4790K (like we just found in Lightroom https://www.pugetsystems.co....

Posted on 2015-05-14 18:20:14
Rafael Luik

I don't get it, if the number of cores mostly doesn't matter for Photoshop why did you proceeded to recommend i7s and Xeon instead of an i5?

Posted on 2015-05-18 06:30:37

Higher clock speed, in the case of the Core i7 4790K (4GHz vs 3.5GHz as the top Core i5 speed). Both of those are limited in terms of memory, though, so if you need to go above 32GB - if you are dealing with image sizes greater than 1GB, basically - then moving to a Xeon E5 allows use of hundreds of GBs of memory.

Posted on 2015-05-18 06:32:53

Great article, thanks! Now I'm curious to see what impact would have a GPU on top of that, Adobe having insisted quite much on it for the 2015 release.

Posted on 2015-08-04 19:08:56

We tested GPU acceleration a few years back (https://www.pugetsystems.co... and while that article is a bit dated, we didn't see much improvement in performance once you got to a mid-range GPU. I'm sure things are slightly different now, but I would be extremely surprised if there was a significant performance advantage to using above a GTX 960 on the latest version of Photoshop. It is on our list to do a followup GPU acceleration article, though, so keep an eye out for that article.

Posted on 2015-08-04 19:52:07

Can hyper-threading decrease performance in Photoshop? As in slowing down actions?
Is there any chance you guys could run these tests with hyper-threading enabled and unabled using the i7-4790k and/or the i7-6700k and comparing them to their i5 brothers, the i5-4690k and the i5-6600k?
I'll be building a new PC soon and I'm trying to choose which CPU would be better for my type of use - I plan to use programs like Photoshop, Manga Studio 5, Sketchbook Pro, Corel Painter.

Posted on 2015-08-10 22:27:06

I've never seen any indication of Hyperthreading slowing down Photoshop, and the great thing is that you can always turn it off (in the BIOS) if you think it is causing an issue. Even with that factored in, though, the higher clock speed on the Core i7 chips *will* be better... and the newer 6000-series CPUs also perform a bit better than the previous generation. Since the 6000-series also allow use of faster memory (DDR4) and potentially higher amounts of memory (when 16GB modules come out) I cannot recommend anything but the i7 6700K from your list of options.

Posted on 2015-08-10 22:33:37

I honestly never thought much about it either until doing some online research about what CPU would better suit my needs - if an i5 or an i7.
I ended up with a "bag" of mix of opinions regarding the subject, some people deeming the i7 useless/waste of money for Photoshop since, "apparently", the program doesn't make use of HT Technology and because of it, it may even cause some minor slowdowns in applying actions. Others say Photoshop does make use of Hyper-Threading...I don't even know anymore lol
I even saw the i5-6600k, for some odd reason, pulling ahead of the i7-6700k in some Adobe CC Photoshop benchmark in some other tech site, shaving a little bit of time in the completion of the proposed actions.
I ended up quite confused on which CPU to pick, reason why I decided to come ask for some guidance on the matter in hopes of figuring out what CPU to get.

Posted on 2015-08-11 01:17:29

Hmm, I see what I think you are referring to - the "Photoshop Light" test at TomsHardware. Their own "Heavy" test puts the i7 and i5 neck and neck, though... so I think it just happens to be the operations they use in the Light test that must somehow skew toward the i5. There is no standard Photoshop benchmark out there, everyone just times a custom set of operations they select. I found a review video of the i5 6600K that shows it scoring well behind even older-generation Core i7 processors:


If you are on a budget, I can see going with a Core i5 to save money - but if you are looking for the best Photoshop performance across a wide variety of tools in PS then the i7 6700K is going to be the best bet.

Posted on 2015-08-11 05:38:06
Tom Bruno

The BIG question:
Time needed to save BIG files, in seconds, on this PC.

First let me thank you very much for this test. This information is essentially unavailable
elsewhere on the web. It is of great value.

I will ask if you have or could get another critical piece of data, namely how long – in seconds – it takes to save large PSD files to disk. For me, this is the biggest bottleneck. Back in the day, I loaded my 10 mp digital files into Photoshop and merrily processed away, gleefully adding
all sorts of layers, and saving quickly without incident. This was all on my Puget dual Xeon X56570
system, with 24 mb RAM and an Intel X25-M 120 GB SSD. No problem.

Then cameras advanced, and I have 24 and 36 mp images, and the files sizes got huge. With only half the layers, my 16 bit PSD files now average about 1.5 GB. Some exceed 2 GB, and need to be saved as PSB, for “BIG” files. The save time crawls! Minutes! Same machine, same programs, just much much slower. Photoshop at these levels feels almost unuseable.

So, I’m planning on a new PC. I’m looking at your Photoshop Professional recommended configuration, and the specs look good, but: the BIG question is, how long will these big
files take to save to disc, on this new machine? I would hate to get a new PC only to find out
it’s not much faster.

Can you help? I cannot find this information. All anyone says about save times are things like faster, slower, adequate, draggy, decent and so on. The actual time to save large
files, to a good hard drive system, in seconds, would be of enormous value. I’d
guess there are many who would love to see this information.

Again, thanks for this excellent research and article. You guys are great.

Posted on 2015-10-05 13:32:46

We didn't specifically test file save times in Photoshop, but in most other applications where we've looked at that it has been CPU bound.

One thing you could try on your current computers is to time how long it takes to save a file, then see how big that file is on the disk. Divide the total file size by the time it took. If that number is much less than the write speed of the drive, it is 100% CPU limited. If it is anywhere close to the max speed the drive can sustain, though, it is likely drive limited.

Either way, though, moving to a new computer should help. The CPU should be a lot faster, so CPU-limited file writing would improve. The drive speed would also be a lot higher, especially if you go with a SSD, so if the write speeds are limited by that instead it would also be faster :)

Posted on 2015-10-05 17:42:50
Tom Bruno

William, thanks for the reply. That’s as I suspected. I recently installed an enterprise level SAS drive array, which is very fast, so I guess it does come down to the CPU. Do you think I will get a significant bump in save times going from my Puget system with the Xeon X56570 to the Xeon E5-1650 in your recommended system? (Please say yes!)

And if you do come across the amazingly elusive times to save files, I’d still love to see them. I wonder if I’m just crazy or incompetent at the software, or do other people who generate large PS files also find themselves waiting a lot? Thanks again.

Posted on 2015-10-05 21:31:48

I would definitely expect an improvement in file save times! The CPU will be a decent bit faster, thanks to higher clock speed and several generations of technological improvements, and if you get a SSD that will as fast or faster than a SAS drive / array... so no matter where the bottleneck is it should be improved. I would be curious, though, to hear how much of an improvement you see if / when you do get a new system :)

Posted on 2015-10-05 22:09:34
John Syndham

Hi William.

I am familiar with Tom's question. The quick solution is simply to turn off compression in Preferences. A number of us tried various tests over at the DPReview forums. I used a 1.43 GB PSD test file with 2 layers. With the default compression on it took 50 seconds to save - on a 6700K running at 4.6 Ghz with 32 GB of 2667 mem writing to a Samsung EVO SSD. When I turned off compression the same save took 3 seconds. The saved file size increased to just over 2 GB. That's quite a reduction in time to save.

I also tried turning compatibility off with compression - save time went down from 50 seconds to 47 seconds - not a big saving.

The number of cores don't seem to make a big difference to save times - Chris Cox (Adobe) has indicated in the past that the Save process compression does not lend itself much to multi-threading and other articles in the past (although things may have changed) stated the process basically used one core. Another poster running a 6 core 3930 at 4.5 Ghz timed a 1.7 GB save at 70 seconds. So no matter what you do saves of files in the 1.5 - 2 GB range seem to take about a minute on up when compression is on. So I wonder just how much meaningful improvement you can expect from a hardware upgrade? Going from 4.5 Ghz to 5.5 Ghz might only drop the save time from 70 seconds to about 58. Nothing close to the 3 seconds by getting rid of compression.

I tested saving my 1.43 GB file to spinners and SSDs and saw no difference in save times, so I believe you are correct, it is CPU bound, not I/O bound, and drive arrays, ssds, although nice for other purposes, are not going to make much of a difference to save times.

It would be interesting if others could similarly test PSD saves with and without compression using different hardware combos, different clock speeds, different numbers of cores. By the way, saving Tiffs is very fast. Perhaps you can do some quick tests and post your results?

Posted on 2015-10-09 01:08:11

Ah, okay - that makes sense! It is too bad their compression algorithm only uses one core, though. A lot of popular compression schemes / applications are really well threaded, like 7-Zip.

I'll check with our Labs folks about doing some speed tests comparing PSD saving.

Posted on 2015-10-09 07:05:33

William, any updated metrics on Photoshop? I'm building a PC now, looking at a 6700K for the CPU but open to suggestions.

Posted on 2016-11-03 16:40:14

I don't believe we have published any Photoshop articles more recently than this one, and the i7 6700K is our go-to recommendation these days for both Photoshop and Lightroom. If you haven't seen it, you might want to check out our Photoshop Recommended System: https://www.pugetsystems.co...

Posted on 2016-11-03 16:50:47

I saw that, thanks William. My reading points me to the 6700K as well.

Posted on 2016-11-03 17:42:07
Thomas Harris

I'm really surprised that something as big as Photoshop doesn't make better use of threading in windows.. Sure if you're an ammature programmer you could argue 'stability' .. but Adobe is a massive company charging a lot of money for this software, it's not like they don't have the resources to make it work.

Posted on 2015-10-25 18:34:22

Some calculations simply do not lend themselves well to being made parallel - and thus being able to utilize multiple cores well. If each calculation depends on the result of the one before it then it cannot be made parallel, no matter how much programming effort you throw at it. I'm not sure if that is the case with aspects of Photoshop or not, but it is something to keep in mind when discussing this area of computing.

Posted on 2015-10-25 22:34:53

Correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding of Photoshop vs ACR/Lightroom is that Photoshop's Kernel is single threaded and improvements and advances in processing tools are limited by this. ACR and Lightroom do not have this block. Nothing short of starting from scratch with a brand new multi-threaded Photoshop will see major improvements across the board as one sees in Lightroom. Now, for those folks needing to align the look of their images to reality, Lightroom and ACR is fully adequate to do the job marvelously. For those of us that depart from reality on a regular basis, then there is no escaping Photoshop. The big boost in processing power in Photoshop itself is the option to use ACR as a filter, and, when using Image/Adjustments, converting to Smart Filters first allows these adjustments to be non-destructive. The big penalty is save time , especially with big files. Even the Nikon 7100 falls victim to this problem, unless, of course, one flattens first.

Posted on 2016-01-04 14:54:05

I think I just screwed myself. I built a massive PC to edit 4k video and cut down my HDR photography time and Photoshop crawls for me. I've been using Photoshop for about 12 years now. Here's my rig I built:
Supermicro X10DAX motherboard
Dual Xeon 2620 v.3 processors (12 cores total)
Dual GeForce 980 GTX's
64 Gb Kingston DDR4 ECC RAM (4x16Gb)
512 Gb SSD for the OS
4 x 2Tb HDD in RAID 5
1375 watt power supply
31" LG 31MU97 monitor (4096x2160)
Windows 8.1 Pro

My quad core, 8Gb laptop has better performance with Photoshop. I'm having lots of issues with my new build. When I'm using the wide angle adaptive correction feature it tears, takes forever to update and the cursor does not display to the right correctly.

All off this being said... If I installed Linux on my Raid 5 disk and did a dual boot, do you think it would help? I can render 6.5 minutes of cinematic 4k video in less than an hour with this new build. My benchmarks are off the charts. Would Linux make a big difference?
Thanks in advance!

Posted on 2016-02-22 20:04:53

Linux shouldn't make much of a difference unless you are using different applications in addition to changing the OS. The problem I see with your configuration is the Dual Xeon E5-2620 V3 CPUs. They are an OK choice for video editing (although you may get better performance for your dollar with a different CPU choice depending on the software you are using). However, Photoshop is almost entirely single-threaded so the 2.4GHz frequency of those CPUs is going to be very poor for Photoshop.

To stay within a similar budget, there really isn't any dual CPU option that will give you good performance for both video editing and Photoshop. Moving to a pair of Xeon E5-2623 V3 (Quad Core, 3.0GHz) is probably your best bet since it would give you a bit better Photoshop performance and very similar performance when video editing. Depending on the specs of your laptop, however, it may still be slower than the laptop.

Really, a better system for you is probably a single Xeon E5-1650 V3 (six core, 3.7GHz) rather than dual E5-2620 V3 CPUs. I don't know what video editing program you are using, but if you are using Premiere (other programs are likely similar, but that is one we have tested extensively), we found that there is a pretty dramatic drop in performance after 5-6 cores (https://www.pugetsystems.co... so the extra cores at a lower frequency are not doing a lot for you. In fact, based on our testing a single E5-1650 V3 should be ~2-8% faster than what you have right now as well as being cheaper and not as complex (which is much better for reliability and general system bugs). For other programs the E5-2620 V3 may be faster than the E5-1650 V3 - it just depends on how well the program handles multiple CPU cores.

Mainly, the E5-1650 V3 would also be much, much better for Photoshop while being either similar or possibly even better for video editing depending on the software. It still wouldn't be as good for Photoshop as a CPU like a Core i7 6700K (four core, 4.0GHz), but it would be a pretty good balance between video editing and Photoshop.

With all of this said, Linux shouldn't make a big difference. Also, things like the cursor not displaying sounds like you may have a driver or other hardware issue completely separate from your OS and hardware choice that you may want to look into before you start making drastic changes.

Posted on 2016-02-22 20:53:07

Thanks a ton for this info. I'm waiting on a callback from tier 2 Adobe tech support. It sounds like I've got to swap out my mobo, processors and RAM. $1800 worth of parts I spent. Hopefully, I can get $1100 for them, which will get my new components including that 6700. I'd imagine that processor, dual 980 GTXs and 64Gb of RAM should still be good for editing 4K video.
Thanks, again!

Posted on 2016-02-23 16:42:32

Hi bobdammit, how did it go since your last post? I don't know if you've already purchased the new parts, but if not, save yourself some money and skip the second GTX 980. I did some research on this and [unfortunately] it seems like multiple GPUs are useless for video editing. Premiere and similar software cannot take advantage of the second one, and in fact, one article I saw said it actually can create more issues because of the SLI drivers. You'd likely be better off investing that money into a more powerful single GPU with more CUDA cores like the 980 Ti or Titan, or even wait for the new Nvidia GPUs coming out in May or June (GTX 1080 and Titan). You may want to research this, and maybe ask Adobe as well.

Now if you're also playing games on this machine, you will certainly see a massive improvement using two GPUs, which is what that technology was build for; if that's the case, please ignore my ramblings.

Posted on 2016-04-06 04:50:54
Mashiur Rahman


Posted on 2016-02-27 20:25:45

I tried Lens Blur under Photoshop CC 14.2 on a 64Mpixel image, processing time was 7.5 min 1core, 4 min 2 cores, 2.3 min 4 cores.

So the first conclusion in your review appears incorrect (or you have done test in special context, donno) : Photoshop does not work well with multiple physical CPUs

Posted on 2016-04-17 16:37:21

What you describe testing is multiple CPU cores (1, 2, and 4 cores - based on your comment). If you look at the various tests in this article, many showed similar results: some improvement from 1 core up to a few (usually around 4)... but then little or no performance gain after that. Specifically, we also noted that adding a second physical CPU, with its own set of several cores, did not help. This is likely in part because the first CPU has enough cores to max-out the benefits Photoshop can reap from multiple cores, so adding even more cores in the form of a second CPU wasn't beneficial.

Posted on 2016-04-17 21:19:30

thanks for clarifying,
But in theory (and with pictures increasing in resolution), increasing the number of cores/CPU's must be beneficial (not necessarily with a linear speedup improvement), provided that "Photoshop" developers care about this.

Posted on 2016-04-23 20:57:34

Not necessarily. It depends on how the code / calculations work. If each step in a process depends on the result of the previous step then you can't do it until the previous step completes so that you have the needed result. Now I don't know if that is the situation with Photoshop for sure, or photo editing in general, but it does mean that some workloads simply cannot be multi-threaded.

Posted on 2016-04-23 23:17:08
sonex computers

Hi i want to make higher config system ... so i am confuse about which processor is better .. intel core i7 6800k or xeon e5 2620v4 ... which processor give me best result in photoshop .. cs6 or cc version .. kindly help me ...

Posted on 2016-12-15 08:06:50

Neither of those are great CPUs for Photoshop. The vast majority of Photoshop uses only a few cores, so a CPU with 4 cores and higher clock speed will give you better results than either of the models you listed. The Core i7 6700K (quad core at 4-4.2GHz) is our top recommendation for this program, and will outpace the more expensive i7 6800K (six cores at 3.4 to 3.6GHz) and E5-2620 v4 (eight cores at 2.1 to 3GHz). If you also do video editing, or other applications which can harness more cores, the 6800K might be a decent option since it still has reasonable clock speeds... but it will be about 15% slower in Photoshop than the 6700K. It also requires a more expensive motherboard, another point against it unless you run other software that will better utilize it.

Posted on 2016-12-15 17:24:47

Thank you for you hard work on this article...So what you're saying is that a OC 7700k @ 4.7GHz would still be just as good a a 6800/6900k @ 4Ghz?
Is this just for Photoshop or is it the same for Premier Pro and After Effects as well?

Posted on 2017-01-07 23:41:47

You might want to take a look at some of our newer Photoshop tests. We did one specifically for the new Kaby Lake processors - and a Premiere article too, which will be published soon.


The 7700K at base clock speeds already outpaces the 6850K and 6900K processors (at their respective base clock speeds). Overclocking makes stuff a bit trickier, since performance doesn't always scale perfectly with clock speed... but you can try and draw approximate performance numbers if you want.

Posted on 2017-01-08 06:14:11

Oh well... more than 4 cores is always better for graphic/video workstation. Try to load 100 pics on camera raw with 4 cores only and then open them in ps.

Posted on 2017-06-03 07:38:37

What this article shows the best is that Adobe is sitting on their fat ass and a pile of money for a pretty underwhelming support of their software. For the money they take and the size of the company I would expect that they could do it better. For example there is a bug with tablet input. I found the info and fix in some forum, not even the Adobe forum, and had to create a file in the depths of the PS settings in my user profile with two specific settings to make it work flawless with pen input. And this is obviously a know issue for YEARS. It's 2017, multi-core CPUs are more or less common for almost a decade now and PS still doesn't take advantage of it? For LR they force to buy a new LR version just go get support for my new camera? Seriously? Honestly, screw you Adobe. I recommend everyone to switch to Affinity Photo for ~55€ (no shitty subscription!) and Capture One Pro. Actually I would appreciate a follow up article that tests Affinity Photo and it's use of multi-core CPUs vs Photoshop. However, thanks for that great article!

Posted on 2017-10-17 09:37:19

Anyone viewing this article in 2018, just be aware photoshop has since started to implmement multi core performance scaling

Posted on 2018-04-10 20:07:18

Yeah, this article is pretty dated now. We have a note regarding that at the top of the page, but for those who may have come down here without seeing that this link will take you to all of our more recent Photoshop articles: https://www.pugetsystems.co...

Posted on 2018-04-10 20:10:39

Yup! I see that. This article is the top hit on google for users searching "is adobe photoshop multi threaded", so I thought I'd put something in the comments as well

Posted on 2018-04-10 21:23:51