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Photoshop CC 2017.1.1 CPU Performance: Core i7 8700K, i5 8600K, i3 8350K

Written on October 5, 2017 by Matt Bach
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Introduction

Photoshop doesn't scale particularly well with high core count CPUs, which is why we typically would recommended a quad core CPU like the Core i7 7700K for most Photoshop users. However, even though Intel's new 8th Gen CPUs do sport an additional two cores across all the new models, the clock speeds have not been significantly reduced and the Turbo Boost 2.0 speeds are actually a bit higher! Because of this, it is very likely that we will finally be able to recommend a CPU with more than four cores for Photoshop.

While Intel is releasing a number of "Coffee Lake" 8th Generation CPUs, in this article we are primarily going to focus on the Core i7 8700K, Core i5 8600K, and Core i3 8350K to see how they perform in Photoshop. If you wish to read one of our other Coffee Lake articles to see how they perform in applications like Premiere Pro, Lightroom, and After Effects, you can view a full list here.

To see how these new CPUs perform, we tested how long it took to complete a wide range of tasks in Photoshop including:

  1. Launching Photoshop
  2. Opening/Saving large .PSD files
  3. Convert to CMYK/RGB
  4. Applying Blurs
  5. Noise Reduction
  6. Camera RAW Filter
  7. Resizing images
  8. Creating Panorama image
  9. Creating HDR image
  10. More - see full list in the Benchmark Results section

If you would like to skip over our test setup and individual benchmarks, feel free to jump right to the conclusion section.

Test Setup

Listed below are the four test platforms we will be using in our testing. The two most important are the Z370 platform with the new 8th Gen CPUs alongside the previous generation Z270 platform with the Core i7 7700K:

To act as additional comparison points, we will also be including four Skylake-X CPUs on the X299 platform and two Ryzen CPUs on the X370 platform. The Ryzen CPUs are an obvious comparison we wanted to make since they are the direct competitors from AMD. The Skylake-X CPUs, on the other hand, are not really competitors but since Photoshop is often used in a secondary role in a wide range of professions we decided to include them as well.

On thing we want to note is that we are technically overclocking the Ryzen platform by using DDR4-2666 memory since we are using four sticks of dual rank RAM. According to this blog post - which we have confirmation from AMD that it is still accurate even with the new AGESA BIOS - the highest RAM speed that is officially supported with our four sticks of dual rank RAM is just DDR4-1866. Our previous Ryzen testing was performed with DDR4-2400 RAM, but even then we received a lot of comments about how we were artificially limiting the performance of Ryzen even though we were actually overclocking the platform. As you will see in the results, however, using DDR4-2666 RAM doesn't really make AMD better than Intel so we opted to go ahead and use the faster RAM. We're sure some will say we should use even faster DDR4-3200 RAM, but there is a limit to what we are willing to use considering our testing is first and foremost to ensure that we are offering the right hardware to our customers. Since DDR4-3200 is well beyond what we consider to be acceptably stable for most end-users, it is extremely unlikely to be a part of our testing in the near future.

The images we used in our testing (and their source) are:

Photoshop Actions

360MP (21500x16718)
Scaled up from the Hardware Heaven Photoshop Benchmark V3 (no longer available)

Resized to 38MP (7000x5443) for Smart Blur

Merge to HDR

5x 18MP TIFF (5184x3456)

Camera: Canon EOS REBEL T3i

5x 80MP TIFF (7760x10328)

Camera: Phase One IQ180
Courtesy of Mark McGilvray Photography

Settings: Default

Photomerge

6x 18MP TIFF (5184x3456)
Merged to 98MP (26144x3759)

Camera: Canon EOS REBEL T3i

6x 80MP TIFF (7760x10328)
Merged to 177MP (18552x9552)

Camera: Phase One IQ180
Courtesy of Mark McGilvray Photography

Settings: Auto Layout. Blend, vignette removal, geometric distortion correction, and content aware fill enabled.

Benchmark Results

Due to the sheer number of actions we tested and the fact that the performance differences were remarkably consistent, we are going to forego our typical action-by-action breakdown. Feel free to analyze the individual results below in more detail if you wish, but due to the consistency of the results, we encourage you to skip straight to our conclusion for our benchmark analysis.

Scroll right for more results -->

Time to complete Photoshop action (Seconds) Intel Core i3 8350K 4 Core
4.0GHz (No Turbo)
$168
Intel Core i5 8600K 6 Core
3.6GHz (4.3GHz Turbo)
$257
Intel Core i7 7700K 4 Core
4.2GHz (4.5GHz Turbo)
$339
Intel Core i7 8700K 6 Core
3.7GHz (4.7GHz Turbo)
$359
Intel Core i7 7800X 6 Core
3.5GHz (4.0GHz Turbo)
$389
AMD Ryzen R7 1700X 8 Core
3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo)
$399
AMD Ryzen R7 1800X 8 Core
3.6GHz (4GHz Turbo)
$499
Intel Core i7 7820X 8 Core
3.6GHz (4.3/4.5GHz Turbo)
$599
Intel Core i7 7900X 10 Core
3.3GHz (4.3/4.5GHz Turbo)
$999
Intel Core i9 7940X 14 Core
3.1GHz (4.3/4.4GHz Turbo)
$1399
General Photoshop Actions                    
PS Start Time 1.7 1.5 1.7 1.7 2.2 2.4 2.1 2.1 1.9 2.6
Convert to CMYK 3.9 2.5 2.7 2 2.2 2.2 2.1 1.9 2.2 2.5
Convert to RGB 5.8 3.5 4 2.7 3 2.7 2.6 2.2 2.4 3.7
Rotate 38deg 3.5 2.8 4.5 3 5.1 3.5 3.4 3.6 4.5 4.2
Smart Sharpen 4.1 3.7 4 3.9 4.6 4.3 4.4 4.2 4.8 4.9
Field Blur 23.8 23.1 26.8 23 30.3 28.2 28.3 25.1 29.5 29.9
Iris Blur 29.1 29.5 30 24.4 32.9 30.9 30.3 29.2 30.4 30.6
Tilt-Shift 28.2 29.7 29.8 24.4 32.6 31.1 30 29.3 30.6 31
Lighting Effect 12 11 12.2 11.2 18.3 16.3 15.9 20.7 20.4 16
Motion Blur 4.9 3.9 3.9 4.1 7.1 5.3 5.1 7.0 6.5 5.9
Water Color 49.8 46.1 44.5 43.1 50.5 68.6 67.9 45.4 44.9 46.9
Pallette Knife 85.4 79.1 73.1 74 89.2 90 88 79.7 78.6 82.6
Stained Glass 152.9 145.8 137.2 137.2 161.4 114.5 117.1 164.8 150.2 157.6
Liquify 12.8 12.5 15.4 14.3 25.8 21.5 21.3 21.3 23.3 18.8
Reduce Noise 60.7 51.5 52.5 46.8 59.2 52.8 51.3 51.9 51.2 53.6
Camera Raw Filter 17.3 15.4 13 10.6 11.6 12.6 12.3 10.1 9.4 9.2
Generate Normal Map 10.8 10.5 10.3 10 13.1 13.8 13.3 11.7 11.6 12
Lens Correction 39.8 38.5 36.8 36.8 50.9 47.2 45.6 40.5 39.6 41.5
Adaptive Wide Angle 142.4 139.8 138.4 132.4 189.9 201.6 191 198.8 258.6 243.8
Resize to 109MB 7.5 7.3 7.1 6.7 9 9.3 9.1 8.1 8.1 8.3
Smart Blur 25 23 20.8 21.7 26.4 24.7 24.4 22.7 22.7 23.2
Save 1.17GB PSD 18.5 16.8 16 14.8 21.1 20.1 20.3 17.1 19.7 22
Open 1.17GB PSD 5.5 5.5 5.5 4.9 6.3 6.5 6.1 5.4 5.5 5.8
Photomerge                    
Photomerge - 6x 18MP Images 70.2 66 64 53.9 64.5 61.9 61.2 56.1 55.3 55.6
Photomerge - 6x 80MP Images 282.7 265.5 248.7 229.7 276.5 279 267.7 248.6 243 250
HDR Creation                    
HDR Analysis - 5x 18MP Images 20.9 17.1 14.2 15 20.4 19.7 16.5 16.4 18.2 15.5
HDR Creation - 5x 18MP Images 8.2 7.2 7.7 7.3 8.8 9.3 9.1 7.7 7.7 8
HDR Analysis - 5x 80MP Images 30.8 25.1 33.8 26.3 32.8 34.9 34.2 32.0 32.9 33.7
HDR Creation - 5x 50MP Images 32.1 31.1 30.3 28.5 34.2 37.5 35.8 30.3 29.8 31.7

Conclusion

Photoshop Coffee Lake Core i7-8700K i5-8600K i3-8350K Overall Benchmark Results

Photoshop isn't the best at using a lot of CPU cores, so it is no surprise that the new Coffee Lake 8th Gen CPUs are not massively faster than the previous generation. The Core i7 8700K is still a very decent 9-14% faster than the Core i7 7700K, but it isn't 50% faster as some might have expected from the 50% increase in core count. Both Intel and AMD are simply hitting a wall of how fast they can make an individual CPU core run and while more cores can help, many applications are not optimized to use more than a handful of cores. Luckily, Photoshop is able to utilize the increased core count of these CPUs to at least some degree so we are still able to see a respectable increase in performance.

While a 9-14% performance increase may not seem terribly exciting, this is actually a bit more of a gain than we've come to expect from a new CPU line. In fact, this easily makes the Core i7 8700K the fastest CPU currently available for Photoshop in every task we tested. In the past, the Core i7 7700K was our go-to recommendation even though doing a photomerge (panorama) was actually faster on some of the Intel X-series CPUs. Thanks in large part to the increases core count, we can now positively state that the Core i7-8700K is the best CPU you can buy for Photoshop regardless of your workflow.

Tags: Photoshop, Coffee Lake, 8th Gen, i7 8700K, i5 8600K, i3 8350K
El Perro

Wow thanks!!

8700k is a beast!
Now I'm going to see how does it work in premiere

Posted on 2017-10-07 18:02:56
Tom Herriman

https://www.pugetsystems.co...

Posted on 2018-03-08 11:22:00

How does the 8700k compare to the 4790K? Camera Raw in particular....

Posted on 2017-10-10 04:18:37

We haven't tested the 4790K against the 8700K, but I can make some guesses based on the testing we did a bit ago looking at workstation performance for Photoshop over the last 6 years: https://www.pugetsystems.co...

My guess is that a new system with a Core i7 8700K will probably be somewhere around 35-40% faster than a system with a 4790K. I might be off by 5% either way, but I feel that is a pretty reasonable guess. That is just for CPU performance, however, and doesn't take into account that a newer system can use M.2 NVMe storage drives, more and faster RAM, etc. So a new system with a 8700K will probably feel much faster than 35-40% faster. It is just hard to quantify things like system responsiveness.

Posted on 2017-10-10 17:28:43

I have a m.2 Drive, but about 30-40% is quite a lot, and would safe my a bit of time working trough 1000s of Images. Thnx a lot for the answer. :-D

Posted on 2017-10-11 04:02:19
pvanderheyde

thanks for all these great comparisons!
One question, is there a reason why you're not comparing the i7 7740X since that one was already performing better than the 7700k for Photoshop?

Cheers!

Posted on 2017-10-16 12:26:16

Mostly because the 7740X is just a weird CPU to be honest. We are not even offering it since it gets pretty confusing having half the RAM slots disabled (even on a mATX board with 4 slots, half the slots are disabled) and the PCI-E lane restriction does odd things on many boards. Our test suite is actually the same as what we ran in our article that included the 7740X, so relative performance to something like the 7700K should still hold pretty well: https://www.pugetsystems.co... Based on that, the 7740X is going to be a bit slower than the 8700K.

Posted on 2017-10-17 19:32:12
Maxim Dupliy

Hello
Can i ask if the same results will be with the PS CS6 (many users didn't move to the subscription model), did CC version improved on multi core performance or not, and hence the results can be the same ?
Is that possible to make some test with CS6 with 7740x and 8700k and other cpu's for example? I think it can be very interesting.

Great articles,thanks.

Posted on 2017-11-01 12:31:14
Joe S.

Hi, why do you use a mATX on your Photoshop build? Sadly I'm not from the US, so I have to do my shopping myself. Is there a practical reason or just for style?

Posted on 2017-12-14 13:27:46
Rosie Waters

Terrific article. Do you have any plans to do one for Adobe Illustrator? There are an awful lot of Illustrator users out there wondering how to best to spec their hardware, with only theories to go on.

It would also be good to settle to question of whether differences between individual GPUs make the slightest bit of difference to performance with and without "GPU Performance" enabled (eg. should Illustrator users bother with a GTX1080 or would a budget compatible GPU suffice?). Also, just how much of a difference does an SSD make?

Posted on 2017-12-31 15:01:32
MarkN

Brilliant work. The same sort of comparison in Adobe Illustrator would be fascinating to me (and my colleagues and the entire PC-using Illustrator world) . Any chance? :)

Posted on 2018-01-08 11:57:10
Lazlo Toth

I am regularly working with very large files (4-5 GB) and I have been leaning towards purchasing an i7-7800X simply because it supports 128GB of RAM. Can anyone recommend a faster processor for editing large files?

Posted on 2018-01-13 11:47:22

If you can, I would go up to the Core i7 7820X. The Core i7 7800X doesn't have Turbo Boost 3.0 which makes it a relatively poor CPU for Photoshop (or any other lightly threaded application). The Core i7 7820X is only a little more expensive, but it will be the fastest CPU you can currently get for Photoshop if you need more than 64GB of RAM.

Posted on 2018-01-15 18:52:34
Lazlo Toth

Great. Thanks for the info.

Posted on 2018-01-15 19:16:33
Lazlo Toth

Can you please tell me what would be the best processor if I only need 64GB of RAM? Perhaps the i7 8700K?

Posted on 2018-01-15 19:26:48

Yep, the 8700K is currently the fastest CPU you can get for Photoshop. The i7 8700 is a pretty close second and should only be a few percent slower.

Posted on 2018-01-15 19:28:28
Juan Juan

I assume that a machine with the Core i7 7820X with 128 GB of RAM wil be faster (for those bigger files in Photoshop) than the i7 8700K with the 64 of RAM you mentioned. Am I right? I work usually with files up to 13GB and I'm triying (as Lazlo) to update my machine. Any recommendation for graphic cards for the same purposes? Thanks!

Posted on 2018-03-03 02:32:26
Lazlo Toth

I am looking at a comparison of the specs on microcenter.com (my local store) and these processors (i7 7820X, i7 7800X, i7-8700, i7-8700K) all say: TBT2.0 / Turbo Boost Technology VT-d. Is this different than the Turbo Boost that you were referring to?

Posted on 2018-01-15 19:35:49

Places like Microcenter aren't going to be the most accurate or in-depth when comparing specs. For Intel CPUs, the Intel Ark page is actually where I always go since it has pretty much ever public spec listed: https://ark.intel.com

You can also easily compare CPUs, here is a link to a comparison of the four CPUs you listed: https://ark.intel.com/compa...

Posted on 2018-01-15 19:41:52
Lazlo Toth

Perfect. Thanks for the links.

Posted on 2018-01-15 19:43:51
Tom Herriman

I think that overall machine performance is more important than single program performance.
I mean, I rarely ever have just Photoshop open.

Does it help to have multiple cores and threads for multi-tasking?
If you multi-task, using multiple programs, how does that affect performance? I'd be curious to see a comparison of multi core multi-thread systems in a multi-tasking environment.
Simulate real world circumstances: Run LR and PS together while having a browser open because I am watching a youtube tutorial. Or play a downloaded mpg4/mov file while processing. Maybe I have some music playing while I work... maybe I have a spreadsheet open for business purposes and a word doc because I'm writing notes for my blog. I could be recording my new video tutorial as I process my image; LR, PS, video recorder... all open and running.

Now which processor is fastest?

I'm also curious, be it single software or multi-tasking, if you chart all of the cores, what does that look like? Does one core get hammered while the others sit unused?

In the past, I have watched my multi-core systems and it seems like all software target the same core every time. So running 4 cores, A-D, core A is always in use while B, C, and D sit around doing nothing. If this is still the case, then Intel and AMD are wasting their time and we are wasting our money on multiple core processors.

Posted on 2018-03-08 11:51:00

The trick with multi-tasking benchmarks, in my experience, is that everyone does things so differently. For you it might be LR + PS + a browser + media playback... but for someone else it might be PS + PP + a different browser + a video game. There are just *so* many possible combinations, and so many factors regarding what might be going on within each program, that it is impossible to test sufficient combinations to satisfy everyone.

My best recommendation, then, is to look at the performance results of each individual task you want to do - and glean from the data an idea of how it will use the CPU, GPU, and other resources. Armed with that understanding, combine the information from all the different applications and form a rough approximation that way.

For example: if you run one program where you know it can use all the cores in a CPU at once, and benefits well from doing so, plus another that is really intensive on just a single core, then you may want to aim for a higher core count processor but one that still has a high turbo boost speed. Then, use Windows affinity settings to limit the multi-core program from accessing the fastest core or two (with the latest versions of Turbo Boost you can see which core(s) are going to be the fastest). That leaves those open for your application that needs top core speed, as well as for general background tasks that don't need much (like a web browser or media player).

Posted on 2018-03-09 17:13:17
Manitou

Greatest surprise for me is the i5-8600K. He nearly beats the i7-7700K overall!

Posted on 2018-03-10 13:41:22
Nero

I am planning to buy a new PC. 70% Photoshop, 30% Gaming.
Now I am confused if I schould buy the i5-8600K or the i7-7700K.... is the i5-8600K really as fast as the i7-7700K in Photoshop although the i7-700K has a higher CPU core speed? Is there an explanation for this?

Posted on 2018-03-12 16:39:30

The 7700K does have a higher clock speed, but keep in mind that the "Base Clock" frequency in the name is almost meaningless. It is used to determine the CPU's wattage numbers, but the actual frequency the CPU runs at is determined by the various Turbo frequencies. In this case, the 8600K has a max Turbo of 4.3GHz which is pretty close to the 7700K's 4.5GHz. That is less than a 5% difference which is more than made up for with the various architecture improvements, faster RAM support, and the two additional cores.

Posted on 2018-03-13 17:28:38
Nero

Thanks! I understand it much better now. My plans have changed anyway, I spent a little more money and upgrade to the i7-8700K.

Posted on 2018-03-14 19:07:11
Cbed

Huh.
Very task specific which makes sense I guess. I bet alot of the adobe code is 10+ years old. I wonder how the new Ryzen 2700x on x470 will stack up. Seems to be a 10% plus single thread gain, better memory speeds, better cache latency and new XFR boost might really help it.
May bump the 7700k but not quite the 8700k? Cheaper than both at $329.

Posted on 2018-04-19 01:25:07

Just letting you know, our Ryzen 2 Photoshop article just went up this morning: https://www.pugetsystems.co...

Posted on 2018-04-19 15:34:53
Juan Juan

Great articles and answers Matt, thanks for all this info!. But I'm still not having clear what would be faster for Photoshop, if the 8700K or the 7820X (because of the answer you gave to Lazlo Toth): "The Core i7 7820X is only a little more expensive, but it will be the fastest CPU you can currently get for Photoshop" (...) "the 8700K is currently the fastest CPU you can get for Photoshop" can you clarify that for me?, please. Also, do you have any articles about the ram? (if its worth it to go to last generations, limits, brands... whatever useful for Photoshop). Thanks a lot for all your work.

Posted on 2018-04-20 14:28:39

Hello Juan, for the 7820x VS 8700k it actually comes down to the amount of Ram you need. If 64GB is enough (for most people it is) then the 8700k is easily the best CPU. But if you are working with large enough projects that you need more RAM, the 8700k can't support any more RAM so you have to go to the 7820x. Having enough RAM is extremely important so even though that CPU is slower than the 8700k in any one Photoshop task, it will overall be better since you won't run out of Ram.

As for a RAM article, we do have one but it is fairly old: https://www.pugetsystems.co.... Still pretty spot-on however, which is why we haven't done another since. Pretty much, it boils down to having 16GB of RAM for 500MB documents or smaller, 32GB for 500MB-1GB, and 64GB+ for even larger documents.

Posted on 2018-04-20 14:54:42
Juan Juan

Wow! this is a great and fast answer. Thanks a lot Matt!

Posted on 2018-04-20 15:03:16
hellhoof

I have a brand new build with an i7-8700k, 32GB RAM, GTX 1080 ti, and dual Samsung 960 Pro SSDs. For some reason, when I open multiple images from Camera RAW to Photoshop, it takes about 30 seconds per image. I don't seem to be the only one with this problem when looking on the Adobe forums. Any ideas?

Posted on 2018-04-24 22:54:59
hellhoof

My issue is resolved. It turned out to be a Windows update. ACR now takes less than half a second to open up images in Photoshop.

Posted on 2018-04-25 22:54:25
muffindell

Still no wiser if a Sandy 2700K running at 4.7Ghz is significantly worse in PS when compared to the 8700k since PS works best at high cycles and not much else. That is unless someone can add to my thoughts?

Posted on 2018-05-07 12:19:37

Last time we tested that old of hardware ( https://www.pugetsystems.co... ), a Core i7 2600X was about 40% slower than a Core i7 7700K . I think the difference between an overclocked 2700K and a stock 8700K is going to be pretty much the same - or at least within a handful of percent. So not quite twice as fast, but close to it. That was with period storage and GPU, however, so if you have those upgraded to modern equivalents the difference should be a bit less.

If a overclocked 2700K is what you are running, you could run our Photoshop benchmark to see exactly what the difference is - https://www.pugetsystems.co... . A Core i7 8700K is what the "1000" reference score is based off of, so that would be a direct comparison right now.

Posted on 2018-05-07 17:39:04
Ghaeth Wardeh

hello! Really thank you so much for this test, but if you don't mind, I have question for you: What is the minimum prosessor i can go with for photoshop?

Posted on 2018-05-19 21:32:15

Sorry for not getting back to you quicker! There really isn't a "minimum" processor as long as it meet's Adobe's hardware requirement of "Intel® Core 2 or AMD Athlon® 64 processor; 2 GHz or faster processor". It really just depends on what you are doing and the level of performance you desire. Personally, I wouldn't go below an Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen R5 if I could help it, but a modern top-end Core i3 would probably be OK as well.

Posted on 2018-05-24 18:53:32
Ghaeth Wardeh

oh thank you so much, i am asking because i want to build an entry level digital art pc, just for learning, so i think it doesn't need to build high-end pc while i am just learning, i think core i3 8350k or i3 coming 9th generation will be okay for that.

Posted on 2018-05-24 20:57:51
Jérémie Desrosiers

Hi Thanks for this test. How about i7 8086K 4GHz (5 GHz Turbo) ?

Posted on 2018-08-02 19:29:26

Looked up the results from some of the systems we've sold recently, looks like both the 8700K and 8086K with a GTX 1080 Ti get an overall score of 1030 plus or minus a few points in Photoshop CC 2018 ver. 19.1.5. General and Filter scores were about 103, Photomerge score was about 102. So no real difference between the 8700K and the 8086K. The problem with the 8086K is that it really is only faster in completely single threaded tasks. As soon as you use more than a single core, it will run at identical speeds to the Core i7 8700K. That is system-wide as well, so even if you do test something in Photoshop that can only use one core (most things use at least a few cores), if almost anything else is going on in your system you won't get that 5GHz Turbo but rather 4.3-4.6GHz depending on how many cores are being loaded.

There are some benefits to the 8086K, but I think it is more about them being better binned so they should have longer life (maybe), draw slightly less power, and things like that. From a performance standpoint you really shouldn't notice a difference in real life compared to the Core i7 8700K.

Posted on 2018-08-02 19:42:31
Jérémie Desrosiers

Wowww. Thank you very much for your quick response.

Posted on 2018-08-02 19:46:34
Шнякин Алексей

8350k top!

Posted on 2018-08-18 13:07:44