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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


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


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)
Intel Core i5 8600K 6 Core
3.6GHz (4.3GHz Turbo)
Intel Core i7 7700K 4 Core
4.2GHz (4.5GHz Turbo)
Intel Core i7 8700K 6 Core
3.7GHz (4.7GHz Turbo)
Intel Core i7 7800X 6 Core
3.5GHz (4.0GHz Turbo)
AMD Ryzen R7 1700X 8 Core
3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo)
AMD Ryzen R7 1800X 8 Core
3.6GHz (4GHz Turbo)
Intel Core i7 7820X 8 Core
3.6GHz (4.3/4.5GHz Turbo)
Intel Core i7 7900X 10 Core
3.3GHz (4.3/4.5GHz Turbo)
Intel Core i9 7940X 14 Core
3.1GHz (4.3/4.4GHz Turbo)
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 - 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


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
Maxim Dupliy

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
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

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

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

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

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

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
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

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
Ghaeth Wardeh

hello! Really thank you so much for this test, but if 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
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