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Photoshop CC 2017.1.1 CPU Performance: Core i9 7940X, 7960X, 7980XE

Written on September 25, 2017 by Matt Bach
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Introduction

Photoshop has long been known to be an application that doesn't scale well with high core count CPUs, so it might seem odd that we are benchmarking the new Intel Core i9 7940X 14 core, Core i9 7960X 16 core, and Core i9 7980XE 18 core CPUs in Photoshop. The reason behind this testing is not because we think they will be particularly good, but rather because Photoshop is very commonly used in a secondary role. While graphics designers who use Photoshop as their primary tool may not particularly care about these results, video editors, 3D modelers, and many others might be curious to know what kind of performance they will be giving up by using one of these high core count CPUs.

If you are interested in how the new CPUs perform in some of these other applications, you can view our full list of Skylake-X articles 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

Our test platforms for the Skylake-X and Threadripper CPUs are listed below, but we did want to point out that the RAM configuration changed a little bit depending on the CPU. For the majority of the CPUs we used DDR4-2666 RAM but since the Core i7 7800X only natively supports DDR4-2400 we tested with that RAM instead.

As we hinted at in the introduction, Photoshop actually performs best with a lower core count, high frequency CPU so these new 14, 16, and 18 core CPUs (or any of the above CPUs for that matter) are unlikely to be the absolute best in terms of raw performance. To see how they compare against what is currently the fastest overall CPU for Photoshop, we also decided to include the Intel Core i7 7700K in our testing.

Intel Core i7 7700K (Z270) Test Platform
Motherboard: Asus PRIME Z270-A
CPU: Intel Core i7 7700K 4.2GHz
(4.5GHz Turbo) 4 Core

~$339
RAM: 4x DDR4-2400 16GB
(64GB total)
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 8GB
Hard Drive: Samsung 960 Pro 1TB M.2 PCI-E x4 NVMe SSD
OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
Software: Photoshop CC 2017.1.1

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 i7 7700K 4 Core
4.2GHz (4.5GHz Turbo)
$339
Intel Core i7 7800X 6 Core
3.5GHz (4.0GHz Turbo)
$389
Intel Core i7 7820X 8 Core
3.6GHz (4.3/4.5GHz Turbo)
$599
AMD TR 1920X 12 Core
3.5GHz (4.0GHz Turbo)
$800
Intel Core i7 7900X 10 Core
3.3GHz (4.3/4.5GHz Turbo)
$999
AMD TR 1950X 16 Core
3.4GHz (4.0GHz Turbo)
$1000
Intel Core i9 7920X 12 Core
2.9GHz (4.3/4.4GHz Turbo)
$1199
Intel Core i9 7940X 14 Core
3.1GHz (4.3/4.4GHz Turbo)
$1399
Intel Core i9 7960X 16 Core
2.8GHz (4.2/4.4GHz Turbo)
$1699
Intel Core i9 7980XE 18 Core
2.6GHz (4.2/4.4GHz Turbo)
$1999
General Photoshop Actions                
PS Start Time 1.7 2.2 2.1 2.5 1.9 2.8 2.7 2.6 2.2 2.8
Convert to CMYK 2.7 2.2 1.9 2.8 2.2 2.9 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.8
Convert to RGB 4 3 2.2 2.6 2.4 2.7 2.6 3.7 4.4 4.3
Rotate 38deg 4.5 5.1 3.6 3.9 4.5 3.7 4.3 4.2 4.2 4.1
Smart Sharpen 4 4.6 4.2 4.6 4.8 4.7 4.9 4.9 4.9 5
Field Blur 26.8 30.3 25.1 31.9 29.5 32.4 28.1 29.9 28 29
Iris Blur 30 32.9 29.2 32.9 30.4 32.7 29.2 30.6 28.8 29.1
Tilt-Shift 29.8 32.6 29.3 33.2 30.6 33.1 29.3 31 28.7 29.4
Lighting Effect 14.2 18.3 20.7 15.7 20.4 16.8 16.3 16 15.9 16.3
Motion Blur 6.3 7.1 7.0 5.7 6.5 5.1 6.2 5.9 5.8 5.6
Water Color 44.5 50.5 45.4 63.9 44.9 64.6 46.7 46.9 47.2 51.8
Pallette Knife 73.1 89.2 79.7 82.8 78.6 84.1 82.6 82.6 82.9 90.9
Stained Glass 137.2 161.4 164.8 100.8 150.2 108.3 147.6 157.6 149.6 163.6
Liquify 17.8 25.8 21.3 22.2 23.3 22.2 21.5 18.8 18.9 19.7
Reduce Noise 52.5 59.2 51.9 48.9 51.2 48.8 54.2 53.6 53.9 58
Camera Raw Filter 13 11.6 10.1 11.5 9.4 11.7 9.2 9.2 9.4 10.3
Generate Normal Map 10.3 13.1 11.7 13.2 11.6 13.1 12 12 12 12.9
Lens Correction 36.8 50.9 40.5 43.3 39.6 43.1 41.4 41.5 41.8 44.6
Adaptive Wide Angle 138.4 189.9 198.8 203.9 258.6 224.6 241.2 243.8 247.1 256.5
Resize to 109MB 7.1 9 8.1 8.7 8.1 8.7 8.1 8.3 7.8 8.2
Smart Blur 20.8 26.4 22.7 22.8 22.7 22.9 22.8 23.2 22.4 24.4
Save 1.17GB PSD 16 21.1 17.1 20.7 19.7 19.9 19.5 22 19.7 20.4
Open 1.17GB PSD 5.5 6.3 5.4 5.9 5.5 5.9 5.6 5.8 5.6 5.9
Photomerge                  
Photomerge - 6x 18MP Images 64 64.5 56.1 58.7 55.3 57.8 56.6 55.6 55.4 59.7
Photomerge - 6x 80MP Images 248.7 276.5 248.6 253.9 243 258.5 251.1 250 247.1 270.3
HDR Creation                  
HDR Analysis - 5x 18MP Images 14.2 20.4 16.4 38.4 18.2 20.5 25.4 15.5 20.3 23.7
HDR Creation - 5x 18MP Images 7.7 8.8 7.7 9.2 7.7 9.4 8.1 8 8.1 8.8
HDR Analysis - 5x 80MP Images 33.8 32.8 32.0 37.7 32.9 39.5 32.1 33.7 34 36
HDR Creation - 5x 50MP Images 30.3 34.2 30.3 35.9 29.8 36.9 31.4 31.7 31.8 34.5

Conclusion

Photoshop Skylake-X Core i9 7940X 7960X 7980XE Overall Benchmark Results

Overall, we were actually a bit surprised at how well these new CPUs did in Photoshop. We wouldn't recommend them for people who are primarily concerned about Photoshop performance since the Intel Core i7 7700K (or even the Intel Core i7 7820X) is going to be overall faster and much less expensive, but it is good to see that there is not a huge performance loss. HDR creation definitely got a bit slower as we went up in core count but for general actions you are only looking at about 9-14% lower performance compared to the fastest CPU available for that task.

Are the Core i9 7840X, i9 7960X, or i9 7980XE a good choice for Photoshop? Probably not if Photoshop is where you really need the performance. However, if you just need to make some materials in Photoshop to use before rendering a scene in Keyshot or Vray, these CPUs should work out just fine. They are not the best, but for light or even medium Photoshop loads you would probably be hard pressed to tell the difference between them and a CPU like the Core i7 7700K without the use of a stopwatch.

Tags: Photoshop, Skylake-X, Threadripper, 7980XE, 7960X, 7940X