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PugetBench for Photoshop

Written on December 10, 2019 by Matt Bach
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At Puget Systems, one of our primary goals is to provide fast and reliable workstations that are perfectly tailored to each customer's unique workflow. As a part of this, we publish an ongoing series of hardware articles for Photoshop - as well as numerous other software packages - in order to discover what hardware configurations are optimal for these specific applications.

However, while this ensures that we are selling the right hardware, it does not give our customers a great idea of how much faster a new workstation might be compared to their existing system. In addition, with the amount of hardware that is currently available, it is impossible for us to test everything on our own, so we want to provide tools for other hardware reviewers to perform real world benchmarking in professional applications like Photoshop.

To address both of these issues, we are making our Photoshop benchmark available for download so that anyone can can perform the same testing we do in our hardware articles. Even better, this benchmark is compatible with both Windows and Mac-based systems which allows for cross-platform performance comparisons.

Get the Plugin

Find it on Adobe Exchange

Free version is suitable for personal use.
Results upload to the PugetBench online database.

Commercial Edition

More Information

For commercial use - includes optional uploading of results, email support, automation, and logging.
PugetBench for Adobe Photoshop on the Adobe Exhange
Feature Free Edition Commercial Edition
Benchmark Scores
PugetBench Online Database
(Optional)
Windows 10 Support
MacOS Support
CLI Automation
(Windows only)
.CSV Logging
Licensed for Commercial Use
Support Community Email
License None More Information
Be sure to check out the full list of benchmarks we have available!

PugetBench for Photoshop

System Requirements

  • Adobe Photoshop version 20.x, 21.x, 22.x, 23.x
    • M1 Native version is not yet supported. Certain functionality is missing from the new UXP-based plugin API that we need before we can release a M1 native compatible version.
    • Version 22.5.0 is not supported due to a bug in the action system
    • Update to version 22.5.1 to resolve the issue
  • 32GB of RAM recommended - you are likely to receive a lower than normal score with lower amounts of RAM
  • Compatible with both Windows 10/11 and MacOS
  • Photoshop/OS language must be set to English

Note that this benchmark is still in BETA. Plug-ins and customized preferences in particular may prevent the benchmark from running properly. If you run into any issues, we recommend resetting your preferences either by following Adobe's guide or by using our Adobe CC Preference Backup/Restore/Clear utility (Windows only).

How to run the benchmark

  1. Add the benchmark plugin to Creative Cloud from the Adobe Exchange
  2. Follow the directions to install the plugin on your system
  3. Launch Photoshop
  4. Start the plugin from "Window->Extensions->PugetBench for Photoshop" or "Window->Extensions (Legacy)->PugetBench for Photoshop"
  5. Configure any settings you want to change (particularly if you have a commercial license)
  6. Run the benchmark!

Each individual task is run a total of three times with the fastest result being used to tally the final score. A full run should take approximately 15-30 minutes but will vary based on the performance of your system. When the benchmark is complete, it will give you an "Overall Score" and upload the results to to our online database (unless told not to with the commercial version). From the uploaded results, you can view the sub-scores and individual test results.

Troubleshooting

If you have any issues with the benchmark not properly running, first verify that your system meets the System Requirements and that the version of Photoshop you are using is supports. If there are no issues with your system or software, there are a number of troubleshooting steps you can try:

  • Make sure you are following each step listed in the How to run the benchmark section
  • Try having a project/image open in Photoshop before launching the extension.
  • Do not attempt to use the system while the benchmark is running. Defocusing the application window can break the benchmark in many situations.
  • If you are on MacOS and have renamed your drive, the benchmark will not be able to get your system specs. The only work-around at the moment is to rename your drive back to "Macintosh HD", or you can continue to run the benchmark without it being able to pull specs.
  • Clear the application preferences as found in Adobe's guide or by using our Adobe CC Preference Backup/Restore/Clear utility (Windows only).
  • Disable Windows Defender or any real-time virus scanning programs when you run the benchmark.
  • Ensure that your OS and Photoshop is set to English and that the path to the benchmark script does not have any special or non-English characters.
  • The benchmark does not work over an unmapped network drive (I.E. //192.168.1.2/Benchmark/). Mapped drives should work, but we highly recommend having the benchmark on a local drive as storage performance can affect the results.
  • If you are getting an error about a PSD being too large, check that "Disable Compression of PSD and PSB Files" is unchecked in "Edit -> Preferences -> File Handling"

Lower than expected performance can be caused by a number of factors, but the most common are:

  • Outdated BIOS/drivers/software
  • Running background processes (Antivirus, Windows Updates, etc.)
  • Windows power profile (High Performance is recommended for the best results)
  • Adobe application settings are not correct (GPU acceleration not enabled, etc.)

If you continue to have issues, we recommend posting in the comment section below - ideally with a screenshot of the problem and a copy of any log files that are generated by the benchmark.

Benchmark tests

Each individual task is run a total of three times with the fastest result being used to tally the final score. A full run should take approximately 15-30 minutes but will vary based on the performance of your system. When the benchmark is complete, it will give you an "Overall Score" as well as individual scores for the different types of tests. The Overall Score will be reported directly by the benchmark, or you can view the full results in our benchmark result browser.

It would be nearly impossible to test everything in Photoshop, but our benchmark is designed to test a broad range of tasks in order to give an accurate overall picture of how a system performs in Photoshop.

General Tasks:

Open 18MP .CR2 RAW Image, Resize to 500MB*, Rotate, Magic Wand Select, Mask Refinement, Paint Bucket, Gradient, Content Aware Fill, Save .PSD File, Open .PSD File

Filter Tasks:

Camera Raw Filter, Lens Correction, Reduce Noise, Smart Sharpen*, Field Blur*, Tilt-Shift Blur*, Iris Blur*, Adaptive Wide Angle, Liquify

* denotes GPU-accelerated tasks

How does the scoring work?

The scoring system used in our benchmark is based on the performance relative to a reference system with the following specifications:

  • Intel Core i9 9900K 8 Core
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 8GB
  • 64GB of RAM
  • Samsung 960 Pro 1TB
  • Windows 10
  • Adobe Photoshop CC 2019 (ver. 20.0.0)
  • Overall Score: 1000
  • General Score: 100
  • Filter Score: 100
  • GPU Score: 100

The time to complete each individual task is compared to the reference result with the average for each being used as the score for that test. The Overall Score is based on a 50/50 split between the General and Filter tasks.

There is also a dedicated GPU Score that is the average of the results for the Rotate, Smart Sharpen, Field Blur, Tilt-Shift Blur, and Iris Blur which are the five tasks that make the most use of the video card.

Update Log

Version 0.93.3 BETA

  • Added CLI support for Photoshop version 23.x
  • Changed CLI /app_version argument to use the Photoshop version number (22, 23,  etc) rather than the year (2021, 2022, etc)

Version 0.93 BETA

  • Added support for Photoshop 2021
  • Added code to handle random times when the API decides to return a string instead of a number or boolean

Version 0.92 BETA

  • Moved to using node-wmi to gather system specs on Windows systems. This should be significantly faster and more reliable than the previous command line method
  • Added GPU driver and motherboard BIOS to the system specs for Windows systems
  • Misc bug fixes

Version 0.91 BETA

  • Improved system spec gathering reliability
  • System specs on MacOS now gather properly even if the system drive's name has been changed from the default "Macintosh HD"

Version 0.9 BETA (Major Update)

  • Results are now uploaded to our online database. This is required for the free version, but opt-in if you have a commercial license.
  • Removed the result screen at the end of the benchmark run now that the full results can be viewed on our benchmark listing page.
  • Moved from a script to a full plug-in. This was required for the result uploading, but also allows us much more flexibility for configurable settings and increases consistency between our various Adobe benchmarks.
  • License validation moved from the CLI utility to the plugin itself.
  • Added ability to set the location for any disk-based tests (opening and saving).
  • Added tooltips for the various settings that can now be configured.
  • Status logs and configuration settings moved to "~Documents\PugetBench\Photoshop\TIMESTAMP" since we cannot log directly to the plugin folder.
  • Removed "Progress" text layer since this information is now reported in the plugin UI.
  • Dropped photomerge tests. This was not actually used that often from what we understand, and removing it greatly reduces the download size and run times. Based on demand, we may add these tests back as an additional testing module for Photoshop.
  • Scoring has been adjusted based on the test changes. Due to this, the Overall Score will not be consistent with previous versions, although the General, Filter, and GPU scores should be the same.
  • General bug fixes and stability improvements.

Version 0.8 BETA (Major Update)

  • Renamed benchmark to "PugetBench for Photoshop"
  • Switching from "year.mon.day" version format to a more typical version scheme so that we can more easily show when things like the scoring has changed enough to not be interchangeable with previous versions.
  • Dropping 8 bpc tests since there is little relative difference in performance between hardware at 8 and 16 bpc. Because of this, scores will not be 100% comparable to previous versions. They will be close enough for rough comparisons (since we aren't changing the tests themselves), but not completely accurate.
  • Verified support for Photoshop 2020
  • Added motherboard and RAM speed (Windows only) to the results page
  • Added a "Progress" text layer that updates automatically so you can visually see how far along the benchmark is.
  • There is now a "Benchmark Results" screen that comes up at the end of the benchmark that displays a bunch of useful information including: benchmark version, cores, results for each individual test, and system information like CPU, RAM, OS, GPU, and Photoshop version
  • The benchmark now also makes a jpg of the "Benchmark Results" screen for easy sharing
  • Removed .csv log file support in the free edition (log files will be a feature in the commercial use version)
  • Removed "start" .exe applications (automation will be a feature in the commercial use version)
  • More code to ensure consistency between benchmark runs (setting the selected tool, FG/BG color, etc.)
  • Miscellaneous bug fixes and improvements

Version 18.10.0

  • Updated to support Photoshop CC 2019
  • Added Extended mode which adds testing in 16 Bits/Channel mode
  • Added Applescript applications to make running on MacOS easier

Version 18.4.0

  • First release

Looking for a Photoshop Workstation?

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Tags: Photoshop, Benchmark, Public, Download
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