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Thread: Processor speed vs. more cores for Photoshop CS6?

  1. #1

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    Processor speed vs. more cores for Photoshop CS6?

    Hello,

    I am in need of a new photoshop workstation as my 10 year old G5 is really showing its age with my large drum scans. I am looking at a Lenovo S30 workstation, and will add several SSDs and probably start with 32GB of RAM. Will likely get the NVIDIA Quadro 2000 with it as well.

    My question is about processor speed vs. additional cores. The 2 processors I am looking at are:

    Intel Xeon E5-1620 (10M Cache, 3.60 GHz, 0.0 GT/s Intel QPI), Quad core.

    and

    Intel Xeon Processor E5-1650 (10M Cache, 3.20 GHz, 0.0 GT/s Intel QPI), 6 core.

    I am wondering whether the faster clock speed or the two additional cores will give me a greater benefit when processing large files? I have looked at some forums and Adobe's website and have not been able to come to any conclusions.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Adam
    ----------------------
    http://adamsatushek.com

  2. #2

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    Re: Processor speed vs. more cores for Photoshop CS6?

    I doubt you would notice the difference.

    Photoshop is, however, is written to take advantage of multiple cores. The sweet spot is 2 to 4 cores. After 4 cores, there will be diminishing returns for each additional core.

    That said, I still don't think you would see a difference between these 2 processors so I would go for whichever is cheaper.

  3. #3
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Processor speed vs. more cores for Photoshop CS6?

    FWIW-probably not much. I went from a quad core with 8GBs of ram to a 6 core with 24GBs of ram and saw considerable upgrade in speed. I know its not a straight comparison on any level but I noticed speed gains on both very large and DSLR files.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 67
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  4. #4
    Preston Birdwell
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    Re: Processor speed vs. more cores for Photoshop CS6?

    Here's an article from Puget Systems that talks about the various Intel E5 Xeon CPU's.

    Tech Primer: Intel E5 Xeon CPUs (Sandy Bridge-EP)

    In my opinion, a Quad Core 17 Ivy Bridge CPU would be just dandy for your application, and would save you money. Also, some of the Xeon processors use a goodly amount of power, so they will run pretty hot (the two you mention have a thermal output of 130W). Be sure you have adequate cooling.

    I also believe that lots of RAM and SSD's give the best performance boost for the dollar.

    You might look at what Puget Systems has to offer for the kind of workstation you're aiming for. They make a great machine, and their customer service is second to none, in my opinion. Highly recommended. I don't know what the cost difference would be, but it's worth a look-see.

    --P
    Preston-Columbia CA

    "If you want nice fresh oats, you have to pay a fair price. If you can be satisfied with oats that have already been through the horse; that comes a little cheaper."

  5. #5
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: Processor speed vs. more cores for Photoshop CS6?

    Greatest bang for the buck comes from:
    1) RAM... Install as much as the box will hold, no exceptions. More RAM avoids "paging", which is swapping information to/from hard disk storage.
    2) CPU speed... Not huge improvements but might be noticeable.
    3) Core count... Mostly advertising hype. The software threading algorithm controls how many are actually used and how many are basically idle.

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

  6. #6
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: Processor speed vs. more cores for Photoshop CS6?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Gittings View Post
    I went from a quad core with 8GBs of ram to a 6 core with 24GBs of ram and saw considerable upgrade in speed.
    I expect the vast majority of the improvement (?95%?) was attributable to the larger RAM in the new system.

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

  7. #7

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    Re: Processor speed vs. more cores for Photoshop CS6?

    Quote Originally Posted by Leigh View Post
    Greatest bang for the buck comes from:
    1) RAM... Install as much as the box will hold, no exceptions. More RAM avoids "paging", which is swapping information to/from hard disk storage.
    2) CPU speed... Not huge improvements but might be noticeable.
    3) Core count... Mostly advertising hype. The software threading algorithm controls how many are actually used and how many are basically idle.

    - Leigh
    Very vague and misleading old wives' tale material...

    1. No matter how much RAM you have, your software may not use all that's available. Some operating systems will not load up entirely to the RAM and some will, and this has nothing to do with 32-bit vs. 64-bit, btw. It's just memory manager design decisions. A fast SSD-like hard drive is more important than having an excessive amount of RAM because things need to be loaded from the HDD at some point for all computers.

    2. CPU speed matters massively for image processing... processors "process", after all. Things like rescaling, applying filters (e.g. USM), etc. are all number crunching operations that can benefit from CPU speed.

    3. Multi-core CPUs are not advertising hype. Even if your software's not written for parallel execution, your OS will schedule different processes on different cores depending on their load. So, even if you're running old software, there's a benefit with multiple cores.

    G
    Last edited by genotypewriter; 21-Aug-2012 at 21:45. Reason: added more details

  8. #8
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: Processor speed vs. more cores for Photoshop CS6?

    Quote Originally Posted by genotypewriter View Post
    Very vague and misleading old wives' tale material...
    Perhaps.

    I've been designing microprocessor-based equipment since micros were invented, with over 50 products on the street.

    I've written complete operating systems, including task managers and dispatchers, for some of them.

    How many have you designed?

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

  9. #9

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    Re: Processor speed vs. more cores for Photoshop CS6?

    Quote Originally Posted by genotypewriter View Post
    Very vague and misleading old wives' tale material...
    G
    I'm afraid I have to side with Leigh on this one. CPU speed counts as long as it has something to do. If it is designed to operate at 2.4 billion cycles per second, and spends a third of those cycles idle because information isn't piped to them fast enough, all that speed is going to waste. The OS memory manager does have a great deal to do with how RAM is utilized, but not so much as the chip set of the system board. Large amounts of multi-channel memory will do more to increase speed than a few hundred thousand extra cycles per second of processor speed. Multiple cores mean multiple front-side bus portals, which keep the processor more active. So the additional cores do, indeed help, as long as they are being used. OS operations don't take up a whole lot of processor time, so if the application is limited to the number of cores it will utilize (and some applications use asymmetrical processing when addressing multiple cores, which further limits the effectiveness of adding more cores), then you have underutilized processing pipelines as well. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information available on how different application work inside of multi-core systems. Where a pair of quad-core processors really shines is on a server that virtualizes machines. I didn't see a whole lot of gain in Photoshop from going from a pair of dual-core processors to a pair of quad-cores when I upgraded earlier this year. But when I doubled the RAM from the 8GB that the new machine shipped with to 32GB, I saw a noticeable difference.
    Michael W. Graves
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    If it ain't broke....don't fix it!

  10. #10
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Processor speed vs. more cores for Photoshop CS6?

    Ok I am going to ask a layman's question so be gentle.

    I have a Mac Pro with tower, purchased three-four years ago.. pretty much maxed out at install with RAM-Loaded with CS3 and Lightroom 2
    I just got a I Mac 27 for home use, pretty much maxed out at install with RAM- Loaded with CS6 and Lightroom 4.

    I find the I Mac slower when working on files, I have not done enough work at home to really define the difference.
    At a recent PS bootcamp I was told that you can buy external RAM for the IMAC that will speed up the operations.

    Is this true? should a current Imac be slower than a three/four year Mac Pro?
    and if so how would one speed up a I Mac other than what the retailer/vendor offer at time of purchase?

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