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The Photoshop CS3 beta by the numbers  
Friday, December 15, 2006 | by Rob Galbraith
Is the Photoshop CS3 beta a lot faster than Photoshop CS2 on an Intel Mac? You bet. Here's a look at the performance difference owners of Macs with Intel processors can expect, thanks to the fact the Mac version of Photoshop CS3 is a Universal Binary designed to deliver native speed whether it's PowerPC or Intel under the hood.

Performance by the numbers

All tests were performed on an Apple Mac Pro 3GHz with 5GB RAM (2GB allocated to Photoshop) running OS X 10.4.8. The tests chosen were ones that tend to tax both the processor and our patience. RAW conversion, noise removal and sharpening of high-resolution digital SLR files are areas in which our own workflow can bog down, and the results show that filters like Smart Sharpen, as well as the third-party plug-in Noise Ninja 2.1.3 (released today in beta form for Intel Macs) operate much, much quicker.

The numbers are also a good indication of how much peppier the program feels. Everything about the Photoshop CS3 beta is more responsive on the Mac: opening and closing dialogs, switching workspaces, moving adjustment sliders and more. And both first launch and subsequent launch times have been shortened dramatically as well.

And now, the results. Times above 60 seconds are expressed in minutes:seconds. Times below 60 seconds are expressed in 0.1 second increments.

Task/Photoshop version Photoshop CS3 beta
(Camera Raw 4.0x168)
Photoshop CS2 9.0.2
(Camera Raw 3.6)
Process 20 Nikon D2X NEFs (via the Camera Raw plug-in), convert to 8-bits per colour and save as JPEGs 1:04 1:46
Apply Smart Sharpen to 1 Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II 16-bits per colour file 4.5 12.1
Apply Smart Sharpen, convert to 8-bits per colour and save as JPEG 10 Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II 16-bits per colour files 1:08 2:33
Apply Noise Ninja to 1 Canon EOS-1D Mark II N 8-bits per colour file 2.6 5.4
Apply Noise Ninja and save as JPEG 10 Canon EOS-1D Mark II N 8-bits per colour files 44.0 1:20
Process 20 Nikon D200 8-bits per colour files for web display (resize, drop shadow and other steps) 31.3 1:10

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