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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

Photoshop CS5, After Effects CS5,
and Aperture 3 on the newest Macs

Originally posted Friday, May 7th, 2010, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

... we decided to run our "real world" tests using Photoshop CS5 and After Effects CS5. And, that's not all. At no extra charge, we have included some Aperture 3 results.

Adobe After Effects CS5 -- We set preferences to "multiprocessing" mode. Test project is Brian Maffitt's "TotalBenchmark." Graph shows the render time for part two. For some reason, the MBP Core i5 aborted with an error each time we attempted to render part two. Time is in seconds. (RED bar means fastest.)

Adobe Photoshop CS5 -- We used Lloyd Chamber's Speed Action File to apply typical editing functions (resize, rotate, smart sharpen, etc.) to a 169MB test file. History States = 20; Cache Levels = 3, Memory Usage = 5GB. Time is in seconds. (RED bar means fastest.)

Apple Aperture 3 -- We did a version export of 50 RAW photos in "original size" JPEGs. Time is in seconds. (RED bar means fastest.)

LEGEND of GRAPHS (RED bar means fastest)
Mac Pro + SSD = Mac Pro Nehalem 2.93GHz (8-core) with SSD boot drive.
Mac Pro 2.93 = Mac Pro Nehalem 2.93GHz (8-core) with Radeon HD 4870.
iMac i7 2.80 = iMac Core i7 2.80GHz with Radeon HD 4850.
MBP i7 2.66 = MacBook Pro Core i7 2.66GHz with GeForce GT 330M
MBP i5 2.53 = MacBook Pro Core i5 2.53GHz with GeForce GT 330M
All test Macs had 8GB of 1066MHz SDRAM.

1. As expected, the Mac Pro and iMac run Adobe After Effects CS5 much faster than the MacBook Pro Core i5 and i7. The iMac Core i7 rendered the sample project 47% faster than the MacBook Pro Core i7. And the top Nehalem Mac Pro rendered it 72% faster.
2. As a full 64-bit app, Photoshop CS5 lets you reserve more than 3GB for its memory usage. We set it 5GB since all test Macs had 8GB of RAM.
3. The iMac Core i7 ran the typical Photoshop actions 35% faster than the MacBook Pro Core i7. And the top Nehalem Mac Pro ran them 41% faster. Furthermore, the Adobe Creative Studio 5 apps were about 20% faster than their CS4 counterparts.
4. Aperture ran our export test 24% faster than on the iMac Core i7 than on the MacBook Pro Core i7. Surprisingly, the Mac Pro not any faster than the iMac.
5. Using an SSD for boot drive and output drive speeds up the Aperture export process on the Mac Pro by 20%.
6. Lift and Stamp ran just as fast on the MacBook Pros as it did on the iMac and Mac Pro. We're scratching our heads on that one.
7. Another puzzle: Aperture 2 does the Lift and Stamp twice as fast as Aperture 3. More testing and head scratching is required before we post that graph.

Be sure to check out Lloyd Chambers' Mac Performance Guide and specifically "Optimizing Photoshop CS5."

Apple Online Store

WHERE TO BUY ADOBE CREATIVE SUITE 5 (or Photoshop CS5 or After Effects CS5)
Order directly from Adobe USA to get free shipping. If you are a member of NAPP, get 15% off. Don't live in USA? Try these links to Adobe France, Adobe Germany, Adobe Sweden, or Adobe UK. (Clicking our links helps us earn a commission.)

WHERE TO BUY A MACBOOK PRO and other Apple Products
Click on our Apple Store USA text links or display ads when you order a MacBook Pro. It's a great way to support Bare Feats since we earn a commission on each click-through that results in a sale.

USA Apple Resellers we recommend:
Power Max (takes trade-ins)
Small Dog Electronics

DON'T LIVE in the USA? Here are some Apple Stores to click:
Apple Store - Canada
Apple Store - France
Apple Store - Germany
Apple Store - Italy
Apple Store - UK

The 8GB kits are available from
Trans International
and Other World Computing

Trans International
and Other World Computing
and MaxUpgrades
and Amazon
and NewEgg

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copyright 2010 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster