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Adobe Apps Languish on
Intel Macs

Posted March 31st, 2006, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

I've been asked often to characterize the performance of Adobe applications like Photoshop and After Effects running under Rosetta on the Intel based MacBook Pro and iMac Core Duo. You see, only Adobe's Lightroom Beta runs in Universal Binary.

So to illustrate relative performance of Adobe apps running under Rosetta, we tested Photoshop CS2 and After Effects 7 on three systems.
MacBook Pro CD/2.0 -- Apple Intel MacBook Pro with 2.0GHz Core Duo and 2GB of memory
PowerMac G5/2.0 -- Apple Dual Single-Core G5/2.0GHz Power Mac with 2GB of memory
PowerBook G4/1.67
-- Apple PowerBook G4/1.67GHz with 2GB of memory

Non-UB Adobe software languishes on the Intel based Macs.
In our tests of After Effects, the MacBook Pro was blown away by the Power Mac running at the same clock speed. I used the Power Mac since both it and the MacBook have dual processors. And believe me, After Effects renders max out both procesors. The MacBook Pro ran After Effects only 8% faster than the single processor PowerBook!

When we ran our multi-processor aware actions (MP) the Power Mac was 128% faster than the MacBook Pro. The PowerBook G4 with only one processer ran 18% faster!

In the case of our non-MP aware actions, the Power Mac was 109% faster than the MacBook Pro while the PowerBook was 95% faster!

Moral of this story: If you rely heavily on Adobe professional apps, you will NOT see a performance increase by moving to the Intel Macs. We all need to start bugging Adobe to get UB versions of Photoshop and After Effects finished for the Intel Macs. The need will be even greater when the Intel based towers are released by Apple -- which are rumored to be coming as early as September 2006.

How do you speed up Adobe's updates? I know it's not an easy transition to Universal Binaries. However, if the UB versions are not a priority at Adobe, you may be able to help change that by posting your opinion on Adobe's discussion groups. It's in Apple's interest to offer assistance so I would post your comments on Apple discussion groups, too.

If you are reading this and work at Adobe or know someone at Adobe, please pass this information along. Use whatever influence you have to help insure that Adobe is making the conversion of key apps like Photoshop and After Effects a top priority.


Small Dog Electronics -- New MacBook Pros; New and Refurbished PowerBooks; They accept custom orders; Also have memory and drive upgrades.

PowerMax -- New MacBooks Pros; New and Refurbished PowerBooks

Apple Online Store -- New MacBook Pros; New and Refurbished PowerBooks

Apple Store


Daystar Technology -- They specialize in CPU upgrades for "orphaned" Mac systems like the iMac G4 Flat Panel and various PowerBooks.

"AlumBook" upgrades take you up to 2.0GHz upgrade.

The base price of $499 includes all parts and labor.
  PowerBook G4 15": 1.0, 1.25, 1.33 can go to 1.92 GHz
  PowerBook G4 15": 1.5 can go to 2.0 GHz
  PowerBook G4 17": 1.33 can go to 1.92 GHz
  PowerBook G4 17": 1.5 can go to to 2.0 GHz


FirmTek -- SATA Cardbus (and soon SATA ExpressCard); SATA enclosures

OWC -- MacBook and PowerBook memory upgrades; hard drive upgrades

TransIntl -- MacBook and PowerBook memory and drive upgrades

Wiebetech -- SATA and FireWire drive enclosures

MaxUpgrades -- PowerBook Sleeves and Briefcases; SATA and FireWire drive enclosures

FWDepot -- FireWire and SATA Cardbus cards; external FireWire and SATA drive enclosures

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© 2006 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster and mad scientist