Heavy Photoshop User - i7 iMac enough?

Started Oct 15, 2013 | Discussions
stevejack New Member • Posts: 8
Heavy Photoshop User - i7 iMac enough?

Hi Guys, I have a Mid 2010 iMac (i5) with 12gb of memory. My photoshop work has expanded recently to include large panoramas with starting size of 2.5gb or so... that's before any editing is applied. My single image edits have a starting size of around 120mb and frequently exceed 2gb in size with all the layers. I am constantly out of memory even on single image edits so the stitched shots just absolutely cripple my machine.

The latest iMac (i7, 32gb RAM, 512gb SSD) would give me a decent boost, but can anyone advise as to whether this would be enough for the type of photoshop work that I'm doing?

I would probably add a second SSD via thunderbolt purely as a scratch disk down the line.

The new Mac pro's would be great but they're quite an investment... are they necessary with photoshop when you start getting up over 2gb file sizes or are they more about longevity? TBH I'd rather upgrade an iMac every 3 years than buy a single Mac Pro every 5 years. Technology just changes so fast and even if the processing power can be upgraded, the architecture (USB2 / Thunderbolt) lags behind.

If anyone can chime in with their photoshop experiences I'd be very appreciative.

Thanks guys,

Steve.

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 5,593
Re: Heavy Photoshop User - i7 iMac enough?

stevejack wrote:

Hi Guys, I have a Mid 2010 iMac (i5) with 12gb of memory. My photoshop work has expanded recently to include large panoramas with starting size of 2.5gb or so... that's before any editing is applied. My single image edits have a starting size of around 120mb and frequently exceed 2gb in size with all the layers. I am constantly out of memory even on single image edits so the stitched shots just absolutely cripple my machine.

How do you know you are out of RAM? See this.

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1342

The latest iMac (i7, 32gb RAM, 512gb SSD) would give me a decent boost, but can anyone advise as to whether this would be enough for the type of photoshop work that I'm doing?

You already have enough RAM For what you are doing.

I would probably add a second SSD via thunderbolt purely as a scratch disk down the line.

The new Mac pro's would be great but they're quite an investment... are they necessary with photoshop when you start getting up over 2gb file sizes or are they more about longevity?

No.

TBH I'd rather upgrade an iMac every 3 years than buy a single Mac Pro every 5 years. Technology just changes so fast and even if the processing power can be upgraded, the architecture (USB2 / Thunderbolt) lags behind.

If anyone can chime in with their photoshop experiences I'd be very appreciative.

You are fine with what you have. Your iMac also supports up to 32GB of RAM, despite Apple's official amount of 16GB.

Thanks guys,

Steve.

OP stevejack New Member • Posts: 8
Re: Heavy Photoshop User - i7 iMac enough?

Basalite wrote:

How do you know you are out of RAM? See this.

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1342

The latest iMac (i7, 32gb RAM, 512gb SSD) would give me a decent boost, but can anyone advise as to whether this would be enough for the type of photoshop work that I'm doing?

You already have enough RAM For what you are doing.

I would probably add a second SSD via thunderbolt purely as a scratch disk down the line.

The new Mac pro's would be great but they're quite an investment... are they necessary with photoshop when you start getting up over 2gb file sizes or are they more about longevity?

No.

You are fine with what you have. Your iMac also supports up to 32GB of RAM, despite Apple's official amount of 16GB.

Thanks for the reply.

There's a lot of RAM that gets used up by having simultaneous programs open (lightroom, photomatix, photoshop etc). I often go back and forth between these during the course of an edit session. Closing them does help obviously, as does purging the inactive ram from time to time.

But once the Ram fills up just by using photoshop (visible in activity monitor) everything grinds to a halt. Luminance Masking really eats it up when you start creating multiple lights / darks channels and sub channel masks. I'm finding that I need to have everything else shut down (safari, lightroom etc) just to start with, and even then eventually the memory fills up and things slow right down.

If 12gb is enough why is activity monitor showing that I'm using all of my memory (it hovers around 50mb free) if there's plenty left? Do you have any suggestions to improve things with my current system?

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 5,593
Re: Heavy Photoshop User - i7 iMac enough?

stevejack wrote:

Basalite wrote:

How do you know you are out of RAM? See this.

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1342

The latest iMac (i7, 32gb RAM, 512gb SSD) would give me a decent boost, but can anyone advise as to whether this would be enough for the type of photoshop work that I'm doing?

You already have enough RAM For what you are doing.

I would probably add a second SSD via thunderbolt purely as a scratch disk down the line.

The new Mac pro's would be great but they're quite an investment... are they necessary with photoshop when you start getting up over 2gb file sizes or are they more about longevity?

No.

You are fine with what you have. Your iMac also supports up to 32GB of RAM, despite Apple's official amount of 16GB.

Thanks for the reply.

There's a lot of RAM that gets used up by having simultaneous programs open (lightroom, photomatix, photoshop etc). I often go back and forth between these during the course of an edit session. Closing them does help obviously, as does purging the inactive ram from time to time.

You don't have to purge "inactive ram." If it is not being actively used it is available to other apps.

But once the Ram fills up just by using photoshop (visible in activity monitor) everything grinds to a halt. Luminance Masking really eats it up when you start creating multiple lights / darks channels and sub channel masks. I'm finding that I need to have everything else shut down (safari, lightroom etc) just to start with, and even then eventually the memory fills up and things slow right down.

Look to see what app is robbing you of your RAM and causing slow downs. Something in the background can be causing an excessive use of RAM.

If 12gb is enough why is activity monitor showing that I'm using all of my memory (it hovers around 50mb free) if there's plenty left? Do you have any suggestions to improve things with my current system?

Like I said in my previous post, see the link I provided, especially the part on inactive RAM.

Tom_N Forum Pro • Posts: 12,821
Re: Heavy Photoshop User - i7 iMac enough?

stevejack wrote:

I am constantly out of memory even on single image edits so the stitched shots just absolutely cripple my machine.

Which version of Photoshop are you running?  The Mac version of Photoshop wasn't converted to use 64-bit Cocoa APIs until CS5.  If you are running CS4 or earlier, Photoshop may not be able to take full advantage of most of the 12 GB of RAM that you have.

OP stevejack New Member • Posts: 8
Re: Heavy Photoshop User - i7 iMac enough?

Inactive Ram does take up the majority of memory most of the time, but it doesn't seem to free up when needed.

At the moment my free memory is 56.4mb.  Inactive is 5.46gb. Photoshop is consuming most of the memory (far more than any other application).

My issue seems to be that the inactive RAM won't purge when required unless I do it manually. It fills up to around half of total memory and when photoshop needs it, it can't access it. I've read the link you sent me a few weeks back when I was researching this and it says that inactive memory is available to other applications - but that's not what I'm seeing here. It stays inactive even when I completely run out of memory.

I was hoping there would be a setting I'm overlooking but I haven't found it yet.

OP stevejack New Member • Posts: 8
Re: Heavy Photoshop User - i7 iMac enough?

Just to follow up for clarity - right now I have Photoshop set to use just under 8gb of memory so I can leave 4gb for other OS applications. At the moment activity monitor shows it's using 7.88gb (the full amount allocated to it) and the swap is now filling up (currently at 6.37gb).

Inactive Ram is still showing 5.56gb, even thought the numbers don't really add up, that's what it's showing.

Trying to type this message is painfully slow. Lots of stuttering and delayed keyboard response. The entire OS is lagging (opening finder windows etc).

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 5,593
Re: Heavy Photoshop User - i7 iMac enough?

Tom_N wrote:

stevejack wrote:

I am constantly out of memory even on single image edits so the stitched shots just absolutely cripple my machine.

Which version of Photoshop are you running? The Mac version of Photoshop wasn't converted to use 64-bit Cocoa APIs until CS5. If you are running CS4 or earlier, Photoshop may not be able to take full advantage of most of the 12 GB of RAM that you have.

Good point.

OP stevejack New Member • Posts: 8
Re: Heavy Photoshop User - i7 iMac enough?

Tom_N wrote:

stevejack wrote:

I am constantly out of memory even on single image edits so the stitched shots just absolutely cripple my machine.

Which version of Photoshop are you running? The Mac version of Photoshop wasn't converted to use 64-bit Cocoa APIs until CS5. If you are running CS4 or earlier, Photoshop may not be able to take full advantage of most of the 12 GB of RAM that you have.

Hi Tom, Sorry I didn't see this before my last post. I'm running the latest version of CC at the moment.

Frank Soe Photography New Member • Posts: 2
Re: Heavy Photoshop User - i7 iMac enough?
1

Hi Steve

I will recive my new iMac tomorrow or Friday. ( i7, 32gb, 4GB video and 512GB SSD)
I will primary be using it for Lightroom and Photoshop, working with my Nikon D800 raw files.

I have the same issues as you with my MBP 17 inch, 8GB, 512 SSD. Constantly running out of RAM.

If you are interested, I can do some test for you on the new setup. I am using, Lightroom 5 and PS CS6.

Best regards

Frank

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 3,348
Re: Heavy Photoshop User - i7 iMac enough?
1

stevejack wrote:

Hi Guys, I have a Mid 2010 iMac (i5) with 12gb of memory. My photoshop work has expanded recently to include large panoramas with starting size of 2.5gb or so... that's before any editing is applied. My single image edits have a starting size of around 120mb and frequently exceed 2gb in size with all the layers. I am constantly out of memory even on single image edits so the stitched shots just absolutely cripple my machine.

The latest iMac (i7, 32gb RAM, 512gb SSD) would give me a decent boost, but can anyone advise as to whether this would be enough for the type of photoshop work that I'm doing?

I would probably add a second SSD via thunderbolt purely as a scratch disk down the line.

The new Mac pro's would be great but they're quite an investment... are they necessary with photoshop when you start getting up over 2gb file sizes or are they more about longevity? TBH I'd rather upgrade an iMac every 3 years than buy a single Mac Pro every 5 years. Technology just changes so fast and even if the processing power can be upgraded, the architecture (USB2 / Thunderbolt) lags behind.

If anyone can chime in with their photoshop experiences I'd be very appreciative.

Thanks guys,

Steve.

I have one that is about 3 weeks old - it was on the water between China and NZ when the latest revamp was announced! (grr)

Mine is specced as follws

i7 3.4

32gb RAM

3Tb Fusion Drive

Standard video card 1Gb

I've just completed a project in PS CC and ID CC that had layered files of between 1.2Gb and 1.8Gb and it was no issue for the machine. Takes around 25 seconds to save psd files that size.

PS opens in less than 3 seconds on this machine and frankly, short of a full SSD setup that would have almost doubled the cost, I cannot imagine how it could be much faster.

Great screen too - way less reflective than the previous kind that were like mirrors!

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 5,593
Re: Heavy Photoshop User - i7 iMac enough?

stevejack wrote:

Just to follow up for clarity - right now I have Photoshop set to use just under 8gb of memory so I can leave 4gb for other OS applications. At the moment activity monitor shows it's using 7.88gb (the full amount allocated to it) and the swap is now filling up (currently at 6.37gb).

Inactive Ram is still showing 5.56gb, even thought the numbers don't really add up, that's what it's showing.

Trying to type this message is painfully slow. Lots of stuttering and delayed keyboard response. The entire OS is lagging (opening finder windows etc).

What else was running besides Photoshop?

proseak Regular Member • Posts: 453
Re: Heavy Photoshop User - i7 iMac enough?

Where is your scratch disc? How much space is available to it?

Tom_N Forum Pro • Posts: 12,821
Re: Heavy Photoshop User - i7 iMac enough?

Have you checked Photoshop Performance preferences?  Supposedly Photoshop holds onto memory even after closing documents, by design, but you can control the amount of RAM it is allowed to grab in Photoshop Performance preferences.

Adobe Community Photoshop CC -> performance down, memory usage up

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 5,593
Re: Heavy Photoshop User - i7 iMac enough?

Tom_N wrote:

Have you checked Photoshop Performance preferences? Supposedly Photoshop holds onto memory even after closing documents, by design, but you can control the amount of RAM it is allowed to grab in Photoshop Performance preferences.

Adobe Community Photoshop CC -> performance down, memory usage up

The RAM that Photoshop holds onto is within the amount or block that you allocate. He has posted an example of what he is experiencing in post 6. He is showing inactive RAM but his computer is crawling, even to type his post. Something is preventing that inactive RAM from being used. I suspect some other app he was using at the same time or just prior to.

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 3,985
Re: Heavy Photoshop User - i7 iMac enough?

Frank Soe Photography wrote:

Hi Steve

I will recive my new iMac tomorrow or Friday. ( i7, 32gb, 4GB video and 512GB SSD)
I will primary be using it for Lightroom and Photoshop, working with my Nikon D800 raw files.

I have the same issues as you with my MBP 17 inch, 8GB, 512 SSD. Constantly running out of RAM.

If you are interested, I can do some test for you on the new setup. I am using, Lightroom 5 and PS CS6.

Best regards

Frank

Frank.  Could I impose on you to run Blackmagic Speed Disk on your internal SSD AFTER you get all your programs loaded up?

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www.nightstreets.com
One day long ago, a sorcerer and a warrior did battle, as such things were commonplace in that age. Sometimes the sorcerer won, and the sum value of human abilities was improved some trifling amount. Sometimes the warrior won, and again the human race improved by some insignificant amount, for a sorcerer who can't defeat one miserable warrior is a poor sorcerer indeed.

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 5,593
Re: Heavy Photoshop User - i7 iMac enough?

coronawithlime wrote:

Frank Soe Photography wrote:

Hi Steve

I will recive my new iMac tomorrow or Friday. ( i7, 32gb, 4GB video and 512GB SSD)
I will primary be using it for Lightroom and Photoshop, working with my Nikon D800 raw files.

I have the same issues as you with my MBP 17 inch, 8GB, 512 SSD. Constantly running out of RAM.

If you are interested, I can do some test for you on the new setup. I am using, Lightroom 5 and PS CS6.

Best regards

Frank

Frank. Could I impose on you to run Blackmagic Speed Disk on your internal SSD AFTER you get all your programs loaded up?

www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIDj8l0orVw

OP stevejack New Member • Posts: 8
Re: Heavy Photoshop User - i7 iMac enough?

Frank Soe Photography wrote:

Hi Steve

I will recive my new iMac tomorrow or Friday. ( i7, 32gb, 4GB video and 512GB SSD)
I will primary be using it for Lightroom and Photoshop, working with my Nikon D800 raw files.

I have the same issues as you with my MBP 17 inch, 8GB, 512 SSD. Constantly running out of RAM.

If you are interested, I can do some test for you on the new setup. I am using, Lightroom 5 and PS CS6.

Best regards

Frank

Hi Frank, that sounds great I'd love to see the results. That's the exact machine I've been looking at as well so it would be very helpful.

OP stevejack New Member • Posts: 8
Re: Heavy Photoshop User - i7 iMac enough?

proseak wrote:

Where is your scratch disc? How much space is available to it?

My scratch disk is currently set as my boot drive and it has approx 100gb available to it (if I'm reading the settings right). This is why I was thinking of getting an external SSD for a scratch disc if I ended up with a new machine. But if Basalite is correct I already have a machine fit for they type of edits I'm doing so I need to try and work out what's causing the problems.

When everything was running slow Photoshop had used all of the RAM available to it and was using the scratch disc (also my boot drive) to do its processing so I'm guessing that's why everything was crawling..?

With Photoshop set to use only 8gb of memory, once it runs out and starts using the scratch disc, even though I have all this inactive RAM sitting there available for the rest of the OS I can't actually do anything in terms of multi tasking once that scratch disc starts being used. Once the processing task is finished (sometimes 10-15 minutes) I can use safari and other apps again but things are always still a bit laggy for some time after the processing is finished.

No other processes show anything abnormal in terms of CPU / Memory. Safari Web content uses a lot of memory but from what I've read, that's fairly normal.

So an external scratch disc is an option, but on the mid 2010 imac that would have to be connected via USB2.0 which would be very slow. So I'm not really sure what I can do with my current system to make things any better for the type of work that I'm doing

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 3,985
Re: Heavy Photoshop User - i7 iMac enough?

Basalite wrote:

coronawithlime wrote:

Frank Soe Photography wrote:

Hi Steve

I will recive my new iMac tomorrow or Friday. ( i7, 32gb, 4GB video and 512GB SSD)
I will primary be using it for Lightroom and Photoshop, working with my Nikon D800 raw files.

I have the same issues as you with my MBP 17 inch, 8GB, 512 SSD. Constantly running out of RAM.

If you are interested, I can do some test for you on the new setup. I am using, Lightroom 5 and PS CS6.

Best regards

Frank

Frank. Could I impose on you to run Blackmagic Speed Disk on your internal SSD AFTER you get all your programs loaded up?

www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIDj8l0orVw

Exactly what I needed.  TY.

-- hide signature --

www.nightstreets.com
One day long ago, a sorcerer and a warrior did battle, as such things were commonplace in that age. Sometimes the sorcerer won, and the sum value of human abilities was improved some trifling amount. Sometimes the warrior won, and again the human race improved by some insignificant amount, for a sorcerer who can't defeat one miserable warrior is a poor sorcerer indeed.

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