This is meant to be a brief introduction to the key aspects of performance tuning CS6. There are too many permutations of CPU, O/S, RAM, SSD or HDD, etc etc to give a definitive solution – one size does not fit all !
There are three main components inside your computer that affect how well Photoshop runs.
- The Processor – optimally a 64bit processor . Note: Laptops normally use low power versions of a cpu so just seeing Intel i5 for example does not necessarily equate to that processor in a desktop solution, see here for a guide of relative cpu performance.
- RAM – Photoshop uses RAM to run the program and store information about the project you’re working in and to ‘remember’ steps, which lets you Undo changes as you work.
- Graphics Card – Photoshop doesn’t rely heavily on the GPU, but a better graphics card will help speed up some ﬁlters and 3D rendering.
A detailed summary of CS6 system requirements for Windows and MAC can be found on Adobe’s site.
Operating System : Windows
- Go to Settings > Graphics settings > and set Photoshop CS6 (and Lightroom if you use it) to HIGH performance.
- Make sure all relevant drivers are up to date.
MAC – sorry no details – if you know, please help others by sending them to us and we’ll update this post.
Photoshop CS 6
Open CS 6 and go to Edit > Preferences > Performance
- Memory usage – the less memory you have, the more you’ll need to allow CS 6 to use, for less than 16MB we suggest around 80%. NB:: Do not have loads of other programs or browser pages open – they also consume memory.
- Scratch Disks – important when you have less than 8MB RAM – if possible use a separate drive for the Scratch Disk than is used for the program.
- Original Images – if possible, keep your images on a separate drive too.
- History & Cache – allows you to use the Undo command while working but it uses RAM to ‘remember’ every edit, we recommend the following RAM/states – 5 for 4 MB, 10 for 8 MB and 20+ for 16MB upwards.
- Graphics Processor – with a high-end graphics card select the Advanced Settings > Drawing Mode > Advanced and switch on the first 3 boxes; If you don’t have a high-end graphics card set the Drawing Mode to Basic.
To make your work recognisable and to be efficient in your work you should be aiming to have a consistent style, so beware of unnecessary clutter within Photoshop and your overall workspace.
Brushes, fonts, patterns, etc. all use resource and there’s a load of them freely available, but avoid the temptation of having too many. Equally, if you have performance issues, make sure you don’t have lots of background processes, browser or social media pages or other applications running – they will all decrease Photoshop’s performance.