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PIXELREMIX
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How many CPU cores can PS use?

Dec 15, 2013 12:32 PM

Tags: #cpu #multicore

How many CPU cores can Photoshop CC (version 14.1) use at a max running on Mac OS X Mavericks‎? I have even looked into the PS tech specs but it only states multicore. Many thanks.

 
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  • Trevor Dennis
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    May 24, 2010
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    Dec 15, 2013 12:44 PM   in reply to PIXELREMIX

    I 'think' the answer is as many as you can throw at it, but only with particular processes like some of the filters.   I can easily see 6 cores in use, but only rarely all 12 threads with Photoshop, and never even close to maxing out CPU and memory.  This is with a 3930k @4.2Ghz and 32Gb RAM with Windows 7.  The GPU makes a difference nowadays of course.  My system is a couple of years old and uses a GTX570 running at standard clock speed.

     

    Other Adobe apps like Premiere Pro and After Effects will definitely gobble up all the system resources it can get its hands on.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 15, 2013 1:29 PM   in reply to PIXELREMIX

    Photoshop uses all the cores it can, when it would speed up the operation.

     

    But some operations slow down with additional cores, and some operations can't benefit from threading at all.

     
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  • JJMack
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    Jan 9, 2006
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    Dec 15, 2013 1:30 PM   in reply to PIXELREMIX

    I have not observed 3D rendering all cores on my machine.  Have seen Photoshop use 24 threads when I use smart sharpen or render video. I'm sure if I had dual 8 core processors Photoshop would use 32 threads.  Some Photoshop functions can not be decomposed and done with parallel threads. For things like wet mixer brushes processor speed is more important then number of cores.

     
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  • Trevor Dennis
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    May 24, 2010
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    Dec 15, 2013 1:32 PM   in reply to PIXELREMIX

    I am wondering if CC has been further optimised for multi core, because AFAICR these results show more CPU use than the last time I bothered to check.  That would probably have been with CS6

     

    Image size (1000 pixels square to 10,000 pixels square)

    Image Size.jpg

     

    If memory serves, the lens blur filters made good use of system resources.  This was with Iris Blur

    Lens Blur.jpg

     

    I tried a few other filters on the 10k pixel image, but couldn't test my system enough to get a meaningful result.  I can hear my GPU fans ramp up with various actions even before I put them to serious use.  (I think the system starts working really early in the process.)

     

    I am assuming that Apple OS are similar to Windows.  Was there a specific reason you wanted this info, or just out of interest?

     
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  • Trevor Dennis
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    Dec 15, 2013 3:26 PM   in reply to PIXELREMIX

    But there is more to it than that.  No brush lag, a very responsive Liquify, generally snappy performance all round.  If you think you might use Photoshop to edit video in the future, you will definitely be glad of all the system resources you have.  You should also look at what functions use GPU acceleration, because that makes a difference nowadays.

     

    BTW  In case you are not aware of it, Chris Cox, who posted back up the thread, is on the Photoshop Development team, so his answers are definitive.

     
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  • Noel Carboni
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    Dec 23, 2006
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    Dec 15, 2013 6:56 PM   in reply to Trevor Dennis

    Every version gets a little better at using your computer hardware, because of course it's designed for (and on) ever more modern hardware.

     

    I've got 24 logical processors, and some operations can pretty much peg them all.  A favorite example "benchmark" test is to do a Radial Blur of a big image.  It finished right before I caught this screen grab...

     

    TaskManager.png

     

     

    That said, always keep in mind that multi-threading may not be implemented equally in every corner of the software, and as Chris said, sometimes (e.g., with operations that are RAM-limited) using more cores can actually slow things down.  I've recently been doing performance tuning leading to a release of my own software, and we actually reduced the thread count for some operations simply because they completed more quickly..

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Trevor Dennis
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    Dec 15, 2013 8:01 PM   in reply to Noel Carboni

    What did you use to show those results Noel? 

     
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  • Noel Carboni
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    Dec 23, 2006
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    Dec 15, 2013 8:05 PM   in reply to Trevor Dennis

    That's just the Task Manager in Windows 8.1.

     

    I have managed to get the old Task Manager to run in Windows 8.1 as well (Microsoft supplies one in the recovery environment on the Windows disc), but I figured this one would look cool, since you'd already put up screen grabs from the other one. 

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Noel Carboni
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    Dec 19, 2013 6:05 PM   in reply to PIXELREMIX

    Perhaps the best question to ask is this:  When YOU use Photoshop, what do YOU find yourself waiting for or wishing the computer was faster in doing?

     

    • Camera Raw conversions?  More cores is generally better.
    • Filters?  More cores is often better.
    • Interative Painting?  Faster single core speed and a good GPU is good.
    • Panorama Stitching?  Running multi-step actions?  Fast I/O devices make a big difference, and lots of RAM and having more cores help.
    • Sharpening?  A good GPU is key.

     

    ???

     

    Keep in mind that if you don't get that 12 core monster, you'll always wonder what if...

     

    (P.S., I'm impressed that Intel has put 12 cores on ONE Xeon E5-2697v2 package.  Imagine a workstation with two of those Xeons...  Drool...)

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 19, 2013 9:09 PM   in reply to PIXELREMIX

    No, almost all the operations in Photoshop support multiprocessor/multicore.  Only a few are so compute bound that they show huge speedups and sustained usage of many cores, though. Most operations complete so quickly when divided among the cores that you don't see the sustained usage.  And a lot of common operations are so heavily optimized that they are DRAM bandwidth bound - so don't benefit much from additional processors/cores.

     

    I'm not sure if you misread the information, or if someone got it really, really wrong.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 20, 2013 4:14 PM   in reply to PIXELREMIX

    How the cores are utilized can depend on not just the operation, but also the size of the image, and the nature of the layers in the image.  Sometimes just resizing can pin all the cores for a while, or filters like GBlur, UnsharpMask, etc.  Some things like Radial Blur, and 3D rendering a extremely calculation intensive and show continued usage of all cores.  But we're trying to move other computations to the GPU (which for some operations can be faster than all your CPU cores) - like the Blur Gallery filters.

     
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