Undeniably, Photoshop is the 800-pound gorilla of image-processing programs. And like any large beast, Photoshop can move ponderously slow. Fortunately, the right hardware and software decisions on your part can perk it up considerably. Unlike real-world performance enhancement, this won’t involve the use of steroids or risk congressional investigation. It’s not even very expensive.To speed up the beast, it helps to understand why Photoshop seems to plod when you need it to sprint.
Photoshop uses RAM for storing the image you’re working on, for intermediate results, undo and history states, and as a workspace for plug-ins and filters to do their calculations. When it runs out of RAM, Photoshop uses hard- drive space if it can (some functions require real RAM). That causes two bad things to happen. The first is that using the hard drive as working memory is much, much slower than using RAM, and your performance can plummet by as much as 10 times. Worse than that, the functions that require real RAM may simply seize up.
Memory: Your best friend
Great Photoshop performance demands as much RAM as the program can handle and really fast hard-drive access when needed. The former is straightforward; the latter can get tricky.
Buying a modestly faster CPU isn’t cost effective unless you can afford to buy top-tier and max out on performance-enhancing accessories. The price difference between a machine with the fastest CPU you can get and one that is 10% slower is typically around 15%— or several hundred dollars. Unless the other components in the box are also being upgraded, the average performance difference you’ll see between the two machines is only about 5% overall improvement. Spending that money on more RAM or faster drive access offers a better pay off.