Adobe PS and Lightrom as it relates to speed & CPU cores

sirhawkeye64

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May 28, 2015
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For anyone who uses Adobe Photoshop CC and/or Lightroom (Classic) CC, can anyone comment on the differences (if any) they experienced going from a quad core to something more (6 cores+)?

I'm considering a new build for photo editing and considering either getting an i5 7600 (for core clock speed advantage), or an i5 8400 (lower clock speed, but it's a six core) and am having a hard time deciding, but I will be spending probably 1/3 or half my time in Photoshop and Lightroom doing photo editing.

Opinions or thoughts? Some people online have said you don't see a difference until you have 8+ cores, others have said there is no noticeable difference, and yet another set of people said there is a minor difference, but not much (so basically, I've heard all three "possible" variations of people's opinions). I'm just wondering from here what people have experienced (as many of these comments came from Photography forums where people aren't necessarily PC gurus so their views of CPU speed might be a bit skewed or inaccurate).
 

darkbreeze

Honorable
Moderator
Practically every question you might have, and most of what applies to Photoshop applies to Lightroom can be answered here:

https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Adobe-Lightroom-CC-2015-8-Intel-Core-i7-7700K-i5-7600K-Performance-880/

And you can fairly trust what Puget systems says. They've been around for a long time and IMO are a highly trustworthy, well respected establishment with experience in selling, building and using just about every kind of system there is up to and including mineral oil submerged systems.

The real question is whether you work with MANY high resolution layers or 3D much. If you do, I'd personally recommend an i7 or Ryzen 7. If you do not, then a newer i5 with plenty of RAM, which is likely the biggest factor in performance with MOST Adobe applications that are in any way graphics related.

16GB should be the minimum. More than that up to 32GB, depending again on how involved the processes are that you are doing, might even be better but I work with Photoshop CS6, Lightroom, Dreamweaver and Illustrator a fair amount, not professionally per se, but enough, and I find that I can get by with 16GB but I would do better with more however the price of memory right now is astronomical so it's keeping me from adding another 16GB for the moment.

The number of cores is not the primary consideration. How strong the cores are, followed by how many strong cores you have, is. An AMD FX-8350, for example, with 8 cores, is not going to outperform a Coffee Lake i5 with six cores. It just won't, because the six Intel Coffee lake cores have a MUCH higher IPC than those older Piledriver or Bulldozer cores. The same can be said comparing the same Intel CPU against an older i7 with it's four cores and four hyperthreads. It just won't beat the six stronger cores of the newer chips. But, they will still be much better than a CPU from the same generation with fewer cores, depending on whether or not the specific application and VERSION of the application, is optimized to take advantage of additional threaded processes or not.
 

darkbreeze

Honorable
Moderator
Practically every question you might have, and most of what applies to Photoshop applies to Lightroom can be answered here:

https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Adobe-Lightroom-CC-2015-8-Intel-Core-i7-7700K-i5-7600K-Performance-880/

And you can fairly trust what Puget systems says. They've been around for a long time and IMO are a highly trustworthy, well respected establishment with experience in selling, building and using just about every kind of system there is up to and including mineral oil submerged systems.

The real question is whether you work with MANY high resolution layers or 3D much. If you do, I'd personally recommend an i7 or Ryzen 7. If you do not, then a newer i5 with plenty of RAM, which is likely the biggest factor in performance with MOST Adobe applications that are in any way graphics related.

16GB should be the minimum. More than that up to 32GB, depending again on how involved the processes are that you are doing, might even be better but I work with Photoshop CS6, Lightroom, Dreamweaver and Illustrator a fair amount, not professionally per se, but enough, and I find that I can get by with 16GB but I would do better with more however the price of memory right now is astronomical so it's keeping me from adding another 16GB for the moment.

The number of cores is not the primary consideration. How strong the cores are, followed by how many strong cores you have, is. An AMD FX-8350, for example, with 8 cores, is not going to outperform a Coffee Lake i5 with six cores. It just won't, because the six Intel Coffee lake cores have a MUCH higher IPC than those older Piledriver or Bulldozer cores. The same can be said comparing the same Intel CPU against an older i7 with it's four cores and four hyperthreads. It just won't beat the six stronger cores of the newer chips. But, they will still be much better than a CPU from the same generation with fewer cores, depending on whether or not the specific application and VERSION of the application, is optimized to take advantage of additional threaded processes or not.
 

sirhawkeye64

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May 28, 2015
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OK. I looked through some of their reviews of the i5 8400 and will probably go with that, partially due to cost reasons, as I will need to get 16GB of DDR4, which isn't all that cheap (at least not like in the old DDR3 days when 16GB was only $75... that's long gone now as 16GB of anything is $150+). I will start at 16GB and add an additional 8 or 16GB if needed. So far, the issue isn't memory as my current system has 16GB. It's just the age of the chip in the system I'm using, and also that my 5+ y/o motherboard is starting to fail (USB ports not working, one of my SSDs seems to connect/disconnect repeatedly indicating a SATA issue as I've already checked the drive for issues, etc).

And yes I was aware of the cores vs. speed thing. After reading a bit it appears chips like the FX8350 do a worse job in many cases, and that from what i can see, the Ryzen 5 1600 / 1600X performs similiarly to the 8400 (exceeding it in some instances, such as media creation due to its number of threads, among other things), but I've also noticed that Ryzen isn't the best for CAD work, though, so that's why I'm looking at the i5 8400 (Solidworks does list AMD processors as compatible, but from what I can see in some tests, the Intel performs better in many areas relating to CAD and other general computing tasks).

I will probably be spending 1/3 of my time in Adobe products (PS and LR mainly), about 1/3 in CAD, an the other third doing general tasks (web browsing, email, etc, with maybe a little gaming in there) so basically an all-around good "budget" system that can handle most of today's tasks in those areas. (I figured anything current has to be better than my 5+ year old board and i5 2400 processor).
 

darkbreeze

Honorable
Moderator
Are you going to be buying a new graphics card too, or do you already have one you will be using?

What about your power supply? This is the #1 thing that gets overlooked AND is the #1 thing that tends to slowly take out motherboard components like capacitors, onboard controllers, drives and PCIe or USB circuits. Ripple/electrical noise on cheap units, even mediocre ones, is a slow, but much faster than should be expected, death to motherboards and sometimes drives and graphics cards.

Most people never even know it because so long as it "seems" to be working fine they never give it a second though but excessive ripple due to poor component selection and poor filtering in the power supply tends to spell early death from fluctuating voltage beyond what the motherboard can easily handle, especially if its not a very good board with it's own very good power delivery, phases and filtering, and from ripple that overheats the caps and creates a variety of other issues.

If you don't have a somewhat recent, high quality PSU, I'd put that at the top of the list, even before anything else. Doesn't matter if you have a 200 dollar motherboard, 400 dollar CPU, 1000 dollars worth of drives and a (Normally, not currently) 800 dollar graphics card, if you have a PSU that starts killing them from the moment it's connected.

The i5-8400 is good for gaming, middle of the pack productivity and general use, but it wouldn't be my first choice due to it's low base clock speed. It will certainly work, and do the job well enough compared to past generations.

If it were ME, which of course it is not, I'd definitely be looking at the i7-8700 or 8700k, with it's additional six threads beyond the i5's six cores. They hyperthreading makes a HUGE difference in the real world. You have to really consider that lab test configurations rarely if ever have much else installed on the OS aside from the software being tested. That is not realistic when compared to what YOU or I would have on our systems.

Various other programs have resident processes that unless disabled or set to manual or trigger start configurations will run in the background or have some kind of memory presence, also, if you tend to multitask, running several high end applications at the same time like Solidworks, Photoshop, Lightroom and Illustrator, as I do on occasion, those additional hyperthreads may not make that primary application you are using any faster than it would optimally run but it WILL help to not slow them down when other things are running alongside them. Extra memory will help with that as well.

Plus, if you work with fairly large images or projects, 16GB can get chewed up fairly fast. I always recommend getting the amount of RAM you need NOW, when you do the build, and using the fewest number of modules you can use, in a matched set that has been factory tested and certified to run together in multiple channel modes, rather than part of the amount now with the intention to add more later. The simple fact is, and this issue has somewhat increased with the introduction of DDR4 coupled to the fact that there is a clear shortage of ICs from the three major memory chip manufacturers, SK Hynix, Micron and Samsung, that has caused memory manufacturers like G.Skill, Corsair, Kingston, Mushkin, GeiL and Patriot to use whatever is currently available in lots, except on the very highest end modules, which generally use Samsung B-die ICs (chips).

That means, and this is demonstrable, that if you buy a memory kit today, say 16GB since that's what we're looking at here, and then buy another identical kit next year, or in six months, or next Tuesday, you may NOT get a set of sticks that are exactly the same as what you originally bought. They may have different ICs from a different manufacturer, they may have a different number of ICs, or they may even have major differences like being dual versus single sided configurations. I recently found three different configurations, all using the same part number from the same company.

Case in point:

http://www.tomshardware.com/answers/id-3610013/amd-ram-compatibility.html#20562100


And what THAT means, is that the kit you by today stands a good chance of either not working in dual/triple/quad channel operation (Depending on what your specific board supports and your configuration based on the number of sticks) but also of not working together AT ALL.

This is not an every case scenario, obviously, but currently I'd say that about 30% of sticks with similar specifications will not run together. That is just my own guess based on what I've seen here and in actual personal experience with the 35 or so systems I've built over the last couple of years since DDR4 was released, and not any actual industry proven spec, but I think compatibility is a much bigger factor than it was in the days of DDR3, not counting the incompatibility problems we saw when memory transitioned from low to high density products.

It's definitely worth considering if you do not want the potential issue of a headache later in the even there are changes or even if there are not, to the model you purchase. Even the same modules, with everything the same, same chips, same latency, same voltage, same sided, everything the same, may not run together or may not run well together, if they came from different production runs and were not pre-tested together.

On the other hand, a lot of people have had success running modules that are not even remotely similar in some regards, without issue. Much depends on the platform and motherboard as well as if you are willing to overclock in order to achieve the modules rated speed. Everything over 2133/2400mhz is considered an overclock when it comes to DDR4 memory. Those are the default SPD settings for practically every DDR4 memory module that exists or that I've seen, and most are 2133mhz. Everything above that requires setting the XMP profile or configuring the settings manually. That's ok with modules that are from a matched set, but disparate modules might encounter further issues when trying to use them at higher speeds, especially if the CPU is not overclocked as well since the memory controllers are in the CPU these days and not on the motherboard as in the distant past.

These are all just things to consider. Sometimes a teaspoon of preparation can equal avoiding a truckload of troubles later when it comes to PC hardware.

I have no qualms about using Ryzen either. I have two clients that preferred to go with AMD for their Solidworks/AutoCAD/TurboCAD machines and so far I've not heard any problems with those systems at all. Both went with Ryzen 7 1800x systems and 32GB of RAM with Quadro cards. So that's an option too.

Much I guess depends on what level, hobby, semi-professional, part time professional or full time professional, you are working at. The system that a 24/7 systems engineer or architect on a large scale project needs will of course not be the same as somebody who is doing basic 3D modeling or creating templates for small 3D printer projects needs. For a primarily photography focused business I'd think the demands might be substantially lower however I am not a professional photographer and do not do what they likely do even though I do work with images and photos quite often as well as doing a lot of graphical web design in various applications.

Sorry, that was MUCH more long winded that I intended it to be.
 
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