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Optimize the Performance Settings of Photoshop

Adjusting the Performance Settings of Adobe Photoshop

Adjusting the performance settings could double your Photoshop experience. Though Photoshop automatically sets the performance depending on your hardware configuration. But sometimes you may need to adjust the default settings to improve the performance. If your hardware configuration is strong, you should customize the performance settings. 

Couple of days ago, I got a new CPU you know. And the following parts will affect the Photoshop performance: 
  • Intel Core i3 Processor (3.3 GHz, 3 MB Cache)
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM (1600 Bus)
  • 1 TB HDD
And I always use Photoshop CS5 (Portable) for edidting or creating image. The hardware of my old PC was not strong enough. And it didn't allow me to customize the settings so much. But the new one lets me customize the performance settings. 

Optimize the Performance Settings| Photoshop CS4, CS5, CS6

Don't be confused! All the images used in this post, options I'm talking about are based on Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended. Since I don't have old versions of Photoshop I'm not sure whether the options are same or different. But I hope, there could be a bit difference, not more than that. 

Let's start - 
  1. Run Adobe Photoshop.
  2. Go to Edit Menu and Choose Preferenes > Performance.
  3. Now you will get 4 sections: Memory Usage, History & Cache, Scratch Disks and GPU settings.
Let's customize one by one - 

Memory Usage

This is the most important part of this topic. I mean the usage of RAM. 

Usage of RAM in Adobe Photoshop

Look at the memory usage part. Available RAM indicates your usable RAM. Ideal range is the range which Photoshop thinks optimum for your PC. By default, Photoshop use 60% to 70% of available RAM. But I've 4 GB RAM installed in my PC. Why do I use 1585 MB only? 

I've chosen 100% of the available memory. There is a slider too. You can increase/ decrease the memory usage by sliding the indicator to the right or left. 

History & Cache

The next one is History & Cache. Look at the image below:

History & Cache Option in Adobe Photoshop

In this part our main concern is Cache. History doesn't matter. By default photoshop can save up to 1000 history states. But never do that. Remember, the more states will consume more hard disk space. Let's keep it to 20. Or you can reduce the value to 10. 

If you have more than 3 GB usable RAM, set the Cache Levels to 8 and Tile Size to 1028 K. Or you can choose more cache levels for bigger documents with few layers. And fewer cache levels for smaller documents with many layers. 

Choosing higher cache levels and bigger tile size may slow down the speed while opening a document. But it will significantly improve the processing capacity. So if you have faster RAM and large hard disk, choose the higher cache levels and tile size. 

Scratch Disks

What is Scratch Disks? A list of your hard disk volumes! Before talking about this let's have a look at the snapshot:

Photoshop Scratch Disks and GPU settings

How much RAM you have? 2 GB, 4 GB, 8GB or more? Sometimes this is not enough for processing images. That's why Photoshop uses a part of your hard disk as scratch disk. By default, Photoshop uses the Drive C:\ to scratch. Normally we use C as booting drive. 

But using booting drive as scratch disk is not a good idea. Let's choose another drive which  is faster and having plenty of free space. Here I've choosen the drive D:\ as scratch disk. You can also choose more than one scratch disk if necessary. In that case you can rearrange the order using the up and down arrow. 

Suppose, you've selected drive D as scratch disk. Now if you run photoshop, you will see a temp file in the D drive. ie. Photoshop Temp54895112832. And after closing the photoshop, this file will be vanished automatically. 

If you have any external disk which is faster than your internal hard disk, you can use that disk as your scratch disk. 

GPU Settings

You can only use this feature if your video card supports this. Look at the above image. 

Detected Video Card: Intel(R) HD Graphics 2500

Here you can Enable OpenGL Drawing. You may not be able to find any difference directly. But this option will enable some features that enhance the overall performance. 

OpenGL Drawing enables the following features:
  • Rotate View Tool
  • Birdseye Zooming
  • Pixel Grid
  • Flick Panning Preferences, Scrubby Zoom
  • HUD Color Picker, Sampling Ring etc.
  • Smooth Pan and Zoom
  • Drop Shadow for Canvas Border
  • 3D Interaction Acceleration etc.

Hopefully, adjusting these performance settings will help you a lot to have a better photoshop experience. If you're confused with any option, please knock me . . . 

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