Most of my daily workflow involves batch processing thousands of files with custom actions. I normally use Windows workstations at work, running Photoshop 2023. Looking to maximize productivity on an upcoming road trip, I bought a new MacBook Pro M2. The M2 rips through image-processing software like Zerene Stacker (focus-stacking) like a hot knife through butter, and the ability to use Thunderbolt networking with a second MacBook Pro is awesome for transfering gigabytes of images between computers in seconds. But running Photoshop 2023 (v24.7) on the M2 has been a rude awakening.
For a comparison, I chose a simple batch action to run on 100 full-frame (8688 x 5792) jpg images (I mentioned I normally run this on thousands at a time). The action consists of Open file, Canvas size to 3000 x 3000 centered, Save as jpg in another folder, and Close file. Here are four computers with results:
1. Windows workstation circa 2012 running Windows 10 and Photoshop 2023 v24.7 with 16GB RAM:
Total time 3 min 33 sec = 2.13 seconds/image
2. Windows workstation circa 2015 (Intel Xeon E5-2650 v3), W10, PS 2023 v24.7, 96GB RAM:
Total time 3 min 21 sec = 2.01 seconds/image
3. MacBook Pro (2019) (Intel i7-9750H), Mac OS Big Sur, PS 2023 v24.5, 32GB RAM:
Total time 1 min 32 sec = 0.92 seconds/image
4. MacBook Pro (2023) (12-core M2), Mac OS Ventura, PS 2023 v24.7, 32GB RAM:
Total time 6 min 53 sec = 4.13 seconds/image
All systems are running from a single drive (SSD in the case of the MacBooks), and Photoshop's performance settings are default (70% of available RAM and graphics card enabled).
The Intel MacBook is fast, and I was hoping the M2 would be even faster. But here is another comparison, this time with a more complex batch action on 100 images (3000 x 3000): Open file, Smart sharpen, Set Measurement scale, add scale bar with text, Flatten layers, Save as jpg in another folder, and Close file.
MacBook Pro (Intel): 1 min 42 sec = 1.02 seconds/image
MacBook Pro (M2): 12 min 40 sec = 7.60 seconds/image !!!!!
The Intel MacBook processes so fast the batch dialog never closes--just a twirling cursor to show it's working until it's finished. The Windows computers close the dialog and show each file opening, but the M2 crawls through and displays every batch step in slow motion.
Needless to say I will be using the four-year old Intel MacBook for all of the Photoshop work on this trip, and the M2 for tethered image acquisition, file sorting and 3D model-building. Any thoughts you might have on this Photoshop performance--i.e. does it jive with your M2 experience, is Ventura the problem, something about PS v24--would be appreciated.
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One fundamental difference is the integrated GPU, and the critical part is that this uses system memory. It can easily eat up half the installed RAM.
That in itself may not be a problem - but it does mean Photoshop will be using the scratch disk more heavily. It's even more critical that you have enough scratch disk space. Those are pretty big files, so how much do you have?
I suggest you monitor and break down memory usage in whatever tools are available in MacOS.
Thanks for your reply.
You're right about the big files--the downside of a 50 MP full-frame sensor. But we're capturing 8-9 MB jpgs (not RAW or TIFF), so that helps. That's also why the first step in our workflow is to reduce canvas to ~3000x3000 (we're only using the center of the image anyway). My scratch disk is the 1 TB boot SSD with over 800 GB available, so I don't think that's the issue.
I was curious about the RAM and the GPU issue you noted. In a perhaps meaningless exercise, I tried my simple action on the 100 images again four times, with the following performance setting changes (relaunching Photoshop with each change):
1. default 70% available RAM (which results in ~21MB of available 30 MB)
2. 50% available RAM
3. 90% available RAM
4. 70% with M2 GPU disabled (UNCHECKED)
To my surprise, I did not see more than 1 second difference in total processing time compared to the original 6 min 53 sec.
So it remains a mystery, but I've seen other posts complaing about Mac M2 performance. Maybe Adobe will figure out something, but in the meantime I'll keep using my Intel MacBook.
That's wild and it should definitely be faster than all the other machines. Have you double checked that you're not running in Rosetta mode?