Can Air run Photoshop?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by majordude, May 22, 2012.

  1. majordude macrumors 68020


    Apr 28, 2007
    I have a 2011 iMac and a new iPad. I need something in between for work on the road.

    I really don't want to spend the money on a MacBook Pro so I am considering the Air (especially if it may be upgraded soon).

    I need something that will run Photoshop CS5 and Microsoft Office.

    Can it do that without bogging down? If so, which model(s)?
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Any Mac model, even the mini, can easily handle those demands.
  3. Big D 51 macrumors 6502a

    Big D 51

    Jan 15, 2011
    Mobile, AL
  4. majordude thread starter macrumors 68020


    Apr 28, 2007

    I was at the Apple Store a few weeks ago and the Genius said only the top of the line Air would run PS but I didn't believe him. He was either trying to get me to by the TOL Air or a MacBook Pro or something. :rolleyes:

    I like how portable the Air is.
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    It's important to remember than "Genius" is only their job title, and not necessarily an indication of their knowledge, experience or expertise. You were smart not to "buy" that story.
  6. AlanShutko macrumors 6502a

    Jun 2, 2008
    I've got a 2009 MBA that runs PS (CS5 or 6). However, mine only has 2GB of ram, so doing really large stuff slows down a lot.

    I think in general, RAM will be your big limiter. I'd say at least 4GB would work for my workload... you may be different. Check how much memory you're usually using on your iMac when working on stuff, and use that as a gauge.
  7. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    The genius is a complete idiot. Now annoyingly Adobe is suggesting more vram for CS6, and you can't really upgrade the Air to where the intel HD3000 would allocate that much under OSX (starting at 8GB). The main issue with larger files there is ram. The SSD helps quite a lot if it has adequate free space, but overall assuming adequate disk space (even an SSD has some issues if filled almost entirely) you should see virtually no difference between the Airs in that program. If you're concerned with Adobe's beefed up OpenGL recommendations for CS6 (and never assume an old version will last forever if you plan to update the OS), nothing below a 15" pro should make a huge difference. I haven't personally tested the new version to see what runs it well. I kind of dislike that they're making everything OpenGL as it hasn't run that well on the past couple versions regardless of what gpu is in your computer.

    Anyway the OpenGL functions are my primary concern there, and you can still probably disable them if it's an issue. Large 16 bpc files might be annoying too due to low ram, but they'd have to be pretty big, and as you said, you have an imac at home. The current imac will pretty much chew through anything 2d as long as it's configured well.
  8. KohPhiPhi macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2011
    The MBA (especially with 4gb RAM) is a much beefier machine than most people believe. It's a fully decked working machine that can chew through *almost* anything you throw at it. Photoshop included of course.
  9. The Phazer macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2007
    London, UK
    To be honest it depends on what you are intending to do with Photoshop.

    If your work is limited to print-DPI A4-ish sized documents or work on photos from a non-specialist grade SLR you'll be fine, but 4GB of RAM is very, very helpful. Especially given you can't upgrade it later on.

    If, as some people absolutely do, you need to work with absolutely crazily huge professional photo work for banner printing then you may find it will struggle a bit, but any portable short of a top of the range MBP will.

  10. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Sure, if you can find the storage space for your files. My 128gb SSD is full, and all I have on it is music, and a few games. I would love to put my web development software on there too, but between a gig of files + a few gigs for photoshop, I'd have to uninstall quite a bit.
  11. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    He's wrong. You should see some of the ancient machines that run Photoshop at work.

    I used my air for class in a pinch once and had Maya, ZBrush, Unity 3D and Photoshop running at once and it ran suprisingly well (very impressive for ZBrush).
  12. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    I bought more space on my internal drive by splitting my music over internal and external drives, keeping the music I listen to most on the internal. Perhaps this can help:

    How to split a single iTunes library over two or more media locations
  13. jlykins macrumors newbie

    Jul 2, 2010
    I run PS on my Macbook Air. It runs just fine. I would suggest however that you stick with the 4gb of ram model. Photoshop CS6 takes quite a bit of ram. That being said, I have a MBP with a quad core i7, 8gb of ram and a 1gb video card. It flies through photoshop with no problems at all... It's all about how large of files you plan on running as to whether it will bog down.
  14. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    The MBA should be fine. There are 3 differences between the 11" and 13" you need to consider:
    • The keyboard is slightly different - the row of function keys is slightly smaller on the 11".
    • The screen size and resolution, will the 11" be big enough for you?
    • The 11" does not have an SD slot, you would need the 13" for that.
    You do want 4GB of ram.

    And the last choice is the SSD size.

    The "genius" may have made the right recommendation for the wrong reasons. But the above things I noted are all personal choices and only you can make it. I do know that a 128GB SSD can feel tight (depending on your camera) if you're loading pictures while on a trip.
  15. aarond12 macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2002
    Dallas, TX USA
    In the early 1990s, I was running Photoshop on a 68000-series Macintosh. Even with all the new features, a modestly-powerful Mac (or PC) will run Photoshop. Only when you get things like large, complex brushes, or a crazy amount of filters, will you need a more-powerful computer.

    Load that bad boy full of RAM and you'll be golden.
  16. majordude thread starter macrumors 68020


    Apr 28, 2007
    I'm glad that it can run PS. I really don't want to shell out $2500 for a nice MacBook Pro.

    Soooooo... now I have to decide between the 11" and 13" and whether or not I should wait to see if Apple will be releasing an new Air at the upcoming conference.
  17. Mad Mac Maniac macrumors 601

    Mad Mac Maniac

    Oct 4, 2007
    A little bit of here and a little bit of there.
    uhhh.... why would you automatically jump straight to the $2500 17" MBP anyway? That's the most expensive MBP Apple sells... (standard configuration)

    I'm not trying to convince you one way or the other between mbp and mba, but if you go ahead and get the cheapest 13" mba that is actually more expensive ($1300) than the cheapest 13" mbp ($1200). plus with the pro you get 2.4Ghz vs 1.7 GHz on the air and 500GB storage vs the 128GB storage on the air. So you actually get considerably more bang for your buck on the mbp.

    The advantages of the air are the weight, thinness, and SSD.... but NOT price versus how well it can run photoshop.
  18. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    For PS, the 13" would work better with the increased screen real estate.

    I have the 11" and it works fine. Screen is a bit small if you have bigger canvas to work with—a lot of scrolling.

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