Will the new MBA be able to handle serious Photoshop?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Voz&Misha, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. Voz&Misha macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2011
    I'm a travel photographer and would like to shrink the poundage of my electronic devices. But I also need to be able to perform some advanced/memory-intensive functions in photoshop, such as working with large RAW files, splicing panoramic images, etc.

    Can anyone give an educated guess if the new MBA coming out this month will be able to handle these kind of memory/processor-heavy tasks with reasonable performance? (Assuming that the new MBA will have SandyBridge with the integrated graphics card, Thunderbolt, etc.) Or do you think it will just hang with only 4MB memory?

    Anyone have experience using "heavy" photoshop tasks (RAW images, etc.) with the current MBA? How is the performance? Does SS memory and drive help compensate for the low memory and slower processor?

  2. Dan in PA macrumors regular

    Mar 20, 2009
    Lehigh Valley, PA
    I have the current 11" "ultimate" MBA. I routinely use it to post process my 5D Mark II RAW files in Lightroom 3 and occasionally Photoshop CS5 (though I prefer Lightroom). Absolutely no lag or freezing. Just as responsive (if not more so) than my C2D 15" MBP. I'd say very confidently that the current MBAs, with 4 GB RAM, will work very well for you. Others will have to comment on the SB ones, not sure what difference that will make.

    The form factor is amazing for taking with you for tethered shooting etc.
  3. aleni macrumors 68020

    Jun 2, 2006
    oh God pleaseee steve make 8GB of ram available through BTO.

    i'm currently using 17" 2.66 c2duo with 128gb ssd and 8gb of ram. i make tshirt design which is big file and really need the 8gb of rams.

    i recently bought a 27" acd so i don't really need a big ass screen again for a notebook.

    wish to convert to 13" mba with 8gb of ram and a sandy bridge.
  4. mikeos macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2011
    I use my my 2.13ghz 2gb ram MacBook air in the field every now and then.
    I process raw files in cs5 and it's fine.
  5. applewins macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2011
    I'd say that when the new MBAs are out visit an AppleStore and take some projects with you and try them out.

    If the next store is too far away, try to find some youtube-demos of the new Air which are going to be there very soon after the refresh. Try to find any "stress-test" videos or benchmarks (geekbench...)

    The MBA allready handles more or less heavy-processing tasks, but of course not as fast as on an iMac. The question is how much faster the SB/graphic chip on the new Air will be and how much RAM you can take in - SB allows up to 8 GB RAM as I've heard?

    So we'll see after the refresh :)
  6. rayyu882 macrumors member

    Jan 18, 2010
    Many machines in Apple stores has Photoshop installed, I'm not sure rather their MBAs will though, but if they do then it is easy to download some large RAW samples to try out the machines right there before purchase.
  7. Beaverman3001 macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2010
    Haven't had any problems processing RAW photos from my NX10 on my MBA so far.
  8. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    SB allows at least 16GB, and Apple could have made the current models with an option for 8GB, but they just didn't. It's a matter of apple offering it rather than the computer being able to handle it.
  9. TC25 macrumors 68020

    Mar 28, 2011
    No, just semi-serious Photoshop.
  10. Eyeu macrumors newbie

    Sep 20, 2010
    MBA and PS

    Have an 11" MBA 1.6 with 4 gig of RAM...have no problems with PS CS5...just returned from vacation and had processed many of my RAW images from my Canon 5DII without any issues. A real time saver...so glad I had it!
  11. drewyboy macrumors 65816

    Jan 27, 2005
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but by semi-serious is that in the range of 2/5-3/5 serious?
  12. TC25 macrumors 68020

    Mar 28, 2011
    You are correct.
  13. macrumorsuser10 macrumors 6502

    Nov 18, 2010
    I actually had some problems with Photoshop CS5 on my MBA 13" Ultimate, which contributed to my returning it.

    I was editing 12MP images from my Canon 5D, particularly with the brush to paint masks. When the brush size was large, there was a lot of stuttering in the application, but at smaller brush sizes, everything was ok.

    For very basic exposure control with levels, curves, and the like, there were no problems, but then there isn't really a reason to use Photoshop for that. You can make do with Lightroom or Aperture.
  14. Voz&Misha thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2011
    Thanks all for the replies. Sounds like the consensus is "it works well enough" - and hopefully SB will work better - which is good enough for me to give it a shot.

    Now if they'll only release it already!
  15. MoreAwesomeDanU macrumors regular


    Dec 4, 2010
    i don't know what kind of processing are u guys doing... but my 11" 1.4 with 4gb ram lagged quite a bit when editing photos in lightroom/photoshop...
  16. macrumorsuser10 macrumors 6502

    Nov 18, 2010

    Agreed. Everyone above is using Photoshop to "process RAW files", meaning they're just converting the RAW into JPEG. This procedure isn't particularly CPU-intensive, and I don't even know why they use Photoshop when Lightroom can do the same thing. When I say I'm using Photoshop, I mean I'm doing pixel editing with layers piled high.
  17. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    Photoshop runs well on hardware that is 5 years old it will most certainly run just fine on newer machines.

    The problem is many people just install photoshop and think its good to go. Yes, it will work but if you customize it by digging into the preferences you can get a lot better performance out of it. How to do this is usually in the Photoshop help file.
  18. Beanoir macrumors 6502a


    Dec 9, 2010
    51 degrees North
    Careful, it depends on what your idea of "serious" is compared to other peoples.

    We've had the debate in the past about PS CS on an MBA and there are 2 camps, those that think it's not capable enough if you're serious, and those that think it's fine.

    I've tried and it struggles on my MBA for a lot of my PS work.
  19. Beanoir macrumors 6502a


    Dec 9, 2010
    51 degrees North
    This man here uses it properly! :cool:
  20. Voz&Misha thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2011
    Definition of "serious"

    Yeah, I'm not talking about just converting RAW images to JPEG. I'm talking about manipulating the RAW file to prep it for professional submission - which might include curves, levels, touchup tools (healing, etc.), possibly some filters, swapping out backgrounds with content aware, and I'm looking forward to playing with the new puppet warp when I upgrade to CS5. All of this with "layers piled high" as our friend above says, and all on 21MP RAW images.

    That's my definition of "serious" photoshop.
  21. lasuther macrumors 6502a

    Feb 13, 2004
    Grand Haven, Michigan
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Yep. Serious PS work will be done on a maxed 15"MPB.
  22. stockscalper macrumors 6502a


    Aug 1, 2003
    Area 51
    I do a lot of Photoshopping on a current edition Air Ultimate and it handles it better than my previous MBP. Your question about how the SB Airs will handle Photoshop is an unknown until they come out. But with Intel's crappy graphics on board there may very well be some issues.
  23. merkinmuffley macrumors 6502a

    Dec 3, 2010
    we have 2 13 inch 4gb Airs now that run CS5, about all they are used for is a review/quick edit of shots taken in the field. It runs ok for a portable.
  24. Beanoir macrumors 6502a


    Dec 9, 2010
    51 degrees North
    Real man's Photoshop that, I think you'd struggle then if i'm honest with an MBA, but i'm sure i'll still be shouted down for saying that by others that believe the MBA is capable of everything (every forum has them of course) ;)
  25. Hankster macrumors 68020


    Jan 30, 2008
    Washington DC
    I have the same experience. I've been using PhotoShop since 2001 and it has never been more laggy than on my MBA Ultimate. You can open files and do basic editing, but for anything moderately intensive the application lags/stops for several seconds at a time. My screen will even freeze. Just my experience.

    It really depends on what you're doing/editing. If you do have a chance head over to your Apple store, they do have PhotoShop installed. I was just there three weeks ago.

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