January 20, 2006
Source: Mac Observer
Written by Mike Serieys
It is almost universally accepted that the Mac is the preferred platform for photo pros. Almost any photographer at a major organization will be using Photoshop for several hours a day, so Steve Jobs’ announcement Tuesday of the world’s fastest notebook computer should have been a great thing for them.
Those who watched Jobs’ keynote though will have heard very a different story. During a demo of the new Intel-based Macs, Jobs admitted – to the dismay of professional users everywhere – that Rosetta, the technology used to run PowerPC only Mac applications on Intel Macs, wasn’t good enough for professionals.
After a demonstration of Microsoft Word on the new Intel Core Duo iMac, Jobs opened Photoshop, explaining that he was about to run the kind of test Apple often did to demonstrate a new computer’s capabilities. Showing Photoshop run through the actions undertaken to create a billboard advertisement for the movie King Kong, Jobs said:
“While the performance is not going to be strong enough for professionals who spend hours a day in Photoshop, it’s going to be enough for the rest of us, even under Rosetta.”
Editor’s Note: PixelGenius, the owner and publisher of PhotoshopNews has had a MacIntel since last summer (shortly after the Intel announcement) and has been running compatibility testing of Photoshop CS2 and the PixelGenius products. In general, Photoshop CS2 runs “well” on the MacIntel machine with about the same speed in the Photoshop interface as one would see in a mid-level G5 or a fast G4. However, when running actual CPU intensive operations such as filters or standard functions such as resizing or mode changes, one sees a progress bar when one would not expect to. Rosetta does an admirable job of making PPC optimized apps run under the Intel chip set but the speed hit for converting PPC calls and translating them to the Intel calls is noticeable.
At this point, until such time that Adobe recompiles Photoshop code under Xcode 2.x, the performance of highly optimized PPC code will suffer-thus Photoshop CS2 will suffer. Adobe has already announced that the next major version of the Creative Suite line will be recompiled for Universal Binaries, but with the release of Creative Suite 2 in May of 2005, the expectation of a new release of the Creative Suite product line is about 18 months out from that date–on average, Photoshop has been revved on an 18 month schedule.
For professional users of Photoshop the Rosetta option is not really a viable option. As a result, there is bound to be a period of time in which Apple’s MacIntel machines are out in advance of an available UB version of Adobe Creative Suite apps. Users experienced a similar time when Apple dropped OS 9.x in favor of OS X-a difficult transition which is now behind us. About all that can be said is that in the future, we will be able to move past this and look back–but the next year will see a degree discontent in the Mac pro user base of Photoshop. On the upside, the current crop of dual-core G5′s are incredibly fast so for the foreseeable future, there will be pro level hardware available for power users of Photoshop.