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Photoshop CS4 64-bit version…for Windows only

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The Apple/Adobe relationship has been a tad strained lately. Apple has been less than helpful with providing Adobe necessary information for their development process, and Adobe has taken the stance of ignorance in regards to porting their apps from Carbon to Cocoa.

Yesterday, Adobe’s John Nack wrote that the next version of Photoshop (CS4) would support 64-bit computing, but only on Windows. CS4 on OS X would stay 32-bit.

So why is this a big deal? For a majority of Photoshop users, this just plain will not matter or affect them. But for the Photoshop power-users (who are largely on the Mac platform), 64-bit computing would make a difference to them.

64-bit computing basically allows the application to process huge amounts of memory faster. Ultimately reducing processing time and creating a faster workflow. Nack gives an example.

For example, opening a 3.75 gigapixel image on a 4-core machine with 32GB RAM is about 10× faster.

I can’t say I know many people with a 4-core machine and 32GB of RAM…but the example still stands.

On the other hand, Gruber makes another great point.

Keep in mind that a Canon 1Ds Mark III — which sells at Amazon for $8,000 — generates 21 megapixel images. 3.75 gigapixels is 3,750 megapixels. You probably don’t have images like that.

I feel like a lot of the hoopla surrounding this is more of a principle issue than a real business or technology issue for a lot of people. I can’t imagine the backlash that has come from this is really felt by so many people.

The idea that Photoshop CS4 will run faster on a 64-bit version of Windows Vista makes people more upset than the reality of it. You have to remember that the average copy of Windows Vista is only 32-bit capable. You have to purchase a separate version of Vista to have 64-bit capabilities.

Ultimately I think Photoshop CS4’s 64-bit capabilities just won’t be a big deal. Such a small, concentrated number of Vista users will be using it that I think it will just be forgotten until CS5 with Photoshop supports 64-bit editing on both OSX and Windows.

7 Responses to “Photoshop CS4 64-bit version…for Windows only”

  1. cs4 rocks on vista x64 on my 8GB + kick butt graphics card. noticeable difference over cs3. i must say, this how bad windows/vista song that keeps playing is getting stale. not my experience at all.

  2. so true, so true. I just setup a 64-bit Windows Server 2008 system (workstation converted, much better than using Vista, all the power with none of the bug inducing fluff) specifically because Photoshop finally moved into the 64-bit realm. It rocks, and you don’t just notice the improvement if you’re working with ultra large images. If you use a very large amount of complex layered painting, the increase in performance is staggering. This is a huge boost to my productivity.

  3. Jon Abbott

    Wow, I have been waiting for a 64bit PS for Windows for a long time. For example, several of my clients use the Canon 21 megapixel Camera (and a P30) and are shooting images that have to be stitched together into panoramams. Even after flattening, adding a few retouching layers and adjustment layers and the file size hits 300-500 MB and up quickly. So we regularly hit the ram limits of 32bit PS, and performance then drops dramatically. At last the full 8gb of ram I already have installed is addressable. Now I need a motherboard that will hold more ram. Yeah!

  4. Body Taing

    I’m an Apple applications developer and a CS3 power user.

    “The idea that Photoshop CS4 will run faster on a 64-bit version of Windows Vista makes people more upset than the reality of it”


    The Mac OS user base is about 6-7% or less. The vast majority of Adobe software users are on a PC platform and can actually care less. Why do you think Adobe chose this route? This is a similar move that they made a while ago, when they killed support for MAC on some Adobe titles. There simply is not enough users (vs PC) to warrant the R&D cost to develop for the MAC platform first.

    Who would know better than Adobe themselves?

  5. Our Institute switched to Apple a year ago because we had so many problems with Windows even with multiple firewalls. We have had little to no trouble with any of our Macs. The only exception is the one unit someone put Windows on. That unit got killed.

    We have always used the latest version of Adobe Creative Suite but now because of Apple’s bad attitude we will be stuck with an inferior version. It is strange because CS3 works well on our Macs and would undoubtedly scream with a 64 bit version.

    Apple wants us to all buy their Aperture software which is amusing but does not come close to cutting for a professional. It is another example of how Apple shoots itself in the foot in order to coerce users to buy it’s software. I guess it is just the price we all have to pay for someone’s Apple ego.