Before a new version of Photoshop is released there are normally months of mass hysteria as to what cool new features have made the grade, and while there have been many additions to the application the main focus has been on the Content Awareness system – I won’t be delving into that today but if you are curious check out this video which gives a good overview of its capabilities.
The big news for me and many other industry users is the fact that Photoshop CS5 on the Macintosh is finally a true 64 bit application. It was a bugbear that regardless of how much ram was installed in your Macintosh that the application could only use the first 3GB. This is rather hard to believe as Windows has had a fully 64bit compliant version for years but Adobe have only recently adopted Cocoa APIs. Not only is more ram accessible by the program, but most modern processors will be fully utilised – I recorded 10-15% speed increases when comparing the 64bit CS4 exe against the 32bit version, this is nothing to sniff at, especially when working with huge multilayered files.
What many people do not know however is that Apple have enforced by default a 32bit set of instructions within OSX for ‘compatibility’ reasons. This has a slightly detrimental effect on Photoshop performance and until recently, changing this to 64bit was a laborious process. Thankfully a nice bloke spent some time coding a little application which switches back and forward – snag it over here.
I won’t bore you by detailing EFI and Kernel information, if you follow that link I just posted all the information is over there. Please be aware that if some low priority driver stops working due to forcing on 64bit mode then it is easy to switch back to 32 bit. In all my testing I never had an issue running in 64bit mode and I have a wide variety of devices attached to my Macintosh systems – so I have left it on.
If you want to check which mode you are running in. go to the Apple Menu via the Finder, select About This Mac then More Info, and scroll to the software header (see image above).
Windows users basically end up with a faster and more powerful version of CS4 with all the new treats – there is little to report here but if you are interested in learning about the new features in CS5, head to the Adobe site over here and download the free trial. Their interface will detect the platform you are using and offer the correct application suites.