Want to run Photoshop 35% faster? Use Mac OS X 10.4.8

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The publishing industry is still impatiently waiting for Intel-optimised Adobe applications. Eleven months since the first Intel-based Mac shipped, early adopters of Intel-based Macs have been running Adobe applications (especially Photoshop) at less than half its native speed as compared to PowerPC-powered machines. Apple’s Rosetta compatibility layer for running PowerPC compiled apps, does a great job of making all things compatible with the Intel chips, but with a penalty. A big penalty.

Adobe apps are the worst hit, especially the processor intensive Photoshop. In early tests by Macworld, an iMac Core Duo ran selected Photoshop tasks 45% slower than an iMac G5. This speed penalty IS substantial. And more than enough to put off purchases, especially from the publishing industry, eager to jump on the Intel bandwagon.

Adobe is committed to bringing the latest edition of its Creative Suite, and a Universal version at that, to Intel-swarmed shores and we should see Adobe CS 3 appearing some time next year. Apple should also see a big increase in hardware sales once Adobe CS 3 is released. Adobe recently release Acrobat 8, which is a Universal release and runs scorchingly fast on new Macs.

For those who have already upgraded (or downgraded, depending on perspective!) to an Intel Mac, don’t fret. Thanks to the hardworking programmers in the Apple camp, Rosetta now runs 35% faster than previously. The catch? Download and install Mac OS X 10.4.8. Macworld was surprised to find Photoshop performing much better in recent tests with the OS update.

Before the OS X 10.4.8 update, a 2GHz iMac G5 beat the 2.66GHz Quad-Core Mac Pro at both the Photoshop and Word Scroll tests. After the update, the Photoshop numbers looked much more respectable, with the Mac Pro outpacing the iMac G5 by 28 percent in the Photoshop test. What’s more, the 2.16GHz iMac Core 2 Duo closing the speed gap enjoyed by its G5 counterpart from 35 percent to a dead even finish. Still, even after the OS X 10.4.8 update, the G5s wiped the floor with the Intel-based Macs on the Word test.

So what are you waiting for? Go download Mac OS X 10.4.8!

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