Nostalgia cure: this is how fast Photoshop was 20 years ago


Dear photography friends,

In case you are getting irritated by the slowness of Lightroom or Photoshop while editing 30MP+ files and in case you are thinking, that everything was better in the old days, I recommend that you watch the following Apple demo, which took place during Macworld Expo 1997. In the course of said demo you will see just how “incredibly fast” Photoshop was running on a brand-new Mac compared to a typical high-end PC. The Mac was equipped with IBM’s then flagship processor, the PowerPC Exponential X704 running at 450 MHz. The PC was rocking one of Intel’s fastest processors at the time, a Pentium Pro running at 200 MHz.

It is not difficult to guess, that Photoshop ran a lot faster on the Mac. But what is truly of interest to us Photoshopers is how long the individual tasks took. And this is where you immediately realize just how good we photographers have it today. Applying the Gaussian blur filter to a single, tiny image took 8 seconds on the Mac and 16 on the PC. This is hardly real-time computing, but it’s nothing compared to the second filter, unsharp masking, which was applied in the second half of the clip. To compute this filter, the Mac and the PC needed 10 and a whopping 21 seconds respectively!

It’s too early for New Year’s resolutions, but in 2018 I will take great pains not to rant about the slowness of image processing software. 🙂

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