In my last entry about Apple’s new MacBook Pro laptop, I noted that even though it’s a first generation machine, it’s probably not the best thing to buy if you spend your days in Photoshop painting pixels. The reasoning behind this is because Adobe Photoshop currently runs in emulation using the Rosetta emulator technology. Adobe has publicly given notice that Intel-native versions of their Creative Suite will wait until the next major version, so considering CS2 is still pretty new, I can’t imagine Adobe launching CS3 for more than a year — meaning another year until Photoshop runs at full speed. How bad is the emulation speed drop? Let’s find out.
Jason O’Grady posted some Photoshop-related benchmarks that compared the new 2.0Ghz MPB to the previous 1.5Ghz G4 Powerbook, and the results were shockingly bad.
The first test turned an image of a lightning bolt into a kaleidoscoped version of it, with rotating and blurring. The MacBook Pro took nearly 43 seconds vs. the G4 Powerbook taking about 30 seconds. The second test takes a 10MB image and scales it up to half a gigabyte, with sharpening done at each small step. The MacBook Pro took 4 minutes 3 seconds, while the G4 Powerbook only took 2 minutes 16 seconds.
In both tests, the new MacBook Pro was thoroughly trounced by the previous generation Powerbook because Rosetta emulation of Photoshop is absolutely terrible. I’ve also heard reports that the emulation is buggy as well as being slow, with random Photoshop crashes happening when switching between applications. I can’t wait until the Intel PowerMacs come out, because that same day I’m going to buy a quad version of the old G5 😉