Apple M1 Macbook pro tested until failure with Photoshop
I have been testing the new Apple M1 Macbook pro with Photoshop and other applications.
Photoshop (plus Lightroom) on desktop and iPad goes from $9.99/month. Illustrator sells on its own from $20.99/month with the whole Adobe Creative Suite going from $52.99/month. Check out a closer.
I have to say I’m actually shocked by the performance on this little laptop.
I have been testing the base version with 8Gb of ram. You would think you can barely even run Photoshop with 8 gigs, but this little beast beat out the loaded 16″ MacBook pro with 64Gb of ram in some of my tests. I have been using the native M1 version of Photoshop ARM, as well as Photoshop 2021, and I give you the results of all those tests.
Just what I have been looking for. My 13” Macbook Air is now seven years old with 8GB RAM. Yes it is limping along, especially when I throw in 3D and rendering. So a new Mac is needed, and the M1 looks inviting. I suppose I will hang on for Apple to come out with the m2 with additional memory. Mac is powerful, capable, and packed with everything you need to bring your work to the next level. Take your productivity and creativity further with apps for anything you can imagine. Even use apps from Microsoft 365 and Adobe Creative Cloud without missing a beat. 2 No matter who you are, or what you want to do, Mac can make it happen. The 13' Retina MacBook Pro is physically only a little bigger than the Air, and weighs just over half a pound more. Configured similarly, they are roughly equivalent in price, even though the Pro has a much, much better screen (in terms of resolution and glare), much faster processor, ability to get 16GB memory, more ports, etc.
It struggles when I throw a huge 20k 64 layer file at it. But shockingly it is able to process this file. Check out my video reviews to see these different tests and my recommendations.
Jan 2021 Update on Photoshop Beta on M1
Adobe has released a public beta of the ARM version of Photoshop. It does have some features that are missing, and under development right now, they are.
(I have updated this list with features that are now working in the January 2021 release of Photoshop ARM Beta. I have indicated these with a (working) tag.
- Many features are still not available in this version of Photoshop, and some features may experience slow performance. Please refer to the following known issues before submitting feedback.
- Features NOT PRESENT IN THIS VERSION:
- (working) Camera RAW
- (working) Select Sky/Sky Replacement
- (working) Refine Hair (in Select and Mask)
- (working) Liquify Filter: Face Aware features
- OilPaint filter
- (working) Video timeline and file format support
- All CEP-based Panels (CC Libraries panel, 3rd party extensions)
- Adaptive Wide Angle
- Shake Reduction
- Face Detection underlying Color Range skin tones and Content Aware Move functions
- Match Font/Font Similarity
- Rich Tooltips, Coach marks for Discovery Panel tutorials
- Microsoft Dial support
- (working) File Info Panel
- Layer > Smart Objects > Stack Mode menu item disabled
- Content Aware Fill
- Content Aware Scale
- Content Aware Move
- Focus Area
- Auto-Blend Layers
- (working) Photomerge
- (working) Spot Healing Brush
- (working) Patch Tool
- Healing brush
- Some File formats not supported:
- Features present, but with limitations or bugs:
- Import from Lightroom Photos via the home screen does not work
- Filter Gallery functions may seem to hang but will eventually succeed
- All 3D-related functions are limited; either very slow or not fully rendering 3D content; includes 3D printing, 360 panorama editing, normal and bump map filters, Lighting Effects
- Scrubby Zoom behavior is erratic
- Changing stroke pixel size not working as expected
- Opening hundreds of files could cause a crash
- Several features are running slower on M1 native devices; these will be optimized over time:
- Select Subject (may have bugs due to misclassification)
- Object Aware Matting (in Select and Mask)
- Object Selection
- Preserve Details 2.0 Upscale (Image Size dialog box
In my tests, Photoshop 2021 is running fine under Rosetta 2, but not quite getting the speed it will under native M1.
I will be testing Lightroom soon and posting the results, as well as comparing the 16Gb version. This new direction for Apple is game changing. We haven’t see this type of performance increase before. On top of that, the way it manages power is something. It has 8 cores, 4 are for performance, and 4 for efficiency. As a result, I found the battery life amazing, more than twice the useable time as any laptop I’ve ever used. To top it off, the machine stayed very cool through all my tests.
My suggestion is if you need a laptop right now and don’t mind waiting for the native versions of your favorite apps, go ahead and by it, its a great machine. (But first make sure the apps you need will run on this M1).
If you are patient and have a little time, I’d wait for the apps to be running natively, as well as the next Gen. Yes, the next version is alway going to better, no matter when you buy. However, we will see more options in the future including iMac and MacBook Pros with larger screen as well as the Mac Pro eventually running apple silicon. For Pros with heavy lifting, you might wait for a 32 or 64Gb versions, or even the M2. Also I suspect that apple with be redesigning the MacBook pro pretty soon around this chip. Having said that, the design of the current model is very good, with a nice bright retina display and the scissor keyboard (thankfully not the butterfly design which I really dislike).
The king of image editors
Adobe Photoshop is the reference app when it comes to image editing and many years at the top haven’t dimmed its shine. It’s also a serious app: Photoshop has a steep learning curve and will take practice, often over many years, to get to grips with. For the average user is Photoshop the best option or is it just more power than most people need?
The last word in photo editing
Hands-down the best all-round image editing app
Adobe Photoshop is a powerhouse of an app and has had many years on the market to refine and improve its features. It’s paid off, as few people would deny that Photoshop is the app of reference when it comes to image editing. It’s never been considered accessible and other apps have sought to take advantage of this by launching competing software offering specific Photoshop features (and the occasional app trying to recreate all of Photoshop’s features.
As a result, for many people, the question is: do I opt for Photoshop or do I save effort and money by trying out one of the many alternatives? One thing that is undeniable: Photoshop is the photo editing and all-round image editing app par excellence. If you are specifically looking to edit photos or you regularly need to carry out a wide variety of assorted edits to images, Photoshop offers exactly the features, power, and control you’ll need.
Now, harnessing these powerful features isn't an easy task. It typically takes users dozens of hours to learn how to use Photoshop and even longer to learn how to use it well. Luckily, people have been having a similar problem for decades, so modern users will be able to take advantage of the huge quantity of user-generated and official support documents, videos, and tutorials that have grown over the years.
Bear in mind, however, that Photoshop has been updated many times in this period and older material might be difficult to relate to if you’re using a recent version of the app.
If you’re not an enthusiastic photo editor or you typically use a smaller number of editing tools, the fact that Photoshop takes so much practice and is so intensive on your computer’s resources (older and less powerful Macs will have a hard time keeping up), it might be more practical to look towards another app that isn’t quite so focussed on all-round greatness. It will be easier on your brain and your computer.
Cost For Adobe Photoshop
Where can you run this program?
This version of Photoshop runs on Mac, version 10.12 or later (Sierra). There is also a version for Windows.
Is there a better alternative?
In terms of an all-round image editing app or photo editor, no: Photoshop is the best. Users should bear in mind, however, that not everyone needs an all-around app or powerful photo editor. If you think that your needs might allow more flexibility, check out Krita or Corel Painter, which are both less resource-intensive, have a shorter learning curve, and offer more specific features than Photoshop. If you’re looking for a free all-around option, try GIMP. It might meet your needs but isn’t the polished hero that Photoshop is.
Ever heard the expression “With great power comes great responsibility”? It might have originally referred to politics and royalty, but it also describes Photoshop perfectly. It is king of the photo editors but takes serious effort (and RAM) to use properly. Make sure that you really need Photoshop before jumping in.
Should you download it?
If you need Photoshop beyond a doubt, then it’s a definite download.
How Much Is Photoshop
- Very powerful app
- Excellent photo editing options
- Highly customizable interface
- Lots of user help and documentation
- Simply not necessary for many users
- Steep learning curve
- Uses a lot of memory and tough on less powerful computers
Adobe Photoshopfor Mac