CS4 x64 16GB RAM

Posted By
Nov 28, 2008

My system:
Windows Vista x64
Photoshop CS4 64bit and configurated to use 12GB of RAM (preferences)

Photoshop manages up to 4GB RAM only, but it generate a lot more data in swap file (disk scratch) without using the 8GB RAM available.

What happend?

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Nov 28, 2008
Assuming of course that you haven’t by accident launched the 32-bit version, I can think of two things:

With a given number of images open and the history palette full for each of them, RAM usage will level out as history states drop off the horizon. You’ll reach a threshold level, and you will have to keep pouring in images (or increase their size) to go higher.

Second – if CS4 x64 behaves like CS3, then it always writes to scratch from the moment you open the file. With enough RAM this is purely a background activity that won’t slow you down, but you’ll notice the disk activity and there will be plenty of stuff in the scratch file. But it does not necessarily mean that RAM is up to saturation.

Another thing I noticed with CS3 is that RAM would hardly ever saturate fully at all, except in very short bursts. Then it would immediately back down, disks spinning. I took this as very effective memory management, and it was reassuring to always have some spare RAM in case of a hungry filter.

Try "Reliability and Performance Monitor" to keep tabs on RAM usage in real-time.
Nov 28, 2008
So Photoshop sees the 16gb…and you allocate 12gb – which it sees and utilises. How big are the files you are using? I reckon it doesn’t need all 12gb ram so wont use it.

I have 16gb and CS4 will only use all the ram when I am using mega massive files.

Try pushing up the image size /complexity so that they are around 6gb (saved file size) and see what happens….
Nov 28, 2008
First of all, even in 64 bits with overkill RAM like you have most users are not going to see massive increases in speed compared to the 32 bit version of the OS and CS4 and less RAM.
Part of the problem is CS4: you may have 2, 4 8 or more CPUs but for the most part all that data, regardless of how much RAM it is pegged to, is getting squeezed through one core at a time. The number of scratch disks makes no difference in that regard. The processes that are multi-threaded do not run all that much faster than on an efficient single core CPU. This is a difficult thing to evaluate but is largely true. You can experiment by setting CS4 to run on only one processor but much of the slowdown you will see is because Vista will coopt CPU time to run itself. The real advantage of multi-core CPUs remains off loading the OS to another core more than running multi-threaded program operations for the vast majority of programs, CS4 included.
Also those processes that are multi-threaded are not being run in a more efficient parallel mode. I would think that processing a static image, which can be broken down into sections to have the same operation applied on them simultaneously, should be the ideal task for parallel processing but apparently this is very difficult to do outside of the simple resizing chores that CS4 applies to the GPU. Multithreaded CPU processes do not run in parallel.
To begin with regardless of RAM Vista will insist on using a paging file. In this regard Vista 64 is no different than Win 3.x. You can experiment by turning off the paging file completely and seeing if your machine operates stably. It may not. Vista has a plethora of background operations that will access your hard drive the instant you stop using your keyboard or mouse, which it sees as idle time. The massive amount of background processing that Vista requires may be what is causing your hard drive to thrash more than CS4.
All of that background noise is not just due to Vista.
You can speed up your 64 bit OS in the same way you do with a 32 bit OS: stop unneeded background programs/processes. AS an example: I love Itunes but you will find if you uninstall it or kill its background operations your computer may noticeably speed up. Also, shut off Vista’s indexing service, which may also be a big contributor to the disk thrashing you describe.
Dec 1, 2008
My files not are big, width 100MB files already happen.

That’s not the point. The point is that Photshop generates a temp file even with very small pics, having (a lot) enough RAM available for the job.
Dec 1, 2008
What does it matter. Windows also creates their version of swap files no matter how much ram you have. Some functions just go to disk. Deal with it and don’t worry about it.

Dec 1, 2008
Why would you need to have 16gb ram if you are using 100mb files?

If you are not having any performance issues I wouldn’t lose sleep over it.
Dec 1, 2008
I’m with the others – why even waste a thought on it? Swap files have been part of computer history and they’re there for a reason, even if you think they are redundant…

Dec 2, 2008
If you think swap files are redundant, then you don’t understand how they work (or virtual memory systems in general).

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