How Adobe CS5 Takes Advantage of 64-Bit, Multi-Core, and GPU Computing
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Each year, the wonders of technology and some really great engineering keeps giving us computers that do more. Of course, many of the applications we run work just fine on older hardware. But I've been particularly interested in applications that can really take advantage of the latest trends in computer hardware.

Of relatively mainstream applications, some of the most processing-intensive applications are those that in Adobe's Creative Suite 5, which officially started shipping today. PCMag's full review of the suite starts here. But I spoke with the developers to find out more about how CS5 takes advantage of the new hardware.

Let's start with support for 64-bit operating systems. While the Windows version of Creative Suite 4 had some Windows 64-bit support, CS5 is the first version with real cross-platform support, according to Bryan O'Neil Hughes, Product Manager for Photoshop. The whole program was rewritten for the Mac's Cocoa framework to support 64-bit operations, and Hughes described 64-bit Windows 7 as being "much more robust" than the previous version. Most of the plug-ins have also been ported to 64-bit.

64-bit computing benefits certain operations, primarily those working with very large files. A number of factors create such files: many pictures, many layers, panoramas created from multiple shots, pictures with high dynamic ranges, and single images that are simply large. For instance, he noted that a single shot from a Canon 5D Mark II could take up 60 megabytes just on its own. When there is more data than available memory, Photoshop pages out to disk, and that's much slower than keeping the data in memory. In some situations, this can result in up to 10 times the performance. read more...

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