Setting the right performance preferences in Photoshop helps your computer run stably at the optimum speed without freezes, lags, or delays. Based on the resources available on your system, tweak these preferences to get the most out of your Photoshop experience.
Photoshop provides a set of preferences (Preferences > Performance) to help you make optimum use of your computer's resources, such as memory, cache, graphics processor, displays, etc. Depending on your primary use case for using Photoshop and the types of documents you generally work with, different combinations of these settings may suit you.
Additional settings such as Scratch Disks, available on other tabs of the Preferences dialog, may also directly impact your computer's running speed and stability.
You can improve performance by increasing the amount of memory/RAM allocated to Photoshop. The Memory Usage area of the Performance preferences dialog (Preferences > Performance) tells you how much RAM is available to Photoshop. It also shows the ideal Photoshop memory allocation range for your system.
By default, Photoshop uses 70% of available RAM.
To find the ideal RAM allocation for your system, change it in 5% increments and monitor performance in the Efficiency indicator.
We don't recommend allocating more than 85% of your computer's memory to Photoshop. Doing so may affect performance by leaving no memory for other essential system applications.
If you experience out-of-RAM or out-of-memory errors in Photoshop, try increasing the amount of RAM allocated to Photoshop. However, setting the RAM allocation for Photoshop too high (>85%) could affect the performance of other running applications, making your system unstable.
The best solution to this issue is to increase the amount of RAM to your computer. Check with your computer manufacturer for RAM specifications and compatibility.
Photoshop uses image caching to speed up the redrawing of high-resolution documents while you're working on them. You can specify up to eight levels of cached image data and choose one of the four available cache tile sizes.
Increasing cache levels improves Photoshop’s responsiveness while you work, although images may take longer to load. The cache tile size determines the amount of data on which Photoshop operates at a time. Bigger tile sizes speed up complex operations, such as sharpening filters. Smaller changes, such as brush strokes, are more responsive with smaller tile sizes.
Three cache presets are available in the Performance preferences. Choose the one that matches your primary use case/purpose of using Photoshop:
For finer control, specify cache levels manually; the default value is 4.
You may not get high-quality results with some Photoshop features if you set Cache Levels to 1.
You can save scratch disk space and improve performance by limiting or reducing the number of history states Photoshop saves in the History panel. The amount of space you save varies depending on how many pixels an operation changes. For example, a history state based on a small paint stroke or a non-destructive operation, such as creating or modifying an adjustment layer, consumes little space. Applying a filter to an entire image, on the other hand, consumes much more space.
Photoshop can save up to 1,000 history states; the default number is 50.
To reduce that number, go to the Performance preference dialog. In the History & Cache
section, set the the number of History States to a lower value.
Photoshop provides you with dedicated GPU settings in both the Performance and 3D sections in the Preferences dialog.
Settings in the Preferences > Performance section
If a graphics card is detected on your system, its name and model will appear under Detectected Graphics Processor in the Graphics Processor Settings area of the Performance section.
A scratch disk is a hard disk drive or SSD used for temporary storage while Photoshop is running. Photoshop uses this space to store portions of your documents and their history panel states that don’t fit in the memory or RAM of your machine.
To learn more about managing scratch disk preferences, recommended settings, and troubleshooting, see Set up scratch disks.