Happy Friday everyone. While we were in the middle of talking about all of the things that are in the new CS4, my friend Kevin here at the office posed a very good question that I thought warranted a mention:

“How many people out there that are looking for CS4 have computers that will be able to handle CS4?”

Working in tech, you almost take for granted being a gear junkie and having the most newfangled computer out there, but I’m sure there are a lot of you who want to make the jump that are unsure of what is technically needed, as well as other people out there that are ‘taking the plunge’ and getting the CS4 Suite in addition to a new computer to be able to hold it.

Click on this link here to check out what is needed to run Adobe CS4 from a system standpoint

The things that stand out for me, for both PC and Mac, are things like:

1GB of RAM or more recommended
Here I usually tell people, the more RAM you get the better. I’m sure 2 is better than 1 here. I’m running 4GB of RAM on my Macbook Pro and that seems to do the trick.. )

Between 9.3GB and 11GB of Free space for the software
I’m someone who tries to keep as much hard disk space available as I can. All of the files that I usually work on sit on remote Firewire drives, and I have specific Firewire drives that I use solely for my Lightroom 2 Catalog. (Personal Catalog, Work Catalog, Experimental Catalog)

1,024×768 display (1,280×800 recommended) with 16-bit video card
1280×800 usually works for me.. but the larger the space here, the better – I think.

If you’re finding yourself a little under on some of these specs from a Mac point of view, I recommend paying a visit to Other World Computing. Great prices, good memory, me likey a lot.

Does this mean that you need to have a tricked out 1TB hard drive with 8GB of RAM in order to run with Photoshop? Not necessarily. It will run just fine at their specs, but keep in mind: If you are opening large files in Photoshop, or doing things like rendering in After Effects and Premiere, you are going to be waiting. Keep that in mind. When you’re doing projects, work small, and you should be just fine.

I’ll spend some time taking apart my PC to tell you what I think are great solutions there. As I do, I will post some recommendations for you guys. I am SERIOUSLY looking at the new Dell Precision M6400. If I play with it, I’ll put it through its paces on Layers TV.

I’d be interested to hear from you, though. What kinds of machines are you guys using for the Creative Suite? Share some specs! Tell me, laptop or desktop, what’s the RAM look like? Inquiring minds want to know.

Make sure you guys check out the plethora of tutorials out on the site for CS4. Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Share & Enjoy


  1. Alex Castillo (Reply) on Friday September 26, 2008

    First of all I just want to say that I love the site, the blog, the tutorials and everything else. I am an illustrator thinking about replacing my laptop equipped with Windows XP and 1GB of RAM, for a desktop running Vista. I usually create files in Photoshop 150MB or larger and end up running into problems due to the lack of RAM. Could you tell me how many GB of RAM will I need to be able to run Vista plus Adobe CS3 flawlessly?

  2. Supes (Reply) on Friday September 26, 2008

    For CS3 I currently run a desktop quad-core (Q6600) with 8GB RAM (I usually have several CS apps open (among others) at the same time) dual video cards, 1TB hard drive space. I don’t really experience any lag in any of the apps, except for that darn brush in Lightroom 2 (here’s hoping they optimize it in 2.1).

  3. Brian Reyman (Reply) on Friday September 26, 2008

    I have an HP desktop – dual core, 2.4 GHz, with 4 GBs of RAM. Thus far, things to run fairly well with Creative Suite CS3 – hopefully that will continue with CS4. As you mentioned, large files/rendering due take a while, though they seem reasonable.

    To answer Alex, if you want something snappy, get 4 GB of RAM. You’d need 64-bit Vista and go up way past 4 GB of RAM (the regular Vista will only support up to 4GB of RAM), and upgrade to a screaming video card (something that does openGL 2.0, etc.) in order to have anything run flawlessly.

  4. Mac Freak (Reply) on Friday September 26, 2008

    Guys, Vista and XP cannot handle more than 4GB RAM. Only mac can go up to 32 GB RAM which is amazing and FLAWLESS!

  5. Mike Paterson (Reply) on Friday September 26, 2008


    Could you go into a little more detail on your remote firewire drives? What kind of drives are you using. I’m assuming your using firewire 800, is that correct? What are you thoughts on eSATA? What do you have in the way of internal drives if you are working off the external ones?

  6. Likah (Reply) on Friday September 26, 2008

    Great topic, RC! Very useful info!
    FYI: New Mac Book Pros are rumored to come out around Oct. 14.

  7. Supes (Reply) on Friday September 26, 2008

    Mac Freak: Not true – actually Vista 64-bit (which I run) can utilize up to 128GB of RAM. If you run a 32-bit version the actual useable barrier is ~3GB and not 4GB.

  8. Michael (Reply) on Friday September 26, 2008

    Hey RC,
    I just order photoshop cs4. I am using a mac powerpc 1.6ghz. With 4gigs of ram. My graphic card is a ati GPA pro9600. It is a openGL 2.0., smart shader 2.0, smoothvision 2.1, AGP supported, 256ddr memory. AGP x4 and X8.
    Will this support photoshop cs4??



  9. egower (Reply) on Friday September 26, 2008

    I’d love it if you went with the Dell. It sure would be nice for us pc users to be represented by one of the Photoshop Guys. :)

  10. Phil (Reply) on Friday September 26, 2008

    Running Vista 64 with a quad core (q6600) 8 gig of ram, RAID 0 for the apps, and a 10K rpm scratch disk.
    File sizes range from 230 megs to 1.8 gigs
    Also run Lightroom 2. I just installed the 2.1 update and it has picked up a bit of speed. Running 500gig esata external drives for backups

  11. Likah (Reply) on Friday September 26, 2008

    Matt has a Dell (and a Mac) but he’s still got one!

  12. [...] list for Photoshop CS4. Layers Magazine also has a Learning Center for the new CS4. Check out the system requirements for CS4. Read a CS4 detailed review here. Top 10 new features in [...]

  13. Mehigh (Reply) on Friday September 26, 2008

    Is Photoshop CS4 performing better on a quad-core compared to a dual-core ?

    (eg. Photoshop CS3 runs faster on 3.0Ghz dual-core rather than on a 2.8Ghz quad-core)

  14. Mark (Reply) on Friday September 26, 2008

    Im just about to spec a new PC to rum CS4 on can anyone reccomend what would be the ultimate system please
    many thx

  15. Roman Johnston (Reply) on Friday September 26, 2008

    Currenty running an AMD 2400+ Dualcore (about 4 year old processor) with 3GB of ram on Vista Ultimate 64bit OS. It is getting a little long in the tooth, so I just ordered some parts (which are being shipped as I write this).

    New PC specs:
    AMD Phenom II x4 905e CPU (65w quadcore that is pretty fast, but green too) ECS Black A785GM-M motherboard, and 8GB of DDR3 1333 (PC10600) memory. I have a copy of Windows 7 RC1 I will be using and have 2 raptor drives (10,000RPM each) 1 for WIndows Cache, and the other for Photoshop Cache. For a green machine I am thinking it will be quite zippy. Not an i7, but pretty fast none the less.

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