The right system makes all the difference when it comes to postproduction
To take advantage of the extra RAM, run Photoshop in 64-bit mode. In 32-bit mode, you won’t be able to use more than 3.2GB of RAM, but in 64-bit, you can take advantage of as much RAM as you can fit into your machine.
On par with RAM is a new recommendation from Adobe’s engineers: Use an internal solid state drive (SSD) in a 256GB or larger capacity. Set this up as the OS boot drive and use it to run Photoshop. Then set it as the SWAP (or scratch) disk, where any calculations take place if Photoshop runs out of space in the RAM. The faster the scratch disk, the better. Because SSDs—unlike normal hard drives—are all electronic, you never have to wait for moving parts to get into place. A SSD will make Photoshop, and your whole machine, run faster.
Finally, make sure you have a decent graphics card (GPU). This used to be irrelevant for Photoshop, but as GPUs have improved, Photoshop has been programmed to take greater advantage of them and, according to Adobe, will continue to do so. You can thank gamers for the proliferation of powerful and relatively inexpensive GPUs, developed to draw 3D images rapidly on screen. A $1,000 workstation card isn’t necessary; a good desktop card, in the range of $150 to $400, will do.
And whether to choose Mac or PC? That’s still a fairly personal decision. Apple’s Macs are still the de facto choice for many photographers—all four interviewed for this feature work on Mac Pros with varying configurations. These machines are prized for their configurability—they can easily be loaded up with multiple hard drives and tons of RAM.
Get the most RAM you can—for instance, this 1600MHz, 16GB chip from Kingston.