Speed up Photoshop Cache settings

Last night we had a great Photoshop Users Group meeting, as usual, and the hot topic was how to tweak Photoshop to get the most out of your machine and ram. David Dobish from Adobe’s QA division in Arden Hills, MN was on hand to talk to the group and offered up some basic ideas with a few gems thrown in.

The big one for me was the Cache setting and what you should do to make it work for you environment. I won’t go into the tech side of it too much, but instead try to make it easy to digest.

You will find your Cache Setting preference in:

Edit/Preferences/Memory & Image Cache

Once there you will see that the default is set to 6. You will want to change this to 1 or 2 and this is why.

(setting your cache preference)

When Photoshop opens a file you have selected, it looks to see how much RAM you have. If you don’t have enough, it looks out at the hard drive and uses some of that as a RAM DISC and then opens the file. Everyone knows that RAM is much much faster than a hard drive as far as memory goes, so the more HD RAM that Photoshop has to use, the slower and less efficient it is. Speaking of efficiency, it is a good rule of thumb to check the drop down in the open window and see what efficiency PS is telling you your machine is working at and adjust the Cache setting to compensate.

(how to view your efficiency rating)

So, to wrap this up

  • Go into your preferences and change the Cache setting to 1 or 2
  • Quit Photoshop and relaunch it so the new settings will take hold
  • Open a file size you normally work in and after it opens, go to View/Fit on Screen
  • Go to the drop down in the bottom of the window to Show/Efficiency to see how efficient Photoshop is working . If you are from 95-100%, you are good to go. If you are under 95% you may need to bump up the Cache setting one more level.

There it is. A tweak here and there can help in the time you spend waiting for your files to open or save, and we can all use more play time, right?

2 thoughts on “Speed up Photoshop Cache settings

  1. len irish says:

    i am working on a 350MB size file that crashes. I am working with a Duel 2 powerPC G5 and Mac OS X 10.4.11 with 8 GB of RAM I tried changing the Cashe to 1 and got a 66% efficiency setting to 8 brought it up to 78%. I can get near 95-100%. any ideas

  2. cory says:

    Hey Len, I feel your pain.

    There are so many things it “could” be, the first thing to find out is what it “isn’t”.

    Open a file and create a new blank document and make it around 350mb. Then see if PS crashes or what your efficiency settings. If that is all cool, then you can start to see what might be up with this 350mb file you are trying to open now that is causing the crash. Maybe it something to do with the layers, i.e. too many, or bad fonts, etc.

    I guess you just have to start with what works, then try to find out how to get that to work with this file.

    Sorry that isn’t a real definite answer, but post back here on what you find so others can share.

    Good luck,


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.