At nearly every stage in the Photoshop workflow, graphic designers and photographers can experience delays. Many are looking for ways to make Photoshop run faster and smoother. From launching the app to loading images, applying effects, rendering, saving, and outputting files to clients, you might spend time waiting on your computer everyday. Wouldn’t it be nice to cut down the waiting and get more done in less time? 

If you’re wondering how to speed up Photoshop, then you’re in the right place! Upgrading your computer’s hard drive to a solid state drive (SSD)  and maxing out your memory can speed up every step in your workflow and help you spend less time staring at spinning cursors. Read this article on more about the benefits of an SSD.

How can memory and an SSD speed up Photoshop?

More RAM and an SSD will help you:

  • Boot up faster
  • Transfer images from camera to computer faster
  • Load Photoshop and other applications faster
  • Load images and files faster
  • Edit and create faster
  • Save and output faster
  • Multitask faster

The role of memory in Photoshop

Everyday actions that rely on memory: Processing images, manipulating images (adding layers and effects), rendering, reverting files, running Photoshop and other applications Learn more about memory

Why memory is so important: Applications like Photoshop need memory (RAM) to store and quickly access data during use. Memory is also needed to access every image you're working with. Having more memory means you can handle more images at a time — and work on everything without the lag time. 

More memory also means you can save and revert files faster. Because most Photoshop files are extremely large, they consume a lot of memory. If the files try to use more memory than is available, your computer will convert (swap) them into long-term storage, which will further slow down your productivity. 

If you need a memory upgrade, make a purchase using the Crucial System Scanner or Crucial System Selector for guaranteed compatibility or your money back*. 

* If you order on and use our Crucial System Scanner or Crucial System Selector to purchase an upgrade, we guarantee compatibility, or your money back. That’s our 45-day no-hassle guarantee.

The role of storage in Photoshop

Everyday actions that rely on storage: Booting up your computer, opening Photoshop and other applications, loading images, saving files, and rendering and manipulating media using virtual memory 

Why an SSD is so important: Switching from a hard drive to an SSD in Photoshop is like moving from dial-up internet to broadband! That’s the power of an SSD, and you’ll really feel it if you frequently save incremental versions of a project. 

When you factor in ever-increasing resolution requirements, growing file sizes, and the need to save projects constantly when clients change their mind, the ability to save and call up files quickly is the greatest gift. 

It’s also a gift that keeps on giving because SSDs have no small moving parts, meaning they're less prone to failure — and you're less likely to lose your client's files. 

Crucial offers numerous SSD options for creatives looking to make Photoshop run faster. From SATA and NVMe SSDs to external SSDs, Crucial has what you need.

The T705 NVMe SSD: delivers fierce data protection with impressive sequential read speeds up to 14,500MB/s1
The MX500 SATA SSD: provides value-conscious storage built on quality, speed, and security
The X10 Pro Portable SSD: offers palm-sized, durable storage with blazing speeds up to 2,100MB/s 

If your laptop is running slow, check out our guide on how to make your laptop faster to also support Photoshop speed and other applications like Premiere Pro.

1 Typical I/O performance as measured using CrystalDiskMark® with a queue depth of 512 and write cache enabled. Windows 11 Core isolation disabled for performance measurement. Fresh out-of-box (FOB) state is assumed. For performance measurement purposes, the SSD may be restored to FOB state using the secure erase command. System variations will affect measured results.


  • Can I run Photoshop?

    Let's break this down into the main requirements for running any program: CPU speeds, processing memory (RAM), and storage memory. 

    For Photoshop, you'll also need a GPU with DirectX 12 support on Windows, Metal Support for macOS, and at least 1.5GB of memory, with 4GB recommended for 4K displays.

  • What are Photoshop's CPU requirements?

    Photoshop's benchmark CPU is 2 GHz or faster, via an Intel or AMD processor with 64-bit support.

  • How much space does Photoshop take up?

    Photoshop takes up around 4GB, but more space will be needed for the installation process. For optimum performance, 16GB of SSD space is recommended.

  • What are Photoshop's RAM requirements?

    The minimum amount of RAM required to run Photoshop is 8GB, with 16GB recommended for an even faster, smoother experience.

  • Why is Photoshop using so much memory?

    Photoshop's memory usage is high as it's designed to manipulate and render uncompressed images. 

    A final jpg coming out at less than 1MB may take up 50MB of memory in Photoshop! 

    If you find that Photoshop is using too much memory, then you can adjust this in the Performance section of your preferences. 

    The default allocation Photoshop RAM allocation is 70%, and Adobe advises against going above 85% as this can negatively impact your essential system operations. Consider making changes in 5% increments.

  • Why does Photoshop take so long to open?

    If Photoshop freezes while loading, then it's probably an issue getting data from your storage area into RAM.

    If you're still using an HDD, it may be time to make the switch to an SSD. Depending on your budget, an SSD can be up to 100 times faster than an HDD – and they're quieter and more reliable too! If you’re using a SATA SSD and want better performance, it may be time to upgrade to an NVMe SSD for the fastest storage performance available. 

    If you already have an SSD, then make sure that your graphics card is correctly assigned to Photoshop, and that both the program and your operating system are up to date.

  • Why is Photoshop running so slow?

    You may experience lag if you have a large number of images loaded at the same time. The more images you work with at once, the more data Photoshop needs to cache. 

    This 'working data' is stored on your RAM, and when Photoshop fills this up it will start to use storage memory – your hard disk drive or SSD – instead. 

    As storage memory is significantly slower than RAM, you'll start to experience performance lags. So, installing more RAM means you'll be able to work with more files at the same time with less interruptions.

  • How do I make Photoshop less laggy?

    The first thing to do is to close all other non-essential programs to free up valuable RAM space. 

    You should also uninstall any preferences that you don't regularly use – brushes, fonts, patterns, and so on. 

    Finally, clear your Photoshop cache via Edit > Purge > Select All. Then try working with fewer images to see if this helps create a smoother Photoshop experience.

  • How to move Photoshop to another drive?

    If you want to move Photoshop to another drive – including putting Photoshop on to a flash drive – then the simplest way is to uninstall and perform a fresh install on the target drive.  

    However, be aware that this will delete all your files, settings, and preferences. To move Photoshop to another drive: 

    1. Open the Creative Cloud app
    2. Click the button in the upper right corner to select Preferences
    3. Switch to the "Creative Cloud" tab and click "Change"
    4. Select your target drive as the new location for Photoshop
    5. “Uninstall” Photoshop, and then reinstall it
  • How to make Photoshop run faster?

    To summarize, you can make Photoshop run faster by: 

    1. Installing more RAM processing memory so that Photoshop can keep more of its data in your cache, rather than pulling from storage
    2. Switching to an SSD from an HDD to dramatically speed up your data transfer rates
    3. Increasing your SSD size as more memory storage will help overall system performance and other programs
    4. Upgrading to a more powerful CPU to take advantage of increased RAM
    5. Upgrading your GPU (graphics cards) to suit Photoshop's graphic-heavy nature 


    You can also help to speed up Photoshop by: 

    1. Making sure that your OS and Photoshop are up to date
    2. Closing any other programs to free up RAM capacity
    3. Uninstalling any Photoshop tools and fonts you don't regularly use
    4. Clearing your Photoshop cache
    5. Working with fewer images at one time
    6. Adjusting the amount of RAM that Photoshop uses
    7. Moving Photoshop to another drive 

    These steps should all help you make Photoshop run smoother!


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