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This is How ‘Blazingly Fast’ Photoshop Was in 1997


Think Photoshop runs slowly on your computer? To make yourself feel better, check out how “fast” basic Photoshop operations were 20 years ago. Here’s a short clip of the Photoshop demo that was given at Macworld Expo in 1997 to show the speed of a new CPU.

The comparison pits a top-of-the-line Pentium Pro running at 200Mhz against a new Exponential X704 PowerPC processor running at 450Mhz.

The first comparison test is with the Gaussian Blur filter. The Pentium Pro computer takes about 17 seconds to apply the blur to the sample photo. The groundbreaking X704 computer does it in just 8 seconds.

The second test is with the Unsharpen Mask filter. The Pentium Pro computer takes about 21 seconds to do the job, while the X704 finishes in about 10 seconds.

“These [processors] are blazingly fast,” said Apple’s then-CEO, Gil Amelio, during the event. “I’m a Photoshop user myself, so I can’t wait to get my hands on that.”

Fast forward two decades, and these days photographers can see the results of both of these filters instantaneously through real-time previews.