Making sure you have a solid hardware setup is crucial to creating an efficient and enjoyable Photoshop compositing workflow. The necessity of some components is obvious. For example, it’s always a good idea to buy the most powerful CPU you can reasonably afford as part of your Photoshop system. People also discuss Photoshop’s relatively heavy RAM requirements and the need for an extra hard drive for use as a dedicated scratch disk.

Currently, Intel and AMD are focused more on the number of processing “cores” inside a single chip than they are on breaking speed records. As of mid-2008, high-end workstations from Apple, Alienware, and Dell were topping out at about 3.2 GHz. There is some indication we may see multicore processors in the ...

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