Computer Memory and Photo RAW

As you’ve probably heard by now, ON1 Photo RAW has a new rendering pipeline which leverages the power of your graphics processor (GPU). This architectural change was made to improve performance and have better support for large high-dpi displays. One of the biggest benefits is the reduction in amount of memory required.

In the past with ON1 Photo 10.5 and earlier versions, most of the editing you did would increase the amount of memory needed to process the photo. Workflows involving different modules, adding lots of filters, retouching and undoing operations would increase the memory footprint. If you were on a computer with only 4GB of RAM, it was not uncommon to use the computers virtual memory. Often times this will make things feel sluggish. Something nobody wants.

In ON1 Photo RAW this will be much different. Each operation is stored as instructions, instead of pixels, and are reprocessed instantly on the fly, often over thirty times a second! The memory requirement no longer grows as you do more with your photos. This allows you to work on more photos at a time. In fact, the chance you will need virtual memory is rare.

To compare the two apps, I did a test with the same amount and editing steps in Photo 10.5 and Photo RAW. Here are my steps.

  1. I browsed to a folder containing several hundred RAW photos.
  2. Then I selected one photo and did basic color and tone adjustments, noise reduction and a little dust spot correction.
  3. Then I went to Effects and added Dynamic Contrast, painted it off the sky, converted to black and white and added a vignette.
  4. Here are the results of the test:


You can see how Photo 10.5 needed almost 7GB of RAM to accomplish the same work Photo RAW did using less than 4GB.

It’s not just the RAM memory that changes. The amount of space taken on your hard drive changes too. In the test I used 22 megapixel raw photos, which are about 27MB each from my camera. When I saved my results in ON1 Photo 10.5, the new PSD file was over 500MB in size. In ON1 Photo RAW, all of my work is stored as instructions, so no copy of my photo needs to be made at all, so the amount of disk space needed just dropped by over 500MB.



When it comes time to export the photo it will create a new photo, but it will be much smaller. I only need to create it when I want to share or print mu photo. I wont be doing this for every photo I edit.

Not only is ON1 Photo RAW way faster, it uses less memory. This will give you a better experience even if you’re on a smaller laptop with modest RAM and hard drive space.