How Do I Change Memory and Image Cache Preferences in Photoshop?

By Zicheng Ren

When Photoshop CC doesn't have access to sufficient memory, it runs slowly. Changing the memory usage and image cache in the Performance section of the Photoshop Preferences helps you achieve the best balance between the Photoshop software and your computer system. You can adjust the value for Memory Usage, choose an optimization method for History & Cache, and set up values for History States, Cache Levels and Cache Tile Size.

Step 1

Choose **Preferences** from the **Edit** drop-down list. Select **Performance...** from the expanded list.

Step 2

Type a value in the box labeled "Let Photoshop Use" in the Memory Usage section to adjust the memory usage that your computer distributes to Photoshop. The percentage of the memory usage limits Photoshop to no more than the specified amount of memory. The default value is based on your hardware. The more memory you allot to Photoshop, the faster the photo processing and responses to commands in the software. However, your whole system slows down as a trade-off. You can drag the slider below the box to adjust the memory usage as well.

Step 3

Choose a type of optimization method in the History & Cache section according to the design of your project. Choose **Tall and Thin** to improve performance when you are dealing with a project that has a relatively small-sized image but multiple layers; choose **Big and Flat** when dealing with a project that has a relatively large-sized image but few layers; and choose **Default** if you are not sure how to categorize your project.

Step 4

Click the **History States number** to increase or decrease the size of the scratch disk space. This number determines how many operations on the processed image can be held in memory -- these are the operations you can reverse by clicking **Undo.** You can save up to 1,000 history states, but **20** is usually sufficient.

Step 5

Click the **Cache Levels number** to change the processing performance. You can choose a value between **1** and **8**, and the higher the number you pick, the faster the response you get. Pick a high number when processing a large image with multiple layers. While you are processing a relatively small image with few layers, don't set a high Cache Level. The default value is **4**.

Step 6

Click the **Cache Tile Size number** to increase or decrease the amount of data that Photoshop processes at a time. Choose 128K or 1024K If you have an Intel Core processor; choose 132K or 1032K if you have an Intel Pentium 4 or AMD processor. Efficient operations on a relatively large-sized image may require the higher value.

Step 7

Click "OK" to apply to the settings. The changes will take effect after you restart Photoshop.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some of the features in Photoshop do not work well if you set the Cache Level to 1.
  • You will receive out-of-RAM errors if you set the memory usage to 100% while using a 32-bit version of Photoshop.