Speed comparison on Macs

I recently changed my photo processing from mainly using one of those all-included photo editors (Dxo’s PhotoLab) to using a pixel editor and so I starting using the Topaz apps again. I have some of the older versions because my previous editing did not encourage me to use the Topaz apps but now I have installed Sharpen AI and Gigapixel AI back on my Mac (2018 MBP, i9, 32GB RAM) along with some of the older plugins.

My Mac was considered to be very fast when I bought it, but Sharpen AI and Gigapixel AI take a long time to process - often a minute or two or even longer - so I began wondering how much faster the new M1 Macs might be when doing Tapaz processing. Has anyone done any comparisons? Does it make enough difference to notice?


I had a 2019 MacBook Pro, with additional RAM and the faster GPU and all Topaz apps ran pretty fast on it. Unfortunately, it got damaged and wasn’t really worth the cost of repair, so I reverted for a while to my older 2017 MacBook Pro (standard model). This was painfully slow.
I now have an M1 Mac mini with the extra 16GB RAM and the Topaz apps run really fast, even though only DeNoise AI is M1 native so far.
I just ran Sharpen AI on a DNG file and it took about 5 seconds.
Take a look at YouTube videos by ArtisRight. He has done some pretty interesting comparisons using Topaz and other photography products.

Thank you for the information.

I reinstalled both Sharpen and Gigapixel this morning and ran both on my MBP. Sharpen took about a minute and Gigapixel took perhaps 4 minutes to double the size of a 20MP image. Given that Sharpen only took 5 seconds on your machine it implies that there is a good deal of difference in speed, although I suppose it depends upon which version of Sharpen you are using. My version is a couple of years old and is 2.1.8.

I will take a look at the ArtIsRight YouTube videos and see what is there. Most of my photo processing is very fast, my pixel editor (PhotoLine) and my other external apps (I can call them from PhotoLine using a layer), Luminar 4, a bunch of other Topaz apps and some plugins, all respond quickly enough, but Sharpen and Gigapixel are just too slow for me to use them when editing. Perhaps the M1 machines will help solve that problem.

Thank you for your response.

I watched the ArtIsRight video where he compared the M1 models against each other and against older Macs and according to his figures the 14" base M1 model is only about 1/3 faster than my current MBP and I am not sure that such a relatively small speed difference makes it worth getting a new Mac. Processing that now takes me 60 seconds would still take about 40 seconds if those figures are correct and, in particular, Gigapixel processing, which currently takes about 4 or 5 minutes would still take 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. A big help, but still a lot of time. I had hoped for at least a 50% speed increase with the M1 chip.

Interesting. I believe that my M1 Mac mini is maybe a bit slower than my 2019 MBP with the faster GPU. But I really had no choice.
I am not sure where you are getting your GPAI figures from. I just upscaled a 25MB RAW file by four times and it took 33 seconds.And it’s running via Rosetta at present.
DNAI can be as fast as 3 seconds in standalone.

My first set of figures was just guessing from the work that I had done, so I decided to actually time both Sharpen and Gigapixel.

Sharpen, on a 20MP 16bit tiff, took about 3 1/2 minutes, so my “guess” of about 1 minute was pretty far off, and not in a good way. I tested it on the Gigapixel output and that took almost 5 minutes.

Gigapixel, on a 20MB 16 bit tiff, took just short of 6 minutes with the default settings and the upscale set to 2x. I assumed it might be faster on a smaller jpg I also timed it as well. a 16MP jpg from my wife’s Nikon point-and-shoot took a bit more than 4 1/2 minutes for the same 2x upscale. The first was done using Gigapixel as an external editor for PhotoLine and the second used Gigapixel as a stand-alone app.

Of course both of these are old. Gigapixel is the 2020 version, 5.1.7, and Sharpen is 2.1.8. Newer versions might be considerably faster and if your testing was using newer versions I could download the trials and see how they run.

The problem is mostly with Sharpen. I don’t generally enlarge photos, so the fact that Gigapixel takes “forever” to process my images on my machine is not a real issue for me. Sharpen, on the other hand, is something I would use more frequently if it did not take so long to process.


I forgot to mention that the Sharpen AI setting was for Stabilize, not Sharpen or Focus.

I did some additional testing. For one thing I changed the setting from Enable discrete GPU ON to OFF, and the Stablize time decreased to 1:45. I then changed to Sharpen and the time decreased to 0:45. Still too long, but not 4 1/2 minutes.


Well, OK. That is a big difference. Times for Focus, Motion and Softness were 0:31, 0:31 and 0:12. So the problem all along has been that the older Sharpen AI app was just too slow and they have improved that. I wonder if the same is true for Gigapixel. I guess I will give the trial a chance.

If you had not posted your times I probably would not have even thought about testing the trials, so thank you.