A few hurdles first!
Adobe allows installation of Photoshop on two computers, and requires that if it is to be used on a third that one of the other two be deactivated. Fair enough. It’s premium priced software and shareholders of ADBE should rejoice at any and all attempts to control theft.
I’m on CS5, having started with CS2 ages ago and progressed through CS3 and CS4. CS5 is a fine product, it’s fast and I have never had it lock up on the Hackintosh it calls home. It is blisteringly fast on that machine, with its overclocked Sandy Bridge i7 CPU.
Given the very speedy technology in the latest 2012 MacBook Air, I determined to add CS5 to that laptop which already runs Lightroom 4.1 very capably. But how to get it on the MBA’s SSD?
Good luck finding CS5 for Mac at Adobe.com. There’s a Windows version but for the life of me I could not locate the Mac option, and all current Mac downloads point you to CS6, which I have not yet purchased. I found my original CS5 disc and cloned it to a flash drive using CarbonCopyCloner on the Hackintosh, some 1.2Gb. Inserting the USB flash drive in the MBA and starting the installation process failed. I was asked to insert the installation disk. So I copied over the installation files to the MBA and launched the installer from the MBA’s SSD. After inputting my bazillion digit serial number all ran smoothly.
But, firing up CS5 I got the ‘Activation limit exceeded – you have already installed this application on two computers. Deactivate one’ message. Well, the snag is that the other installation was on the predecessor MBA 2010 which I had wiped before sale, so there’s no way I could ‘deactivate it’. I called Adobe (866 772 3623, hit ’3′) fearing the worst and got an exceptionally competent person to whom I explained that they needed to wipe one activation count off their registration database. After ten minutes on hold I was informed that one activation was erased and that I could proceed. I did so and all was sweetness and light! Thank you, Adobe.
Photoshop CS5.1 running happily on the 2012 MBA.
Some usage notes on the 2012 MBA – mine has 4Gb RAM, twice that of the 2010 predecessor.
Start up takes a mere 3 seconds. Opening a RAW file (Panny G3) from Lightroom 4.1 in CS5.1 takes 9 seconds. Selective Lens Blur preview takes 2 seconds, applying the blur another 10. This is a processor intensive activity. It’s faster on the MBA than on my Core i7 Hackintosh. Applying routine distortions to correct verticals and the like is near instantaneous. The 8Gb RAM MBA would probably be even faster.
Bottom line? No excuses need be made for the 2012 MacBook Air as a Photoshop machine. It is perfectly capable of keeping up with the best.
Disclosure: Long AAPL January 2013 call options.