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Thread: Another computer question: GPU

  1. #1
    gaijin's Avatar
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    Another computer question: GPU

    Hi,
    I downloaded the PS CS6 beta and discovered to my joy that my nVidia GPU is not "officially supported" by PS. It's about 5 years old so it didn't really come as a surprise. The nVidia GPUs that are officially supported are:

    GeForce 8000, 9000, 100, 200, 300, 400, 500 series
    Quadro 400, 600, 2000, 4000 (Mac & Win), CX, 5000, 6000

    I just wonder how much of a boost the GPU gives PS, how important a fast, powerful GPU is in getting the most out of PS. Has anyone here got any information/experience to share about this?

    BTW I asked nVidia to advise me on this matter, indicating that I was a (very) amateur photographer. I was advised to buy one of the following: Quadro 4000, Quadro 2000, or Quadro FX 3800. I think the price of the latter is in the region of 1K - a little steep for me.

    Thanks!

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    Black Pearl's Avatar
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    Re: Another computer question: GPU

    Some of the features will only work with a compatible graphics card so its not just about speed.

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    Re: Another computer question: GPU

    Hi Allen,

    GPUs traditionally take the load from the CPU when it comes to the graphics side of things so that that (insert name of popular game here) can be rendered in mind-numbing 3D at 2 bazillion frames per second. They really don't contribute anything particularly meaningful to the generation of an image in Photoshop. And even if they did, you could upgrade your card for a few hundred dollars.

    Having just said all that, Adobe ARE experimenting with using the GPU to augment the CPU for some operations (GPUs are usually pretty high performance processors in their own right), but as far as I know, it's not something that's essential for CS6 (if in fact it even uses the technology yet).

    In short, don't worry about it -- if you want to worry about something, be more worried about the amount of RAM you have and your existing CPU performance. Photoshop works best in a 64 bit environment, with as much RAM as you'd care to throw at it.

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    Re: Another computer question: GPU

    I would think if your video card is only 5 years old it would be at the begining of 100 - 200 series; it might be even older.
    1000 euros for CS use is too much. I am using a 460 in CS 5.5 and it works very well.

    Pretty sure you can find a 500 series for a couple hundred euros.

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    Black Pearl's Avatar
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    Re: Another computer question: GPU

    From Adobe:

    Many Adobe Creative Suite 4 applications have enhanced features designed to take advantage of a video card's graphics processing unit (GPU) to accelerate performance. The GPU is a dedicated chip that is on the computer motherboard or video card and is efficient at manipulating and outputting computer graphics. The extra processing power of the GPU makes some effects and accelerated rendering possible that would otherwise require extraordinary CPU speeds and large amounts of RAM. If a supported GPU is detected during launch, the application takes advantage of this added processing power.

    And thats CS4, CS5 relied on it to a greater degree and CS6 really needs a compatible GPU especially for the OpenCL features to work. Whether you need the newer features or not is another matter but it seems odd to invest upwards of 1k on a bit of software only to run it on a system that isn't up to the job.

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    Re: Another computer question: GPU

    Quote Originally Posted by black pearl View Post
    From Adobe:

    Many Adobe Creative Suite 4 applications have enhanced features designed to take advantage of a video card's graphics processing unit (GPU) to accelerate performance. The GPU is a dedicated chip that is on the computer motherboard or video card and is efficient at manipulating and outputting computer graphics. The extra processing power of the GPU makes some effects and accelerated rendering possible that would otherwise require extraordinary CPU speeds and large amounts of RAM. If a supported GPU is detected during launch, the application takes advantage of this added processing power.

    And thats CS4, CS5 relied on it to a greater degree and CS6 really needs a compatible GPU especially for the OpenCL features to work. Whether you need the newer features or not is another matter but it seems odd to invest upwards of 1k on a bit of software only to run it on a system that isn't up to the job.
    Hi Robin,

    Quite right of course, but having said that, Photoshop standard edition isn't one of the CS suite members that it has a big effect on (I've run it on machines with only basic video cards, and it runs just fine). Things like RAM (and to a lesser extent CPU power) have a far bigger effect - especially when you running large numbers of history states (I use 1000) - high cache level numbers - and large numbers of images open at once.

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    Re: Another computer question: GPU

    Thanks (as always) for the replies. In fact I'm about to replace my too slow, too old PC by something brand new and am about to throw a lot of retirement cash away to do that. After all, taxes are going to increase, investments are losing their value daily, and the euro is steaming straight towards a massive financial iceberg, so I may as well help myself to another glass of champagne on the way.

    Its going to be a Sandy Bridge CPU, a SSD, a couple of fast hard disks, 16 GB of memory, an IPS monitor, a GPU, and sundry other bits and pieces. It would be a pity if I got a message from PS CS7 in a year's time saying that my GPU was really not up to scratch and that if I wanted GPU acceleration I should go out and buy another!

    Of course my photos aren't going to be any better after all this financial easing, but I'll be happy for at least 6 months, so, what the hell!

    Thanks.

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    Re: Another computer question: GPU

    I've got GeForce 520GT with 2GB memory. It has 48 cores and if my moniter could stand it all versions of 3D for which you need special glasses.

    I thought that was an overkill since it has a Windows Experience Index of 6.3 and I thought that was quite good, but it cost considerably less than 10% of the prices your quoting.

    The EVRA version even has an unlimited replacement warranty.

    My computer is supposed to be fast, indeed it can do a full security scan (Kaspersky) 35+ GB in less than 10 minutes; but it goes to sleep and the only advantage I get with Photoshop is the extra memory. My old computer a mere 2.4Ghz quad with only 3.25GB of memory is just as quick with Photoshop although I can only do one pic at a time.

    If you really want a new pc then you must get one, but you can save by buying a new graphics card and make sure your running 64 bit and lots of memory.

    ps I bought myself a USB 3.0 flash drive that supposed to be really fast, but it just took 5 mins to copy 7.5GB and I think that is too slow, especially since it cost a bomb. So take the manufacturer claims with a pinch of salt.

    I wanted an easy way to copy 500GB but back to the drawing board and just because a computer is advertised with the latest processor doesn't mean it's fast; everything has to be fast from the board to the HDD and that means loads of money.

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    Re: Another computer question: GPU

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    I bought myself a USB 3.0 flash drive that supposed to be really fast, but it just took 5 mins to copy 7.5GB and I think that is too slow, especially since it cost a bomb. So take the manufacturer claims with a pinch of salt.
    I'd suggest taking a closer look at the port on the PC that it's plugged into; just because it's a USB3 port, doesn't mean to say that it has USB3 drivers currently installed (in which case it'll be down to USB2 speeds).

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Another computer question: GPU

    Drivers the port is on the case and didn't come with drivers; just a plug that fitted the USB 3.0 risers on the motherboard.

    I installed all drivers for the motherboard.

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    Re: Another computer question: GPU

    I just downloaded a driver but Windows said cannot install because another version is already installed. How do I know if it is working?

    A small 1GB file copied at 30MB/sec but larger files 10GB varies between 15MB/sec and 20MB/sec. Read speed is advertised as 60MB/sec and USB 3.0 up to 5Gb/sec.

    Cheers Colin.

    Addendum:

    It is just a con; reading the specs that come with the flash drive it is only rated up to 52MB/sec and I've only got two USB3 hubs both with drivers and working properly.

    On Amazon is a review stating read speeds of 62MB/sec which is not even as fast as I thought.
    Last edited by arith; 5th May 2012 at 01:57 PM.

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    Re: Another computer question: GPU

    For what it's worth Steve, I've got a portable USB3 256GB SSD that I keep images on when I'm moving them back and forth between home and work -- I gave up on USB3 - had too many occasions when the drive would just suddenly disappear.

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    Re: Another computer question: GPU

    The quoted speeds on USB drives and the likes of SD cards is their maximum write speed not their sustained speeds.

    A card might say 40mbs but might also say Class 10 meaning it can only write a constant stream at the lower speed.

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    Re: Another computer question: GPU

    Quote Originally Posted by black pearl View Post
    The quoted speeds on USB drives and the likes of SD cards is their maximum write speed not their sustained speeds.

    A card might say 40mbs but might also say Class 10 meaning it can only write a constant stream at the lower speed.
    I always find transferring files to be like watching grass grow or paint drying ... I usually just go do something else until it's finished, regardless of how long it takes (there's always gear to clean / check / pack - shower to be had - recorded TV program to watch - kids to nag etc).

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    Re: Another computer question: GPU

    Of course my old pc has only USB 2.0, and now my 32 GB flash drive that isn't 32GB takes even longer. I had the dumb idea of trying bluetooth but the class 1 device installed a shared folder in C; which I've kept small to facilitate easier backup and avoiding that phone call to Microsoft.

    So sticking a 14GB folder in the shared folder it did indeed start to download but also slowing down so much I think my new pc couldn't give a finish time but I suspect it was weeks but it would have failed before that.

    Uninstalling the Bluetooth I saw my mistake; and in order to finish I had to restart the old pc and, no display, non at all nothing. I've been up all night trying to get the screen to work and now I have and it is zero percent fragmented and cleaned and scanned now it takes days not hours to copy 29GB of files.

    Of course I hear the experts say I should have used wifi; but it has already got wifi to connect to the internet. I might end up taking the HDD out and plugging it in the new pc but it is only sata2 and I don't want to mess with something that works ok.

    I suppose the moral of the story is; don't build your own pc or keep things simple. If somebody offered me a pre built superior pc for half price I would have snapped their hands off.It is unlikely that software writers will write for 8 cores in the near future and hardly any write for 4 cores now; that is why the Intel thing is faster as two banks of 2 cores, and I can't see software writers demanding too much of graphics cards when some cost thousands and will never appear in an off the shelf pc.

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    Re: Another computer question: GPU

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    It is unlikely that software writers will write for 8 cores in the near future and hardly any write for 4 cores now; that is why the Intel thing is faster as two banks of 2 cores, and I can't see software writers demanding too much of graphics cards when some cost thousands and will never appear in an off the shelf pc.
    Actually this is not true, Adobe Premiere Pro has been using multi-core rendering for several generations of the software, in my case 4 cores; 8 threads. Quite easy to check and when I render the video, all 8 threads seemed to be maxed out a lot of the time. This was less of an issue with SD, but is absolutely essential (for me at least) when working with HD files.

    I've also been able to do a workaround and use a "non-approved" (i.e. cheap) CUDA graphics card for both Photoshop, After Effects and Premiere Pro since CS5 to take advantage of that technology. The speed gain is amazing. It's nice not to have to render the video to see it play back at normal speeds.

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    Re: Another computer question: GPU

    Nikon Capture NX2 can use multi core processors too - on a Mac the native progammes use the RAM and processor in the graphics card for day to day running meaning you get DDR5 speeds for even the most basic of operations. I'm guessing but I'd imagine that is why they can sleep and wake instantly with no HDD chatter.

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    Re: Another computer question: GPU

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    Of course my old pc has only USB 2.0
    Nothing wrong with USB 2.0 - it's still capable of moving 480Mbit per second (approx 50Mbytes per second, or approx 20 seconds to move a GB).

    I had the dumb idea of trying bluetooth
    Bluetooth is slow slow slow. If it's v2.1 then you'd be looking at a maximum of 2.1Mbits per second.

    Of course I hear the experts say I should have used wifi; but it has already got wifi to connect to the internet.
    Wifi can connect 2 computers together AND to the internet all at the same time.

    I might end up taking the HDD out and plugging it in the new pc but it is only sata2 and I don't want to mess with something that works ok.
    Easy and safe to do - just be sure that the PC is set in the CMOS setup to NOT boot to that drive. Another alternative is to put the drive into an external USB 2.0 enclosure and plug it into a USB port (good for backups).

    It is unlikely that software writers will write for 8 cores in the near future and hardly any write for 4 cores now
    It's already well supported in the industry, but (a) not all software can be multi-threaded (eg when the input to for one calculation depends on the output of the previous calculation), and (b) If CPU performance isn't the archillies heal then the CPU will be twiddling it's thumbs waiting for whatever is (often it's the disk system). In the context of image processing - usually - the best "bang for your bucks" will come from using a fast card reader and a solid-state drive (I can move several hundred RAW images from my CF card - transfer them to the PC - convert them to DNG and add my custom metadata in just a few minutes).

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