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Adobe Photoshop - NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070, 3080 & 3090 Performance

Written on October 29, 2020 by Matt Bach

TL;DR: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070, 3080 & 3090 performance in Photoshop

Although Photoshop has a number of GPU-accelerated effects that make it important to have a supported GPU, there is effectively no difference in performance between the various NVIDIA and AMD GPUs we tested. Having a GPU can give you up to a 50% boost in performance, but the new NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 8GB, 3080 10GB and RTX 3090 24GB are no faster than the RTX 2080 Ti, not to mention the RTX 2060 SUPER or even the older GTX 1080 Ti.

Excerpt from "Labs Open Office Hour: Labs Lads Discuss the New RTX 3070" live stream on 10/30/2020


On September 1st, NVIDIA launched the new GeForce RTX 30 Series, touting major advancements in performance and efficiency. While gaming is almost always a major focus during these launches, professional applications like Photoshop are becoming more and more important for NVIDIA's GeForce line of cards. However, while Photoshop does boast a number of effects that utilize the GPU, these effects tend to perform roughly the same regardless of what GPU is in your system. Because of this, we don't expect to see a significant gain in performance with these new cards in Photoshop, but it is always worth testing to find out if there are any surprises.

Photoshop GPU Performance Benchmark - NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 8GB, 3080 10GB & RTX 3090 24GB

If you want to see the full specs for the new GeForce RTX 3070, 3080, and 3090 cards, we recommend checking out NVIDIAs page for the new 30 series cards. But at a glance, here are what we consider to be the most important specs:

VRAM CUDA Cores Boost Clock Power MSRP
RTX 2070S 8GB 2,560 1.77 GHz 215W $499
RTX 3070 8GB 5,888 1.70 GHz 220W $499
RTX 2080 Ti 11GB 4,352 1.55 GHz 250W $1,199
RTX 3080 10GB 8,704 1.71 GHz 320W $699
Titan RTX 24GB 4,608 1.77 GHz 280W $2,499
RTX 3090 24GB 10,496 1.73 GHz 350W $1,499

While specs rarely line up with real-world performance, it is a great sign that NVIDIA has doubled the number of CUDA cores compared to the comparable RTX 20 series cards with only a small drop in the boost clock. At the same time, the RTX 3080 and 3090 are also $500-1000 less expensive than the previous generation depending on which models you are comparing them to.

With the launch of the RTX 3070, we can update our previous Adobe Photoshop - NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 & 3090 Performance article with results for the 3070.

Photoshop Workstations

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Test Setup

Listed below is the specifications of the system we will be using for our testing:

*All the latest drivers, OS updates, BIOS, and firmware applied as of September 7th, 2020

To test each GPU, we will be using the fastest platform currently available for Photoshop - most notably the Intel Core i9 10900K. Since Photoshop utilizes the CPU so heavily, this should minimize the impact of the processor and allow each GPU to perform at their fullest potential. Even with this, however, be aware that there typically isn't much variation in performance between different video cards. We will also include results for the integrated graphics built into the Intel Core i9 10900K to act as a reference for what you would see if you did not have a GPU at all.

For the testing itself, we will be using our PugetBench for Photoshop benchmark. This tests a number of range of effects and tasks in Photoshop, some of which utilize the GPU to improve performance. If you wish to run our benchmark yourself, you can download the benchmark and compare your results to thousands of user-submitted results in our PugetBench database.

While Adobe has recently released a new update to Photoshop (version 22.0), since this is essentially just an update to our previous RTX 3000-series articles, we will be sticking with version 21.2.2 for now. Our current plan is to re-do all our GPU testing with the latest version of Photoshop once AMD launches their new Radon 6000-series GPUs in November.

Raw Benchmark Results

While we are going to go through our analysis of the testing in the next section, we always like to provide the raw results for those that want to dig into the details. If there is a specific task you tend to perform in your workflow, examining the raw results is going to be much more applicable than our more general analysis.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 8GB, 3080 10GB & RTX 3090 24GB Photoshop GPU Performance Benchmark

Overall Photoshop Performance Analysis

Before we get into the results, we want to set some expectations so no one is disappointed. Although Photoshop does have a number of tasks that are GPU accelerated, we rarely see much of an improvement with higher-end GPUs for these tasks. It is incredibly important to have a supported GPU, but the video card itself is rarely the bottleneck even for these tasks.

But in the interest of being thorough, let's take a look at the overall performance in Photoshop with each of the cards we tested.

As you can see in the chart above, there is effectively no difference between any of the GPUs we tested. Between the "fastest" and "slowest" cards, we only saw a 1.5% difference in performance, which is well within the margin of error for real-world testing like this. Having a GPU does increase performance by ~13% over the onboard Intel UHD 630 graphics, but a GPU with more raw horsepower doesn't result in significantly higher performance than a more modest GPU.

The new RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 did happen to end up at the top of the chart (and coincidentally with identical Overall Scores), but that is more random chance than anything else. The RTX 3070 was a bit slower, but again, we are talking about less than a 2% difference which is not going to be noticeable in the real world.

However, our benchmark does make a "GPU Score" based the tests that are GPU accelerated, which should (in theory) be able to show more of a difference between each card.

GPU Score Analysis

Photoshop GPU Effects benchmark performance NVIDIA RTX 3070, 3080, 3090

The GPU score is calculated based on the performance for the Rotate, Smart Sharpen, Field Blur, Tilt-Shift Blur, and Iris Blur tests - all of which are able to utilize the GPU to improve performance.

Unfortunately, even if we only look at these specific tests, there is still no meaningful difference between each of the discrete video cards. The only results that may be outside the margin of error are the AMD Radeon Vega 64 and 5700XT, but even those cards scored only ~5% lower than the fastest card, which is on the edge of what might be noticeable in day-to-day work.

Oddly, the new RTX 3070 did end up at the bottom of the stack for the NVIDIA cards, but the 1% difference in performance between it and the RTX 3080 is easily within the margin of error for this kind of testing. If we ran the benchmark a couple more times on each setup, those two cards could easily switch places.

No matter what, however, it is clear that utilizing a GPU results in a roughly 50% improvement in performance, which highlights why it is so important to have a supported GPU for Photoshop.

How well does the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070, 3080 & 3090 perform in Photoshop?

While the new NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 8GB, 3080 10GB and RTX 3090 24GB perform just fine in Photoshop, the GPU is a very low priority when designing a Photoshop workstation. It is very important to have a supported GPU, but all the cards we tested performed within the margin of error for our benchmark, so there is no reason to invest in a higher-end GPU for Photoshop.

We know that this makes for a bit of a boring article, but given how much buzz there has been around GPU acceleration over the last few years, we believe that it is just as important to know when a more powerful GPU does not matter as when it does. In addition, Adobe is constantly improving its software, and re-testing GPU performance periodically is something that is very important to do in order to find out if anything has changed.

As always, keep in mind that these results are strictly for Photoshop. If you have performance concerns for other applications in your workflow, we highly recommend checking out our Hardware Articles (you can filter by "Video Card") for the latest information on how a range of applications perform with the new RTX 3070, 3080 and 3090 GPUs, as well as with different CPUs and other hardware.

Photoshop Workstations

Puget Systems offers a range of poweful and reliable systems that are tailor-made for your unique workflow.

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Labs Consultation Service

Our Labs team is available to provide in-depth hardware recommendations based on your workflow.

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Tags: NVIDIA, NVIDIA vs AMD, AMD, Vega 64, Radeon RX 5700 XT, RTX 2060 SUPER, RTX 2070 SUPER, RTX 2080 SUPER, RTX 2080 Ti, Titan RTX, RTX 3080, Photoshop, RTX 3090, RTX 3070
Diana Day

Great article. For a non-techie person who spends a lot of time on Photoshop post-processing photos and creating composites and elements from scratch, using a lot of plugins, what is a total system would you recommend?

Posted on 2020-11-03 02:22:32