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Photoshop CC 2018 NVIDIA GeForce vs AMD Radeon Vega

Written on July 25, 2018 by Matt Bach
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Introduction

While GPU acceleration has become fairly common in Adobe applications, only a select number of tasks in Photoshop are able to take advantage of the video card to improve performance. Even for these tasks, there is usually no reason to invest in an extremely expensive video card - a mid range card like a GTX 1060 tends to only be slightly slower than a high end card like the GTX 1080 Ti. Despite this, a popular request we get is to compare AMD's Radeon Vega video cards to NVIDIA's GeForce cards. It is worth noting that while we will only be looking at Photoshop performance in this article, choosing a specific GPU to use is a much more complicated topic. Many other factors including price, reliability, power draw, noise level, and available cooler designs are all things that need to be considered.

 

If you would like to skip over our test setup and benchmark result/analysis sections, feel free to jump right to the Conclusion section.

Test Setup & Methodology

Listed below is the test platform we will be using in our testing:

Test Hardware
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Gaming 5
CPU: Intel Core i7 8700K 6 Core
3.7GHz (4.7GHz Turbo) 6 Core
RAM: 4x DDR4-2666 16GB
(64GB total)
Hard Drive: Samsung 960 Pro 1TB M.2 PCI-E x4 NVMe SSD
OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
Software: Photoshop CC 2018 (ver. 19.1.5)

To compare AMD and NVIDIA, we tested a wide range of cards as well as the integrated Intel HD 630 that is built into the Core i7 8700K to act as an additional comparison point. We do want to point out that at the time we did this testing, it was difficult to source a quality AMD Radeon Vega card that was not factory overclocked. Rather than delaying our testing we decided to go ahead and use the overclocked cards even though it will slightly skew the results in favor of those cards.

For the testing itself, we will be using version 18.4 of our Puget Systems Photoshop CC 2018 Benchmark which is currently available for public download. This benchmark tests a range of general tasks (open/save, resize, content aware fill, etc.), filters, as well as panorama photomerge. Not all of these tasks are GPU accelerated, however, so in this article we will primarily be looking at just the tasks that are as well as the combined "GPU Score" from these tasks. Full details on the benchmark are available on the benchmark download page.

Benchmark Results

While our benchmark presents various Scores based on the performance of each task, we also wanted to provide the individual result for each task in case there is a specific tasks someone may be interested in. Tests that are directly utilizing the GPU are marked in blue, but feel free to skip to the next section for our analysis of these results.

  Intel HD 630 512MB Radeon RX 580 8GB Radeon Vega 56 OC 8GB Radeon Vega 64 OC 8GB GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GeForce GTX 1070 8GB GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8GB GeForce GTX 1080 8GB GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB
Scores                  
Overall Score 896.6 983.2 987 991 1020.4 1039.2 1026 1035.6 1034.7
General Score 91.3 98.1 102.9 102.7 101 103.2 102.7 103.9 103.7
Filter Score 84.2 98.8 94.8 94.9 104.8 105.8 104.3 105.7 104.4
Photomerge Score 97.3 97.8 98.1 100.3 98.6 101.6 99 98.6 101.3
GPU Score 60.5 93.2 100 100 99.7 102.8 105.3 106.3 106.2
                   
Individual Results (Seconds)                  
RAW File Open 1.19 1.19 1.11 1.11 0.99 0.98 1 0.98 0.99
Resize to 500MB 8.89 1.88 1.42 1.38 1.77 1.55 1.4 1.36 1.36
Rotate 0.94 0.92 0.89 0.91 0.92 0.92 0.92 0.91 0.91
Magic Wand Select 12.74 12.47 12.05 12.36 12.42 12.29 12.74 12.58 12.26
Mask Refinement 3.38 3.3 3.3 3.34 3.23 3.22 3.26 3.31 3.19
Paint Bucket 1.83 1.87 1.73 1.8 1.89 1.86 1.87 1.8 1.92
Gradient 0.34 0.34 0.34 0.34 0.34 0.34 0.35 0.34 0.36
Content Aware Fill 10.7 10.61 10.65 10.43 10.67 10.45 10.63 10.65 10.47
PSD File Save 4.34 4.3 4.28 4.23 4.31 4.22 4.29 4.33 4.28
PSD File Open 2.73 2.69 2.66 2.64 2.53 2.5 2.55 2.53 2.52
Camera Raw Filter 4.87 4.84 4.83 4.83 4.81 4.8 4.88 4.81 4.8
Lens Correction 15.25 15.11 15.14 14.85 14.8 14.75 15.1 14.97 14.8
Reduce Noise 18.59 18.42 18.36 18.06 18.51 18.08 18.42 18.5 18.09
Smart Sharpen 43.07 23.3 21.64 21.14 20.51 19.9 19.9 19.67 19.62
Field Blur 18.98 14.3 13.95 14.04 13.41 13.26 13.23 13.22 13.28
Tilt-Shift Blur 16.48 13.67 13.92 14.23 13.28 13.29 13.2 13.14 13.13
Iris Blur 19.73 15.65 15.36 15.75 14.75 14.73 14.56 14.51 14.58
Adaptive Wide Angle 16.6 22.96 27.25 28.1 15.48 15.19 15.46 15.29 15.7
Liquify 13.46 10.67 10.57 10.32 8.39 8.39 8.99 8.45 9.39
Photomerge 22MP Images 82.73 82.55 82.1 80.5 81.59 79.04 81.18 81.62 79.5
Photomerge 45MP Images 107.82 107 106.83 104.41 106.57 103.48 106.09 106.52 103.58

Benchmark Analysis

AMD Radeon Vega vs NVIDIA GeForce GTX in Photoshop CC 2018

Individual GPU-based test results:

 

Our Photoshop Benchmark includes a large number of tasks that don't utilize the GPU, but there are five tasks in our benchmark that should show a benefit to having a more powerful GPU. These results are used to calculate the "GPU Score" portion of our benchmark which does a great job at showing the relative performance difference between each card in a more general sense.

As you might expect if you have read any of our previous articles looking at GPU performance in Photoshop, there is not a massive difference between each card. However, for the GPU accelerated tasks there is a clear performance advantage when using NVIDIA GeForce cards. While pricing varies widely based on numerous factors like sales or the popularity of bitcoin mining, in general you can think of the following rough price parity:

  • AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB -> NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
  • AMD Radeon Vega 56 8GB -> NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8GB
  • AMD Radeon Vega 64 8GB -> NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB

Using these as comparison points, we see roughly a 6% performance advantage with NVIDIA GeForce over the AMD Radeon cards. This is often less than a second or two difference, but as we mentioned earlier you also need to consider the reliability, availability, power draw, noise level, etc. - most of which are also in favor of NVIDIA at the moment. in addition, keep in mind that this is testing overclocked Vega cards against stock GeForce cards.

Something else we want to specifically call out is that since we ran our full Photoshop Benchmark, we have results from a number of tasks that are not supposed to utilize the GPU in any significant way. What was interesting is that for one task (Adaptive Wide Angle) we saw much lower performance with the AMD Radeon cards even compared to the Intel HD 630 integrated graphics:


We don't know why the AMD cards did so poorly in this test or why the Vega cards did worse than the RX 580, but we re-ran the test multiple times and the result was very consistent. As far as we could find, this task is not supposed to utilize the GPU which is backed up by the fact that the Intel HD 630 integrated graphics was just a hair slower than any of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX cards. At the moment, we are willing to chalk this up to some driver bug, but we wanted to point it out since it was something we didn't expect to see.

Conclusion

Photoshop is relatively light in the way of GPU acceleration, but based on our benchmark testing we saw a very clear (albeit small) advantage to using NVIDIA GeForce cards over AMD Radeon in Photoshop. Choosing the right GPU for Photoshop isn't nearly as important as choosing the right CPU or having enough RAM, but at similar price points you should see roughly ~6% higher performance in GPU accelerated tasks by using NVIDIA GeForce - not to mention the lower power draw which means less heat and noise with those NVIDIA cards.

Photoshop Workstations

Tags: Photoshop, Radeon, Vega, RX 580, GeForce, 1060, 1070, 1070 Ti, 1080, 1080Ti
Jakub BadeĊ‚ek

Very nice benchmark! can't wait to see it when comparing new CPUs which are about to be released by both AMD and Intel :D also, I'd love to see AMD vs nVidia comparison in Adobe Premiere but I guess it's just a matter of time ;)

Posted on 2018-07-30 14:26:03

Yep, a Premiere Pro article is coming. Photoshop tends to be the first software we get articles up for since we can do all of the necessary testing in a day or two. Our benchmarka for Premiere Pro, however, are much more in-depth and requires a lot more time to finish. In the time it took to do this entire article's worth of testing, we can get one or maybe two hardware configurations tested in Premiere Pro.

Posted on 2018-07-30 17:07:53
cartube

Thanks a lot for this test, really helpful.

Posted on 2018-12-18 21:23:01