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Photoshop CC 2019: NVIDIA GeForce RTX Performance

Written on October 31, 2018 by Matt Bach
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Introduction

Photoshop CC 2019 adds a bunch of new features, but there is very little mentioned in the update notes about there being any significant performance improvements. At the same time, NVIDIA's new RTX GPUs are now available, but as we saw in our previous Photoshop CC 2018: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 & 2080 Ti Performance article, Photoshop currently doesn't really need all the power that these cards have.

So why are we publishing another round of tests looking at the RTX cards in Photoshop? Well, there are three things that have changed since our previous article came out:

  1. Photoshop CC 2019 has launched
  2. The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8GB GPU is now available
  3. The Intel Core i9 9900K 8 Core CPU is now available which is 16% faster than the i7 8700K in Photoshop

To be honest, we don't expect any of these to really change our conclusions, but the more things change, the more likely we are to be surprised by something we didn't expect. So, it is time to update our Photoshop CC GPU testing with the latest hardware and software.

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 Z390 Aorus Pro WiFi 
CPU: Intel Core i9 9900K 8 Core
3.6GHz (5.0GHz Turbo)
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 2019 (ver. 20.0.0)

To see how the new RTX cards perform in Photoshop, we tested it against a selection of cards from NVIDIA and AMD as well as the integrated Intel UHD 630 graphics that is built into the Core i9 9900K.

For the testing itself, we will be using version 18.10 of our Puget Systems Photoshop CC 2019 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 task 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.

Benchmark Analysis

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 2080 2070 Photoshop CC 2019 8-bit benchmark

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 2080 2070 Photoshop CC 2019 16-bit benchmark

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. Along with all the other tasks, these are run in both 8 Bits/Channel and 16 Bits/Channel mode and make up the two GPU scores of our benchmark.

If you like big, drastic performance differences, you will be disappointed. Almost any dedicated GPU is going to be way faster than the integrated graphics on the Intel Core i9 9900K, but once you get to a mid-range card, there really isn't much to gain from using a more powerful GPU. Technically, the RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti are the fastest GPUs we have ever tested for Photoshop and the RTX 2070 is only 2% slower than them... but even the GTX 1070 kept up with them. To be fair, this isn't the fault of these cards at all, it is simply the fact that Photoshop is typically much more CPU-limited even when we are using the Core i9 9900K which is the fastest CPU for Photoshop currently available.

Are the RTX video cards good for Photoshop CC 2019?

Since Photoshop is relatively light in the way of GPU acceleration, the RTX 2070, 2080 and 2080 Ti probably aren't worth purchasing simply for their raw performance. They are technically among the fastest GPUs we have ever tested for Photoshop, but they are only 8% faster than a humble GTX 1060.

Something to keep in mind is that while the RTX GPUs are not necessary for Photoshop today, there is a chance that they will be better in the future. These cards have new types of cores (RT and Tensor cores) that could potentially have significant performance advantages for some tasks. Or, they might never be used in Photoshop at all. It really comes down to whether or not the Photoshop developers are willing or able to make effectively use of these new features. With how much Adobe is investing in Machine Learning with their Adobe Sensei program, our guess is that at least the Tensor cores will eventually be leveraged in some way, but whether it will happen in Photoshop CC 2020 or Photoshop CC 2030 is unknown at the moment.

Overall, the RTX cards are likely more powerful than you would ever need for Photoshop, but if you already need a high-end GPU for other applications (Premiere Pro, GPU-based rendering, etc.) we would highly recommend using one of these RTX cards over the older GTX series if possible. Exactly which GPU to choose, however, it going to be largely decided by those other applications rather than Photoshop.

If you are interested in how the RTX cards perform in other applications, be sure to check out our recent Video Card articles as we have a number of other articles for the RTX series GPUs.

Tags: Photoshop, GeForce, RTX, 2070, 2080, 2080 Ti, 1060, 1070, 1070 Ti, 1080, 1080Ti, Radeon, Vega, Intel UHD 630
Behive

Love your articles! Thanks! So seems like anything above a 1070 Ti is overkill for Photoshop. What about Lightroom though? Does it benefit from the be RTX cards?

Posted on 2018-10-31 23:55:02

From what we have seen Lightroom (specifically Lightroom Classic since that is what we usually look at) doesn't use the GPU for all that much right now. So it will be even a smaller difference than what we saw in Photoshop. I am in contact with the Lightroom devs, however, and I am hoping to really improve our testing. Hopefully finding ways to test the things in Lr that use the GPU will be something we will be able to tackle.

Posted on 2018-10-31 23:57:14
Behive

Man you rock! That's awesome. I've always wondered why Lighroom's Develop Module is so slow, and if it uses the video card... Look forward to more articles, thanks.

Posted on 2018-11-01 00:00:07
Todd Walker

Matt - thanks for the article here!

I'm in the process of customizing a workstation PC for Photoshop on the website. I pretty much have every piece narrowed down with the exception of the video card (Quote #185078). On there I selected the Quadro P4000. I'm a heavy Photoshop user, and that's what I'm looking to build this new workstation around. I'm aware PS does not (currently) take full advantage of the GPU so this entire decision is more than likely insignificant. But, would you consider selecting one of the RTX cards (2080 or 2080 Ti) instead? The only reason not to I guess is if I wanted to move to a 10-bit display (currently use a 24" Asus PA249Q) which only the Quadro supports. If I do move up to 10-bit in my workflow, it won't be for a long time.

I know there's not a simple answer to this. I'm simply trying to justify some pieces before spending the $$.

Thanks.
Todd

Posted on 2018-11-26 19:52:43

I would really suggest that you talk with one of our consultants if you haven't already - (425) 458-0273 - I think you will get a lot out of speaking with them over the phone.

That said, I think you pretty much answered your own question since it comes down to 10-bit display support. If you really think it will be a while before you use a 10-bit display, I would stick with an RTX card over the Quadro personally. If you do that, however, I would tone it down a bit and get a RTX 2070 rather than a 2080(Ti). The performance difference in PS will be almost nonexistent and that frees up a bit of budget to do something like a dedicated SSD for your scratch files or something like that.

Posted on 2018-11-26 20:01:56
Todd Walker

Thanks SO much Matt. I will consider that and give the consultants a call.

Posted on 2018-11-26 20:18:53
AllenMueller

Is anyone researching hardware acceleration for folks working in InDesign/Photoshop/Illustrator at the same time? Maybe that’s where Quadro P4000 might offer an advantage? I work on huge catalogs with lots of complex vector and pixel elements and I’m so tired of waiting on laggy interface, running in less than max quality display mode and just not having the capacity to work as fast as I can think. I haven’t worked on PC workstations in years, but I think now it’s time to return, at least for one new workstation... I know a combination of 64gb ram, NVMe SSD and 4+ ghz with a low number pf cores is key to making this work, but I just can’t seem to find ANY real info on gfx cards for us who don’t use just Photoshop or Premier in our workflows. (I use six Adobe apps plus bridge.) I want to find hard data that verifies an advanced graphic card can help make things faster and smoother or not - especially when I bring heavy art together in InDesign.

Posted on 2018-12-04 05:47:19

Typically, with those kinds of applications the two things to make sure you have is enough system RAM and video card VRAM. They usually won't be doing any actual processing at the same time, so a beefier CPU/GPU won't make much of a difference for most users.

The hard part is that what constitutes enough RAM/VRAM completely depends on what you are doing so there is no real "rule of thumb" to go off of. Your best bet is to open task manager, make sure it is in the "more details" mode, go to the performance tab, and see how much Memory you are using as well as dedicated GPU memory under the GPU option. If you are at 80% of max for either one, that at least tell you that you ideally need more than you currently have. How much more, however, is way harder to answer without just throwing money at the problem.

Posted on 2018-12-04 17:01:06
Ansem The Seeker Of Darkness

Hi! I'm looking for a very cheap GPU for Photoshop and i have to choose between:
- NVidia 1030 2GB
- Nvidia 1050 2GB
- AMD rx 550 2GB
- AMD RX560 4GB

Which one would you suggest? I'm spending nearly everything on cpu+ram and I don't have more budget for the gpu.

Posted on 2018-12-08 15:19:49

I would do the AMD RX560 4GB if it was me. At that level, there tends to be not much of a difference in performance between AMD and NVIDIA, but the 4GB of VRAM is a good idea IMO.

Posted on 2018-12-10 18:12:08