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TL;DR: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 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 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.
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.
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:
|RTX 2080 Ti
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 3090, we can update our previous Adobe Photoshop – NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Performance article with results for the 3090, but since the RTX 3070 is not launching until sometime in October, we cannot include it at this time. However, we are very interested in how the RTX 3070 will perform, and when we are able to test that card, we will post another follow-up article with the results.
Listed below is the specifications of the system we will be using for our testing:
|Intel Core i9 10900K 10 Core
|Gigabyte Z490 Vision D
|4x DDR4-2933 16GB (64GB total)
|NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 24GB
Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3080 OC 10GB
NVIDIA Titan RTX 24GB
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER 8GB
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER 8GB
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER 8GB
AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT 8GB
AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 8GB
Intel UHD 630 (10900K Integrated)
|Samsung 960 Pro 1TB
|Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (Ver. 2004)
Photoshop 2020 (Ver. 21.2.2)
PugetBench for Photoshop (Ver. 0.92)
*All the latest drivers, OS updates, BIOS, and firmware applied as of September 7th, 2020
Big thank you to Gigabyte for providing the GeForce RTX™ 3080 GAMING OC 10G used in our testing!
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.
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.
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. However, our benchmark does make a "GPU Score" from the tests that are GPU accelerated, which should (in theory) be able to show more of a difference between each card.
GPU Score Analysis
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 we may be outside the margin of error are the AMD Radeon Vega 64 and 5700XT, but even those cards are only ~5% slower than the fastest score which is going to be extremely difficult to notice in day-to-day work.
Still, 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 3080 & 3090 perform in Photoshop?
While the new NVIDIA GeForce RTX 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 the 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 3080 and 3090 GPUs, as well as with different CPUs and other hardware.