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GPU acceleration has become fairly common in Adobe applications, but only a few select tasks in Photoshop are able to take advantage of the video card to improve performance. In fact, some features (like 3D, Render Flame, and Oil Paint) require that you have a compatible GPU while others (Image Size, Blur Gallery, Smart Sharpen, etc.) are simply able to utilize a GPU to improve performance.
It has only been about a year since we last looked at GPU performance in Photoshop, but a number of developments have occurred that made us what to re-do this testing. First, our old testing didn't include the GTX 1080 Ti, Titan Xp, or Titan V and we are curious if these newer cards can give us any performance gains. Second, we have just published our internally developed Photoshop CC 2018 benchmark and made it available for public download. Because of this, we wanted to have a set of scores (specifically the "GPU Score") available for anyone who wants to see how their existing PC or Mac stacks up against these GPUs.
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:
|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
|Hard Drive:||Samsung 960 Pro 1TB M.2 PCI-E x4 NVMe SSD|
|OS:||Windows 10 Pro 64-bit|
|Software:||Photoshop CC 2018 (ver. 19.1.3)|
To act as comparison points, we will be testing a number of NVIDIA GPUs ranging from the Titan V all the way down to the GTX 1050. We will also test with the integrated Intel HD 630 that is built into the Core i7 8700K:
As we mentioned in the introduction, we will be using 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. Full details on the benchmark are available on the benchmark download page.
While our benchmark presents an Overall Score 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. Feel free to analyze the individual results below in more detail if you wish or skip to the next section for our benchmark analysis.
|Titan XP||Titan V|
|Individual Results (Seconds)|
|RAW File Open||1.1||1.04||1.04||1.05||1.03||1.03||1.03||1.023||1.04||1.04|
|Resize to 500MB||8.99||2.55||2.27||1.8||1.57||1.47||1.42||1.455||1.34||1.33|
|Magic Wand Select||12.52||12.06||12.15||12.5||12.45||12.45||12.43||12.712||12.44||12.38|
|Content Aware Fill||11.03||11.08||11.06||11.12||11.02||11.05||11.04||11.07||11.04||11.01|
|PSD File Save||4.38||4.38||4.4||4.42||4.35||4.37||4.38||4.48||4.39||4.38|
|PSD File Open||2.65||2.6||2.62||2.65||2.66||2.61||2.61||2.698||2.63||2.62|
|Camera Raw Filter||5.08||5||5.02||5.02||5.01||4.97||4.99||4.892||5.02||4.97|
|Adaptive Wide Angle||17.69||16.36||16.35||16.67||16.66||16.44||16.61||16.571||16.62||16.82|
|Make 3D Text||3.04||2.03||2.05||2.04||2.04||2.01||2.03||1.955||2.04||2.08|
|Render 3D Layer||44.39||42.86||42.72||43.34||44.22||44.63||44.64||42.851||43.09||43.22|
Our Photoshop Benchmark includes a large number of tasks that don't utilize the GPU, but there are five tasks in our benchmark that does show a benefit to having a more powerful GPU. These results are used to calculate the "GPU Score" portion of our benchmark, but for this analysis we wanted to take a look at each task individually.
Surprisingly, image resizing was the task that showed the biggest difference. For this, the Intel HD 630 graphics was terrible, taking more than 5 times longer to complete than it would with a GTX 1080 Ti. In fact, this is the one task that saw a benefit with the even more powerful Titan cards which were about 9% faster than the GTX 1080 Ti. So if you really, really hate waiting on image resize, you can see some excellent performance increases by investing in a more powerful GPU.
For Smart Sharpen and the various Blurs, however, there is a pretty hard performance ceiling. Having even a low-end GTX 1050 is well worth the cost over using just integrated graphics, but once you get to a GTX 1060 or GTX 1070 you are within a few percent of the best performance possible.
Choosing the right GPU for Photoshop isn't nearly as important as choosing the right CPU or having enough RAM, but in some cases it can have a significant impact on performance. Adobe actually maintains a list of features that can utilize the GPU and if any of those are things you use regularly, a GTX 1060 or possibly a GTX 1070 video card is a terrific option. While a few of these features (like image resize) may benefit from an even more powerful GPU, this appears to be somewhat of a rarity.
Overall for Photoshop, we recommend using either a GTX 1060/1070 video card even if you have the budget for a more powerful card. For most users, you will be better off in the long run spending that extra money on more RAM, storage, or a higher-end CPU rather than a more powerful video card.
Puget Systems offers a range of powerful and reliable systems that are tailor-made for your unique workflow.