Buy the ARP T-Shirt! BIOS Optimization Guide Money Savers!

 06 August 2014
 Dr. Adrian Wong
 Discuss here !
Desktop Graphics Card Comparison Guide Rev. 33.0
Covering 628 desktop graphics cards, this comprehensive comparison allows you ... Read here
BIOS Option Of The Week - Virtualization Technology
Since 1999, we have been developing the BIOS Optimization Guide, affectionately known... Read here
Buy The BOG Book Subscribe To The BOG! Latest Money Savers!
ED#181 : How To Give Adobe Photoshop A Performance Boost With Your GPU
Digg! Reddit!Add to Reddit | Bookmark this article:

ED#181 : How To Give Adobe Photoshop A Performance Boost With Your GPU

The Mercury Graphics Engine (MGE) in Adobe Photoshop CS6, Photoshop CC and Photoshop CC 2014 will automatically use your computer's graphics card to accelerate filters, as well as other features like perspective warp, upscaling, focus mask, etc. All you need is a GPU that supports OpenGL or OpenCL with at least 512 MB of graphics memory, requirements which practically every graphics solution in the market meets.

If you are using a laptop with switchable graphics though, Photoshop will not automatically use your GPU to accelerate its functions. Instead, it will always use the integrated graphics solution, which is not only slower but saps some of the system memory for use as graphics memory.

On desktops, the NVIDIA GeForce or AMD Radeon graphics card installed is always used because any integrated graphics solution are disabled by default. So this will never be a problem in desktops.

On laptops though, both NVIDIA and AMD switchable graphics solutions will always default to the integrated or processor graphics component to save power and reduce heat. Photoshop cannot see that there is a more powerful GPU with its own dedicated graphics memory to use, and thus uses the integrated or processor graphics instead.

Take a look at the example below. Even though this notebook has an NVIDIA GeForce GPU, Photoshop could only detect the presence of the Intel HD Graphics 4000. Photoshop only supports a single GPU, so there is no option that allows you to switch from the Intel HD Graphics 4000 (processor graphics) to the more powerful NVIDIA GeForce GPU (discrete graphics).

Adobe Photoshop GPU boost for laptops

Now, the processor graphics in current Intel and AMD processors are decent performers, but they do not have their own graphics memory and use the system memory instead. This reduces the amount of memory that is available for Photoshop to use, and memory bandwidth for the entire system.

Discrete GPUs, on the other hand, are not only much faster in performance, they also come with 1 to 2 GB of dedicated graphics memory. Using the discrete GPU would thus free up system memory for Photoshop to use. Note that while Photoshop has a minimum requirement for 512 MB of graphics memory, it really works best with 1 to 2 GB of graphics memory. So even if we ignore the better performance of discrete GPUs, it's worth using them to free up system memory for Photoshop to use.

Let us show you how you can achieve that with an NVIDIA GPU.

USB 3.0 may interfere with your wireless mouse and keyboard


Manually Switch To The Discrete GPU

Our example uses an older notebook with an Intel Core i7-3612QM processor (with Intel HD Graphics 4000) and an NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M GPU, running on Microsoft Windows 7. However, the same method applies to newer processor and GPUs on Windows 8 and older versions of Microsoft Windows.

  1. Go to Start -> Control Panel -> NVIDIA Control Panel.

  2. Under 3D Settings, click on Manage 3D settings. Make sure you are in the Program Settings tab.

Adobe Photoshop GPU boost for laptops

  1. Click on the drop-down list below Select a program to customize: and choose Adobe Photoshop (photoshop.exe).

Adobe Photoshop GPU boost for laptops

  1. Next, click on the drop-down list below Select the preferred graphics processor for this program: and choose High-performance NVIDIA processor. Note that NVIDIA Control Panel set it to use Integrated Graphics by default.

Adobe Photoshop GPU boost for laptops

  1. Once you select from both drop-down lists, the NVIDIA Control Panel window may flicker a little as the change takes immediate effect. However, you will need to restart Adobe Photoshop (if it's running) before the change can be detected by Photoshop.

Adobe Photoshop GPU boost for laptops

  1. Start Adobe Photoshop and go to Edit -> Preferences -> Performance... You will now see the NVIDIA GPU listed, instead of Intel HD Graphics. Enjoy!

Adobe Photoshop GPU boost for laptops

Warning : You should not set the Cache Level to 1 if you are using the GPU to accelerate functions, as this will cause (undefined) performance issues. If in doubt, use the default setting of 4.

Slow menus in Adobe Photoshop CS6

If you like this article, please share it! ->


For The Geeks - GPU-Accelerated Features In Adobe Photoshop

GPU-Accelerated Features Added In Photoshop CC 2014
- Upscale
- Blur Gallery 2
- Focus Mask

GPU-Accelerated Features Added In Photoshop CC
- The Blur Gallery (Iris Blur, Field Blur, and Tilt-Shift) is enhanced by OpenCL
- Smart Sharpen (Smart Sharpen uses OpenCL for Noise Reduction only)
- Scripted Patterns (Tree and Picture Frame)
- Perspective Warp

GPU-Accelerated Features Added In Photoshop CS6
- Adaptive Wide Angle
- Crop (GPU is used when rotating an image)
- Liquify
- Warp and Puppet Warp
- Field Blur, Iris Blur, and Tilt/Shift (through OpenCL)
- Lighting Effects Gallery
- New 3D enhancements
   • Draggable shadows

   • Ground plane reflections
   • Roughness
   • On-canvas user interface controls
   • Ground plane
   • Light widgets on edge of canvas
   • IBL (image-based light) controller

GPU-Accelerated Features Added In Older Versions Of Photoshop
- Scrubby Zoom
- HUD colour picker
- Colour sampling ring
- Brush dynamic resize and hardness control
- Bristle Brush tip previews
- Rule of thirds crop grid overlay
- Zoom enhancements
- Animated transitions for one-stop zoom
- Flick-panning
- Rotate the canvas
- View nonsquare pixel images
- Pixel grid
- Adobe Color Engine (ACE) - faster colour conversions with a GPU
- Draw Brush tip cursors

GPU-Accelerated Features In Adobe Bridge
- Preview panel
- Full-screen preview
- Review mode

The NVIDIA Control Panel memory leak solution

If you like this article, please share it! ->


Other Scoops

If you have a scoop you want to share with us, just contact us! It doesn't have to be graphics-related. It can be anything in the tech industry, from mobile phones to P2P software. Just drop us a message!


Support Tech ARP!

If you like our work, you can help support out work by visiting our sponsors, participate in the Tech ARP Forums, or even donate to our fund. Any help you can render is greatly appreciated!

Support us by buying from!

Grab a FREE 30-day trial of Amazon Prime for free shipping, instant access to 40,000 movies and TV episodes and the Kindle Owners' Lending Library!


Questions & Comments

If you have a question or comment on this editorial, please feel free to post them here!



Revision History



Initial Release.

Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 1.5 TB Portable USB 3.0 Hard Disk Drive
Intel Future SSD Models Leaked! Rev. 2.0
Intel Desktop Chipset Roadmap @ June, 2008
Camcorder Buying Guide Parts 1 & 2
Zalman VF900-Cu Heatpipe Graphics Card Cooler Review
NVIDIA SLI Physics Technology Report
Linksys WRT54G Wireless-G Broadband Router Pictorial Review
OCZ PC2-6400 Gold DDR2 Memory Pictorial Review
1GB Mushkin PC3200 222 LII V2 Dual Pack Memory Modules Review
Modded Radeon 9800SE Vs. GeForce FX 5950 Ultra Comparison


Copyright © Tech All rights reserved.