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Photoshop CS4: GPU Acceleration

What is it?
At this point, you might be wondering, what is a GPU and why should I care? The GPU, or Graphics Processing Unit, is a dedicated graphics processor built into the video card. As GPU processing power has increased, software manufacturers are using the GPU to perform more image display tasks, like resizing or rotating, since the GPU is significantly faster than the CPU (Central Processing Unit), at these tasks.
Photoshop CS4 uses the GPU for Resizing, rotating and moving images. The nifty new feature where you can “throw” your images to move them, that’s the GPU at work. The biggest difference you’ll see is in previewing images at odd zoom percentages. Remember before when a picture at 33% would have jaggy, awful lines. No more. Images at any pixel magnification are beautifully smooth.
Why is it important?
As more components of Photoshop are re-written to take advantage of the GPU, you’ll see a significant increase in the speed of image redrawing, thumbnail generation and overall display performance. Bridge CS4 uses the GPU for full-screen previews, the Review Mode and Slideshow. Find out if your GPU is supported in CS4 with this Adobe Knowledge Base article.
Bonus Tip: Next time you’re purchasing a new computer, or looking to improve the performance of an older machine, consider upgrading the Video Card. Adobe recommends a video card with 256-512 MB of display RAM but photographers working with Panoramic images on a frequent basis will find 512 MB or more beneficial. Fortunately, the cost of higher-end graphics cards has dropped considerably over the past several years making that new upgrade even more affordable.


4 comments for “Photoshop CS4: GPU Acceleration”

  1. Thanks,Jay. Great info as always.

    Posted by C John Rossi | November 19, 2008, 1:05 pm
  2. You’re very welcome. I’m glad you’re enjoying the series. Jay

    Posted by jay | November 19, 2008, 1:12 pm
  3. […] a supported graphics card. If the Bird’s Eye View isn’t working for you, revisit the GPU Acceleration post and check to see if your graphics card is supported. Tags: 30 Days of CS4, Photography, […]

    Posted by Jay Kinghorn’s Blog | Photoshop CS4: Bird’s Eye View | November 24, 2008, 11:00 am
  4. […] For more on GPU Acceleration and a link to a list of supported graphics cards, check out my earlier post on the subject. Tags: 30 Days of CS4, Photography, Photoshop, […]

    Posted by Jay Kinghorn’s Blog | Photoshop CS4: Rotate Tool | December 26, 2008, 11:34 am

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