Should I upgrade my graphics card? I am NOT a gamer, but have multiple monitors

Jan 24, 2019
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Okay, I need to first explain that my setup has evolved over the years, but I have been with the same graphics card for quite a few years. I am not a gamer but spend most of my day in Adobe InDesign.

InDesign is a very slow program and I’m trying to get it to run as fast possible within (fairly) reasonable budgets, having said that, if spending $1K on a new graphics card will improve my setup, I will do so!

So my setup is as follows:
i9-9900K
Z390 Aorus Pro-CF
G.SKILL Ripjaws V DDR4 3200 C16 2x16GB
1TB Samsung 970 Pro nvm.e
WD Red 4TB
Toshiba DT01ACA200 HDD 2TB
now for the graphics card:
saphire radeon 7850 series 2GB RAM 11200-07 (which is the specific model of this card that supports 4 displays)

I have four displays :)
Dell U3014 30inch 2560 × 1600
3 × Dell U2412M 1920 × 1200

The question is, bearing in mind that I’m not doing any gaming, no 3D rendering, hardly ever open Photoshop, in other words, I spend 99% of my day in InDesign, is there any value in upgrading my graphics card?

 

13thmonkey

Titan
Moderator
It depends on whether in-design uses cuda, I know that practically everything from Adobe does, and with a GTX970 I saw a massive drop in performance when I had to turn acceleration off just doing simple photoshop activities.

This suggests that it does support it: https://helpx.adobe.com/uk/indesign/using/gpu_performance.html

Personally I'd go nvidia, it seems to suggest opengl4 is all that is needed in which case any more modern card will do, but AMD haven't released much that is truly new for some time (this may be resolved in the next 6 months).
 
Jan 24, 2019
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But would a new graphics card make things faster in InDesign? I’m running Windows so the link you provided isn’t relevant to me. I’m guessing that on the Mac a good graphics card will help. Also what is cuda (excuse my ignorance).
 

13thmonkey

Titan
Moderator


Cuda cores are the nvidia graphics cores, highly parallel, opengl also uses them, the opengl std is similar between apple and Windows. So whatever it says there will apply, apple uses the same hardware now as Windows PC's, they don't have a magic sauce to use that hardware better.

Sorry on phone right now, but this indicates that in design will benefit, will what do you benefit, I don't know.
 
Jan 24, 2019
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Hmm... Not sure that is accurate. I have read people complaining about the lack of GPU support in the Windows version of InDesign and the UI of InDesign reflects this.

I think if in the future, if Adobe releases GPU support for the Windows version, then I think I may see some more direct results.

I was just wondering (and please, I am in no hurry for an answer so I don’t want this to detract from your phone call), how a newer discreet graphics card will improve performance. When I look at the performance window in Task Manager, the graph is always at about 50% for Dedicated GPU memory usage and the rest is on 1%!
 

13thmonkey

Titan
Moderator


Any use? https://forums.adobe.com/thread/2440015 I've noticed scaling and zooming with no gpu to be much slower. I'd say it's beneficial.
 
Jan 24, 2019
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Thank you so much for taking the time to do some research on my behalf. It is much appreciated. However, the link you posted refers to Adobe Premiere not Adobe InDesign.
 

13thmonkey

Titan
Moderator


Scaling etc. Will be common code, I'm 95% certain it'll be useful. Is gpu acceleration on or off now? Try switching it and see what happens, the effect might be small because of the weak gpu. It's there someone you can borrow a gpu from?
 
Jan 24, 2019
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I can’t turn on GPU acceleration because the option isn’t there on the PC version of InDesign. It’s a Mac-only feature right now. The option to borrow a GPU isn‘t really there for me. I don’t know anybody with a setup like mine where I live.
 

RobCrezz

Titan
Herald
Have you tried asking on the Adobe Forum? I expect most of us here wont be familiar with that software and optimisations for it.

I would just make sure the program and any files you are working on are stored on SSD, other than that your specs are as good as it gets really.
 
Jan 24, 2019
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I have checked quite extensively on various forums including Adobe and Facebook InDesign. No, there is no GPU acceleration for InDesign for Windows as an option, and I guess what you have confirmed here for me, is that until there is, upgrading my graphics card (which works fine and they keep releasing new drivers for), will have no impact of the speed of my InDesign setup.

Have I understood correctly?
 
Jan 24, 2019
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Yep. I only use the HDDs for my archived files. The upgrade from my OCZ SSD nvme to the Samsung made a huge difference (I made this upgrade on my previous setup before upgrading the CPU, motherboard and RAM), but wanted more performance so made the second upgrade.

I was fairly sure that my ancient graphics card would suffice, but I was still curious if anybody thought there would be any performance upgrade. So I’m understanding from you that there won’t be.
 

RobCrezz

Titan
Herald


Yes thats correct. If it has no GPU acceleration, changing the GPU wont give you any performance benefits.

If you open Task manager you can see how much your GPU is utilised, I suspect when using InDesign the GPU usage will be very small.
 
Jan 24, 2019
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yep, GPU utilization is maybe 1%! That’s what I thought. So basically I need to wait until Adobe adds GPU acceleration and then see if it starts to max out in task manager correct?
 

RobCrezz

Titan
Herald


Indeed. They have GPU acceleration in things like Photoshop, Premier etc, where it makes a significant performance difference.
 

13thmonkey

Titan
Moderator


I've seen articles from 2015 saying GPU's are an apple only feature, which I find to be a bit disturbing if they haven't fixed that yet, there is nothing to stop them, other than keeping apple happy.
 
Jan 24, 2019
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I need to be specific. GPU acceleration on InDesign only in a Mac feature that debuted only very recently (I think with CC 2019). GPU acceleration is available on the PC in Photoshop for example and I would guess other programs too. I think it’s been available for quite a while on the PC on Photoshop and other Adobe programs. Just not InDesign.

 

13thmonkey

Titan
Moderator
I assume that the image above is no indesign on the PC? If it doesn't support it, then it doesn't and for simple displaying on the screen a better GPU would not help.

However, were it to support it (if/when), then it's not the 'drawing the screen' that the GPU would benefit you, it's the calculations that need to go on in the background to scale images, rotate them move the page around etc. that's where it would be most beneficial and the difference can be immense.
 
Jan 24, 2019
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The image above is for Photoshop on the PC.

So basically you are saying that even if InDesign in the future were to support GPU acceleration, if currently my drawing on the screen is instant, then I wouldn’t notice a better GPU.

Right now I want InDesign to perform better when running scripts etc. I have no screen redraw issues whatsoever.
 

13thmonkey

Titan
Moderator
scripts doing what? I disabled GPU in photoshop whilst resizing a bunch of scanned images, with GPU was significantly quicker than without, I was only doing 6-8 at a time but if I was doing 30 or so it would have been the difference between sitting and waiting or getting a coffee. So it all depends on what the scripts actually do.

Bear in mind you do have a monster of a CPU so it might well cover the gap that GPU acceleration can't cover.
 
Jan 24, 2019
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Typically scripts automating the layout process, basically think of lots of finds and replace. Nothing like manipulating images.

Regarding the CPU, that was my thought. Shame that InDesign and it’s scripting engine only uses one core! So I had to go for the fastest processor with single-core that was relatively reasonably priced.

When I do 3D rendering in boxshot, the renders that used to take 40 minutes now only take 5! But with my general InDesign workflow, the upgraded CPU, faster and more RAM and 3× faster SSD than my previous SSD has given approximately nearly double the overall speed which is what I reckoned but the GPU bit I was always uncertain of so I just left for the moment.
 

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