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Graphic Card vs. PDF Read Speed

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 29, 2006 9:05:00 PM

Hi,
I've enjoyed Tom's Hardware website for years but just joined the Forumz and this is my 1st post! My question is about what effect, if any, the speed of the Graphics processor has on the speed of display of huge multi-page PDF files. I'm creating large PDF's with as many as 350 pages. When I have to do any editing or insertions Adobe Pro brings up a very large number of thumbnails. Being from the old days of Vacumn Tube computers and CRT's I call this painting. Anyway, I'm guessing the key to this is the transfer rate from the HD (I put the files I'm working with on a pair of 10,000 RPM WD Raptor's in Raid 1) I'm not a gamer and am using a Evga 6600GT w/128Mb DDR2 RAM Video Card. I was thinking about moving to a Gigabyte/ASUS 7600GT 256 Mb DDR3 RAM fanless design for less noise and more speed. My question is does anyone think this would make this tedious PDF thumbnail "painting" any faster? I've listed my system specs. below to see if anyone sees any glaring bottlenecks!

Regards,
stuffinder

ASUS A8N-SLI Premium
AMD 64X2 4200+
EVGA 6600GT 128MB Video Card
System Disk 2 WD 74GB 10,000 RPM Raptor's in RAID 1 (SilImage 3114)
Storage Disk 200GB Maxtor
Backup Disk 400GB Samsung SATA (Nvidia)
Hiper 580W PS
Antec Sonata w/1500RPM Silenx 120mm Exhaust Fan
Winows XP Pro SP2
July 6, 2006 9:01:39 AM

forgot to post your ram? i dont see it.

regardless, purchasing a "better" 3d graphics card in hopes of boosting a 2d desktop application is fruitless. you should trowel around google along the lines of acrobat loading up un-needed plugins.
July 6, 2006 10:07:22 AM

The number of pages shouldn't matter too much if it's all just plain text. However, if it's pictures etc... a graphics card won't help at all. You need RAM, and loads of it. Go for 2gb of fast RAM and you shouldn't have to worry about this any more.
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July 6, 2006 10:26:18 AM

Being in the digital publishing business, I have this problem myself and I know how annoying it can get to wait for 20 thumbnails to load everytime you move a page.
You might try a card with more memory, but as posted above a faster 3D card won't do you much good with desktop apps.
You would be better to decrease the file size of the pages. If you are saving them at like 2400-3600 dpi, PDF files can get quite large. If you are converting scans, the default resolution that scanner's use mean a HUGE file when you convert to pdf. Most digital commercial printers are limited to 600 dpi, so saving files at higher res is useless anyhow. If you are just viewing the pdfs or publishing them to the web, you can go even lower. Set your pdf writer or distiller to the lowest quality settings, or least change the conversion rates to 600 dpi. This will make an astonishing difference in how fast the thumbnails are being "painted".
It is pretty normal to see a book you are talking about end up being 500 to 1000 meg in size at higher resolutions. By simply reducing the resolution this same file can be cut down to 40 or 50 meg without reducing print quality.
If you must work with large file sizes, turn off the thumbnail view.
July 6, 2006 12:47:14 PM

Thanks for the responses! As mentioned I forgot the Ram which is 2GB OCZ Platinum DDR400. Since I first posted my question I've changed my 10,000 RPM 74GB Raptors to RAID0. This speed issue appears to me to be primarily tied to the transfer speed of the HD. I see about a 12-15% increase in speed as compared to my 200GB Maxtor 7200 RPM IDE Drive. I'm working with 8 1/2 x 11 pages at a 300 DPI resolution so drive speed would be even more of an issue on those super hi-resolution publications destined for quality publications. As an experiment I removed 1GB of RAM and I see no discernibile difference. Impatient guy that I am I think I'd be looking for Ultra Hi-Speed SCSI drives If I had to work with those huge images JITPublisher mentioned.
Are there any especially fast 2D Video cards that would make any difference?
Thanks for all your help!
July 6, 2006 12:52:20 PM

If you need advice on SCSI drives/adaptors, you should post in a hard drive/server category, there's some very knowledgeable people there who will help you get the best setup.
July 6, 2006 1:24:27 PM

Hi All;

Having used Acrobat from day one, what you are describing is inherent within the application itself, a faster hard drive is not going to make Acrobat work faster, it is a slow program on certain features, namely text editing within Acrobat, and thumbnail generation. Even more memory is limited in it's usefullness.

Nothing you can do about the text editing, Acrobat must find and then raster all characters of a font (in the size you have selected to edit) before it will present the insertion point to you to make edits. If you happen to NOT have the font on your system you are editing, then it takes just that much longer for the application to figure out a best substitute. I always go back to my source file to make text edits, Acrobat is really horrible at text editing, and the documentation even says that it's use is for light editing.

As far as thumbnails, right click in the thumbnail view in Acrobat. Choose "EMBED ALL THUMBNAILS", this will significantly reduce the screen draw for thumbnails. You can embed thumbnails as you create PDFs by changing the selctions in your PDF dialoge box. It will also increase the file size, but that doesn't seem to be an issue in your case.
July 6, 2006 1:47:59 PM

first step: completely uninstall the adobe reader.

second step: google up FoxitReader and download it

third step: run foxit (no install needed) and it will set itself as your default reader.

fourth step: enjoy your fast computer


FoxitReader is a wonderful free pdf reader that works like acrobat used to work. Fast, low memory usage, reliable. Adobe reader is a system pig. You will love foxit, I have used it for about 6 months now and will never go back to adobe. There is also a pdf creator linked from their site, but I have not used it... yet.
!