Adobe CS5: 64-bit, CUDA-Accelerated, And Threaded Performance

Test Configuration

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Test System
MotherboardGigabyte X58A-UD7, LGA 1366, BIOS F7
ProcessorIntel Core i7-980X Extreme (Gulftown), Six-Core, 32 nm, 12 MB Shared L3 Cache
CPU CoolerThermalright Ultra 120 eXtreme
MemoryOCZ Gold-Series DDR3-1333, Triple-Channel, 3 x 4 GB, 1333 MT/s, CAS 9-9-9-20-1T
GraphicsSparkle GeForce GTX 480 (SXX4801536D5-NM), 1.5 GB GDDR5, 700/3696 MHz GPU/Memory
StoragePrimary: Intel X25-M (G2) 160 GB SSDSecondary: OCZ RevoDrive 120 GB PCIe x4
Software and Drivers
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
DirectX VersionDirectX 11
Graphics DriversNvidia GeForce 258.96 WHQL (7/19/2010)
Adobe After EffectsCS4 and CS5; Custom Workload, SD project with three picture-in-picture frames, source video at 720p
Adobe PhotoshopCS5; 20K x 20K test image
Digital AnarchyBeauty Box Photo
Adobe Premiere ProCS4 and CS5; Custom Workload, 1280x720p, 59.94 FPS video, Panasonic DVCPro100, HVX-200 camcorder on P2 media, Render to Work Area.
Adobe Media EncoderCustom Workload, Encode Premiere Pro project to H.264 for Blu-ray

To isolate the impact of scaling core counts, we picked the Gigabyte board for its ability to enable anywhere from one to six active cores in the BIOS. We chose to examine results using two, four, and six cores. For each of these, we tested both with and without Hyper-Threading enabled, giving us essentially six different (logical) thread count scenarios. This would also hopefully help us see how much, if any, benefit there is to having Hyper-Threading in play with CS5. 

Figuring that most people running Creative Suite would be unlikely to purchase a Core i3, we left Turbo Boost enabled across all tests. Note that when we measured CPU ranges, it was done by waiting ten seconds after launching the test and observing utilization for at least two minutes total across multiple areas within the test run. The lowest and highest observed utilization values were discarded unless seen to repeat at least twice.

Having 12 GB was important for us, because in upgrading from CS4 (or earlier) to CS5, we’re assuming that one of the main draws is to also make that leap from 32-bit to 64-bit and leverage the increased memory addressing that comes with it. When testing CS4, we still have 12 GB of system memory in the configuration, but the applications only access the first 4 GB of it. In one sense, this muddies the waters a bit since we’re effectively changing the hardware resources utilized along with the applications, but ultimately we decided this best reflected a real life decision process. If you’re going to pay for a CS5 upgrade, odds are high that you’re going to increase your memory along with it, and 12 GB is a sweet spot for triple-channel memory kits in today’s high-end systems.

We also debated for a while over the storage devices to use here. Ultimately, we decided to use Intel’s widely respected G2 SSD to house our OS and applications, while all data and scratch disk targets were placed on the OCZ RevoDrive.

  • reprotected
    Fermi exceeds at something finally!
    What if I am an ATI user?.
    And Iam an ATI user !!!.
  • IzzyCraft
    magpcWhat if I am an ATI user?.And Iam an ATI user !!!.You still get gpu acceleration just not as much =p and it would be a ATI listed on their site just like nvidia it's a limited pool.
  • bunnyblaster
    Please increase the size of the legend. It is easy to figure out in this review since it's only two colors, however, if it is more than 2, it is hard to figure out which bar is referring to which score.

    Please consider changing the page drop-down menu to the old school drop-down menus like the other tech blogs like Anandtech and Arstech, etc.

    The interface is a little clumsy and seems to be poorly timed when I try to scroll down the drop-down menu. It often closes when I am trying to scroll to another page. Sometimes, when the page loads, it is hidden by a pop-up word ad.

    However, the article content was strong.
  • dEAne
    I have an ATI card and still I have no problem using photoshop CS4 and premiere CS4. The thing with CS5 is that if you can't wait at all, but it is not that really long.
  • adiomari
    why cuda and not open-cl?!!
  • shaun_shaun
    amazing performance increase !!!!!
  • Scott2010au
    Surely they mean the 2GB memory limit (for Win32 processes)?

    Which is one reason why the Apple Mac version is so popular (Unix/BSD can handle more per process).
  • Why CUDA? Simply 'cause it's a mature technology.
  • amdfangirl
    adiomariwhy cuda and not open-cl?!!
    CUDA preceded Open-Cl. Dev cycles are long and tedious. If you're going to implement something, it'll take time to show up. I honestly hope more developers decide to code for Open Cl.