GPU makers have been busy convincing consumers that the GPU is able to do more than just visually enhance video games. NVIDIA announced its CUDA architecture that allows all sorts of applications to run on the GPU rather than the CPU. Performance for things like video rendering and computation are much faster when using the GPU.
The problem for NVIDIA with the push for people to try these other applications has been that the applications that would run on the GPU were not the programs most people wanted to use. The lack of a name brand application has changed now with Adobe announcing that the latest version of Photoshop, CS4, will take advantage of the power offered by the GPU for the first time.
Adobe will use the GPU to allow more fluidity in zooming in and out on an image, rotating the canvas, and displaying and manipulating 3D objects. CS4 will also use the GPU to handle color correction.
John Nack, product manager for Photoshop told CNET News, "It's not lost on us that when you look at the rate of GPU power advancement, there's an enormous wealth of cycles we can take advantage of now. The rate of price drop and performance gain has been off the charts."
Not all features and functions of Photoshop CS4 can take advantage of the power offered by the GPU according to Adobe. A feature that will take advantage of the GPU processing power called Pixel Bender didn’t make the final version of Photoshop CS4, but will likely be offered as a free download at a later date through Adobe Labs. The feature allows users to create their own special effects quickly.
Nack also said, "Typically, when folks were building a big Photoshop rig...we never had to really concern ourselves with things like which video driver they were using. We had a very light integration. Anything was fine. Now that we're doing actual processing on the GPU, we have to be a good deal more stringent."
Adobe Photoshop CS4 will be available in October for $699 for Photoshop CS4, $999 for the extended version and $199 for those upgrading Photoshop from previous versions.