CrossFire Support with Adobe Products
January 24, 2017 5:50 AM   Subscribe

I'm in need of a new photo and video editing machine. Does anyone know if applications such as Lightroom, Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements support and take advantage of CrossFireX graphics cards. The new machine I'm looking at has the following specs:

Intel Core i5 6th Gen 6600K (3.50 GHz)
16 GB DDR4 1 TB HDD 120 GB SSD
Windows 10 Home 64-Bit
AMD Radeon RX 480 4 GB GDDR5 (CrossFireX)

I'll need it to process RAW images as well as edit 4K video from my drone.

Thanks everyone. Have a good day.
posted by Jackie_Treehorn to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
Why are you looking at a CrossFire (multi-GPU) setup if you intend to use it for video editing? Multiple GPUs tends to be finicky, and are pretty much only for games or other heavy-duty rendering. A single RX 480 should be plenty.

Basically you're looking for three things from a GPU:

1. General desktop compositing and rendering - trivial
2. 4k video decoding acceleration - trivial for any decent GPU
3. Lightroom RAW processing acceleration - this one really depends, but the RX 480 is roughly equivalent to my GTX 970 which works great for this in my limited experience.

Also, SSDs are dirt cheap now, and 120GB for a system drive is going to be pretty cramped, especially if you're keeping photo/video caches on there. You probably want to bump that to 500GB, and get a bigger HDD. 1TB is pretty tiny if you're doing 4K video. Is this a laptop? That's the only excuse I can think of for putting a drive that small in a new machine.

(Jackie Treehorn's using drones now? Wave of the future, Dude.)
posted by neckro23 at 9:45 AM on January 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

Another vote for "no need for multiple GPUs". Just get one with plenty of VRAM. The 480 would be fine, but maybe get the 8 GB VRAM one. I also agree with neckro23 in that you could use the money saved from not getting another GPU on a larger SSD. 120 GB is too small if you're going to be dealing with large video files, or anything, really.
posted by destructive cactus at 12:06 PM on January 24, 2017

I'm guessing you're looking at a pre-built machine that most likely only has a single RX 480 in it and CrossFireX is mentioned simply to let you know that the card does support it if you were to add another GPU.

Either way, I don't think any of the Adobe applications take advantage of multiple GPUs but I could be wrong. I was using 2 NVidia GTX 680s in my last computer and never noticed much of an improvement in Lightroom.
posted by Venadium at 6:29 PM on January 24, 2017

Photoshop and Lightroom will use one gpu per monitor for almost everything. The only way I can see multiple gpus being of benefit is if you're going to try rendering in Photoshop on one monitor while simultaneously doing a video in Premiere on another. And if you're somehow doing that, 16GB of RAM probably isn't going to be sufficient.
posted by DaveP at 2:58 AM on January 25, 2017

Premiere Pro is the only software which supports SLI and only with exporting video.

Now as to hardware we're in a really strange spot right now with both new hardware coming out and hardware being fairly stagnant over the past five years with no real exponential gains apart from the SSD and even then we've pretty much hit a wall on consumer performance for the next few years. The only thing that will be on the horizon are x8/x16 enterprise drives (which will be too expensive/unwieldy for a consumer machine) and PCI-E 4.0 (which is going to double the speed of M.2 but will be a few years off from consumers). A new CPU these days will last a ridiculously long amount of time compared to a decade ago so with some wise purchases you can pay a bit more now and end up with something that will feel fast for years to come.

The 7600K is filtering into the retail channels along with Z270 boards. 16GB DIMMs are starting to become widely available meaning you can start a configuration with 32GB on 2x16GB and still have two slots available to boost up to 64GB in a couple of years. Having 16GB stock means throwing RAM out when it comes time to head up to 64GB. SSDs are also at their lowest price in years. A 500GB M.2 960 EVO will produce a ridiculous amount of performance for the price especially when dealing with digital video. These drives are almost 4x the speed of an equivalent SATA drive. When you're dealing with a say 20GB RAW video file it's going to be a ten second load on an M.2 drive and a 35 second load on a SATA3 SSD.

If you live in New England (200ish miles of Boston) I'll be happy to help you build an awesome workstation.
posted by Talez at 7:13 AM on January 26, 2017

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