Adobe CS5 and nVidia: First Impressions

Bruce A Johnson
By Bruce A Johnson 05.19.10

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I guess once you break the big rules, you get used to it. You may remember my mini-series from last January, when I replaced a several-year-old Dell Pentium-D workstation with a fire-breathing HP Z-800 eight-core Xeon box. At that time, I installed my existing Matrox RT.X2 video accelerator card and an ATI Radeon HD4870 video card, to work in collaboration with Adobe Creative Suite CS4. The system ran pretty well, but it wasn't a month later that the news started leaking out about something big on the horizon - something called Mercury and CUDA, to be included in the new version of Adobe Creative Suite - CS5.

April brought my yearly trek to Las Vegas for the NAB Convention, and one of the first places I went to was the Adobe booth. The demos of of the Mercury engine running with the nVidia CUDA cards were incredibly impressive. I knew instantly I wanted to torture-test this combo. A few phone calls by the PVC brass brought to my door (eventually) an nVidia Quadro FX4800 video card and the Adobe CS5 Master Collection. As what seems to be the lone member of PVC that edits on a Windows box, I intend to use this combo for ongoing torture tests for PVC. But first I had to see if it could even be installed in a calm and controlled manner.

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Ahhh, memories. Here are the guts of the HP Z800 with the Radeon HD4870 video card, and the Matrox RT.X2 nestled below it. The hardest part of removing these cards was un-installing the software and drivers.

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The backplane of the nVidia Quadro FX4800 features something this old PC guy hasn't had to deal with before - two DisplayPort slots. My current monitors don't support DisplayPort, but a web-visit to Monoprice.com yielded a DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter and a reasonably-priced HDMI cable. Of the two DisplayPort and one DVI plugs, only two can be active at once (and don't quote me, but I understand the Mac version has a different selection of plugs than the PC one.)


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