Adobe CS4 and NVidia Quadro CX

Adobe has just started shipping their CS4 line of products, which coincides with an announcement from NVidia, that their new Quadro CX Graphics card is optimized to accelerate CS4 via the CUDA interface.

Adobe has added many minor tweaks and improvements to all of their apps in CS4.  My favorite so far would be the new Adobe Media Encoder, which allows you to render and encode Premiere Pro and After Effects sequences  in the background, while you continue to work in the applications themselves.  This should help finally utilize all those extra CPU cores we all have buried in our systems.  There is also supposed to be more support for 64bit processing, especially in Photoshop.  The speech to text engine and enhanced dynamic link are the other features Adobe has been highlighting, but I don’t have as much use for those personally.  One thing that has been made clear by third parties, is that Premiere Pro is not finished, and that we should expect a major update soon.  I am not sure which details of that have been made public, but until that release, most third party extensions of Premiere will not be compatible with CS4.  Specifically I am awaiting support from Cineform for ProspectHD/4K, and from Matrox for the AXIO line of products.  Both companies have stated that their software will require support from the extended SDK in the update, so stay tuned for any news on that from Adobe in the near future.

The announcement of NVidia’s new high end GPU, the Quadro CX came as a bit of a surprise to me, since I had seen the specifications for what I believe will be the Quadro 5800, which should include 4GB of memory, and will be found in the new QuadroPlex.  The new Quadro CX card is very similar to the current Quadro 5600, with 1.5 GB of memory, and supports the same SDI daughter card, for broadcast preview and output.  This brings to mind the way that the GeForce9 series of consumer graphics cards were very similar to the previous line of GeForce8 cards.  The new Quadro CX seems most closely related to the Geforce 260 on the consumer side, but with a lower memory bandwidth for some reason.  One key new feature is the edition of DisplayPort output, which is made even more significant by the fact that is supports true 10bit color.  When combined with the new HP Dreamcolor LCD or similar display, this should allow true 10bit display of HD or 2K content without the need for expensive SDI interfaced components.  This is especially critical for desktop based color correction applications, many of which have been written specifically to be run on NVidia Quadro hardware.

Between better multithreading, and more use of the GPU, we should see significant performance increases.  The possibility of 10bit color out of CS4 is exciting as well, but I have not heard any details about that.  I have recently received one of the HP Dreamcolor displays, so I plan to post some info from my experience with that soon.

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