Making the most of your 2D GPU graphics acceleration with Acrobat 8.

In Acrobat 8.0, Adobe introduced support for 2D GPU (Graphic Processor Unit) rendering on Windows based systems. If you haven’t already discovered this new functionality in Acrobat 8.0: Go to Edit > Preferences > Page Display > enable “Use 2D GPU acceleration”. If this check box does not appear on your system, you likely don’t have a graphics card that meets the minimum requirements for Acrobat 8.0. (See link below) By default in Acrobat 8.0 this functionality wasn’t enabled, but the cat is out of the bag now! As a result Acrobat 8.0 users with qualifying video cards and up to date display drivers can experience the power of GPU rendering. Tasks such as panning, zooming and page flipping have become much faster in Acrobat 8.0 with the GPU rendering enabled. What follows are suggestions for making the most of your GPU acceleration while using Acrobat 8.0.

1) Know your video card.
a. Check video card memory: (Acrobat 8.0 minimum requirement is 128 MB VRAM) to find the VRAM configuration for your graphics card, go to Settings > Control Panel > Display > Settings tab > Advance button > Adapter tab > Check memory size.
b. Check Shader Model support: (Acrobat 8.0 requires Shader Model 3 video cards) to check if your video card has Shader Model 3 support, go to the video card vendor’s website > search for the video card name and model > Check the Technical specifications.
c. Check Display Driver Version: go to Settings > Control Panel > Display > Settings tab > Advance button > Adapter tab > Properties button > Driver tab (For the latest display driver version on desktop systems visit the video card vendor’s website; for the latest Laptop display driver please visit the laptop vendor’s website).

2) Troubleshooting 2D GPU performance issues.
If the page drawing isn’t as fast as you expect while performing dynamic page viewing operations (panning, zooming or page flipping) try checking the following items.

a. When an embedded 3D Window is active, try disabling 3D animations when possible. To disable 3D animations: Click inside the 3D window > do a Right click > select Disable 3D. Since both 2D GPU rendering and 3D rendering are competing for the same resources the system can become sluggish when there aren’t enough resources to go around.
b. Try changing the display resolution: go to Settings > Control Panel > Display > Settings tab > Change screen resolution. Problems may occur during page display viewing when using display resolutions above 1600 x 1200. Limiting the display resolution may improve overall 2D rendering performance.
c. For faster panning and zooming consider “Wireframe” viewing. To enable wireframe viewing in Acrobat: go to View > Line Weights (shortcut keys CTRL + 5). Wireframe view puts less stress on the GPU for documents that contain significant vector data due to the fact the fewer pixels have to be drawn.
d. Close unused windows, Problems may occur when working with many PDF documents open at a time when the 2D GPU is enabled. As the resources on the graphics card become overloaded the on screen rendering performance may degrade.

It must be noted that performance improvements in Acrobat 8.0 will vary depending on system configuration. Some systems that meet the Acrobat 8.0 GPU requirements may not show significant performance gains due to low GPU performance. In general lower end video cards will show smaller performance gains than higher end graphic cards from the same vendor. Other video cards, even though compatible with Acrobat 8.0 GPU requirements, will have the GPU acceleration check box grayed out because the video display driver may not be compatible with the current version of Acrobat on your system. For a complete list of video cards compatible with Acrobat 8.0 and display driver’s information, visit the following Adobe Support websites:

In Acrobat 8.1, the list of tested video cards was expanded to include the latest video cards from ATI and NVIDIA. Acrobat 8.1 also includes supports for Windows Vista 32, Windows XP 64 bit and Windows Vista 64 bit.

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3 Responses to Making the most of your 2D GPU graphics acceleration with Acrobat 8.

  1. Jabz says:

    GPU is a great feature and still underestimated. I played with it a little…love it. Thanks.

  2. Werbeagentur says:

    Many thanks for the usefully and interesting informations. Many greetz from Germany, Werbeagentur

  3. Antoine Dubuc says:

    Can Distiller take advantage of the GPU to significantly increase the speed of ripping a postscript into PDF (or Acrobat doing a Postscript)?Thanks,Antoine