Photoshop + Win 7 64 Bit + Matrox M-series: no OpenGL?

Posted By
Henrik Meier
May 17, 2010
Hi. Do you have any idea if this combination is able to use OpenGL with Photoshop?

– Photoshop CS5 and CS4 64 or 32 Bit

– Win 7 64 Bit

– Matrox graphics card M9148 (M-series)

– 3 monitors, 16 GB RAM

On this machine (Win 7, 64 Bit etc.) that i just bought for good Photoshopping fun, Photoshop CS4 and CS5 with either 64 or 32 bit did NOT recognize OpenGL on the computer, the OpenGL option was dimmed-off and not accessible in the preferences.

But: The Matrox M-Series (which my M9148 is part of) officially supports OpenGL 2.0 (though not OpenGL 2.1). Also required by Photoshop is Shader Model 3 and i see no Matrox comment if that is provided.

At first the machine did not even boot with the Matrox card. I managed to talk to a Matrox technician. He said that the card had had a problem on machines with more than 4 GB RAM. He gave me a beta driver, and then the general performance was nice, but Photoshop did not recognize OpenGL. Prompted by the technician, i did the following tests:

– Disable monitors 2 and 3 and start Photoshop again on a single monitor system. Still no OpenGL.

– Test my machine with the free OpenGL Extension Viewer from Real-VR. It confirmed that Open GL 2.0 is ok on my machine, but 2.1 is not. It says it supports Shading language version 1.1 Matrox GLSL compiler.

From the internet i also read that another Matrox-M-cards supports Shader Model 3 (also required). I read that OpenGL is only supported with Matrox SE-U driver, not with the WDDM driver (but don’t understand the difference). The problem seems not to be mentioned in the "GPU" text you can open via Photoshop’s "Help" menu. The Matrox PowerDesk software doesn’t help with OpenGL things.

Thanks for all hints!

MacBook Pro 16” Mockups 🔥

– in 4 materials (clay versions included)

– 12 scenes

– 48 MacBook Pro 16″ mockups

– 6000 x 4500 px

May 19, 2010
Matrox cards have not had real hardware upgrades for many generations. That being said, the GPU threaded parts of CS5 do not appear to be significantly different from CS4, meaning negligible in real use, and CS5 is no more multithreaded, meaning negligibly, than CS4.
If you must support multiple monitors and can afford to switch look into current ATI offerings. Sadly the low level notebook junk bolted into Macs as a video system don’t cut it either.
As it was ten years ago the biggest bang for the Photoshop buck is still sheer processor speed. Most Photoshop operations are pushed through one of your multiple CPU cores and the others mostly offload background OS tasks. An Intel I7 processor is the best upgrade you can make if you can afford it, although speed that is measured in tests and speed that you actually need/perceive are not the same. You should be spending more time on creative decision making than the CPU needs to render an image.
The 64 bit version of Photoshop is not faster than the 32 bit version, regardless of how much RAM it can address, because all that data still funnels mostly through one CPU core. Add that to the fact that many widely used plug-ins are not 64 bit compatible and you have to wonder what the fuss is about.
Then again, most people don’t realize they are working on 16 bit color images via a 6 bit dithered monitor.

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