GPU Divorce

I’ve got a couple common applications on my Window 10 system… Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Office.

Photoshop is obviously graphic intensive. It benefits from a good GPU. I had assumed that Microsoft Word and Excel wouldn’t care about GPU settings at all.

My system has an on-board Intel HD Graphics 4600 driver. It’s powerful enough for someone who doesn’t play video games. It also has ports for 3 displays. I made a neophyte mistake and didn’t realize that two of the connectors on the motherboard are Display Ports. I hoped to do CUDA development as well as have 3 monitors, so I bought an nVidia card that had two outputs so that neophyte me knew that the PC could handle 3 more monitors. I upgraded it this year with an GeForce GT 1030 nVidia compatible… Not powerful enough for serious game play, but within my budget.

The problem:

Sometimes Photoshop would get in a state that it couldn’t open anything nor create new images. I hoped that an upgrade of the video card and an upgrade of the version of Photoshop would fix the problem but I was left right where I started.

I contacted Adobe support and after some work, found that the solution: Disable the motherboard video drivers and only open photoshop on a monitor tied to the nVidia card. I believe this works because Photoshop now knows which GPU to use and there’s no inter-GPU data transfer.

Then, I had a new problem, Microsoft Word and Excel became horribly sluggish. Really bad! Long story short, the solution to that appears to be only run Word on the monitor connected to the Intel graphics card.

My video cards are not playing nice. I would say they’re getting ready to have a divorce. The nVidia card is going to take custody of Photoshop while the Intel is running away with Microsoft Office.


  • CUDA is a software technology for accessing the parallel resources on nVidia cards in C++. I’ve never actually used it, so my use of CUDA is still only aspirational.