Resolve issues caused by defective, unsupported, or incompatible GPU or graphics driver.

Overview of issues caused by a defective, unsupported, or incompatible graphics processor or graphics driver

If you're experiencing image rendering issues, slow performance, or crashes, a defective, unsupported, or incompatible graphics processor (also called a graphics card, video card, or GPU) or graphics driver could be the issue. In particular, this document can help you resolve the following issues:


Tested GPU cards may not meet the minimum bar for use with all GPU features. In addition to basic functionality, some Photoshop features, especially those which use APIs like OpenCL, require greater bandwidth (cutoff of 1.2e+10), memory, or compute resources than other Photoshop features. These requirements can pose significant challenges when cards are placed in older machines, such as ones with low-powered motherboards or machines that make use of a single DIMM for their system memory, effectively halving the bandwidth between the system memory and the GPU memory.

Additionally, the relevant tests are performed when Photoshop starts up. On computers barely meeting the requirements, other running software may tip the balance from a card passing to failing. At times, OS updates, patches, and driver updates may cause issues with cards that were previously working fine.

We recommend you use the latest system and GPU hardware to make the most of GPU features in Photoshop.

Disable the GPU to quickly narrow down the issue

You can quickly determine if the issue is related to your graphics processor or driver by following these steps:

  1. Launch Photoshop.
  2. Choose Edit > Preferences > Performance (Windows) or Photoshop > Preferences > Performance (macOS).
  3. Deselect Use Graphics Processor.
  4. Quit and relaunch Photoshop.

If the problem goes away, your graphics processor or driver is likely the issue. See Graphics processor (GPU) troubleshooting for further troubleshooting steps.

GPU and graphics driver troubleshooting steps

  1. Confirm that you're using the latest version of Photoshop.

    To update Photoshop, see Keep Photoshop up to date.

  2. Confirm that your graphics card is compatible with Photoshop. To determine your graphics card make and model, launch Photoshop and choose Help > System Info to see the Graphics Processor info:

    Viewing System Info
  3. Update your graphics driver.

    Updating your graphics driver can fix many issues, such as crashing, incorrectly rendered images, and performance problems. Get driver updates directly from the video card manufacturer:


    Graphics drivers are updated via operating system updates. Make sure that you have the latest macOS updates by choosing Software Update from the Apple menu or via Updates in the App Store.


    Windows Update won't always give you the latest and greatest drivers. You must go directly to your card manufacturer’s website to check for driver updates:


    • Be sure to choose the correct driver. Notebook drivers sometimes have a different name than similar desktop drivers.
    • Some video adapter manufacturers have other software that requires updating in addition to the video driver. Read the update instructions carefully, and contact the video adapter manufacturer directly if you don't understand the instructions.

    After installing the updates, relaunch Photoshop. Turn on Use Graphics Processor by choosing Preferences > Performance > Use Graphics Processor and retry the steps that caused the problem.

  4. Check your Cache Levels setting.

    If you've set your Cache Levels to 1 in Photoshop preferences, you may experience performance issues with features that take advantage of the graphics processor.

    Reset the Cache Levels to the default setting, which is 4:

    1. Choose Edit > Preferences > Performance (Windows) or Photoshop > Preferences (Mac OS).
    2. Set Cache Levels to 4.
    3. Quit and relaunch Photoshop.

    After relaunching Photoshop, retry the steps that caused the problem.

  5. Reset your preferences.

    Resetting preferences returns Graphics Processor settings to their default status. See Restore preference files to default for more information.

    After resetting your preferences, launch Photoshop and retry the steps that caused the problem.

  6. Change your Advanced Settings for Drawing Mode to Basic.

    Setting the Drawing Mode to Basic uses the least amount of VRAM and enables basic graphics processor features:

    a. Choose Edit > Preferences > Performance (Windows) or Photoshop > Preferences > Performance (macOS).

    b. In the Performance panel, click Advanced Settings.

    c. Choose Drawing Mode > Basic.

    d. Quit and relaunch Photoshop.

    If this solution resolves the problem, switch the Drawing Mode to Normal. Relaunch Photoshop, and see if the issue recurs. If the issue recurs, return to Basic mode.

    For more information on graphics processor settings preferences and how to optimize them for your workflow, see the Photoshop graphics processor (GPU) FAQ.


    If you’re changing Performance preferences to troubleshoot a problem, relaunch Photoshop after each change.

  7. Multiple graphics cards with conflicting drivers can cause problems with GPU-accelerated or enabled features in Photoshop. For best results, connect two (or more) monitors into one graphics card.

    If you must use more than one graphics card, remove or disable the less powerful cards. For example, assume that you have two different cards using two different drivers—an NVIDIA graphics card and an AMD graphics card. In this case, ensure that Photoshop has been assigned the High Performance graphics card rather than Integrated Graphics or Power Saving graphics card.


    a. Right-click anywhere on the desktop and choose the NVIDIA control panel.

    b. Click Manage 3D settings.

    c. Click Program Settings and add Photoshop.exe and sniffer.exe. Change the preferred graphics processor to High-performance NVIDIA processor.

    Set graphics processor to High-performance NVIDIA processor


    a. Right-click anywhere on the desktop and choose the AMD Catalyst Control Center or Configure Switchable Graphics.

    b. Click Browse and choose High Performance instead of Power Saving.

    Click Browse and choose High Performance


    Photoshop currently doesn't take advantage of more than one graphics processor. Using two graphics cards does not enhance Photoshop's performance. Multiple graphics cards with conflicting drivers can cause problems with graphics-processor accelerated features in Photoshop.

    For details, see Photoshop graphics processor (GPU) card FAQ.

  8. (Not recommended) If step 7 does not resolve the issue, consider disabling the graphics cards. However, do bear in mind that disabling the graphics card may lead to system instabilities.

    To disable a graphics card, use the Device Manager on Windows. In the Device Manager, right-click the card's name and choose Disable.

    Disabling graphics card in System Manager
  9. Do not use Photoshop on a virtual machine (VM). 

    Running Photoshop under virtual machines (VMs) is not tested extensively nor officially supported because of known issues with features that rely on the graphics processor in VM environments.

  10. If none of the troubleshooting steps above solve the issue, your last option is to purchase a compatible graphics card, or completely disable the graphics processor using the following steps:

    a. Launch Photoshop.

    b. Choose Edit > Preferences > Performance (Windows) or Photoshop > Preferences > Performance (macOS).

    c. Deselect Use Graphics Processor.

    d. Quit and relaunch Photoshop.

After performing the troubleshooting steps above, you can confirm the results by enabling the Use Graphics Processor option in the Preferences > Performance panel.