Apple’s Retina display Vs. Adobe’s software


Updated on September 17, 2012

Adobe software now works on the new Retina displays, and, the accelerated effects of the Mercury Playback Engine will work with the GeForce GT 650 M graphics card. All you have to do is get the update (6.0.2) from Adobe. For further info from Adobe go here. For more information you can read this blog from, or you can read this blog from It’s quite a relief to know that Adobe’s software will work on the new MacBook Retina displays.

My original blog is below:

I love Mac computers and I love Adobe’s software for photography and video. I think that the new Retina displays are the thing of the future. Even Google Chrome is being re-written for optimal viewing on the High Res 2880 x 1800 screen. Does Adobe have to rewrite their software for optimal performance on a retina display?

The graphics card poses an even greater question. The MacBook Pro Retina display comes with the Nvidia GeForce GT 650 M 1GB GDDRS memory graphics card. Apple says it’s the fastest available. Adobe does not yet recommend this graphics card for optimal performance with the Mercury Playback Engine. If you are an editor using After Effects or Premiere Pro then you can work so much better and faster if your workstation has one of the recommended graphics cards with CUDA. Go here to see the full list of Adobe’s recommended cards. For another blog from Adobe Forums on the same subject go here. Nvidia has tested their cards with CS6 and updates their site but as of August 27th 2012  the GeForce 650 M card that is in the MacBook Pro Retina is not on the list of approved cards (Nvidia’s site). Let me explain a little bit. The Mercury Playback Engine will speed up rendering times and speed up your workflow when using any of the “Accelerated” effects in Premiere or AE. One example is that you can be playing a clip while adjusting the color with the new 3 way color corrector. Although the new graphics card has CUDA (384  cores), it is not certain at this time that it is the right card when you have multiple video tracks with multiple effects. You may get dropped frames on playback.

So, what’s the conclusion? We wait until Adobe or Nvidia complete tests and either approve or disapprove of the graphics card used in the latest, greatest laptop computer. We can still buy the MacBook Pro 15″ (non-retina) with one of the two approved video cards which are installed in some Macs (AMD Radeon HD 6750M or 6770M). You cannot change the card that comes in the Retina display.

It may be a longer wait for a desktop. The iMac will be updated this October, but the Mac Pro tower will not get upgraded until some time in 2013. Will it have Thunderbolt ports? Who knows? At least you have the option of adding another graphics card to it’s second 16 lane slot.

I’m waiting, and praying that my 5 year old Mac Pro can hang on for another year.

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