Seeing a blue box or screen in the Develop module? Lightroom CC / Lightroom 6 goes through a few checks to be sure your GPU is compatible with the new GPU acceleration. If the checks fail, Lightroom automatically disables GPU acceleration and falls back to the old mode used by Lightroom 5 and earlier. You won’t get the enhanced performance benefits, but at least the application will operate without interruption.
In spite of this, in some rare cases the checks may leave GPU acceleration enabled even though your machine isn’t compatible. When this happens, often your hardware is up to snuff, but your video driver is out of date. Some reports indicate this is more common with AMD/ATI drivers, but if you use a different card type don’t panic, the troubleshooting steps are the same.
[This article was originally posted in April of 2015. As of January 2019, this advice still holds true. For example, I have an Nvidia GTX 1070 video card. While editing hundreds of images in Develop module over nearly 1.5 hours, I could not get the GPU usage to go much higher than 10%. If you’re building a computer, and you’re wondering if you should spend big bucks on your video card for Lightroom, as of this update, my advice is still “no.” (If you’re a gamer, spend the money, but understand it’s not LR that will benefit from it.) It’s conceivable that Adobe adds some feature in the future that will really leverage a big GPU, but at this stage it’s a gamble to spend big money on the hope that this happens.]
The work Lightroom is doing just isn’t that hard. Any relatively recent solution will work great. There is no difference between using Lightroom with GPU acceleration on my desktop which has a monstrous discrete nVidia gaming card, versus using it on my Late 2013 Retina Macbook Pro, which only has integrated Intel Iris graphics.
While the Intel Iris graphics is remarkable considering it’s an integrated solution, it’s still light years from the power provided by my big gaming card (benchmark comparisons show my nVidia card outpowers my Intel Iris graphics by anywhere from 10x to 50x.) And in spite of that, in Lightroom, both provide identical user experiences.