Since version 10.2, you have an option in ArcMap that significantly
speeds up the display of rasters.
This option is available in the Image Analysis window.

To speed up the display of rasters in ArcMap (10.2 or 10.3):

  • Open the Image Analysis window

window opens and displays the different rasters loaded in ArcMap.

Raster speed up is accomplished by loading the raster into a pre-cache. To
do this,

  • select the raster in the Image
    Analysis window and
  • right click on this one and then

select the option Speed up 

ArcMap takes a long time to place the raster in the pre-cache, when finished;
you can test the speed up.

If you want to see the difference, before speeding up the raster, click
on the map window, then press and hold the ”   Q   “. This
causes a continuous displacement of the display. You should observe a jerky
move if you have a raster on the display.

Once accelerated with the Image Analysis command, repeat the operation
by pressing the ”   Q   “. You should see a noticeable

You can, at any time, remove the acceleration by clicking on the option Speed

And in ArcGis Pro?

Since ArcGis Pro is very new, acceleration options are taken into
account by default. In some cases, you can intervene in the default options to
get a better performance at your job.

Display settings control how maps are rendered in ArcGIS Pro and affect
the quality and performance of the drawing. To change the display settings:

  • click on the Project tab,
  • click Options, then

click on Display.

DirectX and OpenGL are two different methods for controlling your
computer’s graphic card from an application. ArcGIS Pro can use several
versions of DirectX and OpenGL. The default value is DirectX, and in most
cases, this is the optimal setting.

Whichever option you choose, ArcGIS Pro will determine whether your
graphics card supports the capabilities required for any version of the DirectX
or OpenGL rendering engine. It will automatically choose the adequate version
of DirectX or OpenGL for your graphics card, or return to the slowest option
(rendering software) if no graphics card is available to support the requested

In few cases, a particular model or driver on a graphics card may
perform better with OpenGL rendering rather than DirectX. This option (OpenGl)
is provided as a way to evaluate whether OpenGL works best for your particular
graphics hardware or for troubleshooting purposes.

Rendering quality allows you to optimize 3D rendering based on speed or
quality. Depending on the capabilities of your computer and its graphics card,
as well as the number and resolution of elevation sources and layer properties,
increased detail may result in decreased performance. If you experience
performance issues, reducing this setting will reduce the amount of data
displayed without having to modify the card and layer properties. This is
useful when a high-quality 3D scene is displayed on a computer with
specifications below optimum, or when you run a virtual machine instance with
limited resources.

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