My system only reports partial GPU usage, what gives?

As of version 1.7, StarTools offloads suitable, heavy arithmetic to your system's GPU.

Depending on your GPU monitoring application, it may appear your GPU is only used partially. This is not the case; rest assured your GPU solution is used and loaded up 100% where possible.

As opposed to video rendering or gaming, GPU usage in image processing tends to happens in short, intense bursts; during most routines the CPU is still being used for a lot of things that GPUs are really bad at.

Only tasks that;

  • can be parallelised
  • are rather "dumb" in terms of logic (with few if-then-else branches)
  • perform a lot of complex calculations
  • AND process large amounts of data
  • complete in milliseconds (up to a couple of seconds or so)

...are suitable for momentary GPU acceleration. As a result, during processing, you should see processing switch back and forth between CPU and GPU.

Depending on how your monitoring application measures GPU usage, these bursts may be too short to register. Spikes are usually averaged out over time (usually 1000ms) by your monitoring application (with CPU intermittently doing its thing, leaving GPU momentarily unused). With the GPU loaded only for short times (e.g. less than 1000ms), the monitoring application makes it appear only partial usage is happening. That is, as you now hopefully understand, not the case! During any GPU usage the GPU is fully loaded up.

If your monitoring application can show maximum values (on Windows you can try GPU-Z or Afterburner, on Linux the Psensor application), you will almost immediately see the GPU being maxed out. For examples of heavy sustained GPU activity, try the Deconvolution module with a high number of iterations.


One ZIP archive contains Windows, macOS and Linux versions of StarTools. Do not download StarTools from anywhere else but We do not allow distribution of StarTools by any other party, on-line or off-line.

Please consult the FAQ section about configuring your system properly.

macOS notes

Users may have to "unquarantine" StarTools, before the OS allows it to run. Alternatively StarTools can be launched via control + clicking (right clicking) on the application, Show Package Contents, navigating to Contents/MacOS and clicking on the application.

The following two commands unquarantines StarTools on macOS 13 Ventura and later;

sudo xattr -d -rs

and then;

sudo xattr -d -rs

The following single command unquarantines StarTools on macOS 12 and earlier;

xattr -dr

Please see the screenshots for more information, or download this detailed guide.

Download stable

StarTools 1.8.527 Maintenance Release 2 for Windows, macOS (Universal Binary with native M1 support), and Linux

Latest version released 2022-02-24 (YYYY/MM/DD), size 6.8MB

Download bleeding edge

StarTools 1.9.551 Public Alpha 13 for Windows, macOS (Universal Binary with native M1/M2 support), and Linux

Multi-language support EN, DE, ES via config file

Latest version released 2023-05-15 (YYYY/MM/DD), size 7.1MB

Please note alpha versions are undocumented development preview versions with enhanced functionality, that may however exhibit significant flaws or instabilities. Please use at your own risk.

Unofficial English manual

Unofficial English StarTools 1.8 Manual (164MB), last updated 2022-09-30, improved with extra tips, tricks and information from various sources.

Many thanks to J. Scharmann for putting together this excellent work, as well as its German translation.

Unofficial German manual / Inoffizielle Deutsche Anleitung

Inoffizielle StarTools 1.8 Anleitung in Deutsch (164MB), letztes Update 2022-09-30.

Vielen Dank an J. Scharmann für die ausgezeichnete Übersetzung.

Unoffical Spanish manual / Manual en Espanol

Manual de StarToolsBasado en la versión 1.8 al español (19MB). Ultima actualizacion 2022-03-09.

Muchas gracias a C. R. Guixé por la excelente traducción.

English manual

StarTools uses AIFE.AI for content management and digital footprint. This means that the website content doubles as a printable manual and vice-versa. This content is also available as a smartphone/tablet app, virtual flipbook, virtual reality (VR) experience and more. This content will always be up-to-date with the latest information.

Technical FAQ

These are some questions that get asked frequently.