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Thread: What to use for a graphics card?

  1. #1
    Jeff S's Avatar
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    What to use for a graphics card?

    A friend of mine is building a computer for me with lots of RAM and storage, among other things. The question has come up concerning what graphics card I might want to use given that my chief use for the PC will be to process photographs with PS CS6 and Lightroom. I wonder if anyone on CiC would have an opinion on that. The system is using Windows 7.

    Thanks, in advance for your thoughts.

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    Re: What to use for a graphics card?

    Gobs of RAM and storage is always good.

    However offering advice based on incomplete info is never a good thing.

    Your friend is obviously technically competent - what advice did he give you?

    2 other things you mentioned have me somewhat wary -

    "among other things" - what other things?
    "chiefly" - what secondary uses?

    Purely out of curiosity - new system + W7, why not W8?
    Last edited by Bobobird; 31st December 2012 at 10:43 AM.

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    Re: What to use for a graphics card?

    Hi,

    I use Lightroom 4, and I recently investigated whether a new graphics card might give an easy performance boost to my creaking PC. Unfortunately, it appears that LR does not make any significant use of graphics card acceleration, and nor is anyone aware of Adobe plans to change that. I can't recall what was said about CS6.

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    MilT0s's Avatar
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    Re: What to use for a graphics card?

    By googling around I found that the new Photoshop CS6 takes advantage of the CUDA graphics cards for some filters only such as Liquify, Adaptive Wide Angle and some blur effects. More details here. A reasonably priced model is the PNY Quadro600 for $143.

    It definitely worth buying it if you do any CAD or 3D work but I am not sure if it is that important for Photoshop. Keep in mind it is a dedicated GPU so it is not good for gaming. Probably the next version of Photoshop will benefit more from this technology thought.

    I hope there are other members with better knowledge on that.

    EDIT: The new ATI FirePro technology is also support. Look here.
    Last edited by MilT0s; 31st December 2012 at 01:08 PM.

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    Re: What to use for a graphics card?

    Quote Originally Posted by MilT0s View Post
    By googling around I found that the new Photoshop CS6 takes advantage of the CUDA graphics cards for some filters only such as Liquify, Adaptive Wide Angle and some blur effects. More details here. A reasonably priced model is the PNY Quadro600 for $143.

    It definitely worth buying it if you do any CAD or 3D work but I am not sure if it is that important for Photoshop. Keep in mind it is a dedicated GPU so it is not good for gaming. Probably the next version of Photoshop will benefit more from this technology thought.

    I hope there are other members with better knowledge on that.
    One important consideration would be the maximum resolution (at least equal to that of the largest screen you plan to buy for use with the card): if your graphics card can't deliver the native resolution of your screen, there's an extra interpolation step that is better avoided.

    As for CUDA needing a dedicated GPU: all graphics cards have a dedicated GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). CUDA is a way for the main CPU to access the GPU directly and use it for some types of calculations, for which the GPU is optimised. And the best cards for gaming tend to be the best for use with CUDA as well (as those have the most powerful GPU's...). Unfortunately, those are also the most expensive, and power-hungry (top model NVidia cards are around USD 1000).

    If you go for a light-weight graphics card, you might want to consider a fan-less card, to minimise noise (audio, not image noise, ofc ).

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    Re: What to use for a graphics card?

    A graphics card that supports 2 screens is not a bad idea. I use one and run one program on one screen another on the other. I think one screen is analog the other digital but I've read somewhere that it makes no difference to the output quality.
    Happy New Year

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    MilT0s's Avatar
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    Re: What to use for a graphics card?

    Yeap, I didn't express myself correctly I have to admit.

    The CUDA/FirePro technologies are designed ("dedicated") for CAD systems. The problem e.g. with the Quadro series is that although they are the best solution for CAD (and very expensive) they are not usually well supported by the games engines.

    The most demanded applications for GPUs are games and CAD but it is difficult to have both (fortunately I am not interesting in gaming). The way the Liquify/Wide lens etc filters in Photoshop use the GPU is (lets say) similar to the CAD programs that's why I am mentioning them.

    Here are some links from adobe which include the supported graphics cards and have a ton of more informations:

    link 1
    link 2
    link 3

    The fan-less card is also a great tip if you don't go for a GPU monster!

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    Re: What to use for a graphics card?

    I find this with 2GB memory is adequate. I don't play games.

    http://www.evga.com/articles/00624/

    The ones shown are smaller models but mine is Open GL 4.0 and has bandwidth 8.0GB/s

    However I have never tried video editing. According to Adobe I would need a higher bandwidth and 192+ CUDA cores so it is probably a good job I don't, since that will also require a higher power supply and start to cost serious money.
    Last edited by arith; 1st January 2013 at 10:54 AM.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: What to use for a graphics card?

    I'm also someone who always builds his own machines and have been doing so for around 30 years. CUDA is NOT required for Photoshop, but rather a graphics card that handles OpenGL and Open CL, so pretty well any fairly recent graphics card from AMD or nVidia or even integrated graphics on your motherboard including Intel ones should work.

    Check out the Adobe website for details: http://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/kb/...6-gpu-faq.html

    If you are planning to use Adobe Premiere Pro (video editing) and / or Adobe After Effects (motion graphics) then a nVidia card is really important as this software does use the graphics capabilities of these cards to improve your workflow. Adobe has a few "tested" higher end cards listed on their website, i.e. mostly mid to higher end Quadro cards, but there is a workaround so that you can use normal mid-range nVidia cards at. The lower end Quadro cards did not work last time I looked:

    http://www.studio1productions.com/Ar...miereCS5-2.htm

    I've used this for several years now and it works and does make a real difference.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: What to use for a graphics card?

    I'm also someone who always builds his own machines and have been doing so for around 30 years. CUDA is NOT required for Photoshop, but rather a graphics card that handles OpenGL and Open CL, so pretty well any fairly recent graphics card from AMD or nVidia or even integrated graphics on your motherboard including Intel ones should work. Graphics for Photoshop is really not very heavy on the resource requirements, so even cards with less than 1 GB of RAM onboard seem to work well for me.

    Check out the Adobe website for details: http://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/kb/...6-gpu-faq.html

    If you are planning to use Adobe Premiere Pro (video editing) and / or Adobe After Effects (motion graphics) then a nVidia card is really important as this software does use the graphics capabilities of these cards to improve your workflow. CUDA is proprietary to nVidia, so no choice if you plan to go in this direction. Adobe has a few "tested" higher end cards listed on their website, i.e. mostly mid to higher end Quadro cards, but there is a workaround so that you can use normal mid-range nVidia cards at. The lower end Quadro cards did not work last time I looked:

    http://www.studio1productions.com/Ar...miereCS5-2.htm

    I've used this for several years now and it works and does make a real difference.

  11. #11
    Melkus's Avatar
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    Re: What to use for a graphics card?

    Well if your only going to be using the PC for things like processing photographs etc and not playing any graphics demanding games then today onboard graphics will work just fine, as long as your have enough main memory since onboard graphics gets it's memory for the PC system RAM. Something I always ask someone who I'm going to build a PC for, is what are you going to be using this for, are you going be playing any games. You can save money if you not got to buy a video card.

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    Jeff S's Avatar
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    Re: What to use for a graphics card?

    Thanks to all who answered and provided links. I will follow up with the links by this coming weekend. In the meantime, since I won't be doing anything on the new computer other than photography related activities (no games) and some basic internet searches, email, and Microsoft office documents, it appears that I won't be needing a graphics card right away, if ever. My friend is installing a huge amount of RAM (I wish I could remember the specs, but I don't at the moment, and I'm not that computer savvy to understand it all. My friend built several for my employer - including the one I use with CS6 extended and that unit sings. He says mine will be even better).

    He told me what several of you have mentioned. I guess I just thought that a "graphics" card would be appropriate for photography, so I wanted to see what some photographers with computer knowledge would say. My friend does not have a lot of experience with photography. All of you have been helpful. Thanks.

    I have a laptop for all my other computing needs, but using a laptop for photography is daunting considering the nature of the monitor and the limited RAM that I have in that unit.

  13. #13
    Melkus's Avatar
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    Re: What to use for a graphics card?

    I run 12GB on this rig which is way more than I really need. Microsoft official site stated 1 GB RAM to be the recommended minimum to run Windows 7.
    Last edited by Melkus; 3rd January 2013 at 01:17 AM.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: What to use for a graphics card?

    I find that for Windows 7 64-bit version, the minimum RAM I use is 8GB. I do monitor my utilization and I'm usually in the 6GB+ range with just a few programs open. That machine is getting a bit long in the tooth and I will be looking at an upgrade sometime this winter (new motherboard and CPU) and will likely put 16GB on board as well.

    I got a great deal on RAM on another machine that I built and am running 16GB on it. My third machine is running Windows 7 32-bit (mostly because my scanner is so old that no 64-bit drivers are available), so I have 4GB of RAM on it and it continuously is churning away swapping out memory. I'll keep that machine the way it is until the scanner dies.

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    Re: What to use for a graphics card?

    Manfred, give VueScan a shot.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: What to use for a graphics card?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobobird View Post
    Manfred, give VueScan a shot.
    Problem is that the scanner is an old CanoScan IDE 50, i.e. it is at least 10 years old and it's really not worth throwing any money at it as it is well past its expected service life. I have no plans to replace it until it dies, as I only use it a few times a month. When it dies, the old computer will be replaced as well. Right now, the price is right and neither the computer or scanner are costing me anything.

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