Someone asked how much video RAM does one need for Photoshop and I replied:
"You only need enough to display millions of colours on your monitor. For straight 2D work graphics apps like Photoshop don't need all that extra RAM you see on cards today as it's only needed for 3d stuff like gaming."
But then I see Adobe's Technote ID 331412 recommending that Photoshop should have more then 128mb RAM on the videocard and that has me wondering why??
Used to be you only needed 8mb RAM to drive a 20 inch screen at 24 bit colour. So what kinds of Photoshop tasks need more? And with Quad-Core processors and system RAM so cheap these days (compared to them olden days) what kind of 2D help can video card RAM offer that would make any real difference with 2D photo editing?
Thanks for any insight.
shoot me now-d3u3se, Jun 2, 2008 5:13 PM
I would hope that 128mb is sufficient. I'm wondering if it might even be 120mb more than Photoshop needs?
My question was WHY does Photoshop now recommend more video RAM for 2D editing than earler versions? Photoshop is not a video game. So why add more than a monitor needs to display 24 bit colour? Why would adding more offer ANY (Photoshop) performance advantage whatsoever? 1600x1200 resolution only needs 8mb VRAm to display 24bit colour..
Just trying to get my facts straight and hoping someone might shed some light in this :-)
John is right, although I'm not sure *how* right. Photoshop is supposed to shunt some tasks to the video cards memory, a practice that began with the release of (CS3?). How effective this is and how much one would be hobbled by using an "ancient" card with only 64MB or less of VRAM is anybody's guess... (where IS Cris Cox when you need him?)
At any rate, future versions of Photoshop will likely lean more heavily on the graphics subsystems than ever before, so might as well gear up.
Now that PS includes some 3D capabilities it would seem to be necessary, having said that you can get a really good nVidia card for $150 with 512Mb of VRAM that support DirectX 10 etc. Not really a large investment when you consider the cost of other components.
Thanks for the responses. Perhaps I should explain the reason for asking. I'm not shopping for a video card. Im already *very* happy with a Sapphire Radeon x1300 because it uses a heat sync (no fan) and is *silent*.
I teach commercial Photography at a local collage and students ask questions such as "Do I need a video card with lots of RAM to do *2D* photo editing with Photoshop?" and I would like to offer an informed answer.
I've been using Photoshop since v2.5 (on a PC) so I've been through most generations of video cards since the old EGA, ISA, VGA. PCI, AGP and now PCIe interfaces, and from analog to current digital interfaces for LCD monitors. But one thing that's always been constant was the fact that Photoshop did not require anything more from a video card than its ability to display 'millions' of colours (24 or 32bit). A fast video card with a fast RAMDAC, such as was found in the Matrox G400Max, would help with scrolling images quicker. But 8megs of RAM was all that was ever needed for 2D photo editing on a monitor running at 1200x1600 resolution.
So I'm looking for a good answer. I'm leaning towards:
"For 2D editing with Photoshop it really does not matter what video card you buy or how much RAM it has as they all currently exceed what Photoshop needs. Getting more RAM will offer no benefit whatsoever once Photoshop is able to display 24bit colour onscreen, noting that 1200x1600 resolution requires only 8mb VRAM. Photoshop CS3 does require more RAM for its new 3D features. But if you dont do that then the amount of RAM on the video card does not matter. A purchase decision should be based on availability and stability of good drivers for your operating system. If you're using a CRT you should also be concerned about the Digital->Analog conversion quality where Matrox has historically excelled, though their 3d performance is poor. For digital interfaces with LCD monitors all brands are capable of similar 2d performance. The difference is so negligible that 2D quality performance is rarely mentioned in modern video card reviews. Most video card performance problems are due to poor drivers, so buying a reputable brand is recommended."
So, what's wrong with this?
That's what I meant when I said I was 'just trying to get my facts straight'. There are LOTS of smart folks in this forum and I'm hoping someone can tell me where I'm going wrong.
Seems, preview cash (zooming) PS keeps in VRAM as well as any filter results. Cris Cox (mentioned above) one day said that 64 Mb VRAM is quite enough for PS. At that time we were discussing Photoshop CS.
Photoshop and Bridge, in the CS3 version, now internally use Flash for some of the effects, which may well use some of more advanced capabilities of the video cards, as well as their Video RAM, if available. For example, a screen shot of Photoshop doesn't include the palette tabs that show on my screen (neither the ones on top of the docked palettes nor the ones sticking out from the side). Those are put in the display via video card enhancements, probably using Flash. Here's an example:
<a href="http://www.pixentral.com/show.php?picture=1GrhZhNFc5hwaYUfjMy2q ZG15gv0" /></a>
<img alt="Picture hosted by Pixentral" src="http://www.pixentral.com/hosted/1GrhZhNFc5hwaYUfjMy2qZG15gv0_thu mb.gif" border="0" />
<br />Bear in mind that those palettes are docked together vertically, and each one has multiple tabs.
I noticed a significant slowdown when I upgraded to CS3...so I added more ram and a bigger video card, and that has helped the process some, but I will be honest and tell you guys that for my daily edits (proofing, etc.) I use CS. I only use CS3 for high end edits anymore.
> john, if i have to hear about your thousand dollar video card again
Sadly I paid that amount for a Hercules card back in the day. I didn't even have a monitor that could run it, but I saw it as an investment in the future. No doubt I would be able to use it for the next 10 years, including when I got my new hi rez monitor.
What a joke. I kept it for that monitor, bought a half year later, and maybe for a year afterwards. At that time it had a resale value of about $20.
I'm running CS3 on computers with 128MB laptop motherboard video, 512MB gaming card, a 256MB workstation card and an Intel motherboard graphics chipset with 224MB of shared RAM. I don't see any difference in image quality or speed.
So I'd say any video card that will drive the monitor of your choice at the resolution of your choice at 32-bits is all you need.
The advice should be 'don't overspend'. I would explain the minimum requirements of PS, but recommend a 256Mb card, they can be had for a song pretty well anywhere.
I bought an ATI FireGL card for my recent build. What a piece of over-priced crap, an nVidia card for 25% of the price beats the butt off it. Finally got it exchanged, but I really don't have time right now to see if it works any better.
Until recently I was running a 2nd computer with a Matrox G400Max with 32M RAM which I pulled because of the noise the fan makes. I replaced it with an x1300 Radeon w/256M ram and I really don't find there is any difference except for the silence (ahhhh...). I'm tempted to drop an old 4M Millennium PCI card into that system to see what it slows down. Yes, video RAM is dirt cheap. But that's no reason to state that CS3 NEEDS a MINIMUM of 128MB video RAM if it makes no difference whatsoever over using much less. Anyone do any benchmark testing to prove their case?
Hmm, if CS3 is now using video RAM for some of it's chores it makes me wonder if that might be the root of its poor performance when doing some things compared to CS2?
The 128MB Vid-RAM "requirement" goes back to CS2. However, like you, I ran that on a "touch-up" machine with a Matrox 450-32MB just fine.
Do not have CS3 to "test" that old box, but I would be interesting to see what happens. Because I do some 3-D (along with video with GPU effects), I've got a Quadro 4500Fx-512MB, and I see no difference in CS2 from my older workstation. Other than tasks involving CPU, RAM and I/O functions, it appears the same: 32MB vs 512MB.
How much better are GPUs for shuffling bits around than CPUs?
"Supercomputer Built With 8 GPUs"
"Researchers at the University of Antwerp in Belgium have created a new supercomputer with standard gaming hardware. The system uses four NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GX2 graphics cards, costs less than 4,000 to build, and delivers roughly the same performance as a supercomputer cluster consisting of hundreds of PCs. This new system is used by the ASTRA research group, part of the Vision Lab of the University of Antwerp, to develop new computational methods for tomography. The guys explain the eight NVIDIA GPUs deliver the same performance for their work as more than 300 Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz processors. On a normal desktop PC their tomography tasks would take several weeks but on this NVIDIA-based supercomputer it only takes a couple of hours. The NVIDIA graphics cards do the job very efficiently and consume a lot less power than a supercomputer cluster."