6 Replies Latest reply on Aug 7, 2012 11:10 AM by piotr_edelman

    Best Graphics Card for Photo Editing

    Jim_Palik Level 1

      Hello All,


      I am a professional photographer. I currently use Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 4.1. I am in the process of having a new computer built just for editing my photography. The board will be an ASUS P9X79 with an intel Core i7-3820 and 16 GB memory. The technician building the computer would like a recommendation of the fastest and or best graphics card for editing still images.


      All of my work is done in RAW from a 5D MII. 21 megapixel.


      Processing speed has always been a bottleneck for me and Lightroom 4 has not helped.


      Can anyone please recommend the best or fastest graphics card for this system?


      Thank you, Jim

        • 1. Re: Best Graphics Card for Photo Editing
          Hal P Anderson Level 6



          Lightroom doesn't need much in terms of graphics cards when editing stills. It would be nice if it made use of the GPUs, but it doesn't. Photoshop may, and some Lightroom "plugins" like the NIK things do make use of fancier graphics, but I suspect that even there, you won't need top of the line graphics. In any case, it won't likely make LR run any faster.


          I've got a Core i7-2600 with 8 GB, and LR is smooth and responsive with 12 megapixel images, so your new machine sounds like it'll run LR pretty well.



          • 2. Re: Best Graphics Card for Photo Editing
            Todd Shaner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            I would focus on your PS CS5 requirments. If you intend on using a wide gamut display at some point I'd give serious consideration to graphics card that will truly support 30 bit display data (10bit/color) in PS CS5/6.There are only a handful of graphics cards that actually support a 30 bit data path with PS CS5/6. Some links:










            You may also want to read this concerning limitations of using a wide gamut display with non-color manged applications (i.e. browsers, MS Office, etc.):



            • 3. Re: Best Graphics Card for Photo Editing
              Jim_Palik Level 1

              Thank you both for the reply,


              I currently use an EIZO FlexScan2462W monitor. It does support 10 bit color. My problem in the past has been speed. When doing intense editing using Photoshop CS5 with the image enlarged 4 to 5 times I will experience an unusable slow-down where the edit result will take 10 to 30 seconds to catchup.


              Where is the speed bottleneck? Is it in the graphics card, the mother board, or memory. I need my new computer to solve this issue. I have two questions.


              1. Does not having 10 bit color support on a 10 bit monitor have anything to do with editing speed?


              2. Where do I want to focus to solve my editing speed problem?



              • 4. Re: Best Graphics Card for Photo Editing
                Hal P Anderson Level 6

                1. I doubt it. trshaner's advice was more aimed at being able to take advantage of the monitor's ability to handle 10-bit/channel input.


                2. AFAIK, PS doesn't use the GPU to a huge extent, I'd say that most of your slowdown there is due to pure CPU. For PS, that's where I'd concentrate my effort. That new box you're getting sounds really fast, but no matter how fast, I'm sure that it's possible to do some kind of editing that will drive it into the ground.



                • 5. Re: Best Graphics Card for Photo Editing
                  Todd Shaner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  I currently have PS CS5 and CS6 installed on my i7-860 quad core system with 12GB memory. I haven't experienced any speed issues as you describe and my Nvidia GeForce G210 graphics card is fairly low-end.


                  My guess is the performance hit is due more to your current system specs. What OS (32bit/64bit?), processor, graphics card, and memory do you have on the current system? Also what size and type of image files (EX- 5616 x 3744 16bit) and what specific editing function(s) are you seeing this problem with in PS CS5.


                  Using a 10bit/color monitor like the EIZO FlexScan 2462W with an 8bit/color graphics card will not affect the performance, it just leaves the two LS bits at zero. This is why gradient banding is more prone when using a wide gamut display with 8bit/color and the reason I suggested a 10bit/color graphics card.

                  • 6. Re: Best Graphics Card for Photo Editing


                    I had the same dilemma. Recently I built a new Windows machine with similar configuration: X79-chipset,

                    3280 processor, 16 GB of memory. I settled on Sapphire Ult. HD 7750 1GB DDR5 PCIe 3.0, a middle-of-the-road fanless card and I am quite happy with it. No visible delays rendering anything, no incompatibility issues.

                    The machine is running 64bit OS and current AMD graphics drivers.

                    The only thing that has problems is Silver Efex Pro 2.0 hardware acceleration: if enabled it produces artefacts in the form of vertical and horizontal lines.

                    Good luck