14 Replies Latest reply: Jun 17, 2013 9:00 AM by Trevor.Dennis RSS

    Workstation or Desktop video?

    Semaphoric Community Member

      My new Dell U2713H is on its way, and I need a new video card to take advantage of it. I work mainly with Photoshop and Illustrator, with a little bit of Video and 3D. No games whatsoever. I would like some advice based on this.


      How much video memory do I need? When I look at the Nvidia Quadro series, there's a big jump in price from entry-level to mid-level, but only the mid-level has 2GB. For desktop cards, even some of the lower-end ones have 2GB. Would the extra memory be good for working with image stacks and panorama stitching?


      For the more expensive desktop cards, are you mostly paying for enhanced gaming capabilites, or would it be a general overall improvement in performance?


      Most of the reviews I see for workstation cards are oriented towards people who do do a lot of 3D. Like I said, I don't do a lot, but I do some. Wold something like a Quadro K600 give me a performance boost in Photoshop? Or might I be just as happy with a lower-mid-range desktop card?

        • 1. Re: Workstation or Desktop video?
          Trevor.Dennis MVP

          What do you have now, and what are the rest of your system specs?   There's no point spending heaps on a top end card for a low end system. 




          [EDIT]  Just noticed you also have an interest in video.  Check out the PPBM5 results table (click on All Details).  Look at the cards used, and the three MOE columns to see how much difference those cards made when using GPU acceleration.  This is for Mercury Playback Engine in Premiere Pro.  The link above tells you how GPU assited affects work with Photoshop.



          • 2. Re: Workstation or Desktop video?
            Noel Carboni Community Member

            Generally speaking, I'd suggest that desktop/gamer cards are powerful enough for anything Photoshop needs.


            Are you set on nVidia, or are you willing to entertain ATI options? 


            I have a $200 VisionTek ATI Radeon HD 7850 2GB GDDR5 card that's a pleasure to use with everything I throw at it, even 3D stuff in Photoshop.  ATI went through a bad period but their current driver, Catalyst 13.4, is rock solid good.


            I don't know whether the CC generation of video applications can use ATI acceleration.  I don't do video.


            Don't spend more than $200.



            • 3. Re: Workstation or Desktop video?
              Trevor.Dennis MVP

              Noel Carboni wrote:


              .  I don't do video.




              Apologies for high jacking the thread, but will you be going with the full CC subscription Noel, or just Photoshop?  There’s a lot of video-centric software in the CC, so a shame not to use some of it.  I decided to make the effort to learn as many of the apps as I could, so did the last camera club newsletter with InDesign, and I am now totally in love with InDesign!  I’ve only touched the basics so far, but I can’t wait to use some of the Interactive PDF features.   It’s an order of magnitude better than Publisher, which I am ashamed to say I have been using since I took over the newsletter about six years ago.

              • 4. Re: Workstation or Desktop video?
                Semaphoric Community Member

                I've been mostly looking at Nvidia because I'm miffed thart AMD isn't releasing a Windows8 OpenGL driver for my ageing FireGL V3600, which worked fine under Vista.


                I do very little video so that is not a major concern for me.


                The main thing I'm wondering now is about the 10-bit thing, in Photoshop and in other programs. I haven't been following the issue, and I'm not sure if what I have read is still current.

                • 5. Re: Workstation or Desktop video?
                  the_wine_snob Community Member

                  I think that the PPBM5 site, that Trevor pointed you to, would be a great resource. Now, it is built around Premiere Pro, but any card that does well with PrPro should perform great in Photoshop.


                  As for the Quadro cards, they ARE good hardware, and have good driver support. However, many of the GeForce cards will give you a bunch of their "bang" for the buck. The only hesitation that I have, steering you away from the more pricey Quadros, is your mention of 3D - that is where the Quadros shine.


                  Years ago, I invested in the FX 4500 Quadro, as I was doing some 3D. It worked (and actually still does with older versions of PrPro, before CUDA/MPE) well for many years. Not sure that ever really got my money's worth out of it, but still cannot complain. For my latest video-editing laptop, I passed on Quadro, and have not regretted that decision. The price differential was put into a big, fast SSD for system, and two large, fast HDD's. Went with the GF GTX-780M w/ 4GB VRAM, and that works very well.


                  As for nVidia vs AMD/ATI, the bulk of the performance enhancements in PrPro are still geared to the nVidia, but support for OpenGL is getting better. I think that today, I would still go nVidia, but that might easily change in the next generation.


                  I would also point you to the Premiere Hardware forum. It is very active, and the two developers of PPBM5 hang out there. Also, the gentlemen from ADK (Adobe workstation builders) are almost always around. Though most of the talk is regarding PrPro, PS will benefit from most of the information that you find there: http://forums.adobe.com/community/premiere/hardware_forum?view=discussions


                  Also, many of the folk there also use Photoshop a lot, though might not be quite the same level of power-user, that you will find here.


                  Good luck,



                  • 6. Re: Workstation or Desktop video?
                    Semaphoric Community Member

                    I have bought an AMD Firepro 4900 workstation card. I read a lot of conflicting reports on using mainstream cards with 10-bit, which my new monitor supports.

                    • 7. Re: Workstation or Desktop video?
                      the_wine_snob Community Member

                      Good luck, and please update this thread with your observations, after working with the card a bit. Video cards are always a hot topic, and you will likely help others.



                      • 8. Re: Workstation or Desktop video?
                        Noel Carboni Community Member

                        I don't have a 10 bit monitor, but from everything I see I can do 10 bit with the 7850 when I do get a monitor that supports it.


                        Trevor, I have a full suite subscription.  I just have no need for video.



                        • 9. Re: Workstation or Desktop video?
                          Semaphoric Community Member

                          I got my new monitor and card set up and working, with a few speed bumps along the way.


                          First, I wish Dell had included a small printed guide to the touch switches on the side of the bezel. When I first turned it on, it was set to HDMI input, but I had Display Port connected. I didn't want just go poking around aimlessly, so I had to go to my other computer to read the documentation on the included disc.


                          Once I had the correct input selected, I set the card to use 10-bit, and set the Performance prefs in Photoshop to use Open GL. I got all sorts of weirdness, the image turning black, and the interface background turning to grey checks. Turning off GPU acceleration fixed this, but that was the whole point of buying a new card. I found that setting the Drawing Mode to Basic, rather than Normal or Advanced got everything working smoothly.


                          I haven't had this set up long enough to give anything oither than first impressions, but so far things look good. This is mainly due to the monitor, which is much sharper and more even than the cheap Samsung I'd been using. I was concerned that the higher resolution would make the icons in PShop hard to see, but they are quite legible. I still think I'm going to have to get some computer glasses, though.

                          • 10. Re: Workstation or Desktop video?
                            Noel Carboni Community Member

                            Semaphoric wrote:


                            I still think I'm going to have to get some computer glasses, though.


                            Do so, and don't settle for "good enough".  The person working up your prescription will want to stop before you want them to stop.  Let them know up front you really, really want to take the time to get the best possible prescription, so that you can see 20/10, and be very comfortable in front of your computer.  Have them mock up the prescription and ask them to change one notch either way just to be sure you get the best possible result.  It's worth it.



                            • 11. Re: Workstation or Desktop video?
                              Community Member

                              Noel Carboni wrote:

                              …The person working up your prescription will want to stop before you want them to stop…


                              …doing what, exactly?  

                              • 12. Re: Workstation or Desktop video?
                                Noel Carboni Community Member

                                Trying different lenses of course!  ''What's better, this...  Or this?''


                                20/20 isn't perfect vision, but as soon as you can read rhe line on the chart that implies you've reached 20/20 they'll stop so that they can shuffle you out and the next victim in - unless you push for perfection.  This is experience talking. 


                                Perfection means you'll be comfortable for the next year.  Quick means they'll get more appointments in more quickly that day and go home early.  You decide.



                                • 13. Re: Workstation or Desktop video?
                                  Semaphoric Community Member

                                  Well, I am due for a new eye exam, but new lenses sure are expensive. I find that even just a 1.25 diopter pair of drug store readers is a little too strong. The other thing is having the lenses "aimed" at the appropriate distance without having to cross your eyes.


                                  I would have to get two pair, though; one for when I wear my contact lenses, and one for when I'm not. When I'm wearing my bifocals, I have to tip my head back to look at the screen through the "near" part of the lens.

                                  • 14. Re: Workstation or Desktop video?
                                    Trevor.Dennis MVP

                                    A buddy of mine gets his and his wifes prescription glasses made in Singapore, which is apparently famous for offering this service at a fraction of domestic prices.  You get full instructions on what measurements to make, fill in form, and send the form and prescription to Singapore, choose a frame, pay a pitance, and wait for your shiny new glasses.  I just had a quick Google, and there are lots of links.