14 Replies Latest reply: Mar 22, 2014 6:06 PM by Noel Carboni RSS

    Best bang-for-buck video card for hi-end Photoshop work..?

    jyeager11 Community Member

      When I bought my rig 3 or 4 years ago, I was told that when it comes to 2D performance, all modern video cards are created equal. That the price differences really only affect the 3D side of things.

       

      So I bought a NVIDIA GeForce GT 240.

       

      Why this thing has a fan, I have no idea. Like I said, even when I bought it it was considered "bottom-of-the-heap". Anyhoo, long story short, the fan died on me a couple of days ago. I can now keep the card from overheating through a house fan pointed at the open case. Naturally, I can't keep this going forever. I need to buy a new card.

       

      The good news is that I don't need ANY 3D performance (unless vector logos count). I only use my computer for hi-res Photoshop work (at 1920x1200+ resolution with PSD files that sometimes reach 5 or 6GB) and full-screen video playback. No games are being played on this rig whatsoever.

       

      The bad news, however, is that money is an issue. I can't just go buy the latest $300 card, especially not to put on a 3 or 4 year old rig. The Core i7 920 CPU and 10GB of ram (on Windows 7 64) will keep me going for a couple of years more, but I don't expect to still be using this rig much further beyond that.

       

      I just want to keep using my Adobe suite and play movies in hi-res on this thing. That's it.

       

      I've been told to look into the NVIDIA Quadro series, but that appears to me out of my price range. I'd like to keep it under $150. Or even $100 if at all possible. Other cards quoted to me are the GT630 and R7-250 (which is apparently a rebranded Radeon HD 7770).

       

      What would you guys recommend that would be the best bang for my buck in this scenario? I'd hope most of today's cards - even the cheapest ones - are at least a step up from the NVIDIA GeForce GT 240. Right?

       

      If anyone has any advice...

        • 1. Re: Best bang-for-buck video card for hi-end Photoshop work..?
          Curt Y Community Member

          Check out this site.  http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/

           

          Get a card that ranks near 1000, and prefreably 1 g of VRAM.  Can get a card for around $100.  Higher ranks may not get the same bang for the buck.

           

          If you do not do video work ATI is a good card.  PS does not use CUDA.

          • 2. Re: Best bang-for-buck video card for hi-end Photoshop work..?
            Noel Carboni Community Member

            My advice:  Don't bother with the expensive workstation class cards (e.g., Quadro).  The "gamer" cards run Photoshop very well indeed, and can be just as powerful.

             

            I personally prefer ATI over nVidia myself, but both brands are good.

             

            What applications beside Photoshop do you intend to run?

             

            In particular I am fond of the VisionTek manufacturer of ATI cards.  I have currently (and very much like) the VIsiontek ATI Radeon HD 7850 with 2GB DDR5.  It runs Photoshop very well.  If I were looking for a new card today I'd seriously look at the VistionTek Radeon R9 270X:

             

            http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814129281

             

            What's your monitor situation?  What kind of hookup?  Do you have more than one monitor?

             

            -Noel

            • 3. Re: Best bang-for-buck video card for hi-end Photoshop work..?
              jyeager11 Community Member

              Monitor is a Dell 2407WFP-HC (A06) hooked up to PC via DVI. I don't dual (yet).

               

              Unfortunately, $200 is out of my price range for a card that won't be used for any kind of gaming whatsoever.

               

              Looking at http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/ (thanks Curt) it would appear that the GeForce GTX 750 is the best bang for buck, but out of my price range (which is +/- $150).

               

              One card that looks interesting is the GeForce GTX 650, but it comes in 3 versions (TI, DIRECTCU and E). Not sure how they all differ, but all three are 1GB and between $100-$150.

               

              Good investment in this context, or..?

              • 4. Re: Best bang-for-buck video card for hi-end Photoshop work..?
                Trevor.Dennis CommunityMVP

                There was an article on Tom's Hardware yesterday, announcing that nVidia are stopping driver support for it's older cards.

                 

                http://www.tomshardware.com/news/nvidia-eol-graphics-card,26304.html

                 

                This goes back to the 300 range and earlier cards, but also includes the Geforce 405 from the 400 range.

                 

                I'll echo what Noel says about paying lots of money for a very high end card in your system, and definitely the Quadro.  No system can be any better that its weakest link, and a high end card would be completely wasted.  Plus the card will need to fit in your case, and a big gaming card would be unlikely to fit.  When my box was built with a GTX570, I _had_ to use a full tower case to have room for the > 10 inch long card.

                 

                Tom's do regular 'best for the money' articles for a braod range of PC components, and the most recent GPU article went out on the 4th of this month (March)

                 

                http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-card-review,3107.html

                 

                I really don't think you should be spending more than $100, but do remember to take a tape measure to the inside of your case to make sure your choice of card will fit.

                 

                [EDIT]  Note that some of the reasoning in the Toms article will only be relavent to recent mainboards and systems.

                • 5. Re: Best bang-for-buck video card for hi-end Photoshop work..?
                  jyeager11 Community Member

                  Trevor Dennis wrote:

                   

                  There was an article on Tom's Hardware yesterday, announcing that nVidia are stopping driver support for it's older cards.

                   

                  http://www.tomshardware.com/news/nvidia-eol-graphics-card,26304.html

                   

                  This goes back to the 300 range and earlier cards, but also includes the Geforce 405 from the 400 range.

                   

                  Be that as it may, my GT 240 is still being listed as supported in last week's 335.23 driver release. And that's the driver that fried it. This "1 driver for all our cards" thing is really for the birds. There's no way for product owners to know what the latest, safest driver for their card is. I don't think NVIDIA thought this thing through when they announced they'd be going with a "single driver for all" model.

                   

                  I don't think NVIDIA realizes what a huge potential lawsuit could be headed their way from other owners like myself (but not me, I'm not very letigious) who saw their cards get physically damaged by drivers that were supposed to be compatible with them.

                   

                  I see you recommending I stay under $100, which was my original plan, but then you said I should definitely get a Quadro. When I checked, Quadro cards were more expensive than the GeForce line. Did I misunderstand? Were you saying NOT to touch the Quadros?

                   

                  On other forums, they tell me to push for the new GTX 750, swearing its 2D performance makes it worth the price, despite the fact that it's clearly a GAMING card, and I don't game.

                   

                  I'm so confused.

                  • 6. Re: Best bang-for-buck video card for hi-end Photoshop work..?
                    Trevor.Dennis CommunityMVP

                    If I typed definitely _get_ a Quadro, that was a typo.  Definitely _DON'T_  get Quadro.  It would be wasted.

                     

                    Just read what I typed, and yes it was a wee bit ambiguous.  Sorry about that.

                    • 7. Re: Best bang-for-buck video card for hi-end Photoshop work..?
                      jyeager11 Community Member

                      Trevor Dennis wrote:

                       

                      If I typed definitely _get_ a Quadro, that was a typo.  Definitely _DON'T_  get Quadro.  It would be wasted.

                       

                      Just read what I typed, and yes it was a wee bit ambiguous.  Sorry about that.

                       

                      No problem.

                       

                      Found this new article by designer Roberto Blake :

                      http://robertoblake.com/blog/2014/01/best-video-graphics-card-photoshop/

                       

                      Dude seems to know his stuff, and he recommends the following :

                      GeForce GTX 690 $1009 – Serious Video Editing and Motion Graphics

                      GeForce GTX 760 $229 – Advanced Photo Manipulation, Video Editing

                      Radeon HD 7770 $109 – Photo Retouching, Basic Graphic Design

                       

                      Clearly, a gaming card may be called for, because he's flat out pushing the GTX 760.


                      • 8. Re: Best bang-for-buck video card for hi-end Photoshop work..?
                        Trevor.Dennis CommunityMVP

                        Hmmmm.....   We have to be nice to each other on this forum, so I'll bite my tongue.  I'll just say please be guided more by Toms Hardware, who know what they are doing, and are actual experts.  By all means run a short list by us when you get to that stage.

                         

                        You only need 1Gb of video RAM, and you should be looking for DDR5 rather than DDR3, but there again, I can't tell you for sure that your four year old system would make best use of DDR5.  I would guess that three to four years is not a lifetime, and that the Moore's Law curve has flattened out a wee bit in recent years. 

                        • 9. Re: Best bang-for-buck video card for hi-end Photoshop work..?
                          jyeager11 Community Member

                          Trevor Dennis wrote:

                           

                          You only need 1Gb of video RAM, and you should be looking for DDR5 rather than DDR3, but there again, I can't tell you for sure that your four year old system would make best use of DDR5.  I would guess that three to four years is not a lifetime, and that the Moore's Law curve has flattened out a wee bit in recent years. 

                           

                          Then allow me to give more details about the rig :

                           

                          - Intel Core i7 920 @ 2.66

                          - Asus ENGT240 (now fried, needs replacing)

                          - Asus P6T Motherboard

                          - 5 x 2GB RAM (DDR3) OCZ 7-7-7-20

                          - SSD boot drive + 3 large IDE storage drives

                          - Windows 7 (64)

                           

                          Thoughts? At the moment I am writing this, I am leaning towards this one. The "OC" suggests it's overclocked. It's one of only two Asus GTX 750 cards that NCIX (Canada) carries (the other one being the more expensive "TI" version, which requires a 6-pin power source).

                           

                          EDIT: Here is the manufacturer's product page http://www.asus.com/Graphics_Cards/GTX750PHOC1GD5/ (should I be at all concerned about the Asus P6T being PCIE2 & DDR3 when this card is PCIE3 & DDR5?)

                          • 10. Re: Best bang-for-buck video card for hi-end Photoshop work..?
                            Noel Carboni Community Member

                            Thing is, Photoshop DOES use the power of the GPU for a lot of things now, so if you skimp on the card you will wait a little longer for almost everything you do.  What's your accumulated time worth?

                             

                            I buy very high-end systems, so my sensitiblities about what's worth it and what's not may be skewed a bit, but $200 doesn't seem like much money for something that will enhance your Windows user experience by making it more intereactive for just about everything you do.

                             

                            Oh, and one more thing...  The more powerful video cards tend to use more current, so pay attention to the recommended power requirements of whatever card you buy.

                             

                            I lied, one MORE thing beyond the above...  Switching from one video card generation to another, or ESPECIALLY if you switch from one brand to another (not that you're leaning this way) will necessitate your seeking out a "complete uninstaller tool", or you may risk having remnants of the drivers from your previous card will remain in your system, and that's usually a very bad idea.

                             

                            -Noel

                            • 11. Re: Best bang-for-buck video card for hi-end Photoshop work..?
                              nickna12 Community Member

                              If you like Nvidia I should stick with them.  I have used an Nvidia GTX660 for some time and its performance (with CC and Corel Painter) has been exemplary.  Nvidia are very diligent and quick in updating drivers; it may not really matter, but the last non-beta ATI driver dates back to December 2013.

                              • 12. Re: Best bang-for-buck video card for hi-end Photoshop work..?
                                Noel Carboni Community Member

                                For what it's worth, I've noticed ATI's having extended their driver release schedule to a new version every 4 months or so has resulted in a LOT more stable drivers being released.  Before they did that I think they had gotten into the "too much rush, too little speed" trap.

                                 

                                That said, they do release their "beta" versions pretty frequently.  I'm running 14.2 beta 1.3 right now, and it seems perfect with Photoshop.

                                 

                                -Noel

                                • 13. Re: Best bang-for-buck video card for hi-end Photoshop work..?
                                  jyeager11 Community Member

                                  Local brick & mortar shop confirmed on the phone that they had an Asus GTX 750 in stock, but didn't once I got there. So for my troubles, they offered the slightly-better GTX 750 Ti for $15 less than the listed price. Since that brought it down to within $20 of the non-Ti version, I took it.

                                   

                                  It's a gaming card, but apparently there's no such thing as a regular 2D card in the same price range. Like, if they would offer the exact same card minus the 3D rendering performance for cheaper, that would have been ideal for me (and others in my situation).

                                  • 14. Re: Best bang-for-buck video card for hi-end Photoshop work..?
                                    Noel Carboni Community Member

                                    Thing is, you really can't separate the GPU acceleration Photoshop does from 3D rendering acceleration.

                                     

                                    Sounds like you got a decent card, with virtually identical performance to the 7850 I recommended.  I imagine you like the way that runs Photoshop.

                                     

                                    -Noel