graphics card requirements for photoshop
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Thread: graphics card requirements for photoshop

  1. #1
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    Smile graphics card requirements for photoshop

    Im looking to build a pc whos prime function will be running adobe photoshop for photo editing work etc. Ive figured out that RAM is #1 priority and an Athlon 64 would be suitable. But i cant get a clear answer on what is required in a graphics card
    As i see it you do not need a fancy high spec games card as there is no vidio going on, adobe does whats asked to the image and then displays the result. Or am i missing the point and can adobe use the graphics cards rendering powers etc when editing picture images thus increacing speed.
    A dual head card would obviously be useful.

    Any thoughts or opinions greatly appreciated

  2. #2
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    Not much,

    Taken from Adobe:

    System requirements

    Windows

    * Intel® Xeon™, Xeon Dual, Intel Centrino™, or Pentium® III or 4 processor
    * Microsoft® Windows® 2000 with Service Pack 4, or Windows XP with Service Pack 1 or 2
    * 320MB of RAM (384MB recommended)
    * 650MB of available hard-disk space
    * 1,024x768 monitor resolution with 16-bit video card
    * CD-ROM drive
    * Internet or phone connection required for product activation


    Best to my knowledge, since Adobe PhotoShop is geared to 2D,
    Any average video card should do the trick.

    Anyone dealing frequently with PhotoShop/PaintShop comment/correct?
    "I know nothing."
    Cheers.

  3. #3
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    Used my Sapphire Radeon 9200 for a year. Saw no difference in PS with my current 9600XT. So I would also assume any average video card would work
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  4. #4
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    The only real difference you'd see using Photoshop would be using one of the current generation Matrox cards which support 10-bit colour. Now the hard part about explaining why 10-bit colour is better than 8-bit (other than the obvious) is that you can't just look at a few sample images for comparison because you only have an 8-bit card at present! Basically you have 1024 shades of red, green and blue rather than 256.

    Other than that any current generation card should give you nice crisp 2D output, but something like a Matrox Parhelia or P650/P750 will be better, it's just whether you care or not that it's better. It's analagous to stereo hi-fi reproduction, you can get a higher resolution system with better frequency response and extension but you will still be listening to the same track at the end of the day. Think of these cards as high fidelity visual tools, which thankfully cost a lot less than a feature-packed 3D gaming card. Just like a decent stereo amplifier will outperform and cost less than a 6.1 surround sound receiver. Take a look at Anandtech's article here for a comparison and discussion of image quality. Things have moved on since the GeForce 4 and Radeon 8500 of course, but not to a degree that would match the Matrox offerings.

    Check around on eBay for used cards, P650s seem to go for $50-$100, and you can get PCIe variants too so you're not too constrained in Athlon 64 motherboard choice, or limited for upgrades. If you're not tempted by the advanced features of the newer cards, just get a G550, G450 or G400 MAX 32MB card for $20. You won't need more video memory than that for 2D work.

    Put the money saved into a decent monitor. A CRT is still the best solution for imaging work because the colours and contrast levels do not change with viewing position like they do with LCD panels (although some are pretty good). Good news is a decent CRT will be cheaper than a decent LCD and outperform it by miles. Get a Diamondtron/Trinitron flat screen aperture grille for the best brightness and resolution, they are harder to find these days because of the proliferation of flat panels for general office use. If you use Photoshop you WILL appreciate the difference, trust me. Iiyama's 19" Vision Master Pro 454 is about the best of the bunch, in every way, and will let you work at 1600x1200 resolutions at 110Hz refresh rate for unstrained, flicker-free high-res editing.

    Hope some of this has helped, have fun shopping around.

    BB.
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  5. #5
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    Oh, and big welcome to HWC as well!
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  6. #6
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    Yes, if you are doing lots of photoshop work, then get a graphics card that is known for great 2D quality. Typically, that's Matrox. However, most graphics cards these days have very good 2D quality.
    Give what you cannot keep to gain what you cannot lose.

  7. #7
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    I though bot ATI and nVidia went with higher bit color too. I could be wrong though. A good monitor with good color calibration and brightness is also very important. If the card puts out great color and crispness, but the monitor is poor, then you be waisting your time and money on a card specifically for good 2D image quality.
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  8. #8
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    No, ATi and nVidia still use 8-bit color... and probably always will. The difference with Matrox's 10-bit color really is there... but you need a visually demanding task like photo editing and a good CRT to even percieve it. The average LCD/TFT user isn't going to get a full color gamut even at 8x8x8, anyway...

    But since 2D performance is really all Photoshop needs, almost ANY video card these days is more than enough. While I've really liked Matrox cards in the past, and still don't think that there is anything 'wrong' with them, it might be more cost effective to just get a low-end nVdidia card. While nVidia as not as careful as Matrox about color-rendering, I prefer their cards for 2D work over ATi. They also seem (like Matrox) to give you a wider selection of color depths, resolutions, and refresh rates. Much of that depends on the Card itself, but you can get a pretty good 2D package on even the most basic nVidia cards.
    We all Think Different too.

  9. #9
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    Just my personal observation, but if you decide to go low cost, then I agree with Hoyle, Nvidia is the way to go.
    Id choose 6600 (top marks for video accerleration and TV-out if you ever need those), but 6200 would probably do just as well, still make sure you get 128bit version in case you ever wanna visit 3D world .
    Manufacturers: eVGA,PNY,XFX (the last two are really the same thing),BFG
    Again my personal observation, but IMO ATI low cost alternatives simply dont offer as crisp a 2D picture as the new line of Nvidia does.
    If however you decide to go with ATI, then Id definitely go with either BBA or Sapphire and pretty much nothing else.
    BTW there is much less difference between the two when you go for X800 class, but even now, with the card in the sig, I still prefer the 2D picture I had on my XFX 6600GT from Sapphire X800.

  10. #10
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    I do use Photoshop daily at work (web dev) and my soon-to-be-replaced rig has a... 16MB Creative TNT Blaster Works perfectly fine and has an excellent, crisp 2D quality at 1280x960 32-bit. Like Hoyle said, I don't have a top-of-the-line CRT to actually use 10+bit either, so as long as you get a videocard with good 2D quality and well-calibrated colors and monitor, you should be set

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  11. #11
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    Thankyou all for your thoughts, comments, expertise and time.

    I can now move ahead with confidence that im getting the right sort of graphics card for my new machine and it doesnt look too expensive either

    again many thanks

    PH

  12. #12
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    Happy photoshopping!
    Give what you cannot keep to gain what you cannot lose.

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