Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Best GPU for photo-editing?

Tags:
  • Graphics Cards
  • GPUs
  • Photo
  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
Share
March 3, 2006 8:41:22 AM

(sorry for any mistakes in my English, i'm Dutch)
I'm planning on building an new rig. The question is what GPU to use.

The rig will mostly be used for photo-editing (adobe, paint shop pro) and building/editing web-sites. So 3-4 applications will be open at a time and a lot of copy/paste from the clipboard.

Also the rig will be used by the kids for playing online internet games and downloading/burning DVD's (me).

I looked at a XFX 6600GT 128 Mb, but heard something about ATI being better for video and photo editing.

I'm now thinking of a X1300 PRO or maybe a X1600, is this a good choice or are there better?

Rig wish list so far:
CPU: AMD 3200 Venice
MOBO: Asrock DUAL-SATA2
MEM: 2 Gb RAM
HDD: Hitachi 160 G
DVD: NEC 4550
GPU: ?? PCI-e

More about : gpu photo editing

March 3, 2006 9:04:39 AM

The 3200+ will make your system freeze like every second.
Get a P4 630 or even better a dual-core CPU.

For the graphics Id say that some X800 type card will do very well and prices on those are also quite low.
March 3, 2006 9:09:15 AM

What do you mean by "freeze". I would really like to stick with AMD. Is a dual core AMD X2 better?
Related resources
March 3, 2006 2:35:41 PM

For 2d photos, it doesn't matter what vidfeocard you get, as long as it has at least 64mb of RAM and good display quality.

Expensive cards will support 3d features that are useless in Photoshop.

Good cards for cheap with good display quality are the X300 series. If you plan to play with any gaming or watch DVDs, go up to an X1300.
a b U Graphics card
March 3, 2006 5:51:58 PM

Ditto Cleeve's comments.

something to consider about the X1300 as well is the nice use of dual-link DVI which allows larger LCD resolutions and refresshes than the standard single-link DVI, that could be an issue if you want to run a large panell like the Dell24-30" or a Cinema display.

Otherwise there will be no difference between an X300 and X800 or X1300, except for the 3D and DVD Cleeve also mentioned.

For VGA/DB-15 out quality they should all be pretty much the same.
March 3, 2006 6:00:15 PM

What's bad about a 64 3200+? It can handle what he needs.
March 3, 2006 6:11:16 PM

Quote:
(sorry for any mistakes in my English, i'm Dutch)
I'm planning on building an new rig. The question is what GPU to use.

The rig will mostly be used for photo-editing (adobe, paint shop pro) and building/editing web-sites. So 3-4 applications will be open at a time and a lot of copy/paste from the clipboard.

Also the rig will be used by the kids for playing online internet games and downloading/burning DVD's (me).

I looked at a XFX 6600GT 128 Mb, but heard something about ATI being better for video and photo editing.

I'm now thinking of a X1300 PRO or maybe a X1600, is this a good choice or are there better?

Rig wish list so far:
CPU: AMD 3200 Venice
MOBO: Asrock DUAL-SATA2
MEM: 2 Gb RAM
HDD: Hitachi 160 G
DVD: NEC 4550
GPU: ?? PCI-e


FYI he said GPU not CPU. Answer? NVIDIA Quadro series cards--it's what they are made for. ATI doesn't really make video cards specialized for photo editing. Remember you can use either PCI express or AGP though PCI express would be better for that mobo. What's your price range?
March 3, 2006 6:15:25 PM

Quote:
What do you mean by "freeze". I would really like to stick with AMD. Is a dual core AMD X2 better?


X2 has no clear advantages yet, but I believe that with Vista around the corner and new Adobe stuff coming out that software will lean heavily towards utilising two or more cores optimally. So basically my 4400+ X2 isn't that great but I've run a program the other day that utilises both cores and it's frikin AWESOME. So the X2 will definately be worth it IMO for down the road.
March 3, 2006 6:36:31 PM

An A64 3200+ will freeze every second?

Dude, I don't know what kind of crappily set-up Athlon64 you were playing with, but if it was freezing every second whoever put it together did something horribly wrong.

All the Athlon64's I've ever used have been silky smooth, heck, even AthlonXP's are reliable as hell. Intel's are no more or less stable, and anyone who tells you differently is a fanboy.

Dual core AMDs and Intels are nice, but far from necessary. If you're multitasking or doing alot of rendering they're good to have. But photoshop? Maybe a little faster on filters and batches. But it's not like an Athlon64 3200+ is going to be a slouch by any stretch of the imagination.


As far as quadros, they're overkill for photoshop. You're not going to see any advantages over an X300 or X1300 with a quadro, you'll pay alot more though. If you're using Photoshop that money would be MUCH better spent on more RAM to prevent the need for a swap file.

For 3d CAD and visualization work, a quadro will be much stabler. But that's not what this fellow is doing.
March 3, 2006 7:22:16 PM

I agree with cleeve, photoshop is not going to use a GPU for anything, and the a64 3200+ will be fine unless you are running lots of apps at the same time, then you will benefit from dual core.
Photoshop likes lots of workspace though, so invest well in ram 2GB+. Otherwise you'll get to see how slow your hard drive really is.
March 3, 2006 7:53:41 PM

Thx for the advise. I'm a real rooky at this stuf. Sorry for the late reply but work etc...

So looks like i'm going for a X1300 Pro with 256 Mb. But.... If i get a X1600 pro with 512 Mb, would this be better.

Also
BoomBoom said like "Photoshop likes a lot of workspace" and " ram 2 GB+" does that mean that i need a bigger HD and/or a faster like WD Raptor and more RAM?


Thx. in advance

Peter
March 3, 2006 8:12:58 PM

Matrox Parhelias and P650/750's can do 10bit color per channel (alot more than the 8bit most cards do) with a photoshop plugin and have got the best 2D fidelity according to many reviews...obviously this doesnt matter much with digital flat panel connections, but CRTs it can make all the difference, and I would suggest using a high quality CRT for photo editting.

Matt
March 3, 2006 8:16:31 PM

I have a 3200+ with 1gb of ram and I play cs:s with wmp10 and msn and spybot running and it didn't lag all. The amd single cores aren't that bad in multitasking.
March 3, 2006 8:32:18 PM

Quote:
If i get a X1600 pro with 512 Mb, would this be better


Only in games. Photoshop won't care.

Quote:
BoomBoom said like "Photoshop likes a lot of workspace" and " ram 2 GB+" does that mean that i need a bigger HD and/or a faster like WD Raptor and more RAM?


Not so much the HD, but more RAM is definitely needed for Photoshop.

The more RAM you have, the less Photoshop needs a swap file on the HD... and RAM is many times faster than swappping to the HD. So two GB of RAM would be good.
March 3, 2006 8:39:39 PM

Since I do so much Photoshop and so little gaming on this one machine, I find the integrated graphics board to be more cost effective. The new nVidia6150 with a dual core would be my choice, Asus or MSI. The point is you can save 75 bucks or so and run cooler and quieter with a microatx board, which you will be seeing much more development for since the chipsets are equivelent to Nvidia4. Much better to invest in a faster processor and more RAM.
Maybe someone could tell the difference with the dedicated Matrox card which is good and very pricy too, but I couldn't justify the expense.

Later if you want to add another DVI or something you can always buy a video card later if you need it since the good boards have both AGP and PCIExpress slots.

Much more important to me is an excellent monitor or 2, I prefer the Samsung .20dpi CRT's for now.
a b U Graphics card
March 3, 2006 8:43:38 PM

Quote:
Matrox Parhelias and P650/750's can do 10bit color per channel (alot more than the 8bit most cards do) with a photoshop plugin and have got the best 2D fidelity according to many reviews...obviously this doesnt matter much with digital flat panel connections, but CRTs it can make all the difference, and I would suggest using a high quality CRT for photo editting.


I agree, the only reason I favour the X300/1300 is the 'kids playing some games' and Matrox has dropped their game division completely.

Matrox has better VGA quality due to their filtering, and I too prefer CRTs for accuracy. Flat out 2D Matrox, but ATi's not bad.

And for the Price of a Quadro get a Parhelia IMO.
March 3, 2006 8:46:22 PM

Almost any modern video card will be good for what you are doing, just don't get a really cheap one.

If you are going to have lots op applications open at once, get a dual core CPU, put more money there.

You like, get a Geforce 6600 or 6800 series or Radeon X800 or X1300 series, you will be fine. You said you want to stay with AMD, take the money you save and get an X2 3800+.
March 3, 2006 8:46:33 PM

if there still is an x1600 with 256 memory get that over the 512, its most likely cheaper. 512 video memory isnt used in 90% of the games today, i can only think of doom3, quake4 (maybe), and cod2... but with a 1600 u deffintly wont be able to crank the details high enogh to use the 512 memory... if u can find a bit of extra cash an x850xt is only 169 at newegg, without rebates. get that over an x1600.. even thogh the x1600 supports sm3.0 IMO the x850xt is a much better card, way faster too, ull be glad u bought an x850xt over a x1600
March 3, 2006 9:29:33 PM

I would go with dude on this one I would get a Nvidia quadro or ATI FireGL orAll in Wonder card. and the X2 3800 will do you justice.
March 3, 2006 9:41:54 PM

disagreed, a quattro is best used on cad workstations, not for photoshop, get 2gb of memory, an x800 series (or better, or nvidia 6 series) video card, with the 3200+, that will be plenty of power
March 3, 2006 10:03:27 PM

This is funny, get the cheapest damn card you can find that fits your mobo (ati tends to have better color accuracy). Other than Matrox's 10bit, there is no 2d difference in cards. And stick with CRT's :) 

The quadro, firegl, and all-in-wonder will do NOTHING for 2d graphics editing (if you do 3d stuff with photoshop the quadro or firegl will make a slight difference, but not enough to justify the price), why would you even suggest it? Total waste of money for what he needs. Get something better than asrock for mb.
a b U Graphics card
March 3, 2006 10:03:54 PM

Quote:
Since I do so much Photoshop and so little gaming on this one machine, I find the integrated graphics board to be more cost effective.


If you're serious about it, integrated will sap your performance, so pay the extra few bucks and get an add-in card. Remember non-integrated boards are usually cheaper than integrated boards, thus the cost difference will be very small like $20 (X300's are $40 or less not 75), but it's worth it rather than buy expensive memory and CPU and have them crippled by shared memory performance.
March 3, 2006 10:04:50 PM

Is a Quadro not specifically designed for high-end photo-editing and AutoCad? What good is a quadro? It isn't good for gaming--considering the outrageous pricetag most quadros have they must be good for something...
March 3, 2006 10:07:47 PM

They are for heavy opengl use. 3d cad and 3d graphics design (maya for example). photo-editing and autocad are two completely different things.
a b U Graphics card
March 3, 2006 10:09:41 PM

Quote:
This is funny, get the cheapest damn card you can find that fits your mobo (ati tends to have better color accuracy). Other than Matrox's 10bit, there is no 2d difference in cards. And stick with CRT's :) 


I understand your sentiment but don't agree completely, agree with the basic idea though.You don't want the very cheapest, because then you'll end up with slower RAMDACs and that will affect 2D, you want something with good enough quality. Good TMDS for DVI and good RAMDACs, filtering and PCB design for DB-15/VGA. And yes CRT for colour accuracy, but remember to let it warm up and spend the time to set it properly. A poorly set CRT is worse than an automatically set DVI-LCD.

Quote:
The quadro, firegl, and all-in-wonder will do NOTHING for 2d graphics editing (if you do 3d stuff with photoshop the quadro or firegl will make a slight difference, but not enough to justify the price), why would you even suggest it? Total waste of money for what he needs. Get something better than asrock for mb.


Agreed.
March 3, 2006 10:11:36 PM

Good point TheGreatGrapeApe, just get something from a reputable company, a real ATI for example.
March 3, 2006 10:11:53 PM

This particular Asrock mobo is fine, that I disagree on. Support is great and stability is great. This one they got lucky on--inexpensive components but rock solid. It didn't win 16 different "best buy" awards for nothing...
March 3, 2006 10:13:07 PM

Ok, I've just had a bunch fail over the last year, glad you got a good one!
March 3, 2006 10:29:45 PM

Quote:
Ok, I've just had a bunch fail over the last year, glad you got a good one!


I find that brands really aren't the big deal--it is the models. This exact ASrock model board is fine, however others aren't so fine. In general ASUS makes stable boards--however that one with the KT333 chipset and AGP 4X slot (don't remember model) sucked horribly.

The ASrock 939 Dual SATA-II is rock solid, trust me.
March 3, 2006 10:59:41 PM

My 939dual-SATA2 has been awesome. I've overclocked it a bit and it hasn't even so much as hiccupped.

Once I get around to voltmodding it and putting on my XP-90 cooler, we'll see what it can do...
March 3, 2006 11:19:46 PM

Quote:
Since I do so much Photoshop and so little gaming on this one machine, I find the integrated graphics board to be more cost effective.


If you're serious about it, integrated will sap your performance, so pay the extra few bucks and get an add-in card. Remember non-integrated boards are usually cheaper than integrated boards, thus the cost difference will be very small like $20 (X300's are $40 or less not 75), but it's worth it rather than buy expensive memory and CPU and have them crippled by shared memory performance.

You're right to a certain degree, but the performance hit will likely be less than 5%, assuming he has adequate system memory left after the igp takes its share. Definately not owrth the cost of a graphics card. IGP's are the way to go for bang/buck ratio.
March 3, 2006 11:26:03 PM

The Matrox Parhelia wins hands down for 2D photo editing, especially when used with an aperture-grill 21" monitor, Sony, Philips "P" series or Mitsubishi Diamdtrons (or other CRTS that use Mitsibishi tubes, though check for quality electronic components that allow for 100HZ plus refresh rates) Even better, the Matrox dual-head capabilities allow you to edit the photos on one screen and have all your tool pallettes on a second screen (which can be any old 17"+ el cheapo).

Nobody beats Matrox for 2D sharpness or colour depth. For the ocassional 3d game for the kids, maybe a MOBO with inbuilt 3d engine will be enough, failing that, buy them an Xbox or something.

Oh yeah, at least 2gig of ram is essential too.
March 3, 2006 11:34:40 PM

Wow, I'm having a tough sell I know for the smaller form factor, and I can't find the Tom's article with benchmarks showing the only hit whatsoever is in gaming with this chipset. It works for 2D only and sucks completely at any game newer than HL1. And it is true the onboard 128Mgs memory comes out of 2Gigs but in graphics benches the little boards are the exact equivelent and slightly superior in usable bandwidth, being a newer design.Rendering speeds approximate 9800 series which works for me, but you really need a fast processor and ideally a 150 Raptor HD. When I apply sophisticated masks and special effects the video chip can only render as fast as the numbers are crunched and saved.

Had a bad Asrock board or two, now I try to stick to Asus/MSI/Gigabyte, that's just my experience.
Right about prices, looks like $60-80 for these boards :) 
March 4, 2006 7:06:57 AM

Oke.

This is what i learned. For photo-editing there is no big difference in GPU as long as you get one from a A-label with a minimum of 64 Mb.

Integrated GPU is out of the question.

2 Gb RAM is a must.

If i'm doing more than photo's and want to play a game once and a while a X1300 PRO 256 Mb seems the logical choice.

If i'm planning on multitasking i should get a X2.

I narrowed my choices down to these 3:

http://www.sapphiretech.com/en/products/graphics_overvi...

http://www.msi.com.tw/program/products/vga/vga/pro_vga_...

http://www.asus.com/products4.aspx?l1=2&l2=8&l3=234&mod...

Must say that my TFT Acer 1916W (widescreen) does not have a DVI.

One last question: I could get a NVIDIA 6600 or 6600 LE with 256 Mb for the same price, would this be prefered over the X1300 PRO?

Peter
March 4, 2006 12:46:34 PM

DON'T get the 6600LE, the 6600 is decent for the price though. Just don't get an Inno3D like I did
March 6, 2006 1:40:14 PM

I am talking about ram. The more ram the better. Your memory bandwidth is measured in GB/s and your hard drive is measured in MB/s. So get lots of ram.
March 6, 2006 2:58:41 PM

I tried editing photos on an integrated setup once, I found the display to be wiry and had slight interference. Just low display quality.

That's noit necessarily the case with all integrated setups, but that's taught me it's worth it for my eyes to spend the $50 to get a cheap discrete card.
March 6, 2006 3:21:06 PM

Don't know how I got to be a fanboy for integrated video which has so many shortcomings we all agree, but most of what I'm doing right now is still editing on photos. I have two machines I use, one has nVidia2 integrated video and the other has a late model ATI 128 Mg video card, and I have Photoshop on both and you really can't tell the difference on the Samsung CRT. What does make a big difference is dual processor and 2 Gigs, if you try it you won't want to go back, I guarantee.

It's been several years since integrated 2Mg cards looked bad and I was pleasantly surprised on this one machine to upgrade processor/memoryand not have to spring for a dedicated card. Since I don't work professionally I don't get the great (e$pensive) Matrox card which dosn't mean I would turn down one as a gift :) 
If you have an extra you don't need.
a b U Graphics card
March 6, 2006 11:37:52 PM

Just something to consider when dealing with DB-15/VGA/Analogue output. Integrated cards have to deal with interference on the motherboard far more since they aren't direct connect.

A good example is this review from Xbit;
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/chipsets/display/int-chipsets-roundup_13.html

And if he's doing any gaming, even casual like he mentions, then integrated is out of the question, far too often they just crash.

In this month's CPU magazine they show that the integrated does sap performance, but you're right, it's far less than it used to be. However if picking a part I'd still pick one with additional discrete memory that can operate without using the system memory, like the RX480.

Still I would say for good picture quality go with an add-in card. Everyone's different, but I don't like some of the limitations of some integrated systems (some do not even run at certain resolutions, like the Intel model or when using WS on some of the ATi and nV under Linux).

Also when you mentioned the GF6150, remember that DVI out can only cary the digital signal while the DB-15 carries the analgue, you can't run dual analgue monitors at once, even if it is a DVI-A monitor like my P260.
!