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Non-gaming graphics cards

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August 13, 2006 6:11:47 PM

If I'm building a new machine for the main purpose of editing and manipulating video, 3d modelling (tricky area re:graphics card) and intensive photoshop etc.: should I be that concerned about the graphics card?

Anyway, first clear up any misconceptions I may have...

Am I correct in thinking (besides the 3d modelling which benefits from opengl support) that in terms of horsepower; graphics cards have little affect on the areas mentioned above? Similarly in terms of high-definition content playback the work horse component is the CPU? Note: I'm aware of cards such as the quadro series but they are unfortunately out of my price range.

If it were possible I'd continue (perhaps ignorantly) to use my existing Geforce 5700. However, I need a PCI-Express card for the new motherboard.

Providing my assumptions are more less correct could anyone recommend a cheap and cheerful, no frills card that might play a few old games adequately (should I succumb now and again)? As a side-note what are todays on-boards like?

Your wisdom would be much appreciated...

More about : gaming graphics cards

August 14, 2006 2:24:18 PM

For lower cost, how about a previous generation All In Wonder card from ATI? But your best bet would be to find a video editing and Photoshop forum and check there.
August 14, 2006 2:42:34 PM

Quote:
If I'm building a new machine for the main purpose of editing and manipulating video, 3d modelling (tricky area re:graphics card) and intensive photoshop etc.: should I be that concerned about the graphics card?

Anyway, first clear up any misconceptions I may have...

Am I correct in thinking (besides the 3d modelling which benefits from opengl support) that in terms of horsepower; graphics cards have little affect on the areas mentioned above? Similarly in terms of high-definition content playback the work horse component is the CPU? Note: I'm aware of cards such as the quadro series but they are unfortunately out of my price range.

If it were possible I'd continue (perhaps ignorantly) to use my existing Geforce 5700. However, I need a PCI-Express card for the new motherboard.

Providing my assumptions are more less correct could anyone recommend a cheap and cheerful, no frills card that might play a few old games adequately (should I succumb now and again)? As a side-note what are todays on-boards like?

Your wisdom would be much appreciated...


you are right that a quadro or FireGL (the ATI line of workstation cards) would benefit you much more than a run-of-the-mill graphics card, they do make a difference. I can tell you from my experience with AutoCAD and VizRender that the CPU makes a bigger difference though. I

Also look at an AIW (ATI All-in-Wonder) card for the video editing. I have personally never had one but I believe that is supposed to be its specialty. Price is ot bad on those either, as the best (a X1900 AIW) is only $225, with numerous other models cheaper.
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August 14, 2006 4:08:38 PM

I'd say that you need to weigh the complexity of your 3d redering and patience, vs how much you want to spend.

personally i just built a machine and chose the nvidia 7600GS. it was about $90 after rebate, and thus far it has done very well.

i, like you, occasionally play a game or two, but that is definately not the focus of my build. this is a 75% photoshop machine, 20% video editing machine, and 5% everything else machine.

the game im playing right now is far cry from 2004. i have all of the settings maxed out, and the the frame rates are butter smooth. can it play anything new? i dont know...and i dont care. all of my games are a couple of years old, and work just fine.

so for my needs, the two main things were RAM, and CPU performance. I ended up going for a bottom end intel d805 for now, but will upgrade later to a conroe after the price/availability stabilzes a bit. then i will turn my d805 into the file server i've been meaning to build for a few years.
August 14, 2006 4:47:41 PM

All In Wonder cards don't help at all for video editing (sometimes offloads realtime effects, but when rendering the CPU is what is used).

If you wanted to get an increase on 3D modeling without paying for an OpenGL type card, you can try soft modding one of your cards. I've tried it before with my GeForce FX 5600, and it offered a large speed increase in some benchmark tests I found.
a c 175 U Graphics card
a b 4 Gaming
August 14, 2006 4:54:40 PM

Manuplating and editing video (not the strong point of the AIW series btw), and Photoshop are more CPU bound then GPU bound. (theres an eception for transcoding video, I'll get to that later.) The 3-d modeling will probably take a more powerful card, but this isn't something I know a lot about. If we are talking wireframe models here, then yes, quadro/firegl cards are the way to go. If these cards are outside your price range, then that point is moot, you can't afford it. If you do enough modeling, it does mean you want something more then a intro/lowend/onboard video solution.
I would look to the x1x00 series of cards from ATI. While Nvidias Opengl might be better, I think ATIs is good enough. The x1x00 series does have the avivo engine on it. This lets you change a movie file from .mpg to svcd using the video card instead of the CPU. It is a feature I have yet to use on my x1800xt, but I did get it working. If you dont' do this, then don't worry about it. But if you do, this is supposed to be faster then using the CPU. Depending on your budget, the x1600pro/xt might be a good fit.
August 14, 2006 5:20:53 PM

Please take a look at what Matrox has to offer before you buy. They have good alternatives that arnt as expencive, and yet beter for what you do.
August 14, 2006 5:34:36 PM

I'm a Maya artist on a budget and I realized that I couldn't afford a PCI-E Quadro card, so I bought an AGP motherboard and Pentium D 840 (which is overclocked to 3.7 without any additional equipment). You then can find high to midrange AGP Quadros for less then 100 bucks on EBay. The whole system cost less then $450 bucks and is fairly fast. My Quadro FX1000 might not have the stats that gamers crave, but it runs Maya extremely well.

I'm not sure what 3d package you use, but Maya does not support Geforce or non-fire ATI cards. The GeForce or regular ATI card will work in Maya, but will not look as good. If you plan to mostly edit and composite than spend your money on the CPU. If you are going to be working mostly in 3d, then I would take the plunge and get the workstation card.

PS here is the cheapest new ATI fire card that I found
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...
August 14, 2006 5:38:09 PM

Thanks very much, everyone.

re: softmodding. I looked into this however it would seem there are only really two pci-express cards that are compatible with this now (NVIDIA are locking chips). They are both out of my price range.

The x1300 looks promising but I wonder (besides in games) if I'd notice any difference between it and a card half the price? If I can save money in this area it might be better spent on more RAM, no?

I'm using Maya, Combustion and After Effects mostly. However, I use Maya mostly for Matchmoving and scene layout. This can get a bit stuttery with an image sequence running in the view port (presumably 2d/cpu issue as opposed to polygonal calculations?) I was hoping that the cpu upgrade might go some way to rememdy this. Because I'm not a hardcore modeller I'm not entirely sure the Quadro or FireGL would be a worthwhile investment at present.
August 14, 2006 5:49:41 PM

Thanks for the info that Nvidia is locking their chips. Do you know if ATI chips ever had that capability?

What is your price range for a graphics card? Do you want it to be able to play games just on occasion?

I'd get a worse graphics card and more RAM. Video editing programs just eat up RAM.
August 14, 2006 5:58:16 PM

I believe that getting more RAM and going cheap with the vid card is a good idea then. Maya live has very little effect from the vid card, but 2gb of good ram would really help.
August 14, 2006 5:59:19 PM

Not sure about ATI but I beleive I found the information re:softmodding on these forums.

I don't really want to spend more than £50/$100 and I'd only be playing some old games occasionally. My concern is that as this would be in the low-end scheme of things would I be paying for improvements in a £50 card that I'd never really benefit from as opposed to a £20 card. Stingy I know, but I'm on a low (yet focused)budget!
August 14, 2006 6:00:47 PM

Quote:
I believe that getting more RAM and going cheap with the vid card is a good idea then. Maya live has very little effect from the vid card, but 2gb of good ram would really help.


Thanks.
August 14, 2006 6:53:44 PM

If you plan to work in Maya, consider this:

Geforce drivers are passable in pro 3d apps, but I've had bad experiences with Radeon drivers in pro 3d apps.

Radeon drivers are great for gaming, but if you're doing 3d work and can't afford a Quadro or FireGL, go with a Geforce.
August 17, 2006 5:31:30 PM

Just to say I managed to find a PCIe QuadroFx540 on ebay for £30. Although an entry level Quadro it will be a much better purchase than any of the turbocached rubbish I was going to buy for the same price.

Thanks again, y'all.
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