Help Picking Graphics Card for New Machine - NOT A GAMER!

There, I said it. Unlike seemingly everyone else here, I'm not a gamer. I NEVER game. But I do spend tons of time at the computer, want to get the best card possible for my situation. I need advice on what is best.

Money is no object. That is, I wouldn't spend thousands, but I use my computer 12 hours a day, I do all my work on it, and I'm self employed so it is completely tax deductible, so I really only pay about 60% of the cost. So, if it's $100 or $200 or $400 or $500 that's fine, it just has to be optimal.

I do the following:
1. Lots of the usual Word processing, Excel spreadsheets (nothing huge), email and web surfing;
2. Converting a lot of web pages to PDF with Acrobat 7.0 Standard;
3. Scanning docs to PDF with a sheetfed scanner;
4. Photo editing with Adobe Photoshop Elements;
5. Video editing with Adobe Premiere Elements and Pinnacle Studio 10;
6. Encoding and listening to Mp3 and .wav music;
7. Watching TiVo To Go video in Windows Media Player, Media Center DVR video;
8. Audio Recording telephone interviews;
9. Running Quicken and Quickbooks, TurboTax;
10. Running Citrix MetaFrame to access company network, where I run various databases, email and Word and Acrobat;
11. Routinely having 15-20 windows open at one time, with a combination of all of the above, plus I always have EccoPro4.0 running at all times.

I'm getting a Dell XPS 710, with a Quad Core processor, 2GB of memory, with XP MCE or Pro. I'll probably upgrade to Vista Ultimate later this year.

The computer comes with the NVidia 7900 GS with 256MB already. My brother insists that I immediately buy the EVGA 8800 GTS with 640MB for about $375 and get rid of the 7900GS. I've also read about other NVidia cards called Quadros, but don't really think I need that either (seems like it's for engineers and designers and CAD, etc.). It has an NVidia motherboard, so it seems to make sense to get an NVidia based card.

What would give me the best performance (i.e., would be fast at everything) given the above?

Thanks for any insights!
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  1. Forgot to mention: I run two Dell Ultrasharp 2007FP monitors at full resolution of 1200 x 1600.

  2. Even that 7900GS is WAY overkill for what you want to do. Sounds like your brother wants you to buy a DX10 gaming machine so he won't have to.
  3. Given what you have told us there is absolutely no need for you to replace your card, nor will there be for some time.
  4. Wait till you get the computer. Try it out with the included graphics card. It should be overkill for what you are trying to do, but if for some reason its not good enough for you, then you can buy the 8800.
  5. Yes a 8800 is overkill for what you want been then again so is quad core. I'm not sure how Vista addresses ram, but you're best upgrade might be going up to 3 or 4 gigs, depending on whether or not you'll need vista 64.

    Also if you intend to use Vista's aero interface the 8800 gts might not be a bad idea, because using aero is very similar to playing a game (resource wise). If you do intend to use aero all the time I'd stick with an nvidia card because they tend to run cooler than ati.
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