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Choosing Card for Image Quality

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 19, 2008 7:26:10 PM

When I built my new system a few months ago, I spent more time choosing a graphics card than any other component.

The reason was that I wanted the best possible image quality for my system but couldn't care less about playing games. Everything I researched talked about things like frame rates and other criteria that seemed to be only related to games and not to producing the finest image quality on my 24" NEC monitor.

I eventually bought a GIGABYTE GV-RX387512H Radeon HD 3870 512MB. Generally, I'm happy with it except that when I display slide shows I see what I guess to be aliasing problems. Since I'm a neophyte in this regard, can someone explain to me what criteria is important for displaying movies and slideshows and for digital image editing with Photoshop?

My system consists of a GIGABYTE GA-X38-DQ6 motherboard, CORSAIR 620W power supply, Intel Q6600 processor running at 3.0 GHz, 4GB of CORSAIR XMS2 DDR2 800 (PC6400) memory, NEC Display Solutions LCD2470WNX-BK 24" 6ms(GTG) Widescreen LCD Monitor 500 cd/m2 1000:1 and other top quality parts.

The OS is 32-bit Vista Ultimate.
June 19, 2008 7:30:04 PM

u can use nvidia card & soft-mod it into quatro / quadro.
June 19, 2008 7:42:04 PM

yeah, bad idea. The slide show program doesnt use AA, thats why. Same thing with itunes coverflow, its not 3870 fault. u dont game but u bought that card, i dont understand why. i have 8800gt on 2053bw @36% brightness, 75% contrast and it looks amazing, try looking at nation geographics website, its full of amazing images around the world that will show your monitors ability to show accurate colors.
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June 19, 2008 8:11:31 PM

Thank you for the response.

So is my problem the fact that AA isn't being used? If so, what's that have to do with the 3870? What would the 8800GT get me in this situation that would cure my problem?

Static images look great on my monitor so I assumed that the problem is aliasing. If the 3870 can't be faulted, I'm missing the point.

June 19, 2008 8:20:52 PM

Okay, that program does not utilize anti-aliasing okay? Movies don't need AA because they are films, not generated images. Your problem really isn't a problem, but a annoyance. It would be resolved if the software developer adds anti-aliasing functions which all video cards support. Try a different slide show program. Who the heck cares about image quality anyways, any modern GPU will have identical image quality. It's all in the monitor.
June 19, 2008 8:32:49 PM

Thanks for the clarification. I guess I don't have a problem after all.

June 19, 2008 8:40:32 PM

pcgamer12 said:
Okay, that program does not utilize anti-aliasing okay? Movies don't need AA because they are films, not generated images. Your problem really isn't a problem, but a annoyance. It would be resolved if the software developer adds anti-aliasing functions which all video cards support. Try a different slide show program. Who the heck cares about image quality anyways, any modern GPU will have identical image quality. It's all in the monitor.


Actually, the problem is not so much the equality of the GPU, which by the way is not a given, but also the supporting circuitry such as the 2D filter stages, etc. Although the nVidia based cards have improved significantly over the last few years, their filter design was atrocious. The best quality cards for photo editing and text work used to be the Matrox cards, although some of the ATI cards were close. Things have evolved over the last few years, and the LCD monitors with digital input tend to mask a lot of the differences due to the sub optimal quality of most of them. A good quality display such as the Samsung 245T or 275T will make a difference, however you may see some lag or blurring on the large monitors, a function of the large number of pixels vs the rise and fall rate (GTG).
June 19, 2008 8:48:44 PM

Thank you for the information. My NEC is essentially a Samsung 245T but built to a higher standard.

If I were to replace the 3870 with a card that would be better for photo editing, what criteria would I use for selecting it?

I assume Frame Rates wouldn't matter much.

Thanks again,
Bud
a c 363 U Graphics card
June 19, 2008 9:13:27 PM

The Samsung 245T and your NEC LCD2490WUXi are actually quite different.

The 245T uses a S-PVA panel, the 2490 uses a H-IPS panel.

H-IPS has a wider vieiwing angle than the typical S-PVA. S-PVA tends to wash out (fade to white) sooner than a H-IPS panel starts to shift to a reddish / purplish hue. Additionally all variations of VA panels tends to experience more "crushed blacks" than the higher end IPS panels.
June 19, 2008 10:36:30 PM

budc
don't know if you are using hardware calibration http://www.kickstartnews.com/phpBB2/labels/AMD.html. I use a basic one, the Pantone Huey Pro, and it certainly helps with the colour matching on my monitors. My primary monitor is a 275T, my secondary monitor for toolbars, etc, is an HP w2207h in portrait mode. I use a Sapphire HD 3870 Toxic, it works very nicely for my purposes. The link says there is no difference, however, that is simplistic, and doesn't take into account things like text quality, etc. 2D low pass filter design is important, and I am not convinced that nVidia consumer level cards are optimized for anything but gaming. I know I prefer my HD 3870 for quality over my 7900GTX. Photo editing software doesn't take advantage of 3D acceleration at this point in time, however the new version of Photoshop coming out is supposed to utilize it to some degree.
What is the problem you are getting with slide show? Is it blurring on the transitions between slides? The spec on your monitor response time is 16ms (8ms G to G), so don't expect transitions without a bit of momentary edge blur depending on how they are done.
June 20, 2008 12:08:02 AM

I'm not sure how to explain it but during transitions from one slide to the next, a pattern which I guess could be called a moire pattern shows up. I suppose it's aliasing artifacts. It's possible that the problem occurs when I create the slide show. BTW, this problem also shows up when using a DVD player to watch slides on a 36" Sony TV.

Someone earlier asked why I bought a 3870 and it was because I'd read more than one feedback that said what you have said, nVidia cards were optimized for gaming.

I have checked my monitor and it appears to be fine.

Bud
June 20, 2008 9:07:30 AM

Photoshop DO NOT USE GPU at leat for now.
!