I'm hoping to mass produce workstations (custom built to save money) that can support digital x-rays. my question is, what graphics solution should I get? is onboard video good enough? if so... what is the least costly yet sufficient onboard video chipset I should get?
if someone could come up with a low cost build, that'd be nice too
Well most video cards will support digital x-rays, but the question how fast do you want them done? Some newer software supports from the gpu while others depend on cpu. Depending on that is what i would look for. If the software your using heavily is dependent on cpu upgrade to a quad but if it uses gpu power get a workstation card. A regular card could do the task but will do it slower.
i believe any PCIe video card on the market today will handle this task with ease. as far as the video card is concerned, x-rays are basically 2d images, even when dealing with 3D MRI or CT scans. But a cheap PCIe or an AGP video card will perform noticably better than onboard graphics
i'm pretty sure you wont benefit from getting a workstation graphics card such as a Quadro - these are designed to perform well in architectural drawing tasks, (eg, vector rendering and the like) and are relatively expensive. (You may be using some specialised 3D image rendering software or the like that will benefiot from one but if you are then the software documentation will certainly recomend you get one)
if you are dealing with many or very high resolution x-ray images you will benefit from lots of RAM (up to 3GB on WinXP) and a powerful CPU. the real work in handling large amounts of data is done by the CPU.