Video card for photoshop extended user

I am a photographer with an interest in computers and starting a new build. With Photoshop CS4 breaking into the GPU usage arena, I would like to purchase a graphics card that will carry me into future upgrades.

I understand that for the most part Photoshop will continue to depend on CPU and I am covering my bets with an Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz 8MB L3 Cache on a GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD5 LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX motherboard (reducing heat but very adequate processing). These will be installed in a Antec P193 case with the Antec CP-850 850W psu (giving me power and ventilation). This will provide power and room for up to six HDDs, all will be WD Caviar (Black) (currently using).

Now the graphics card is my last purchase.

Demands: Adobe Photoshop Extended CS4 does offer 3D editing and compositing capabilities and these will use the GPU. Albeit minimal for now but increasing with 3D editing future demands.

I read articles here at Tom's that talk about how Windows 7 has drivers that will minimize CPU and graphics card memory duplication by shifting the use solely to the graphics card memory. If that is the case, it will preserve CPU memory with multiple windows operations. Again this is leads to future reliance on GPU for average desktop users, doesn't it?

Question: What card will perform well with PSX now and for the next 2 or 3 years and Rendering High Quality Color from a PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot?

Will not accept a workstation graphics card (no bang for low bucks).
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  1. Well depending on budget and if you are gaming, an ATI 57x0 or ATI 48x0 should work. Imo, don't worry about the future now. The GPU won't be used for major GPU acceleration for CS4 for quite a while from now (at least another 2 years). So, I'd invest more on CPU now (assuming no gaming) than the GPU. Also, depending on your work load you may want to get an i7, since that gives you HT for a total of 8 threads.
  2. ^ Totally. Image manipulation still depends on the CPU processing power. You're applying filters & adjusting colors most of the time. 3D editing will depend on GPU a bit. Not the same level as gaming. You can go with a mainstream video card like the 4850. But to be on the safe side, especially if W7 is on the list, go with a DX11 card like the HD 5770.

    6 disks are begging for RAID 5. Your chosen mobo supports it. You need only 4 to do that and leave the other one for OS. Put data on the RAID. See it fly.

    Striped set with distributed parity or interleave parity. Distributed parity requires all drives but one to be present to operate; drive failure requires replacement, but the array is not destroyed by a single drive failure. Upon drive failure, any subsequent reads can be calculated from the distributed parity such that the drive failure is masked from the end user. The array will have data loss in the event of a second drive failure and is vulnerable until the data that was on the failed drive is rebuilt onto a replacement drive. A single drive failure in the set will result in reduced performance of the entire set until the failed drive has been replaced and rebuilt.
  3. +1 for RAID 5 for Data. NEVER run RAID0 on Data drives. It's OK for RAID 0 on OS drives.
  4. Thanks for the advise on the card. Clearly, color was my first concern. However, I was wondering if the direct X 11 standard would be the only standard or should OpenGL 3.0 be considered as well?

    An array may be in the future. However, I will stick the present methods for now until priorities and the budget allow me the opportunity to consider it.
  5. Oh, btw, DO get a GOOD QUALITY LCD if you are editing vids/photos.
  6. A monitor upgrade is on the list.

    I have accumulated a half tera of images since going digital five years ago and have been editing in PS since version 7. I have learned to appreciate good equipment. The problem is keeping camera and computer equipment as current as possible.

    Pics aren't selling as good this year. I sure could use a little "Stimulus Package" for Christmas.
  7. I don't think the prez will hand out another round of stimulus checks for the people. Especially when the economy seems to be picking up steam. Albeit very slowly.

    As far as good LCD, go with IPS. Not the TN that is in the majority of monitors. Yes, it makes a huge difference. These are good examples of IPS:

    Philips Brilliance 240PW9EB
    HP LP2475W
    NEC Multisync EA231WMI-BK

    Or if not available, get a PVA:

    Samsung SyncMaster F2080
    Samsung SyncMaster F2380
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