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Photoshop - nVidia vs Radeon?

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January 9, 2010 7:07:05 PM

Hi,

I am developing my build specs for my next PC, which I'll get when Photoshop CS5 is released. I will be running it on a i7 920/975 (or successor) CPU with 12 GB of RAM in 64-bit OS. I have a 1920x1200 monitor. I'm also going to be running Windows and Photoshop off an SSD.

Basically I can't decide on the graphics card. I am a pro-level hobbyist with a full-frame camera, and some of my edits involve stitched panoramics that exceed 20,000x10,000 in dimensions, taking up 400 MB in a TIFF file. I know Photoshop doesn't require 3D capabilities, but I want to be able to optimize the performance.

Adobe seems to favor nVidia, especially for some of the CS4 features involving GPU usage, but Radeon seems to have the technological edge lately. I will be doing light consumer-level HD video editing, so I want that capability as well, but it's really Photoshop CS5 that will drive my selection. I won't be gaming at all.

So - for those that are knowledgeable on both GPUs and Photoshop technical requirements - what do you think? Radeon or nVidia? Something like the Radeon 5770? Or the GTX 285? Does the choice of platform itself between Radeon and nVidia matter at all, if tech specs are otherwise identical?

This is the last piece I've been struggling with... thanks!
a b U Graphics card
January 9, 2010 7:11:58 PM

1. Get the i7 920. If you want a higher end i7, wait for the 6 core i7 980 to come out...don't get the expensive 4 core i7s.

2. At the moment, ATI Radeon has an advantage.
The 5770 is equal to a 4870, equal to a GTX260. ATI's equivalent of a GTX285 is a 5850, and the 5850 performs 15% better

If your budget is ~$300, get a 5850. If it's around $150, get a 5770.

You'll have to look up benchmarks for both for CS5 online.
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a c 232 U Graphics card
a c 83 Î Nvidia
January 9, 2010 7:47:54 PM

CS4/5 doesn't need much

http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/405/kb405711.html
http://photo.net/digital-darkroom-forum/00T2T7

I don't think you need to break the $110 category from the list below:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-310-5970,24...

Here's the "winners" from THG's latest (December) GFX Roundup
Best Graphics Cards For The Money: December '09

$50 - HD 4650
$65 - HD 4670 / 9600 GSO
$85 - 9600 GT
$95 - 9600 GT / HD 4830
$110 - GTS 250 512 MB
$120 - GTS 250 1 GB
$155 - HD 5770 / GTX 260
$200 - HD 4890
$240 - 2 x GTS 250
$310 - No winner (HD 5850 Honorable Mention)
$330 - 2 x GTX 260 / 2 x HD 5770
$400 - 2 x HD 4890
$410 - No winner (HD 5870 Honorable Mention)
$465 - No winner (GTX 295 Honorable Mention)
$625 - No winner (HD 5970 Honorable Mention)

http://photo.net/digital-darkroom-forum/00T2T7

For really huge files, you're probably better w/ a workstation card than a gaming card tho.

nVidia Quadro

Quadro FX 4600 768 MB
Quadro FX 4500 512MB
Quadro FX 4400 512MB
Quadro FX 3700 512MB
Quadro FX 3500 256MB
Quadro FX 1700 512MB
Quadro FX 1500 256MB
Quadro FX 1400 -128MB
Quadro FX 570 -256MB
Quadro FX 370 256MB


ATI Fire GL

ATI Fire GL 7700 512 MB
ATI Fire GL 7600 512 MB
Fire GL V7200 256MB
ATI Fire GL 5600 512MB
Fire GL V3600 256MB
Fire GL 3350 256 MB
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a b U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
January 9, 2010 9:55:04 PM

I wouldn't make any decision until you know for sure on the graphics front.

Major issues being, current CS4 favours neither, both have equal support for built in OGL acceleration, and both have plug-ins. However CS5 has had a few leaks about the collaboration for CUDA plug-ins built-in to CS5, however there is no information on hem yet, and if they are anything like the CS4 plug-ins they will require a device ID check for a Quadro card and will not work on a Geforce card, so until you know more I wouldn't commit to anything yet.

The other issue is that the HD5770 does not support Double Precision math in line, unlike the HD4770, which means if the calculations require 64 bit math (or greater than 32bit FP) then it will run slower, and this is likely an issue when calculating images with base 48bit colour palettes in RAW format.

So I would say wait until more concrete information arrives. And Fermi might be worth it if they can launch a variant before summer.

ATi has the features in some areas (including output support), but nVidia has their fingers in the honey pot, so it could go either way really.
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a b U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
January 10, 2010 1:28:35 AM

For Photoshop, you do not need a high end video card. You don't need a workstation card, and you don't need a $300+ gaming card. Any mild mannered mid range card that can support your monitors highest resolution is all you need.
Photoshop likes a fast quad core, or 2 fast quad cores, or 3....and so on. Photoshop will use as many cores/CPUs' that are available to render an image.
It also likes lots of memory, and fast hard drives. Spend your money on these items, not the video card.
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January 10, 2010 1:42:14 AM

TheGreatGrapeApe said:
I wouldn't make any decision until you know for sure on the graphics front.

Major issues being, current CS4 favours neither, both have equal support for built in OGL acceleration, and both have plug-ins. However CS5 has had a few leaks about the collaboration for CUDA plug-ins built-in to CS5, however there is no information on hem yet, and if they are anything like the CS4 plug-ins they will require a device ID check for a Quadro card and will not work on a Geforce card, so until you know more I wouldn't commit to anything yet.

The other issue is that the HD5770 does not support Double Precision math in line, unlike the HD4770, which means if the calculations require 64 bit math (or greater than 32bit FP) then it will run slower, and this is likely an issue when calculating images with base 48bit colour palettes in RAW format.

So I would say wait until more concrete information arrives. And Fermi might be worth it if they can launch a variant before summer.

ATi has the features in some areas (including output support), but nVidia has their fingers in the honey pot, so it could go either way really.


Thanks for the replies. While I agree that RAM, CPU, and an SSD will give the biggest performance boosts, the GPU does play an important role in heavy duty professional Photoshop work, and an increasingly important one at that.

It does seem clear that Premiere Pro CS5 will favor CUDA/Nvidia, but the new Mercury Playback Engine is said to be well-supported (in terms of GPU acceleration) by as little as the GTX 285.

http://blogs.adobe.com/genesisproject/2009/11/technolog...

From what I can gather, though, this is more relevant for Premiere Pro. My hope is that any similar emphasis on GPU acceleration in Photoshop CS5 will also favor the GTX 285 rather than a Quadro.

Interesting point about the Double Precision math... I'll have to check back here after CS5 and the new Nvidia line are announced in a couple months.

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a c 107 U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
January 10, 2010 1:50:14 AM

jitpublisher said:
For Photoshop, you do not need a high end video card. You don't need a workstation card, and you don't need a $300+ gaming card. Any mild mannered mid range card that can support your monitors highest resolution is all you need.
Photoshop likes a fast quad core, or 2 fast quad cores, or 3....and so on. Photoshop will use as many cores/CPUs' that are available to render an image.
It also likes lots of memory, and fast hard drives. Spend your money on these items, not the video card.



I LOVE YOU.............. more or less exactly what I was going to say. I dabble in textures for games..... 2d........ fast quad core processors.......... fast memory.......... but would take the suggestion by above poster to wait and see what the near future brings inre to cards performances. Gaming/textures are a bit different from your use from what I read but its all scripted so to speak.
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a b U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
January 10, 2010 2:36:52 AM

I'm not just talking about premiere, although that's the area of initial focus. There is supposed to also be additional integration of the current nV toolset into Photoshop itself;

http://www.nvidia.com/object/builtforadobepros.html

(which of course there are AMD Stream equivalents but even AMD is somewhat droping Stream for OpenCL so they likely won't be seen in CS5)

So out of the box the experience may be better if you have to wait for equivalent support to be added later for AMD cards.

But right now there is little-no information, just like prior to CS4 all the confusion about GPU acceleration and the redesign of the bridge and it's GPU support. There was alot of rumour, especially about what was actually being added. So this time, I'm not going to commit to anything until it's launched, and simply make sure people are aware of the current state of affairs.

Like I said, I'd wait; even with the comments of openness and being non-proprietary, it's an unfortunate reality that for the time being there is more tools and support for CUDA this moment than the burgeoning OpenCL, so CS5 maybe be a little less open before it's replacement moves to OpenCL.

Of course the CPU+RAM are the most important things, but from even your first post it was looking like you had that covered, so getting an appropriate GPU makes sense, right now an HD5750 would likely be your best best, and a large VRAM lower end HD5K likely a better 'fit' when they arrive, but for the future, right now it's a bit too early to know for sure. I would say buy a cheap OGL 3.0 card for now if you need to build soon, and then upgrade once more detail on the overall CS5 support clears up.
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a b U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
January 10, 2010 1:55:21 PM

We run CS4 every day on 5 year old Macs and 5-7 year old PCs. I admit that I have not looked into the benefits, or needs of CS5.
If you note my handle, you might guess that I am in the digital publishing business. Well to be exact, we are not publishers. We are a globally networked company that specializes in print and distribution of content for Technical and Corporate Publishers, using JIT (Just In Time) manufacturing processes, processes that are implemented from order entry, raw material aquisition, design, prototyping, shipping and distribution, the entire product chain. In other words we do what we do FAST.
We arrange, design, edit, print and distribute on a global scale in HOURS. Not days, or weeks. Our target accounts are large corporations. If you are not spending at least a quarter million dollars a year with us, you are going to be paying through the nose to use our resources, and we may in fact eventually turn your work away because it will start to "dilute" our effectiveness with key accounts.
I know what it takes to use Adobes products in pretty fast paced, ever changing daily work environment. Our designers and pre-press people do it every day, all day long.

I do agree with TheGreatGrapeApe and swifty_morgan that it might be best to wait on the release to see for sure, but if the card requirements change a lot, there is going to be a lot, and I mean a lot of very unhappy Adobe customers out there.
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a b U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
January 10, 2010 2:39:16 PM

The thing is, it won't change the base requirements, it's more about what bonuses they will add and what is supported for those. Even the OpenGL requirements for CS4 are actually pretty high 128MB being the stated minimum but 256MB being the real minimum for some tools, and then adding volumetric effects like some relief/surfaces textures is a 512MB plus thing which doesn't require alot of GPU power but does use alot of VRAM, but these are things that are 100% optional, and not something that would change the requirements for a situation like yours so much as for those spending alot of time per image to add very specific effects.

Wouldn't change the baseline, because these are far from tools that even 5% of their customers would use, but it does push out the upper limits and vrings things into the toolset that are now more practical to do on a typical desktop in real-time or near real-time in seconds that before required minutes-hours of CPU crunching to achieve, and now you can preview them in instead of waiting for the effect to apply and then being displeased with the results and starting over.

I like that they are trying to push the envelope out to add new features (probably one of the few who liked that they added 3D in CS4), but I agree they must keep the base support as well or else they risk annoying enough people to create an opening for the competitors including Apple themselves (although based on the 64 bit fiasco it's not like Adobe care[s/d] that much). That why I say wait to see if the final benefits are interesting to you and until then a nice large VRAM OGL3.0 card should give you 99.44% (Ivory) of the benefit of CS4 and not lock you into anything while the final features and limitations are still in flux. It's like I think long term DP and x.v.YCC colour support is a must in whatever he gets for the long haul if he plans on keeping the card more than a year and a bit, but I wouldn't bother wasting money on it near term unless you already have a 10bit DP or xvYCC monitor.

I would say a cheap GT210 or HD4550 would be fine for the task, although I'd prefer the GT220 and 4650 for the 128bit memory & for a little more power and current OpenGL acceleration boost. Heck if he's fine with buying, reselling and buying again, then I'd say the HD5750 is the way to go, and then re-sell and buy something else if there's a better fit at launch.

Remember the HD4K series is OpenGL 3.0 compliant, they say 2.1 on sites because that's what the support was at launch with launch drivers, but Cat 8.9 opened up 3.0 support.

Anywhoo, that's my two frames' worth, buy something for now that's capable, and then once things firm up on CS5 buy something for the finalized features. But of course it's all optional beyond the base requirements.
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January 11, 2010 11:07:29 AM

wait tiny bit longer and you can have intel i9s :D  i am waiting for that
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a b U Graphics card
a b Î Nvidia
January 11, 2010 3:10:10 PM

Corei9 will still be dwarfed by GPGPU-assisted functions. Core i9 is a potential doubling at best, GPU-accelerated functions are many multiples of Corei7 performance, the nice thing about core i9 being a more global and reliable boost in general, but still not all things scale well beyond 4-8 threads.

Best is to have both of course. :sol: 
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March 24, 2010 1:51:07 PM

i am in the same boat, work in CS4. Surely colour fidelity, more than 8 bits/channel, is important so a card/monitor combination that can support 10+bits is important? this seems to mean a workstation card and a wide gamut monitor?
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May 16, 2010 11:06:35 PM

Been doing a lot of on-line searches covering the newer CS5 and Hardware support.
Been posting all over the forums for worth while professional talent on this subject and not just gamer replies.
Need to know how well the new CS5 will support the AMD 6100 series 8 and 12 Magny-Cours Cores.

I am looking at a new workstation build for my Daughter whose studies are in Graphics and Animation.

This is a list of Hardware I am hoping to use;
Supermicro H8SGL-F, supports one 8 or 12 core (G34) Processors, Supports up to 128GB DDR3 1333
AMD Opteron Magny-Cours CPU 6128 ; 8-Core, 2GHz
NVIDIA Quadro FX 1800 or FX 3800, both with Elemental Accelerator
Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
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June 16, 2010 6:15:35 PM

CS5 and CS4 use only one GPU. CS5 has been tested on basically all the current ATI and nVidia consumer and workstation cards. It even works with Intel series 4 chipset graphics and Intel HD Graphics (like i3/i5 chips w/ H55/H57/Q57 and the P55 chipsets).

Accelerated functionallity requires:

•supports OpenGL
•has enough RAM to support Photoshop functions--at least 128 MB of RAM. The recommended amount of RAM for the best experience in Photoshop is 256 MB or more.
•has a display driver that supports OpenGL 2.0 and Shader Model 3.0.

Adobe link to accelerated functionality in CS4 and CS5
http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/404/kb404898.html

Adobe link for optimizing Photoshop performance in Win 7 or Vista:
http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/404/kb404439.html
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November 8, 2010 12:49:58 AM

Hap said:
Been doing a lot of on-line searches covering the newer CS5 and Hardware support.
Been posting all over the forums for worth while professional talent on this subject and not just gamer replies.
Need to know how well the new CS5 will support the AMD 6100 series 8 and 12 Magny-Cours Cores.

I am looking at a new workstation build for my Daughter whose studies are in Graphics and Animation.

This is a list of Hardware I am hoping to use;
Supermicro H8SGL-F, supports one 8 or 12 core (G34) Processors, Supports up to 128GB DDR3 1333
AMD Opteron Magny-Cours CPU 6128 ; 8-Core, 2GHz
NVIDIA Quadro FX 1800 or FX 3800, both with Elemental Accelerator
Windows 7 Professional 64 bit


Did you finish the build for this computer for your daughter?
I would be interested to know how the final result turned out as I am in a similar situation

thanks

Kindest regards

Henrik
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a c 273 U Graphics card
a c 172 Î Nvidia
November 8, 2010 8:36:10 AM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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