Graphics card for a Photoshop Beast

I'm specing a Photoshop box for working on giant .PSB files. The files will be as large as 100GB (yes, GB), and will be strictly large panorama photography. The box will never be used for gaming, and extremely seldom for video.
I'll be running 3 LaCie 730 monitors at 2560 x 1600. I'll be running PhotoShop CS5, Win7 64bit, 72GB DRAM.

I'm trying to decide upon a graphics card, and I'm coming at this from a perspective of near-perfect ignorance.
Adobe's graphics card requirements for Photoshop appear simple: 1GB of memory, Support OpenGL 2.0 and Shader 3.0. It's not immediately obvious as to what else would be necessary to yield high performance with files of the size I'll be working on.

My guess is AMD's Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 (with 2GB of memory) should do the job well, but, literally, I wouldn't know.

Am I barking up the right tree? I've had a difficult time finding Photoshop-based discussions of high-performance boards; most discussions focus on gaming...

Thanks in advance.

- Mark
9 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about graphics card photoshop beast
  1. Well, in every users experience from what I've read, nVidia cards have a better shader (not artistic term :P) work than Ati's.

    With that in mind, might want a GTX260 or a new GTX470 when they become available. They offer great acceleration and shader work, being the GTX470 the faster one. If you're in a hurry, a 5870 will be more than plenty for it IMO since PS is still very RAM and HDD dependant and it has Eyefinity.

  2. You are probably on the right track. The 2gb of memory will be helpful for heavy graphics, and the the Eyefinity technology is great for multi-monitor.

    That said, you probably dont need nearly that kind of power for just photoshop. Even with its graphic card support CS4 still relies more heavily on your processor than graphics.
  3. But CS5 uses CUDA right?
  4. YOur question prompted me to check, and yes, CS5 will be using CUDA. Looks like a Quadro FX 4800 or a GTX 470 might be in order - and maybe that 3rd monitor isn't in the cards...
  5. GTX 470/ I7-930 OC

    looks to be the way to go for CS5.
  6. I'll actually be running a server with dual Xenon 5680s, and a 1TB PCI SSD, for purposes of stitching the panos together. Thanks for the advice, folks!
  7. Allright.

    Are you using a flat top server box?

    Good look getting a GTX 470 in there.
  8. Best answer
    You want a work station card, not a gaming card.
    But actually, Photoshop does not need much of a video card. A inexpensive low end work station card, or a mid range gaming card is all you need. For this I would also suggest you stay with nVidia.
    What Photoshop needs is a fast processor, and the more cores the better. Photoshop is not a true multithreaded program, but it will use as many CPU cores as there are available to render an image. If you are working with large files, this is really important. Lots of memory, a fast quad core, and a fast hard drive will bring more delight here than dropping a wad on a video card.
  9. Best answer selected by PanoPrinters.
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