My dad is a photographer who uses Adobe CS5 regularly to do work in. I know they recently added some GPU functionality and there doesn't seem to be a ton of information on the internet about it other than some basic stuff (virtually no benchmarks at all).
I know some programs benefit from Quaddro/FirePro workstation graphics cards (instead of mainstream "gaming" cards) but I can't quite find if Photoshop is one of those. I know he works with 200-600MB TIFF files regularly and I have no idea how large the (Camera) RAW files are that he uses.
He's thinking about buying a Intel i7 980X but I'm wondering if it would be smarter to buy a workstation card and some extra RAM (go from 4GB to 8GB).
Does anyone know how big of an impact a Workstation GPU would have versus a "Gaming" GPU in Photoshop?
For photoshop there is no major benefit to having a workstation card, the latest gaming cards will do better OpenGL accelration than the older workstation cards, the only benefit is if he has an appropriate monitor to support high bit-depth (true bit depth not look-up tables) which is the only advantage of those cards if you're not doing serious pro 3D work.
The only area where there is a dramatic difference for having Quadro or GTX cards would be for serious video editing where the Mercury Playback Engine uses CUDA for 1 of 3 features, everything else is OpenGL accelerated, and will work on any solid card with good amount of VRAM.
For your dad using Photoshop there's not going to be any difference in using a Geforce GTS250 or HD5770 versus a Quadro or FirePro/GL card. The only difference is what people may artificially lock their plug-ins to, but that can easily be bypassed.
The guys above simply cut/pasted Google info , you'd be far better off actually going to the Adobe forums to get input from more people using CS5, they can also show you how to get the most of whichever hardware you end up getting, but your dad would be much better off getting the best CPU, memory, HDD/SDD combo he can than wasting his money on a workstation card.