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Should I upgrade my graphics card if I don't play games?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 29, 2010 1:03:12 PM

Hey all. I've looked through the other posts and I can't find an answer that answers my question, exactly, so I thought I'd ask. I apologize if I missed the answer elsewhere.

I am experiencing the "upgrade jones". My system runs like a champ, but better is always better :)  I'm trying to justify the cost of a graphics card upgrade, namely a GTX 460, and I need to know if I "REALLY" need it.
I'm currently running the following on 2 28" monitors, and I'm considering a third...eventually:

Win 7 Ult 64
8800 GTS
GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD5
i5 750
8GB DDR3 1333
COOLMAX CUG-700B 700W ATX12V v2.3

I don't play games but I multi-task like crazy. At any given time I'll be running Chrome, MS Word; Outlook, Adobe Acrobat;Dreamweaver;Fireworks, Filezilla, Rhapsody desktop client, Windows Explorer, Notepad, Visual Studio 2010...All at the same time.

Will a newer graphics card add any benefit for a user like me? Or, is it overkill?

I've read that current GPUs can offload some of the work from the CPU, but not really clear as to what extent and in what environments.

Thanks all!

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a b U Graphics card
October 29, 2010 1:18:02 PM

Probably not. An 8800 gts is more than powerful enough to run 2d apps easily. Heck, even Intel's integrated junk could probably manage that OK. Getting a fast multi-core CPU will matter most in your situation (which you already have). Although if you want to, I'm not going to stop you. I would love to have tri sli 480s even if all I play is dirt2 on a 17" screen.
About the offloading work from cpu... I don't exactly know what you mean... Are you talking about workstation-grade graphics cards? Because nvidia's Quadro and ati Firepro cards have drivers that are built to boost performance in some CAD programs and such, and in that case you would want a quadro or firepro.
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October 29, 2010 1:26:09 PM

Thanks jryan338. That's what I thought, but I thought I'd get some second opinions.


Re:
jryan388 said:

About the offloading work from cpu... I don't exactly know what you mean....


I keep hearing the terms "Cuda" and "Fermi" and I'm a little unclear as to what it is they offer.

Maybe I should put the money toward that 3rd monitor...or an SSD! :) 

Anyone else have an opinion?
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a b U Graphics card
November 1, 2010 1:45:36 AM

GPU accelleration for programs isn't very widespread at the moment. There are some professional workstation programs that will take advantage of the GPU's parallel processing power, and I think maybe some more widespread programs that accelerate their graphical aspects through the GPU (IE9 or FF maybe?), but for the most part GPU acceleration has not been widely adopted.

CUDA: Complete Unified Device Architecture. Nvidia's name for their parallel processing cores in their GPUs.

Fermi: Codename for their newest generation of NvidiaGPUs (400 series). GF100 is the techincal name for the 480/470/465, GF104 is a derivative that makes the 460, and GF106 is a derivitave that makes the 450.


I really doubt that getting a new graphics card would help you at all in multitasking. Unless those programs are lagging with your system, I would think it is more than powerful enough to run them all at the same time.
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a b U Graphics card
November 1, 2010 3:52:40 AM

I agree. Upgrading your GPU is not going to show any performance difference based on what you seem to use your PC for. If you got into high end video/photo editing (high resolution, using software that supports GPU acceleration) then a better GPU 'could' make a difference.

Even then, the 8800 GTS would probably be fine even still.

If you really wanna spend money, NewEgg.com has an OEM Asus Blu-Ray player for $40 after coupon right now. :) 

It's Out of Stock... though it was Out of Stock a couple days ago too, and then they started taking orders again. So keep an eye on it.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a c 358 U Graphics card
November 1, 2010 6:38:33 AM

Nah.

Waste of time and money for you.

However, if you simply want to spend money to boost the economy, then go for it... Of course it take more than one person spending a measly $230 - $260 to stimulate the economy.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
November 1, 2010 9:29:45 AM

The 8800 GTS is already overkill for your purposes.
You will only need a change if/when you add a third monitor.
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November 1, 2010 11:23:23 AM

Thanks guys, you're saving me a ton of cash :) 

Still want it though...
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November 1, 2010 11:26:13 AM

I have noticed when I'm working with several files in Fireworks CS4 at the same time, Fireworks can choke a bit.
I think I read somewhere that Photoshop CS4+ will utilize the GPU, any word on Fireworks?
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a b U Graphics card
November 1, 2010 9:26:12 PM

If you want to speed up file load times, you could spend that money on a SSD. That would help your overall app loading times and your system would boot faster too. Or if you really want an awesome pseudoSSD, the PCI express Revodrive by OCZ runs at about 500 MB/s.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
November 2, 2010 5:19:55 AM

elobdell said:
I have noticed when I'm working with several files in Fireworks CS4 at the same time, Fireworks can choke a bit.
I think I read somewhere that Photoshop CS4+ will utilize the GPU, any word on Fireworks?

Premiere CS5 uses CUDA but that's it as far as I know.
If you really feel the urge for an upgrade a solid state drive like suggested above is a good idea if you don't already have one. Perhaps a bluray burner?
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November 2, 2010 11:44:26 AM

I've looked at SSDs and I'm waiting until the $/GB comes down a bit. I'm running on VelociRaptors as it is, so I'm not in any rush.

Considering the holidays are coming, I think I'll hang on to the money and buy gifts...and, pay my heating bill :) 

Thanks again!
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November 2, 2010 11:48:51 AM

jerreece said:


If you really wanna spend money, NewEgg.com has an OEM Asus Blu-Ray player for $40 after coupon right now. :) 


Thanks jerreece, but I already took care of the BD-ROM :) 
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November 2, 2010 11:50:43 AM

Best answer selected by elobdell.
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a c 271 U Graphics card
November 2, 2010 7:30:04 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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