How much GPU is Enough


I am relatively new at this and I am interested in the selection of PC components for systems intended for different applications.

I love the Graphics Card Hierarchy Chart. It would be useful to me if there were lines across the chard that would indicate levels like: 1) Minimum level for Blu-ray replay. 2) Min. level for photo editing.; and on up the chart with levels for some of the various games, 3D, and what else. I am looking for some help in determining what level of performance is over design for a particular use. The standing caveat for the chart that the relative levels are good within a couple of levels seem valid for this also.

I am probably asking the group to spot about 10 years experience in graphic reproduction experience.

BTW: I would use this with a Linux OS. However, I see simulator questions by a few other new builders that use MS, so the information would be interesting to several without regard to OS. Driver issues could worked out separately.

Thomas L. McLean
On the Wet Coast
4 answers Last reply
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  1. The heirarchy chart is primarily a gaming capability chart.
    The key thing for gaming is the ability to render fast action scenes very quickly.

    For normal desktop operations, or playing movies, almost any modern discrete card will do.
    If you have integrated graphics on a modern motherboard, that will suffice also.

    Some applications can make use of specific hardware capabilities to good effect.
    I am no expert on these. A search on the support web sites of your editing app, or whatever should give you some answers there.

    Sandy bridge quick-sync can massively speed up decoding.
    Nvidia graphics cards have a CUDA capability that can be used by some apps, photoshop, I think.
  2. 2 to 4 GB of RAM should be enough.....
  3. The mention of linux flagged up a thought and it seems i was right. Recently i purchased a 5xxx series card 5830 to be exact and i remembered reading something in the packaging about great Linux support, so i checked and here is an article that backs up what i read.

    These cards are a really good price at the moment.

    Mactronix :)
  4. Thanks for the replays. Particularly, the link to Phoronix. This is a good site for hardware information and it includes information on Linux comparability.

    I have been advised by others that the least costly path to good Blu-ray play back is to use an i5-2500K processor if I can afford it, then add a graphics card if I am not satisfied with the Intel graphics. I was thinking that I may even start with an i3-2100 and then go to a video card if I am not happy and find an extra $100 or so.

    T L
    On the Wet Coast
    Wait, There is Sunshine!
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