I'm needing to purchase a budget graphics card to handle adobe master suite programs (mostly- photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, premier pro, flash & dreamweaver, after effects) also AutoCad, Maya & 3dmax, SketchUp & poser. The budget workstation cards seem behind for the adobe CS5 & premier pro needing current & open gl. I'm not a gamer, but would like some availability. However, I would still want to stream & edit video/photos, use blue-ray HD movies. Also near future to work in Visual Studio. This is all for freelance graphic/architectural rendering & fine arts related.
I was thinking of the fermi (gtx 460)gaming cards would handle, tho not finding them open gl (also cuda).. which seems I really need? Therefore, I'm looking to purchase the GTX 550 (EVGA). Preferring Nvidia.
Is this a functional/stable good performer to handle the above programs with professional looking results? ...How does this compare to Radeon HD 5770, 6770 or 6870?...would this be a better gaming card for designing programs? If so, most reputable brand, and/or, should I steer clear of a specific brand?
I have read some mixed reviews for the the budget ATI FirePro V4800 & V3800 workstation cards.
Am I missing some better options in the >$150 - $175 range? To run in W7pro 64-bit
You want to look for a card with a good amount of cuda cores. This helps in 3d modeling/rendering. Only if the program is gpu accelerated. Look for a gtx 560 or a 560ti. The 550 only has 192 cuda cores while the 460 or the 560 has around 336.
I have tried to use gaming cards for Solidworks with little sucess. My current GPU for SW is a budget Quadro, I think a 460, and it seems to work fine. It sounds like you intend to work yours harder than I am so you may want to look at the higher end Quadros but they get pricey quickly. BTW, I've had better luck with Nvidia than ATI.
There is more support for CUDA in workstation applications than there is for ATI Stream
also I would agree with ram1009 that a workstation GPU is better suited for your purposes
the drivers for workstation GPUs are tuned for OpenGL and more stable
there are some Gaming GPUs that can be flashed over to their workstation
equals though that is not for the inexperienced