GPU for photo/video editing and development build

I’m putting a new build together primarily for software development and multimedia usage. Here’s what I plan on doing with the build:
1) Software development (Visual Studio 2010, debugging, assembling and building apps)
2) running 2 – 3 virtual machines at a time
3) multimedia: editing photos (Adobe Photoshop CS5, > 12 MP, multilayer files), editing videos (multilayer files, 1080p, AVCHD source) and adding effects (Adobe Premiere CS5.5 and After Effects) and edit audio files
4) heavy browsing, multitasking and of course playing back HD video.

I’m a professional software developer and part time/hobbyist photographer and videographer. I would like to run 3 monitors: 2 x 19” (1280 * 1024), 1 x 24” (1920 * 1080); but next year plan on upgrading the two 19” to 22” or similar so all running at 1920 * 1080 = 5760 x 1080 in total resolution.

Here's the build so far:
Either i5 2500k or i7 2600k (undecided)
ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 board
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus
GPU: ?
Antec EarthWatts 750W (EA-750)
Kingston HyperX 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 KHX1600C9D3K2/8G
Seagate Barracuda 2TB 5200RPM 32MB Cache
ASUS 24x DVD-RW drive
Undecided on Case (really like the CM Scout)

As this is primarily a software development/business PC, I don’t want to spend a whole lot of money on the video card if I can get away with. At the same time, if the applications that I plan on using for media editing, Adobe Photoshop/Premiere/After Effects CS5.x, perform better or need a discrete graphics card I don’t mind spending a bit on the card. My absolute max is $250; sweet spot is $100-$150, as always biggest bang for the buck is most appreciated.

I think if I were just building a software development and business use PC the integrated GPU would have been enough. But the video/audio/photo editing tasks will required a discrete GPU. I’m confused as to which chipset brand to pick; nVidia has better stream processors and CUDA which Premeire Pro MPE takes advantage of, whereas, ATI Radeon has eyefinity which allows me to drive multiple monitors… and hopefully the ATI card would improve overall performance, albeit, not supported by MPE. I have been considering the following cards: eVGA GeForce GTX 550Ti Graphics card - 1 GB - GDDR5 SDRAM and SAPPHIRE 100338L Radeon HD 6770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16. But I would love to hear your recommendations.

3rd monitor: if you determine I don’t need a discrete GPU for media editing purposes. Can I throw a sub $50 card to drive the third monitor? I have Galaxy GeForce 210 512 MB lying around. My understanding is that the system will use both the GPUs: the integrated GPU will support two of three monitors and the cheap discrete card will be used to drive the third (or vice versa). All except one 19” monitor have DVI connection; the third monitor has D-SUB. Would this setup work and would it be future proof in regards to the monitor upgrade I plan on doing down the road?

Can you please help me assess my graphics card needs and make recommendations?

Thanks.
16 answers Last reply
More about photo video editing development build
  1. Ok I am not an expert on a lot of stuff. I am only going to give you what I know. First go with the i7 Cpu it is the best of the three. The GPU, Do not Get the GTX 550 Ti's. I have Two of them and I run them in Sli. They don't preform well at all. I have to baby them all the time.

    I know your money needs to be low. the Amd card 6850 is around 150.00 to 190.00 but I prefer the Nvidia cards better. The GTX 460 is better then the GTX 550's and they are in your price range. Myself I am going to wait for new the GTX 560 Ti's to come but they are over the 250.00 range.

    But since you are not gaming then the 460, Amd 6770, 6850, and if these are over kill for you maybe look at the GTX 250. Just make sure that the case is a full tower where you have a lot of room for cards and Fans to keep the air flowing. Heat is the GPU's killer.

    I have one 200mm, one 120mm exaust fan. I have three 200mm intake fans, and my Cpu is water cooled and it has two 120mm fans on the radiator. Plus I have a full tower the Thermaltake MK 1.

    Make sure there is enough room between the graphic cards when they are in stalled on the MOBO. Most of the graphic cards take up two exspantion slots. They do make slim cards you might look into that also.

    newegg.com, tigerdirect.com, amazon.com and even E-bay. They are always having sales out there plus rebates. Good luck and I hope this helped a little like I said I am no expert.
  2. Go with either the GTX 460, 470, 560/560 Ti, 570, 580, or 590. These cards are guaranteed to work without any hassle for most of the software you will be running. If you're on a budget, you can either go with either the GTX 460 or GTX 560 or 560 Ti. You can go for the GTX 470, but there aren't many places that sell them anymore. Newegg only has been selling Galaxy's GTX 470, which I wouldn't get as they tend to run a tad bit hot. Go with either ASUS, MSI, or EVGA. I'm aiming to upgrade my system soon to do some video and photo editing and I plan on getting at least the GTX 560 Ti or the GTX 570.

    Oh and if you plan on SLI, just save yourself the money and go for either a GTX 570 or GTX 580. Having SLI is a good thing, but it has its own cons as well, one being extra heat. If you're getting an i7, either the GTX 570 or the GTX 580 will work perfectly for you.

    But reading that you're on a budget, just go for a GTX 560 Ti, great bang for the buck!

    If you can go a little bit over $250, then grab this:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127608

    More memory is always better, especially for editing. If still too expensive, then go with the 1GB version:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127565


    Hope this helps!! :D


    Cheers,


    Destroysall
  3. Thanks, DM186 and Destroysall.

    Looks like both of you recommend the 560Ti. I will probably save a bit for next two months and grab that. Would the nVidia cards allow me to run three montiors @ 1920 x 1080 each? I guess it will be possible in combination of integrated GPU and nVidia card, but I'm not sure if the board and z68 chipset would output on both GPUs. Please confirm.
  4. No.. you will need 2 nVidia gpus for that.

    The HD 6870 or 6950 is probably your best bet. :)

    pEACe
  5. magikherbs said:
    No.. you will need 2 nVidia gpus for that.

    The HD 6870 or 6950 is probably your best bet. :)

    pEACe



    Like he said you need Two or more GPUs to run three monitors at good res. the AMD cards are ok and cost less than the Nvidia cards but thay have there pro's and con's like anything else. It boiles down to prefrence. I myself like the Nvidia cards and I have always had good luck with them. Well have a good one and good luck
  6. Thanks everyone for the replies. Much appreciated.
  7. DM186 said:
    Like he said you need Two or more GPUs to run three monitors at good res. the AMD cards are ok and cost less than the Nvidia cards but thay have there pro's and con's like anything else. It boiles down to prefrence. I myself like the Nvidia cards and I have always had good luck with them. Well have a good one and good luck


    Hi DM186 :)

    I like both Nvidia and ATI gpus because there is no other choice ! lol :cry:

    @Karlp Yvw and plz let us know what you decided on.

    pEACe
  8. karlp said:
    Thanks, DM186 and Destroysall.

    Looks like both of you recommend the 560Ti. I will probably save a bit for next two months and grab that. Would the nVidia cards allow me to run three montiors @ 1920 x 1080 each? I guess it will be possible in combination of integrated GPU and nVidia card, but I'm not sure if the board and z68 chipset would output on both GPUs. Please confirm.


    Eyefinity allows you to have 3 monitor's for your gpu. I would highly recomend that you wait until next year in order to get 7000 series from amd and by the looks of their specs they will be a whole lot faster!

    http://videocardz.com/29344/amd-radeon-hd-7000-series-specification-leaked

    You should wait! I'm in the same situation as you and will most likely be getting a $150-$200 graphics card as well. Best be for tri monitor setup is amd for a single card Nvidia is limited to dual diplays per card. You might be able to just plug in an old card if your mb supports it and add a monitor that way. I don't think having 1 gb of ram for a video card will be enough for the amount of pixels they will have to push if you get a 560 or a 6870 it just won't be enough to push all of the pixels to those monitors when playing back HD video. What GPU do you have now?

    If you have a microcenter near by you can save $$$ on a cpu! i7 for video is recomended. If you need more power then double the ram in the future and your nearly maxed out your computer
  9. If you're only a hobbyist videographer/photographer then just get whichever Radeon HD 6xxx is in your budget. These cards will drive three monitors (with an active display port to DVI adaptor) and will perform fine in photoshop/premier. Don't bother waiting for the new 7xxx series because Adobe programs don't use the GPU that much.

    I only have sufficient experience with photoshop, but it barely uses the GPU at all in CS5. It makes the zooming a little smoother and selecting colors with the eyedropper uses a different GUI. Not really a big deal at all. With only 12mp you probably won't even notice any GPU acceleration.

    From what I've read about premiere, the GPU you get shouldn't matter that much. Nvidia's CUDA does let you encode things slightly faster, but you would have to get two cards to drive all your monitors anyway.

    This is not about the GPU, but if you are working with large files, you should really consider getting more RAM (it's really cheap after all).
  10. I have to take back a statement that I made on here. When I stated that you need two or more GPU's to run three monitors is totaly wrong. You can run three monitors on one card. There is way to do it. I was told on another thread how this was done. If I find it I will come back and repost it.
  11. @kkdart, I have 8800 GT 512 MB. It's a quite an old build and it wasn't build for the purpose.

    @jsrudd, great to hear about your experience with PS CS5. I was able to grab Corsair 16GB DDR3 1333Mhz CAS9 RAM for really cheap like 45 bucks or something. I plan on dropping it in there anyway because of VMs that I plan on running. What cpu and amount of RAM you have?

    I'm still wondering if i7 2600k is needed or i5 2500k would be sufficient. Any thoughts?


    Thanks!
  12. I am still looking. To be fair I know I said the i7 and I have one but since learned that the i7 is a monster and with todays gaming you would only get 30 to 40% from it untill the games start putting Hyper threading in than the i7 would be good.

    The i5 is a lot better choise and it will save you money. Then when the games up grade to hyper thearding and by then the price will fall for i7's.

    It is funny when you hear one thing then you hear just the oppesit. But I did check up on what I just stated and the people who told me they were right.
  13. Ok I found the thread on one card to run 3 monitors. Read through the whole thing.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/334697-33-buying-video-card-hook-monitors
  14. I think its this guy that uses some kind of external adapter/ splitter to run this monster 15 monitor setup using 3 gpus. Too bad I can't remember exactly which Utuber it was lol...

    Lets hope they aren't too pricey. hehe..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ukOb4tiQQI
  15. @DM186, thanks for the link on eyefinity; that certainly helped clear things up. I would assume ATI 6850 would be good enough for all the editing and running 3 monitors at 1920 x 1080 each.
  16. karlp said:
    @DM186, thanks for the link on eyefinity; that certainly helped clear things up. I would assume ATI 6850 would be good enough for all the editing and running 3 monitors at 1920 x 1080 each.



    For the price maybe but you might try looking into the HD6950. That would keep up to par but the HD 7xxx series are coming out at the first of the year. One more thing make sure that your power supply is 1000w or higher and has to be a brand name with 80 cert. Look at getting what you listed but in the higher watts. to run the one card for the 3 monitors you will need some power. Better to be safe than sorry. I wish you the best of luck with your build.
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