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Photo editing graphics card guidance

I have recently assembled a new computer:
MB: GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD5 AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
CPU: AMD FX-6100 Zambezi 3.3GHz Socket AM3+ 95W
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
SSD: OCZ Agility 3 AGT3-25SAT3-90G 2.5" 90GB SATA III MLC SSD
HDDs: lots of Seagate & Hitachi SATA drives both internal and external with about 6TB capacity

I am running a pair of old XFX NVIDIA GeForce 7600GS graphics cards in SLI, which are the major performance bottleneck in the system. I am wondering what I should replace them with.

I am not a heavy gamer. My primary memory/system-intensive use is photo editing and rendering with Corel PhotoPaint and, occasionally, Adobe PhotoShop. It seems the the CUDA capabilities of an NVIDIA GPU is advised, although I don't know if PhotoPaint utilized that technology as PhotoShop does.

Corel's only recommendation is: Video Card: 1GB DDR2 or DDR3 256 bit

I find the GT, GTS, GTX and 2xx, 3xx, 4xx, 5xx and now 6xx designations confusing. Judging from the prices, these numbers do not indicatee an orderly progression toward more and more powerful GPUs. I'd like to get what I need w/o spending an arm & leg, keeping the total price in the low $1xx.

Should I go for two SLI GPUs, or will one do? For instance, an NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250 1GB GDDR3 PCI E Video Card has a 256-bit interface for $64 at Computer Geeks. The ZOTAC GeForce GT 430 Zone 1 GB DDR3 PCI E has a 128-bit interface for $7 more but doesn't seem to SLI capability.

Any guidance is gratefull accepted.
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More about photo editing graphics card guidance
  1. For Photo editing, rendering, animation or 3D work you're better off with AMD FirePro or nVidia Quadro as these cards designed specifically for such work, but the top ends of these cards are ridiculously expensive.

    but i don't think you need any of that as i know, Photo editing doesn't require the CUDA power, Photoshop and such applications use Accelerated Graphics Power.

    So, any mid range card should serve you pretty well...i suggest HD 6850 or any card you can afford.
  2. Do you think the NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250 1GB GDDR3 PCI E Video Card I mentioned--or two--will do the trick? I know the GTS 250 GPU is pretty old, but comparables are going for twice Geeks' $64. It seems to meet Corel's recommendation--1GB DDR# 256-bit interface. At that price I can affor to SLI two of 'em.

    Thanks for your thoughts.
  3. Yes i guess there's no problem at all with them as long as you're not going to be gaming. However, i think 2 of it in SLI will bring you some good gaming perfromance too.
  4. I wouldn't get the GTS 250. It's quite old by technology standards, and isn't the GTX lineup, which is tons better.

    Whats your budget? Like 150$? If you want a good crossfire setup, get a couple of 6850's or 6870's. They will destroy the 250.
  5. Yeah, I'd like to keep it under $150, total--1 or 2 matched cards.

    Has anyone done a comprehensive consumers' guide for graphics cards? I'm fairly knowledgeable about computers but haven't kept up on video cards most of whose advances seem to have been for gamers.

    I have a hunch the the requirements for high-res photo editing and rendering place quite different demand on the system from high-power gaming. The MB, CPU, DRAM & SSD seemed the most important elements in the new build; and they have, indeed, vastly speeded up photo rendering in PhotoPaint, which I use more than PhotoShop.

    However, I see that my old GeForce 7600GSs are dragging the system's performance rating down from 7+ to 4.5! Somewhere I read that PhotoShop drew upon Nvidia's CUDA technology for some rendering, but maybe it was refering to some of the other video-editing/rendering functions in the Adobe CS5 graphics suite.
  6. Best answer
    Adobe CS5 sys requirements from Adobe
    1024x768 display (1280x800 recommended) with qualified hardware-accelerated OpenGL graphics card, 16-bit color, and 256MB of VRAM
    Some GPU-accelerated features require graphics support for Shader Model 3.0 and OpenGL 2.0

    Corel's requirements are the same as above, so as i told you you're more than great with the GTS 250s.
    EDIT: The HD 6850 is Shader Model 5.0 and Open GL 4.1
  7. Best answer selected by rencom1.
  8. After much deliberation, I've decided on the AMD FirePro V4900 Graphic Card - 1 GB GDDR5 SDRAM - PCI Express 2.1 x16 - Half-length/Full-height - 2560 x 1600 - Fan Cooler - OpenCL, OpenGL 4.2, DirectX 11.0 - DisplayPort - DVI, which seems to be designed specifically for graphics editing, etc. rather than gaming.
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