Video Card Confusion

First, everything on the subject is a bit old when I search for answers and seeing that the market changes SO frequently, I was hoping for more up to date help, maybe others are too?

I need some help on getting a video card. I don't do any gaming on my pc, but I do use Photoshop CS5 quite a bit, and Corel Painter to a lesser extent, to draw and paint with my Wacom4 tablet.

Currently OpenGL is greyed out on Photoshop and I can't make it active so I'm missing out on a handful of things that are important to me. I currently only have onboard graphics. I'd also really like to be able to use the canvas rotate feature on the Wacom ring when I draw.

I am clueless as to what I need & I really don't get the differences etc. For instance, I was looking at GTX 560ti and they had some for $129 - $199, with a 2gb ddr5 going for the lower price and a 1gb ddr5 going for the higher price.

Here are 3 examples (from BestBuy) that just make me scratch my head:

EVGA - GeForce GTX 550 Ti 1GB GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 Graphics Card #01G-P3-2056-KB for $129

NVIDIA - GeForce GTX 550 Ti 1GB GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 Graphics Card #9001105025 for $199

They seem pretty much the same to me, but obviously there must be a big difference?

Then there is
EVGA - GeForce GTX 550 Ti 2GB GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 Graphics Card #02G-P3-2059-KB for $179

The last one has 2gb vs 1gb DDR5, I'd think it would cost more than a 1gb board

My pc is Asus P5GC-MX1333 mainboard, Pentium E7200 DuoCore 2.53ghz, 4 gb ram. 600 watt power suppply, HP2711x monitor, w/Win7 32 bit

I also wonder if I should just build a new pc with an i5 cpu, more ram, etc but I guess that's for another forum

Thanks for any help
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More about video card confusion
  1. general non computer specific retailers usually overprice gpus in stores, only reason why best buy over priced the 550ti. as for 2gb vram, it all depends on how much vram you need, but its usually unnecessary unless your line of work/gaming requires a lot of memory to store images at a time. 1gb is fine for the general line of cards.
  2. Nvidia is the company who designs the reference PCBs and GPUs for these graphics cards, EVGA is an OEM type of company who designed a card from Nvidia's designs. All Geforce cards are Nvidia graphics cards, some of them were partially designed by EVGA who then branded their cards as EVGA cards.

    Basically, Nvidia is a graphics company who designs the reference PCBs and the GPUs on the cards for a bunch of models and companies such as EVGA take those designs and use them to make graphics cards that use Nvidia's GPUs. Sometimes, companies like EVGA make their own PCB, but they always use the GPUs that are designed and supplied by Nvidia. Nvidia designs them and then has companies such as TSMC manufacture the GPUs that Nvidia then sells.

    The only difference between those two cards would be the brand name. They're otherwise more or less identical, hardware wise. Also, they don't have DDR5, they have GDDR5. There is no such thing as DDR5 right now and if their were, it and GDDR5 would be very different.

    I recommend getting a new computer, like you said at the end of your post.
  3. you can't get a 560ti for $129... you were looking at it wrong..
    keep in mind..
    there is a 560 version and the 560 Ti is a different version.
    But now that I'm taking a second look at your post I'mn thinking you ment the 550Ti not the 560Ti (Large price and performance difference)

    This is likely an old model that they purchased back when the card cost more:
    NVIDIA - GeForce GTX 550 Ti 1GB GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 Graphics Card #9001105025 $199

    Just buy the cheaper one.
    "but obviously there must be a big difference?"
    Nope... no difference.

    "2gb vs 1gb DDR5, I'd think it would cost more than a 1gb board"
    The EVGA cards have a typical price for that card model... It's possible that the Nvidia branded one was mistakenly priced or some other issue, like pricing from when they were first released...

    My suggestion: Buy the EVGA card with the 1GB of GDDR5.

    "I also wonder if I should just build a new pc with an i5 cpu, more ram, etc but I guess that's for another forum"
    No, don't... Your not a gamer so you really don't need more than you've got.

    My Exp: 12 yrs building and fixing computers
  4. i try and keep it simple. gpu now have the series of the chipset as the first numbers. nvidia had the 200/400/500/600
    ati or amd had 1000/2000/3000/4000/5000/6000/7000. the next numbers in the model is where on the price to performace the card comes in. ie 690 is nvidia flag ship..then it goes the 680..670..660..650..640....under each level of cards you have what is the vendor stock card or refrance card. it a card that has to run at stock speed and the plane jane of the cards.
    then you can have cars that are over clocked..or running above the vendor base line. then you can have cards that are value line they have stock gpu chip but are using cheaper slower ddr ram to keep the card price down. there also the people that buy brand names and brand names only so that a card with nvidia name on it may be priced higher and get people to buy that card.
    with gpu there few things to look at when looks at video cards..the card gpu speed and ram speed. so that your pricing apple to apple. a stock card from an over clock card. the bus with of the card..some cards have a 64 bit bus..some 128 bit bus some 256 or larger bus. a card with a 128 bit bus is going to be faster then one with a 64 bit bus. the ram that on the card..ddr ram is slower and cheaper then gd ram. and the amount of ram...more v-ram means you can have more windows open or run a game at higher rez. one of the big things to look at is the brand and there warranty and do they stand behind it. some good vendors have a life time warranty some are 90 days to a year. also best buy prives can be higher then new egg or micro center or tiger direct...they bought out comp usa.
  5. Great answers. Thanks for the help and taking the time to write. Definitely cleared things up a bit
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