I can't seem to get a consistent opinion on what to use/buy. I have two programs I use regularly - Adobe Photoshop CS3 (may upgrade but not for now) and Sony Vegas 12. I also use Pinnacle Studio 16 on rare occasions. I don't do gaming, just video and photo editing, that's all. Gaming is a rare luxury. I'm looking at the GTX 6xx series vs. the AMD 79xx series.
Total confusion doing research. So I understand there are two technologies, CUDA and OpenCL. I also hear about the GPGPU and on one hand I hear that GTX cards are much more powerful than the AMD cards generally although they are higher priced yet supposedly the GPGPU charts (which supposedly measure pure "power") show that the GTX cards are worthless and that nVidia removed the GPGPU from their 6xx series. I keep hearing that the AMD Radeon 7970 is far more powerful in "pure computing" but others say it's a gaming test and that a GTX 6xx series will blow it away using CUDA. I also hear that Kepler sucks and others say that it's just now seeing support but is a much improved powerful architecture over Fermi, just the software support needs to be updated. There is also the 660 ti question of the RAM bus speed which is supposedly more limited so even having the CUDA cores may not be significant (others say it will only affect gaming, not rendering... and others say the reverse.)
Bottom line is that I can't get one iota of reliable information as to what card will work best value/performance for Sony Vegas 12 and Photoshop CS 3. Can anyone make sense of this? Would much appreciate it.
I believe CS3 and Vegas only support CUDA acceleration. As you said, the GPU compute capabilities on the 600 series cards are crippled, and the 7000 series Radeons are generally a better choice for computing tasks, provided your software supports OpenCL or DirectCompute.
What happened is Nvidia disabled the compute capabilities on all but one cluster of CUDA cores on their GeForce 600 series cards. They did this because they felt that the 500 series cards with their strong GPU compute performance were cannibalizing their workstation GPU sales, thus making Nvidia less money. So they crippled the 600 series to try and get people to buy the more expensive (and more profitable) workstation cards.
If your software is CUDA only, your best option without getting into really expensive workstation GPUs is to get an older 500 series Nvidia card. The GTX 570 is probably the best in terms of the value vs. power. The 580 is more powerful, but still tends to be very expensive.
Very frustrating. It looks like you're right. The 6xx series has many more times the CUDA cores and low power consumption and many using video editing say it's actually a much weaker chip. It's just a better gaming card and the marketing will fool numerous people trying to get a good GPU into purchasing it.
I've got a Core i7-2600 and that processing for an HD video takes a long time. Supposedly the GTX 570 will cut down that time significantly as will a 580 and those card prices have dropped. Even if the raw power of the 6xx series is 5 times better for gaming it doesn't help if it's half the card for Photoshop CS3 and Sony Vegas 12... and that it might not work either! Thanks for confirming what I was afraid of.