I need help choosing a good 2D card. I researched a lot and found close to nothing. My main use is editing old and new photos with Photoshop. Sometimes I use Matlab or Maple (but I don't think their 3D requirements amount to much when compared with today's games).Few times I edit some video. I don't care about games. I suppose that most Ati or Nvidia cards are pretty good but since there are so many different cards and prices vary so much I would like to get the best I can afford. I'll be using a P4 3.2Ghz 800Mhz FSB 1Mb L2cache with 512Mb DDR@400Mhz The chipset is Intel 848P which I understand it's not the fastest but I think will be ok for my usage. I'll appreciate your help.
IMO, that would the be Matrox line of cards, with the P650 or P750 being the wise choices money wise.
As for the 'also rans' in the 2D arena I would recommend any ATI card above the R7500, but the R9000 and above being the wiser choices. From nVidia you would be fine with any FX5600 and above. Many FX5200s would be fine too but some of the cheaper ones have cheaper filters and have slower RAMDACs which greatly impacts 2D quality. You might not notice the cheap filters unless you are serious about your image editing.
I would really say for ATI a wise choice would be the R9600SE or R9550 and for nV the FX5600SE or the FX5700SE.
But to meet your needs the Matrox P650 seems to be the best decision, and for a tiny little bit more oomph the P750. At the point at which the Parhelia gets involved you should really seriously research every option and decide why you need that extra quality for that premium.
A recent 2D/photoshop discussion we had here, may give you more of the same info I just mentioned above;