Looking for an inexpensive graphics card to use with Photoshop

By mullerpavel
May 6, 2011
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  1. I am a heavy Photoshop user, extensively editing photos. I am looking for an inexpensive card suited for that purpose, but it is not necessary to be a gaming card or a movie card. High resolution, accurate colors, 2 monitor support, suited for calibration. Please no big technical words - I get lost easy. Please say why the card is suited (fast, high resolution...). Understanding why you recommend a card is important to me. I would particularly like a card that is offered by Dell if possible, as I wish to buy a system from them. Thanks guys. If you need to buy a good camera, turn to me and I will help.

  2. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,219   +157

    nicely stated :) though 'inexpensive' is a relative term. How much are you willing to spend on this card? What other (if any) softwares do you use. I am a heavy PSE/CS5, 3DSMax,AVS Vid/sound editor, CAD, Adobe Creative Suite, user myself, and it would be helpful to know what level of performance you require.
    Secondly , it would also be helpful to know what the specs on the rest of the system are, or do you need a recommendation that as well?
  3. mullerpavel

    mullerpavel TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thank you Red. I am using MS Office (not a great computer resource there) and Photoshop 5 with NIL complete. I never edit video, never play games except the silly ones included with Windows, rarely watch video. Dell online recommendation is for 580s, but the feedback I got is that it users a relatively weak power supply and so i wonder whether i would not be better with something more, if I wish to include a video card. I am willing to move up a notch or 2, if I believe that it will increase significantly!!!! the durability or performance for my specific use. I am retired and do not wish to waste money however. 3D performance is of no use to me. I want good 2D performance on still images. I want a support for 2 monitors, high resolution, good calibration capability, good realistic color mapping. I am thinking of matching the card to Dell Ultrasharp. Although the guts of this monitor change while it retains the same name, my experience with this monitor has been good. I can calibrate it well with X-Rite color management system, it will allow me to reduce brightness to match the paper luminance and it has good but not outstanding color range (gamut). I would prefer a monitor with wider gamut like some Philips of NEC models, but I am not prepared to pay the price. I hope that this rambling discussion gives you an idea of what I am looking for. What processor do I need? 8 GB of RAM is good enough, is it not? What video card?

    Thank you very much Red for being willing to help. Please provide explanantion for your recommendation. I need to understand why I am doing what I am doing. No big words please. Take care. Pavel
  4. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,219   +157

    Hi Pavel.
    first the CPU. I have tracked core activity with PSE/CS5 and this is what it looks like:
    This is core activity while applying several concurrent task of the Gaussian blur filter.
    This is a case of 'the ore cores the better. A quad Intel or AMD) is a good investment.
    secondly, OEM PSU's are almost always sub-standard. I would inquire about the one specific to your Dell build
    Short of getting a AMD Fire Pro or Nvidia Tesla/Quadro which are very expensive. I think it is about how much you want to spend. PSE/CS5 uses Parallel processing so anything from say the AMD 5850/6850 up to the Nvidia GTX 580 would serve you well. Just make sure you surround tha CPU and GPU with balanced components
    You are correct about the 8GB of ram. That amount will do very well for the type of work you. It is plenty of ram, but I would not go under 8GB.

    Hope that helped a bit. :)
  5. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,456   +1,759

    You have taken into consideration that the word "Dell" and "inexpensive" used together is oxymoronic? Especially when used in conjunction with, "add a better video card".

    Photoshop is CPU and memory intensive, as red pointed out. However, if you buy a card commensurate with your stated needs, then it will play Blu-RAy movies anyway. High end gaming, not so much though.

    This low end Nvidia GT 460 would more than fill the bill: I doubt if you could obtain a comparable card direct from Dell at this price. You'd have to buy this and stuff it in yourself. (And wait for the rebate, of course).
  6. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,219   +157

    Cap is hitting on the reason I advised that you "surround the CPU and GPU with balanced components". if you find that you cannot accomplish this with Dell's "build a computer" I would advise to go a different direction. if you can operate a screwdriver and have enough patience to double check everything three times, you might consider building your own rig. I know a lot of people assemble a computer and then strut around as if they licked the Kaiser single handedly...but it isn't that difficult to do. you will also get a better value unless you are after a low end machine.

    Thats a great choice in card Cap linked to. As a matter of fact I think it was made for this :) The 768MB version of the 460 is a good fit here as a huge amount of Vram is not critical for PSE as in gaming. At least that is my experience with PSE/CS5.
  7. mullerpavel

    mullerpavel TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Red and Cap, I appreciate your responses, however i found that they are not "actionable" by me. I need to know quite specifically, what system to get (brand and model) or at least the properties of the key parts of the system. I am not in a position to build a system for myself and I need to buy a basic system that I may perhaps upgrade by adding memory and/or video card. I would very much appreciate your help.


  8. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,456   +1,759

    Building a computer is very similar to propositioning a streetwalker, but in reverse.

    You tell us how much money you have first, then we tell you what we're willing to do for it,.

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