Which graphics card should I pick?

By D0M1N13 ยท 15 replies
Feb 21, 2013
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  1. Hey guys!

    I want to know in your opinion which graphics card would you pick if you were planning on doing macro programming, using Visual Studio 2012, compiling, using Adobe Suite, working on big programs, multitasking and the works. Really won't need it for gaming that much.
    I was thinking about getting the AMD Radeon HD 7970 but don't know if I need that powerful of a graphics card to do all that I mentioned. Please advise :)

    Here's my planned system:

    Graphics Adapter: ???
    CPU: Intel Core i7-3930K
    System Memory: 16 GB [2x 8GB] DDR3-1866 Corsair Vengeance
    Hard Disk / SSD: 250 GB SSD + 1,0 TB hard disk drive
    CPU Cooler: 3x120mm Silent Zalman CNPS12X High Performance
    Motherboard: ASUS P9X79 Deluxe
    Case: NZXT Phantom Big-Tower black
    Power Supply: BeQuiet Dark Power Pro 10 | 750W (80+ Gold)
  2. MrBlkfx1

    MrBlkfx1 TS Evangelist Posts: 863   +204

    The build looks solid. I would go with a HD 7950 for the GPU. Powerful, yet cheap ($299).
  3. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    If you are working with OpenCL, go with AMD, if you are using a lot of Adobe programs, go nVidia. May I ask what type of programs will you be using in specific? You dont need that powerful of a graphics card for programming, but for Adobe and such you might.

    Sorry for going on a rant, but I think you can make some mighty fine improvements to your build:
    I would recommend this CPU cooler instead: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835608018 I personally like Noctua more than Zalman. (cheaper and quieter)
    As for the PSU, I would go with Corsair or Seasonic personally.
    Also, I would say go with 4x4 RAM (instead of 8x2) because X79 platforms use Quad channel :). Plus it is cheaper in some cases (maybe not with the recent price hikes).
    Finally, I would not recommend an SSD because compiling, processing, and deleting hundreds upon thousands of lines of code can wear and tear it quickly. Plus if you put so much time into coding and your SSD (which are not that consistant, but are improving) fails, you may be weeping in horror lol. I would recommend a large, fast HDD like a Caviar Black from Western Digital (WD).
  4. D0M1N13

    D0M1N13 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    All of Adobe - Adobe Master's Collection

    Agreed! I reviewed some coolers 2 weeks ago: http://maximumpc.com/article/features/lga2011_cpu_cooler_review_roundup Noctua did excellent!

    BeQuiet is Seasonic for your information :) But I think I will choose Corsair as it is a more trusted brand in the PSU category.

    Question: Do I have to use 32GB of RAM to use Quad Channel?
    Secondly, aren't SSD's super fast and they don't wear and tear so quickly? I was thinking of getting the WD Velociraptor. 10,000 RPMs :-D

  5. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 2,922   +630

    What. I don't agree with a lot of stuff mentioned in this thread.

    CPU: Any particular reason you're paying so much extra for that 6-core?

    PSU: Use above advice, get a reputable brand.

    RAM: 3x 8GB sticks, or 3x 4GB sticks. Up to you, depending on price. Max RAM on that CPU is 64GB. Needs triple channel though.

    SSD: This is required. There is no discussion about it. Put your documents on the platter, though (which you could get a 2TB for only a little more)

    GPU: hard to tell. You say you're gonna use entire Adobe Suite, but that's so vague that it's hard to give advice. Considering you won't be gaming, I'd go for a 7850, or some other mid-range NVIDIA card to use CUDA.
  6. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,274   +461

    X79 is not a triple channel board - that was X58. I also second St1ckM4n's suggestion about a GPU is you really won't be doing any gaming.​
  7. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 2,922   +630

    Ops, my bad! It's actually quad-channel! Gogo 4x 8GB! :)
  8. LukeDJ

    LukeDJ TS Maniac Posts: 350   +112

    I agree with Stickman, it makes absolutely no sense to not purchase an SSD in this day and age.
  9. D0M1N13

    D0M1N13 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well, I am thinking more about future apps. Right now, most of the apps use 4 cores... but maybe in the near future, there will be apps developed that will utilize 6 cores. On the other hand, I can save money and go with the less expensive i7-3820 or the i7-3770K....and change the processors in the near future. Suggestions ?

    Would you leave the integrated onboard sound chip or get a PCI-Express Sound card ?
  10. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    Just be aware that you cannot just change the processor from a 3770K to a 3930K without a change in motherboard. By the sounds of things I think a 3770K is enough for you, the only reasons to get a 3930K are if you need 64GB of RAM or your programs fully utilise 6 cores/12 threads. A 3820 is not recommended over a 3770K because the X79 mobo will be more expensive than a Z77 one and the processor is not fully unlocked.
  11. D0M1N13

    D0M1N13 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Slh28, so true ;) I forgot about that :) Ok, so lets change some parts...

    processor: i7-3770K instead of the i7-3930K
    motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V Deluxe
    graphics card: GTX 660Ti
    cpu cooler: noctua NH-D14
    power supply: Corsair AX 750 (80+ Gold)
    ram: (4x4GB) DDR3-1866 Corsair Vengeance
  12. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    I like the BeQuiet power supply but you should cut down on the wattage unless you plan to be upgrading to SLI or CF in the future.
  13. LukeDJ

    LukeDJ TS Maniac Posts: 350   +112

    You could probably safely downgrade to a 650W power supply if you want, unless you plan to SLI another 660 Ti in the future.
  14. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    I was looking at Benchmarks on Adobe suites and the 6 core 3930K over-clocked to 4.5 GHz kills the 3770K @ 4.5 GHz in CS6 (particularly After Effects and Photoshop). I have built plenty of video editing workstations in the past. So I would recommend a high Cuda core nVidia. AMD is king of OpenCL, so if any of your programs use that (mainly programmers use OpenCL), then go for AMD. May I ask to further polish this out, what version of Adobe suite are you running and at what resolutions will you be doing your projects at? Because the higher the resolutions, the more demanding graphics may render faster and the 6 core CPU will serve you better. The reason I put down the SSD is that if you are a programmer, you need something consistant, you dont want to lose the thousands of lines of code you just wrote because of an SSD failure. I would recommend a fast HDD since they are more consistant and will ware less with the constant compiling of code. (from past experiences, SSD have improved, but I still cant trust them other than in gaming or photoshop, not really programing . The SSD on the other hand will do you good if you are rendering high resolution images in photoshop.

    Edit: I was further looking at the system requirements of CS6, they recommend nVidia cards for their new color correction engine called SpeedGrade: Dedicated GPU card required for SpeedGrade (for optimal performance in SpeedGrade and for GPU-accelerated features in Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects: NVIDIA Quadro 4000, 5000, or 6000 or other Adobe-certified GPU card with at least 1GB of VRAM recommended) (Courtesy of Adobe). Further more, you will need an i7 for optimal SpeedGrade utilization according to Adobe.
  15. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 2,922   +630

    He'd need to save his documents and working files on the HDD, like I said. This is normal behaviour - even as a programmer you save your junk on the platter.

    And if you're using an SSD as a scratch disk in Premiere/PS, lol, have fun with that..

    If you go with 4GB RAM sticks, you'll fill all four slots and have 16GB RAM. Max on mobo/CPU is 32GB - which you won't get unless you swap out every single stick.
  16. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    He doesnt need more than 1600MHz in speed for RAM, he isnt gaming. Also as for the scrath disk, I agree with you st1ck. But I still think it is better to stay old school being a hobby programmer my self. I think the 3930K is a good choice. I have put them in plenty of workstations I have built in the past year or so and when you OC itto 4.5 GHz... it is a PS beast, especially in CS6
    misor likes this.

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