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Author Topic: What Graphics Card for Photoshop CS4  (Read 13094 times)
Etienne Cassar
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« on: November 11, 2009, 12:23:49 PM »
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I am considering a new PC but I am a bit undecided with regards to which graphic card will perform best for Photoshop CS4 and Lightroom.  NVIDIA GTX295 cards have 1792MB of Memory and the ATI 5870 has only 1024MB of video memory, but the ATI memory clock is rated at 4800MHz while that of NVIDIA is rated at 2160MHz.  The price differences between the two is negligible.  I will run the graphic cards on an X58 motherboard with an i7 920 processor with 12GB of RAM.  Any suggestions as to which option to get.  
(Incidentally I have a Spectraview Reference 2690 computer display with I calibrate using Spectraview Profiler (EU version) using an eye-one Display LT.)
Thanks for your help.

Etienne
« Last Edit: November 11, 2009, 12:31:35 PM by ecassar » Logged
Christopher
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2009, 02:18:22 PM »
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Quote from: ecassar
I am considering a new PC but I am a bit undecided with regards to which graphic card will perform best for Photoshop CS4 and Lightroom.  NVIDIA GTX295 cards have 1792MB of Memory and the ATI 5870 has only 1024MB of video memory, but the ATI memory clock is rated at 4800MHz while that of NVIDIA is rated at 2160MHz.  The price differences between the two is negligible.  I will run the graphic cards on an X58 motherboard with an i7 920 processor with 12GB of RAM.  Any suggestions as to which option to get.  
(Incidentally I have a Spectraview Reference 2690 computer display with I calibrate using Spectraview Profiler (EU version) using an eye-one Display LT.)
Thanks for your help.

Etienne


Good question, which I can't really answer. As far as I know the graphic card has 00000000000 impact in Lightroom 2.5 or 3.0. For photoshop, as far as I know it only speeds up and enables, the new image rendering engine in CS4 ? (Could be wrong) but has no impact on filter or editing performance ? (Could be wrong again) I haven't used it, because I don't like the new zooming in and out.

Perhaps someone else can shad some more light on the topic.
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andyptak
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« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2009, 06:25:07 PM »
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NVIDIA and Lightroom have many problems with each other. Just do a search and you will find tons of them documented on many sites.
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Christopher
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« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2009, 10:14:48 PM »
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Quote from: andyptak
NVIDIA and Lightroom have many problems with each other. Just do a search and you will find tons of them documented on many sites.

First time I have heard of it. I used L 1.0 till 3.0 on 5-10 different workstations and notebooks, all had NV cards and never had a single problem. Any source ? Sorry don't feel like searching through google...
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Etienne Cassar
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« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2009, 12:15:17 AM »
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Quote from: Christopher
Good question, which I can't really answer. As far as I know the graphic card has 00000000000 impact in Lightroom 2.5 or 3.0. For photoshop, as far as I know it only speeds up and enables, the new image rendering engine in CS4 ? (Could be wrong) but has no impact on filter or editing performance ? (Could be wrong again) I haven't used it, because I don't like the new zooming in and out.

Perhaps someone else can shad some more light on the topic.

Thanks for your reply Christopher,
So you mean that it is not worth spending so much on a video card.  I thought that the more video memory you have the better for photoshop because the application can get direct access to it.  If it is true that there is no significant impact on the performace of Lightroom and photoshop then I will go for a much cheaper graphic card, such as the ATI 5700 series or NVIDIA GTX 275 or GEforce 9800.  Also what do you mean by the new zooming in and out?  What is different in the new zooming of the new video cards?

Thanks again.
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Etienne Cassar
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« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2009, 12:17:27 AM »
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Quote from: andyptak
NVIDIA and Lightroom have many problems with each other. Just do a search and you will find tons of them documented on many sites.

Never came across this.  What kind of problems are you referring to.  The only problem I know about has to do with the Spectraview profiler and NVIDIA drivers in Windows 7.  I have not heard about any other issues.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2009, 12:22:10 AM »
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Quote from: ecassar
Thanks for your reply Christopher,
So you mean that it is not worth spending so much on a video card.  I thought that the more video memory you have the better for photoshop because the application can get direct access to it.  If it is true that there is no significant impact on the performace of Lightroom and photoshop then I will go for a much cheaper graphic card, such as the ATI 5700 series or NVIDIA GTX 275 or GEforce 9800.  Also what do you mean by the new zooming in and out?  What is different in the new zooming of the new video cards?

The specs of CS4 are such that a fast graphic card can be very valuable when zooming in/out of an image since it can use the GPU to deliver a real time rendering of the image and continuous zooming.

If you use this function, the GPU does matter to some extend. I cannot tell you to what extend exactly, but my guts feeling is that medium level card today should be fast enough.

Now, there is a major problem with this capability, it renders images very soft when they are high resolution... to the extend that all the serious users of PS CS4 I know have disabled it. When this function is disabled, the GPU stops to have an impact on PS CS4 performance.

Now... things will be more complicated in the future because recent OS like Snow Leopard have built-in capabilities to tap into the amazing computational power of GPUs in order to speed up general application performance (even for non display related applications). It could be that PS CS5 will tap to some extend into this potential, and it if is the case the power of the GPU might end up being more important than the power of the CPU...

So there is no easy answer to your question...

Cheers,
Bernard
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Christopher
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« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2009, 01:23:31 AM »
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Quote from: BernardLanguillier
The specs of CS4 are such that a fast graphic card can be very valuable when zooming in/out of an image since it can use the GPU to deliver a real time rendering of the image and continuous zooming.

If you use this function, the GPU does matter to some extend. I cannot tell you to what extend exactly, but my guts feeling is that medium level card today should be fast enough.

Now, there is a major problem with this capability, it renders images very soft when they are high resolution... to the extend that all the serious users of PS CS4 I know have disabled it. When this function is disabled, the GPU stops to have an impact on PS CS4 performance.

Now... things will be more complicated in the future because recent OS like Snow Leopard have built-in capabilities to tap into the amazing computational power of GPUs in order to speed up general application performance (even for non display related applications). It could be that PS CS5 will tap to some extend into this potential, and it if is the case the power of the GPU might end up being more important than the power of the CPU...

So there is no easy answer to your question...

Cheers,
Bernard

Bernard explained the point I wanted to add with the image rendering in CS4. I hate how images look, with the GPU support enabled. So I to have turned if off. In addition I think GPUs will be more important but not for a few years. LR 3.0 will (my claim) not benefit from any GPU power. I don't even think that CS5 will benefit at all. (Perhaps only a better version of the image rendering which is used in CS4) Sorry, but I don't believe that a company who is still designing many parts of their software for a SINGLE CPU won't be using a lot of GPU power in the near future. ( For example I mean that CS4 still uses only one single core for opening and saving files.)  
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Etienne Cassar
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« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2009, 01:50:07 AM »
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Thanks for your replies.  They were really valuable to me.  So I'll change my mind and go for a cheaper Graphic card for now.  Knowing that things most probably won't change much in the near future it is stupid to spend so much on a top class graphics card.  When things do change, the present cards will alreay be obsolete so it is not worth spending the extra cash now.  I will still get a good card by spending half the money.
Thanks again for all your input.

Etienne
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andyptak
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« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2009, 06:55:45 AM »
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Christopher - not all NVIDIA cards have issues, but many do. It's usually with the graduated filter and adjustment brush, which hardly work at all with some cards. ATI have no known such problems. There are many posts over at the flickr Lightroom discussion group.
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walter.sk
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« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2009, 09:22:03 AM »
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Quote from: BernardLanguillier
The specs of CS4 are such that a fast graphic card can be very valuable when zooming in/out of an image since it can use the GPU to deliver a real time rendering of the image and continuous zooming.

If you use this function, the GPU does matter to some extend. I cannot tell you to what extend exactly, but my guts feeling is that medium level card today should be fast enough.

Now, there is a major problem with this capability, it renders images very soft when they are high resolution... to the extend that all the serious users of PS CS4 I know have disabled it. When this function is disabled, the GPU stops to have an impact on PS CS4 performance.

Bernard
Wow!  I just recently enabled this feature in CS4, and noticed a horrible appearance of my images when zoomed in to a high magnification.  I had forgotten that I enabled the feature and began wondering whether there was something wrong with my NEC 3090 monitor!  I'm gling back to the prefs and disable the zoom feature.
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jerryrock
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« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2009, 10:33:39 AM »
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Photoshop CS4 leverages the graphics display card's GPU, instead of the computer's main processor (the CPU) to speed its screen redraw. For Photoshop to access the GPU, your display card must contain a GPU that supports OpenGL and has enough RAM to support Photoshop functions--at least 128 MB of RAM--and a display driver that supports OpenGL 2.0 and Shader Model 3.0.

Benefits of using Open GL features of Photoshop CS4:

http://go.adobe.com/kb/ts_kb404898_en-us

Video cards tested with Photoshop CS4:

http://go.adobe.com/kb/ts_kb405711_en-us
« Last Edit: November 12, 2009, 10:35:17 AM by jerryrock » Logged

Gerald J Skrocki
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Etienne Cassar
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« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2009, 01:35:51 AM »
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Quote from: jerryrock
Benefits of using Open GL features of Photoshop CS4:

http://go.adobe.com/kb/ts_kb404898_en-us

Video cards tested with Photoshop CS4:

http://go.adobe.com/kb/ts_kb405711_en-us
I've been looking at that list of supported GPUs on the Adobe website, but to me it seems like all of the NVIDIA GeForce and ATI Radeon cards are not powerful enough, ie they are from the lower range of the cards available, with only up to 512MB of video ram.  Is this enough to run photoshop, and what about if I decide to do some HD video editing in the near future? I know that there are also the Quadro and the Fire GL cards listed but these are too expensive for me.
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feppe
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« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2009, 02:39:44 AM »
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Quote from: ecassar
I've been looking at that list of supported GPUs on the Adobe website, but to me it seems like all of the NVIDIA GeForce and ATI Radeon cards are not powerful enough, ie they are from the lower range of the cards available, with only up to 512MB of video ram.  Is this enough to run photoshop, and what about if I decide to do some HD video editing in the near future? I know that there are also the Quadro and the Fire GL cards listed but these are too expensive for me.

As stated several times above, GPU has little to no impact on real-life performance with PS and LR. Any modern (past 5 years) has more than enough memory to display more or less static 1600x1200 picture. The massive memories on graphics cards are for gamers.
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Christopher
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« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2009, 02:50:40 AM »
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Quote from: feppe
As stated several times above, GPU has little to no impact on real-life performance with PS and LR. Any modern (past 5 years) has more than enough memory to display more or less static 1600x1200 picture. The massive memories on graphics cards are for gamers.

Or professional 3D programs, who's developers actually know how powerful GPUs can be and know what they are coding ;-)
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Etienne Cassar
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« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2009, 03:07:32 AM »
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Ok then.  Got the point.  So it will be useless for me to spend a lot on a graphic card.  I had the wrong idea.  I will opt for one of the GPUs listed on the Adobe website and play it safe.  Thankyou all of you for your advise and input.
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bjanes
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« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2009, 07:26:23 AM »
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Quote from: ecassar
Ok then.  Got the point.  So it will be useless for me to spend a lot on a graphic card.  I had the wrong idea.  I will opt for one of the GPUs listed on the Adobe website and play it safe.  Thankyou all of you for your advise and input.
As well as checking the Adobe site for tested GPUs, also check the Windows site for tested cards. I had been running Windows XP SP3 32 bit with an ATI 4870 card with 1GB RAM with PhotoshopCS4 (ver 11.01) with no problems. Since I have an i7 machine with 12GB RAM, I upgraded to Windows 7 64 bit when it came out.

The I downloaded and ran the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor, which reported that my system could support Win 7 but that the ATI would not support the Aero interface, at least with currently available drivers. Then searching the Windows 7 compatibility center revealed that my card was 64 bit compatible but did not have the Windows 7 Logo.

Nonetheless, the installer set up Win 7 with the Aero interface. Things seemed to work fine for a while, but then I had numerous crashes and on rebooting I had the Windows 7 desktop with no taskbar, no icons, and no mouse pointer. I was essentially locked out. Starting is safe mode restored the desktop and I disabled Aero with no improvement. Then I tried the latest drivers with no improvement and then rolled back to earlier versions with no improvement.

In frustration, I selected an Nvidia card with the Windows 7 logo for 64 bit operatioin and also meeting Adobe's specifications, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 260 and am back in operation. I saw no need to get a high end gaming card and spent $200 at Newegg for superclocked version with 896GB of memory.

In searching the Windows 7 compatibility list there is a bewildering array of hundreds of cards with little guidance. One advantage of the Mac platform is that comparable hardware has already been chosen for you. However, you pay dearly for the convenience, and you currently can't run 64 bit PS.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2009, 07:28:53 AM by bjanes » Logged
jerryrock
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« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2009, 09:10:43 AM »
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Quote from: bjanes
One advantage of the Mac platform is that comparable hardware has already been chosen for you. However, you pay dearly for the convenience, and you currently can't run 64 bit PS.

The advantages of a Mac system far outweigh the fact that Adobe has not written a 64bit Photoshop version for Mac. Photoshop CS5 will be 64bit Mac compliant. CS4 for Mac does include a 16 bit printing path which was not included in the Windows version. Adobe Lightroom is 64bit compliant for Mac.  There are other programs such as Aperture that are 64 bit and can take full advantage of the video card GPU speeding up the entire program by taking some processing weight from the CPU.

The Mac can also run Windows software, not in emulation but a full version via a dual boot system. Both my Macs in addition to OSX 10.6.2 also run Windows Vista 64 bit. So if you must have that 64 bit version of Photoshop now, you can.

The biggest advantage to an Apple system is that there is no need to run antivirus software which drains precious system resources.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2009, 09:14:18 AM by jerryrock » Logged

Gerald J Skrocki
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« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2009, 11:14:33 AM »
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Quote from: jerryrock
The biggest advantage to an Apple system is that there is no need to run antivirus software which drains precious system resources.
Mac's are not immune to virus attacks and there have been a relatively small number of them; it's just that the people who think it's fun to create these focus on PCs.  the amount of resources allocated to antivirus software is insignificant and irrelevant to the performance of both Lightroom and PS.  Plus we don't have Apple's wonderful Colorsynch to worry about!
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jerryrock
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« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2009, 11:33:37 AM »
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Quote from: Alan Goldhammer
Mac's are not immune to virus attacks and there have been a relatively small number of them; it's just that the people who think it's fun to create these focus on PCs.  the amount of resources allocated to antivirus software is insignificant and irrelevant to the performance of both Lightroom and PS.  Plus we don't have Apple's wonderful Colorsynch to worry about!

I didn't intend for my comment to start a PC vs Mac debate, just pointing out the advantages of the Mac platform.

To reply to your comment, there have been NO documented cases of Mac virus infestations and anti-virus software does slow down PC systems as evidenced by this PC Magazine review of anti-virus software for 2010.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2351871,00.asp

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Gerald J Skrocki
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