Vista Graphics 3.4 vs. 4.9 for NON-gaming?

I have a quad core pc with a  Vista Graphics performance score of 4.9 (nvidia 8500 GT).  Im about to purchase another quad core pc but I know its graphics score will be 3.4 (ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT).
I not a gamer, but want snappy thumbnails and good performance when I retouch photos in Photoshop Elements.

Question: Should I buy a better video card? Will I notice a difference?

Thanks for any thoughts,
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Brian PiercePhotographerCommented:
My Dell has a 128Mb ATI card that scores 3.6 and is quite up to all I need including using photoshop CS3.
If it is just for photoshop, you wont see any differ.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
In a side-by-side comparison you'd notice quicker performance with a faster card ... especially in generation of thumbnails for a directory with a large number of photos.   But remember that's only done once ... and then Thumbs.db (a hidden, protected OS file) is maintained so the thumbnails are shown quickly in subsequent views.

I definitely notice a difference in generating the initial thumbnails on my system since I initially built it (with an older video card ... if I recall correctly the score was around 2.7) and my current card => an ATI Radeon 2600XT with a score of 5.5.    Photoshop also "feels" MUCH better than it did before ... but I didn't run any before/after benchmarks, so I don't know how much difference it might have made.

It all depends on just what you'll be using the system for.   With office apps, browsing, e-mail, etc. it won't make any difference => but with Photoshop & other Adobe programs (especially if you do any video rendering work) a faster card will definitely give you more "snap" :-)


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Save your money and get photoshop cs3. Another video card may give you a false sense of how your picture is supposed to look like.
mike2401Author Commented:
This for the info.
My gateway quad core (Phenom) only came with a 300 watt power supply, and since I already threw in a second 500 gig drive, I decided to stick with the factory card.  For $750 bucks, I really cant complain  its a very nice pc with 4 sata ports (I added two esata brackets so Ive got plenty of room to grow!)
I never realized the thing about the thumbs.db  very true: subsequent views are plenty fast.
Interestingly: I have 300 gigs of photos, and the thumbs.db (located with my users\username path is 1.7 gigs!)

Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
You're most welcome.   Definitely the right choice with only a 300w PSU.
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