best video card for Photoshp CS

I am buying a new computer from Origin and am wondering which video card to buy. Is the 1GB GDDR5 Nvidia GTX 550 Ti enough? Upgrading to the 560Ti (including its higher power requirement) would add $200 to my build-cost.

I will NEVER use my computer for gaming but I use Photoshop CS to edit RAW photos and those scanned at 600 dpi – producing very large files. I also use Imaginate software to make slideshows with the KenBurns Effect. I do not do any video editing.

Thank you!
John Black

Other system specs:

Intel i7 2600 3.4GHz
16 GB memory
128GB Crucial M4 SSD
IT Seagate Barracuda  SATA-III, 6Gb/s, 7,200RPM, 64MB Cache HDD
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit
JohnMackenzieBlackAsked:
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ReubenwelshCommented:
Photoshop is CPU heavy, not GPU heavy. There is really no need to upgrade your GPU just for photo editing.
You wont notice any difference between the cards, i would go for an SSD disk instead, that should help more.

There are graphic cards that are specifly for stuff like photoshop, but they are more towards the $1000 price. For $200 that upgrade isnt worth it.
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ReubenwelshCommented:
Oh you have an SSD disk i see now :), in that case stick with the build you have now, the money would more or less be wasted.
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David BruggeCommented:
I second Ruben's assessment. Photoshop doesn't benefit from a powerful video card. Looks like you got a pretty smokin' machine as it is. What's your monitor looking like?
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Sigurdur ArmannssonDesigner Commented:
If you have not already bought the machine, rather spend more on the SSD and make it bigger to handle bigger virtual memory.
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JohnMackenzieBlackAuthor Commented:
Thanks for everyone's help.

No, I have not yet bought the machine, but I will this week.Now I am still looking for advice about what to put in it.

Not sure what the BEST video card would be for Photoshop. OriginPC.com will put in virtually anything I want. Is the 1GB GDDR5 Nvidia GTX 550 Ti  too much, or the wrong kind? Is there something else that would be optimal for Photoshop CS?

Sigurarm: How big should the SSD be, before I hit overkill. Crucial OK?

Thanks,

John

PS I am putting in the 3T Seagate, not a 1T.
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Sigurdur ArmannssonDesigner Commented:
Considering that I often have to open and work with huge psd's I want to get myself a 300GB SSD at least. The prices are going down and I might end up buying a 500GB which would be wonderful to keep the system on and use as VM.

Currently I have 16GB RAM and I don't think there is any overkill there. Photoshop loads the pictures into memory and the more RAM the merrier.

I would think it this way: The money you were ready to spend on a graphics card: Spend it on RAM and SSD. (I am using a mac but that should not matter)
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ReubenwelshCommented:
Hi,

The thing with the graphic card is, there are graphic cards designed for this kind of work. But they start off at about $1000 and top end go for at least the double.
Unless the only thing this computer will be doing is editing raw picutes (as in usuing it as a server) I would say it was overkill, the card you have now is a high end card, not best money can buy but a good card. I would stick with it.

I would stick with the system as it is.
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CallandorCommented:
If you're using CS5, it will take advantage of hardware acceleration of an OpenGL card, but as mentioned by Reubenwelsh, those can be very expensive.  For most people, a regular middle performance desktop card for about $100 will work fine - the GT550 Ti is a gaming card and will not help in Photoshop, but it's actually not much above $100, so you could go with that or the lower priced GT 440.
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ReubenwelshCommented:
I got a bit curious myself to see how the market is these days for these kinds of graphic cards and they really have come down in price.

I looked a bit at graphic cards and if i was you i would go for one of the older spec Quadro's



Nvidia Quadro 600 is one of the former generation Quadro cards, you can get this card for around $150, that way you can still use the graphic card so your getting some extra power (not promising miracles but its the best upgrade you can do for photoshop with that machine).

The next step up is the Nvidia 2000 - That will set you back ~450dollars and the difference isnt anthing major.
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JohnMackenzieBlackAuthor Commented:
Hi Reubenwelsh,

OK - sorry to be so dumb - are you all saying the fact the 550 Ti is a lower end gaming card doesn't make it BAD for Photoshop, it's just more than I need?

Or, is there something about a "gaming card" that makes it less than optimal for Photoshop? The 550Ti is the default choice. I can specifify a different card if it would give me better Photoshop performance  - but am happy to take the easy route unless doing so is a mistake. Would the Nvidia Quadro 600 give me BETTER performance than the 550Ti?

Thanks!
John
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ReubenwelshCommented:
Hi,

Basicly, Photoshop cant do calculations with help from your Graphic card. It only uses the graphic card to show your screen. You would be fine with a $50 card. A better card does take some load off the CPU / Memory so you do get slightly better results even with a gaming card, but nothing worth mentioning. I wouldnt say more then you need, but more like, your paying more then you need.

The Quatro can be used by photoshop, so you would be getting noticable better performance from photoshop with it nothing major, but thats what i would go for.

The Quatro 600 is roughly the same price as the 550i and definatly better performance so if you can go for that being the older generation im not sure if the place your ordering can get hold of one for you, but i can see them on Newegg / amazon so shouldnt be that hard. You might want to have them quote you a price for the moddle up, the Quatro 2000, it seems you can get them slightly cheaper then i thought (around $500) but its still a bit more then you where planing.

Since the graphic card is a secondary processor for PS were not really talking any major speeds here. Taking numbers out of the air, just going by oberservation - the difference between a normal desktop graphics card and the lower end cards (the radeon equivilent to the 600) were talking about maybe a 5-10% difference. and the higher end ones (like the 2000) might be a 10-15% speed upgrade.

Really after that it all depends on how much your willing to pay to save that amount. For some a few % is worth thousands over a year, for others it dosnt matter as they multitask and let stuff run in the background.

Hope this helps :)
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ReubenwelshCommented:
(p.s.) with my first sentance when i wrote your graphic card i meant the 550 ti :)
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algorithCommented:
A bigger issue to worry about is the color rendition accuracy of the monitor. Most monitors today use white LEDs for the light source. White LEDs have a very peculiar spectrum - usually high in some blue region with a dip between blue and yellow, then high for yellow through red.  A representative example of a recent white LED spectrum is in figure 4 in http://www.cree.com/products/pdf/LEDlamps/CLA1B-WKW&MKW.pdf .

If the white light source is peculiar, pixels in the screen have to compensate. Unfortunately LCD color filters don't exactly match the light source, so it is almost impossible to get uniform spectral response.   This of course will affect your photo editing results.

Older monitors use a CCFL light source (think really skinny flourescent bulbs) and they produce a much smoother spectrum.

I assume there are technical specs for monitors along these lines, but I have no experience buying a good one. I can tell you that for photos, my old CCFL screen looked way better than any of the 3 LED monitors I have bought recently.
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JohnMackenzieBlackAuthor Commented:
thank you to everyone! I really appreciate the help.

John
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