Hardware Thread, Photoshop rig advice in Technical; Looking for some advice on a GPU to get for my wife for the upcoming Photoshop CS5. I am recommissioning ...
23rd April 2010, 02:26 PM #1
Photoshop rig advice
Looking for some advice on a GPU to get for my wife for the upcoming Photoshop CS5. I am recommissioning my QUAD core server (built with high end workstation parts) as a powerhorse for Photoshop so she can work more quickly and become familiar with the latest industry standard version (at present she's working on CS2 on a MacBook). The workstation will be running Windows 7 64-bit and has 4 GB of decent OCZ RAM. I think it's DDR2 but it may be DDR3, will have to check when I get home.
Adobe website states
As such I've been looking at Asus GTS250 1GB GDDR3DVI VGA HDMI Out PCI-E Graphics Card - Ebuyer (ASUS full specs on website
•Some GPU-accelerated features require graphics support for Shader Model 3.0 and OpenGL 2.0
ASUSTeK Computer Inc.) and as all the kit I've bought recently is ASUS and I'm a fan of NVIDIA GPU's.
Has anyone who's got experience of video/graphics work from a hardware perspective got any gems of wisdom that I can make use of before I hand over my credit card.
I'm also looking at Samsung SM2494HS 24" TFT Monitor 1920x1080 50000:1 300cd/m2 5ms DVI/VGA/HDMI Black 3 Years Warranty - Ebuyer as a monitor as the "server" obviously doesn't have one at the moment.
Lastly, is there any performance hit or incompatability mixing DDR2 memory for the system and a DDR3 GPU- IIRC correctly the use of "DDR" for GPU's is misleading as it isn't the same as for system memory, but I'd look awfully stupid if I found out otherwise post purchase.
IDG Tech News
23rd April 2010, 02:36 PM #2
The DDR2 memory will not effect your DDR3 GPU memory in any way.... so thats a good start.
I havent really got any specific help with reference to the GPU but as always with photoshop - large amounts of ram are great for it! And as you are running 64bit maybe think of bumping up to 8gb+ if you can afford it.
Your other speed increase would come from possibly getting 2 hard drives and raiding them to provide better load speeds if she is using MASSIVE picture files etc. (Maybe even go with a 3rd harddrive to use as a seperate scratch disk for Photoshop)
23rd April 2010, 02:42 PM #3
I take the point on memory but don't want to "throw away" already high spec memory to replace with higher capacity modules until at least seeing how it runs with 4GB. She's stepping up from a two year old MacBook with 2GB RAM to a quad core with 4GB and dedicated GPU so should already be speeding along.
I already have two HDD's in there and was planning to run applications and OS from one, using the other for her files- potentially allowing access from her Macbook if shared. I'm nervous of RAID0 despite the fact I have a SeaGate external drive I'll be dedicating to the backup of her machine.
23rd April 2010, 03:08 PM #4
I am by no means an expert but may be able to provide a little information on this topic. There is a list of tested cards here
List of tested graphics display cards for Photoshop CS4 and a run down of the accelerated features here GPU and OpenGL Features and Limitations in Photoshop CS4
By the looks of it you want a GPU with a good chunk of memory and depending on how moduler their code is, lots of shaders. It looks to only use one logical GPU at a time so a dual GPU on single chip board like a ATI 5950 would not offer any gains over a 5850.
The best way to get more shaders is to go for the higher up gameing lines of cards, the number of shaders ramps up very quickly and so there is a large difference in the number between a 260 and 280. I have actually been specing GPUs for some developer machines lately with an eye to future use of GPU acceleration. Too keep costs down and parallel processing ability up I actually went with the previous line of GPUs from NVIDIA (to support CUDA) and went with 9800GT cards. These may be a little slower in clockrate and memory than a 280 but still has almost as many stream processors as a 260 giving it alright parallel performance for GPU acceleration of computational tasks cheaply. Check out the "Config core" colum here Comparison of Nvidia graphics processing units - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The more shaders the better performance you are likely to get with GPGPU type tasks. Throw in as much fast memory with wide memory bus and you will probably find the best fit for your application in your price envelope. The 250 is about the same as a 9800GT (shader numbers), the 260 or 280 would provide a big jump in shaders.
No idea about the moniter but I have heard good things about the Samsung pannels with regard to TVs so this may carry over.
Lastly there is no performance hit from having a type of RAM on the GPU differing from the type on the motherboard, the GPU works as a self contained unit with its own memory controller. Most newer GPUs use GDDR4 -> 7 (I think is where they are up to now) which is quite different in design to normal computer RAM. Again faster the better, bigger size allows for larger amounts of stuff to be done in the GPU without slow transfers from the system memory and bigger bus width allows for more data to be accessed by the GPU on any one clock cycle.
Hopefully this provides a little more clarity on the subject and has not muddied the waters further.
Last edited by SYNACK; 23rd April 2010 at 03:14 PM.
23rd April 2010, 03:18 PM #5
Another thing to look at would be a fast dedicated HDD / SSD for the scratch file. With regards to monitors have you had a look at and IPS panels?
Thanks to SYSMAN_MK from:
23rd April 2010, 10:02 PM #6
I would suggest you look at a better screen for photo work, something that has a better colour. There are these new IPS panels that are meant to be a lot better at color than the LCD ones. Check this one out on bit-tech
You also might want to look in to a monitor calibration device to help with setting up the screen correctly. Something like this
Thanks to robyholmes from:
25th April 2010, 01:30 PM #7
The Samsung SM2494HS has a TN panel according to TFT Central. As others have said, an IPS-based LCD would be far better given what your wife will be using it for.
The Dell 2209WA is a great choice if you haven't got a lot of money to spend, although it is only a 22" monitor (1680x1050). For a bit more money, there's the 23" NEC EA231WMi (Review). This has a resolution of 1920x1080.
Last edited by Arthur; 25th April 2010 at 01:45 PM.
25th April 2010, 05:30 PM #8
Thanks for the advice- it's appreciated. Never having worked in or with graphics before it had not occurred to me to get a IPS panel, or that prices would be so low now - so I appreciate your advice. I suspect we'll be getting the Dell as she's terrified of spending the amount most people spend on a computer just on a monitor.
Something we'd not have thought to do without you though, so thank you all.
26th April 2010, 11:53 AM #9
I'll throw in an echo of what most people have said really:
The best performance requires a fair few hard drives. Have a look for some guides on how to properly set photoshop up for different drive use, it can make a huge difference. I'd be tempted to grab some small (40gb?) SSDs, and use one as the OS, one as the scratch, and one as the 'working' drive, then use a larger SATA drive to export finished work onto. Bit-tech have some good SSD reviews. An Intel M-Series may offer more performance than two smaller drives...
I would be tempted to sell the OCZ and buy 8Gb, batch jobs eat ram, 4Gb will do, but 8Gb may be a useful investment in the future, depends on the sort of work shes doing. If you bought 2*2Gb sticks, and it's a high end board, you should be able find a 2*2Gb matching set and throw that in to increase the ram if needed (I wouldn't worry about matching manufacturer, just speed, timings, and voltages.
And yes - buy a decent monitor. IPS is better as people have already covered.
26th April 2010, 12:01 PM #10
Have to disagree about the NVidia cards!! Over priced currently! The ATI variants are easily better for the price. Shader model 3.0 is down to the 7800GT cards so any new card will support it. I would recommend going for a high memory card around 1gb of GFX RAM. The ATI 48xx range is excellent for the price.
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