General Question

shockvalue's avatar

High end graphics cards

Asked by shockvalue (5775 points ) March 20th, 2008

I am not a gamer, however I need a graphics card that can render and support a screen resolution of 2560×1600. (It’s a 30” monitor.) Any suggestions that won’t break the bank?

Oh, and I use the computer for photo and video editing.

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26 Answers

shockvalue's avatar

Note: I realized that starting with “I am not a gamer” might have come across as negative or defensive. I meant it as neither. Sorry!

iceblu's avatar

I need to know what kinda BUS you have.. Is it AGP, or PCI-X? If you don’t know, you could always give me the brand of PC, or if its custom built, the Motherboard brand and model should work also.

Brunty's avatar

Not negative at all, the 8800-Series would do well, depends on whether you need a card to just run the monitor, or one that’ll perform well with graphic-intensive apps?

Brunty's avatar

@iceblu – it’s PCI-e, PCI-x stands for PCI-Extended, whereas PC-e is for PCI-Express, (used for modern graphics cards)

iceblu's avatar

@brunty I’m terribly sorry for the mistake of writing PCI-X and not PCI-E, 1000 pardons Sir. But I know what I’m talking about, please excuse me if i accidentally used an X instead of and E or just EX, I’m am quite aware what everything stands for. And the chances he has PCI-X are very rare, and i know this. Thanks for pointing out this Über Common Mistake. Now if you excuse me, I have Quiznos to finish eating.

Brunty's avatar

@iceblu – I didn’t mean to sound patronising, it’s just not knowing anyone’s level of knowledge it’s best to get things right, isn’t it? If someone looks and see’s PCI-e instead of PCI-x (when someone suggested it) then surely that can lead to confusion? Common mistake? Can’t say I’ve seen many people who’re “aware of what everything stands for” making that mistake.
Anyway, if you’ve got AGP the highest card you’ll find would be one of the old 7800-Series cards they made for AGP, they weren’t very common as they were made after the 7800 was released for PCI-e. If it’s PCI-e, it’ll depend on your budget as to what card you get. But if it’s just so the monitor will ‘work’ and you’re not looking to game etc then go with an 8800-GTS (320MB version) – shouldn’t break the bank but’ll give you some headroom.

shockvalue's avatar

now now, lets not start something… it’s obvious we all know our stuff. well, except me. that’s why i’m asking. anyways, i have a sony viao from 2004. yeah i’m sorry too… i think the model number is vgc-rb34g. helpful at all?

Brunty's avatar

Your system has a PCI-Express slot for the graphics. The card you get depends on your budget.
One thing with putting in a high(er)-end graphics card is power – chances are the power supply won’t be able to handle the extra output needed to power a new graphics card, if you don’t feel confident enough to change the power supply unit (PSU) is there a local / nearby computer store to carry out the work?

shockvalue's avatar

yah, i live in the SF Bay Area, so everything is a stone’s throw away. as for prices, what do these things usually run at?

Brunty's avatar

Again that depends on where you get it from, and what you go for, cards prices can vary greatly, perhaps go into a store and see what they’d charge to get the parts and fit them for you?

iceblu's avatar

@Brunty Watch out, he only has PCI-X x1, not x16 You will need the following, HIS Radeon X1550 512MB PCI Express x1

And it supports The Res. You wanted.

Brunty's avatar

http://www1.dealtime.com/xPF-RB34G-MT-P4–3200-512MB-200GB-DVD-RW-S that site lists it as having PCI-e 16x – PCI-e 1x wouldn’t be used for graphics, it’s just not got enough bandwidth. It also has a PCI-e 1x.

iceblu's avatar

Im wrong, you do have a x16 slot in there… i read it wrong, but it also tells me you should alrdy have a x300 card in your system…do you?

shockvalue's avatar

oh, i’m pretty sure i can install them myself, i just don’t know where to start actually choosing a card. everything in the computer is still stock. except for the ram. oh, and i can spend up to 400 dollars on a card if i have to…

iceblu's avatar

@Brunty For video editing and photo editing its fine, for gaming i wouldn’t recommend it.

@shockvalue I have built with this card abut 4 times, no problems, so i can safely say this is a good buy, best bang for your buck Asus EAH3870. Your going to need a bigger PSU to run this card, so heres a 600W PSU, which is double the power then your old one was. Both together are in your price range.

And what kinda video/photo editing are we doing? CAD, Adobe PremiereCS3, Photoshop?

shockvalue's avatar

photoshop, illustrator, indesign, aftereffects… yeah, the whole Adobe slew…

iceblu's avatar

@shockvalue I also forgot to mention that the card supports HDCP, So if your nice 30’ monitor supports HDMI, it will look even better, or even Component at that.

And yea, you should be ok with what i linked you. You said you upgraded your RAM? How much do u have now? 2GB’s?

shockvalue's avatar

yeah, two gigs. i really want more but i don’t think my motherboard will allow it…

iceblu's avatar

Yea, 2 GB’s is it’s max.

“Memory
512MB PC-3200 400MHz DDR
(256MB x 2)
(Expandable to 2GB)”

Anything else you need help with?

shockvalue's avatar

oh those bastards! i wish i could put a 2 gig stick in each slot…

oh, haha, now that you mention it… what are your recommendations on processors? my Pentium 4 with hyper threading isn’t the (insert cliché analogy here)

iceblu's avatar

@shockvalue, well Intel CPU’s are currently better priced, but i have been having ALOT of random problems, not with the CPU its self, but the hardware paired with it. Besides that, their a great CPU.

AMD on the other hand is going to be big when they release their second version of the new Phenom CPU. The first one had a glitch, but they fixed it. Also, It’s going to be cheaper then the equal model Intel CPU, and it’s actually going to be TRUE Quadcore. aka: 1 core per die, not 2 cores per die.

i.e. Intel Core2Quad CPU’s used 2 cores on 1 die. So to achieve 4 Cores, they needed 2 die’s with 2 cores on it, to make 4 cores correct?

In AMD’s case, their CPU uses 1 core per die. So to achieve 4 cores, you would need 4 die’s. Which is true quad core technology. Because there is no need to share a die anymore.

Hope that helps. Cheers

Dine's avatar

If You are Pro the best solution is Avid
If You like Mac the best solution is MacPro with nVidia FX5600.

shockvalue's avatar

yes, i prefer to work on a mac, however i cant spring fore a whole new computer right now. it’s just not possible. so I’m fine on just upgrading what i have.

8lightminutesaway's avatar

Upgrading your cpu probably isn’t worth it without upgrading the rest of your system. If you did, I’d say go with a quadcore. quadcore cpu’s are great for multi-tasking. I just got the Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 that runs stock 2.4Ghz and I run it at 3.26Ghz with just air cooling (found on some systems it can get to 3.6 with just air cooling). The phenom will probably be really expensive when it comes out, as the intel quads were, and it takes quite a while for the price to drop. you can get the q6600 for 250 now (used to be well over 500). Anyway, its great for doing stuff like photoshop, itunes, internet, and everything else, all at the same time ;)
If your not going to upgrade the rest, I’d say get a Pentium d $80 – $125 depending on what speed you want. Its a decent dual core that will help your system for sure

byrd's avatar

I wouldn’t go with an AMD chip at the moment, not even the [new] Phenom’s for various reasons like performance (For example), lack of supporting DDR3, etc.. but it seems like you’re not going to upgrade your system as a ‘whole’ right now anyway.

Personally, I wouldn’t buy a new CPU for your current motherboard, any more RAM (If it is possible), etc—it’s kind of a dead end. I’d just get a new CPU/Motherboard/GPU/RAM/Case and you could do all that for roughly ~ $400 and you’d have quite a good PC on your hands (A 9600GT which supports 2560×1600, dual core CPU, 2GB DDR2 800 RAM, etc). Also, that’d be using your current HDDs, monitor, DVD drive, etc.

Here is a guide from Ars Technica on a ‘Budget Box’ but you can find even better prices on some parts (Like RAM) and you do not have to upgrade everything (Like I mentioned).

I wish AMD would create an awesome line of CPUs, like their Athlons a few years back, and bring back some heavy competition to Intel.

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