Do I need a Graphics Card for Photo Editing?


TPF Noob!
Feb 9, 2012
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I'm doing a PC build for a Photo Club and I'm wondering if anyone knows whether a graphics card (Nvidia GeForce GTS 450 1Gb) will make much difference in the performance to justify the cost of the card?
It will be used for digital photo editing on Adobe Photoshop CS5 and sometimes a bit of video editing.

Intel Core i3 2120 3.3GHz (Sandybridge) (at least, they may go for Core i5 2400 3.1GHz)
Asus P8Z68-V LX MoBo
Kingston 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600Mhz HyperX Red
WD 1.5Tb SATA-6Gb/s Black
Win7 64bit
If you have a monitor hooked up to your computer, you already have a graphics card.

High-end graphics cards are primarily used for gaming, which means a lot of changes very very fast. Unless you edit images so fast & furious it appears like a just-released video game, I'd say save your money.
If you have a monitor hooked up to your computer, you already have a graphics card.

I know that! LOL :lol:

I meant would a high end GPU be better for photo editing than the onboard GPU - but from your last sentence it seems not! Thanks for the help 480sparky :thumbup:

I own a computer shop and am doing a competitive quote for a new PC and the other quote has the Nvidia GTS 450 included and I thought "is this really needed?"
The only reason I can see for needing a higher-end graphics card is the use might be using an ungodly huge monitor and needs the resolution.
Photoshop CS5 does have gpu acceleration witch can help a lot with speeding things up. This is not nessesary for editing but can make a great impact (more impotent for the 3D features of Photoshop)
Very useful for 3D, barely useful for 2D.

If you're looking for a nice, reliable, pro level graphics card that's just designed to last forever, look at the Nvidia Quadro NVS295. Gaming cards sacrifice stability and durability for pure performance in a very narrow area. They tend to be pretty expensive, and run extremely hot, requiring loud high speed fans. Also, because of running hot, they burn out faster than pro cards.

The Quadro series are workstation cards targeted at the pro market. The 295 is a nicely priced entry level card with no fan, and barely any 3D capability, but it'll drive 2 monitors at high resolution, and it's engineered to be durable. The high end Quadro cards have robust 3D capability that far surpass any gaming card, but at many times the price as well.
I found a 256bit 1 gig ddr5 diamond graphics card based off hd radeon 4890 for $60 on newegg. Like said just spend under $100. Even good motherboards now days have good enough intergraded ones. I think my mb will do dual monitors and hdmi
I don't know, if it was me I would want a Good quality card in it. Since the introduction of CS4 and CS5 Photoshop has placed a greater emphasis on Video card performance and Open GL. so much so that they started testing and approving various video cards. People have had a lot of PS (CS$/5) crashes just because they didn't have the updated VC drivers
I don't know the specs of the OB video capabilities of that ASUS Mob so maybe it's fine but if it was me and my club I would want a card upgrade

You won't see it in normal use, levels and curves adjustments. But applying filters or take a huge swipe with a large Dodge brush and you sit there and wait for it to render, I would probably regret not having a good card

But that's just my Opinion

Here's adobe's list
Tested video cards | Photoshop CS5
Hey guys you're only covering part of the picture. It's not just Photoshop rendering that can do GPU acceleration, it's the entire Windows interface as of Vista. A decent graphics card will give you extra performance on the UI as well. You also don't need ungodly resolutions to get a benefit. The most common high end monitor resolution is 1920x1200. That's 2.3 megapixels processed 60 times a second and a decent video card will make a big difference here too. I'm not talking about spending $250 on a video card that sounds like a vacuum cleaner either, just a simple low-middle range video card will do the job.

Watching movies? Native h264 decoding is supported by many video cards. Or more photographic related, stitching panoramas, with CUDA support in Auto Pano Pro makes the stitching operation probably 15x faster.

It's up to you, but with a decent computer otherwise why bottleneck it?
Another thing to consider....

Not all video cards will support monitor rotation at native resolutions. If you are like me who shoots a lot of photos in portrait, you may want to consider a video card that can support 2ndary monitor 90 degrees turned.
Thanks for the info guys :thumbup:

What I'm going to do is not go for the graphics card initially, as the MoBo has dual PCI-E 16x slots - if it doesn't do what they need it to I will then get the Graphics Card for them.

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