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 Post subject: Passive video card for 2-monitor setup for Photoshop
PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:05 pm 
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I am looking for a graphics card for Photoshop editing with 2 monitors in a dual monitor configuration that has:
    - Passive cooling
    - 1 x DVI port
    - 1 x DisplayPort

I'm aware that Photoshop CS6 can make use of some of the more advanced graphics card features, such as Open CL, but I don't understand the technicalities of this, nor what this implies when choosing a card. I will not be doing any video-editing, video playback or gaming.

My questions are:

    Would a card such as the Sapphire Radeon HD 6670 Ultimate provide full support for CS6, without being overkill? - I thought that the "low active power consumption and Dynamic Power Management" features seem a good idea, since the card will never be used very intensively.

    Would the much cheaper Zotac Synergy Edition GeForce GT 210 be just as good for my needs.

    Are there other types of cards that would be more appropriate?

    And finally, can you connect a single-link DVI device to a dual-link DVI port? (If so, I would like the DVI port to be dual-link, for future compatibility. If not, it will need to be single-link, for my current hardware.)


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 Post subject: Re: Passive video card for 2-monitor setup for Photoshop
PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:31 pm 
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Adobe forum: Photoshop CS6 and the GPU

One guy's blog on video card performance with CS6

Short analysis: get a video card with at least 512MB of RAM. If you work with large photos and effects, then go for 1GB. If you deal with 1-2Mpixel pictures, just about any video card will do. If you work with 64Mpixel pictures and high volume workflow, then a gaming card in the GTX660 or HD7850 class or better will provide max performance.

I'd recommend the HD 7750 over the 6670 - it uses less watts and has double the processing power...of course it's ~$20 more for a passive version. The downside to AMD is they don't downclock the VRAM when idling or in 2D modes when you have 2 monitors...so it burns 5-10W more than the equivalent Nvidia card. On the Nvidia side, I'd go for a GTX 650. Nothing passive, yet...but there are some quiet cards.

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 Post subject: Re: Passive video card for 2-monitor setup for Photoshop
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:27 am 
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Thank you very much for the reply. The links are extremely useful, and I now have a basic grasp of the issues.

I take your point regarding the HD7750 vs. the 6670. I'll be producing panoramas by combining several 20Mpixel images, and so I'll also consider GTX660 or HD7850, but I guess I would then have to abandon my preference for passive cooling....


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 Post subject: Re: Passive video card for 2-monitor setup for Photoshop
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:35 pm 
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Gut feel - HD 7750 is probably good enough (unless this is for work and you spend a lot of time doing this per day), AMD surpasses Nvidia on GPGPU functions with the current generation, and there are a couple of passive 7750 cards out there.

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 Post subject: Re: Passive video card for 2-monitor setup for Photoshop
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:17 am 
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I've thought carefully about this, and I think that your advice is very sound: I shall definitely go for a 7750.

I've found three passive versions: HIS iSilence H775P1GD, PowerColor Go! Green AX7750 and Sapphire Ultimate Radeon HD 7750. There is probably very little to choose in terms of power and general performance, but I feel that the Sapphire wins in terms of cooling performance and reliability / reputation.

Thank you very much for your advice.


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 Post subject: Re: Passive video card for 2-monitor setup for Photoshop
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 8:21 am 
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My pleasure.

One last bit of advice: I don't know what the rest of your system is or how much airflow..it would be wise to stress test the card to see how warm it gets as well as monitor it under normal loads with the Catalyst Control Center. You can use a utility like Furmark for the stress test. It's not a big deal if the card gets to 80C under Furmark or even while under normal load (I have an old Nvidia passive card that does). But, if it does, and you feel iffy about it, you can always strap a silent very low rpm fan to the cooler and signifantly drop temps.

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 Post subject: Re: Passive video card for 2-monitor setup for Photoshop
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:06 am 
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Thank you. I'll definitely test as you suggest.

I am considering a very large CPU cooler that would not leave room for the Sapphire HD7750 graphics card in the first slot on the Asus P8Z77 WS motherboard. One option would be to install the graphics card in the secondary PCIe x16 slot, in which only 8 lanes would operate. Bearing in mind that I am only opting for a card of this power in order to edit very large files in Photoshop with a dual-monitor setup, would restricting the card to 8 lanes have much effect on (non-gaming) performance?


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 Post subject: Re: Passive video card for 2-monitor setup for Photoshop
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 7:41 am 
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It shouldn't. The PCIe 3.0 spec doubled the effective bandwidth. So, plugging into a x8 slot now is like plugging into a x16 slot of old....and the highest performing video cards were just barely running out of bandwidth with PCIe v2.

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