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Does the video card play an important role in the overall performance experience when painting digitally? I'm about to upgrade my system which has a basic home/office video card. I'm planning on getting some additional memory but I'm not sure if a better video card would buy me anything. I don't do any 3d stuff, just Painter 12, Photoshop Elements and Sketchbook Pro.
I occassionally notice lag with larger brushes or when I'm using a lot of layers. Could the vid card be a factor?
Oh, I should also mention I'm getting a second monitor.
You might have read about OpenCL video acceleration making some operations faster in certain programs, but as far as I know that doesn't include brush strokes yet.
Additional memory is only useful is you're currently using it completely, for example by working on very large images (Horizontal and vertical dimensions of several thousands pixels) with many layers - or on many large images at once.
That has more to do with CPU power than anything else.I occassionally notice lag with larger brushes or when I'm using a lot of layers. Could the vid card be a factor?
That will be useful to place reference material where it doesn't get in your way when you're drawing/painting.Oh, I should also mention I'm getting a second monitor.
Yes a dedicated video card will improve your workflow with responsive graphics. Improves color fidelity and overall a smoother working environment.
Using Large sized Brushes is dependent on CPU and RAM. But there is a limit on that too, sometimes even a new computer with latest hardware will also give you lag. Its the way a tool handles the resources.
some packages suppor cuda which means it will take the load off the cpu .so premier anything that suppors cuda including photoshop..yes cpu will stop a lot of lag,i have an i7 930 water cooled and dont get much lag,memory can allso help and a biggy for speed in general is a ssd hard disk crucial m4 are good
Some programs use OpenGL so you may run into problems with ATi/Radeon cards or just using Intel Gpu.
OpenGL is nowadays used the most (and the most extensively) in high-end professional 3D programs. This is where drivers make the difference, and NVidia has admittedly a lead over AMD in this very specific aspect.
For 2D programs however, and that means including Photoshop, as long as you have a modern video card, anything goes. There's no difference in practice between an integrated video card (even modest ones such as Intel HD2500/3000/4000 ones found in modern Intel Core i3/i5/i7 processors) or a high-end one.
In general, despite what you might think, for 2D artwork the graphics card is mostly non influential. Color fidelity is achieved with a good hardware colorimeter (for color calibration) and a quality LCD display. These can be rather expensive.
Even accelerated features requiring CUDA (NVidia-only) or OpenCL (cross-compatible), although useful, are almost exclusively used for canned effects (mainly adopted by photo retouchers), not the actual painting/brush stroking process.
Say that to the people who have had issues using Rotation and other problems in Photoshop, Sketchbook Pro and other Open GL programs. ATI's OPEN GL support has been rather problematic to say the least.
We aren't talking about the brush strokes but painting programs have more features that use OpenGL. Rotation was one of them. Trying to use Mixer Brushes in Photoshop was another problem.
Anyway, at my place I have a new AMD-branded video card (HD7770) and also an old ATI-one (4670), in addition to access to NVidia discrete video cards and Intel integrated ones (here too both old and new). Can you tell me how to reproduce the problems you or others were (are?) seeing?
I can test with Photoshop. I'm using the latest 12.8 WHQL AMD Catalyst drivers.We aren't talking about the brush strokes but painting programs have more features that use OpenGL. Rotation was one of them. Trying to use Mixer Brushes in Photoshop was another problem.
As for power needed, rotation is mostly CPU-dependent. Brush stroking is somewhat more GPU demanding, but still mostly dependent on the CPU. I'm seeing this with GPU-Z, a program which can tell you how much load your graphics card is having at any given moment.
As for issues, I'm not seeing any at the moment (not even with the mixer brush). I don't remember seeing any on my PC anyway, even with the old integrated graphics Intel G45 (which is quite poor compared to modern ones) Could you be more specific?
I may not be a good artist but I have some confidence in my hardware and IT knowledge. Most of these reportedly video card-specific problems in non-demanding 2D applications are usually user-related (issues in one's own PC, lack of updated drivers and OS, etc) and have nothing or little to do with the video cards itself, provided we're speaking of current models and not old ones, especially those found in cheap notebooks.
Last edited by s12a; September 25th, 2012 at 07:29 AM. Reason: typo
What I do know going through several iterations of Sketchbook Pro and Photoshop is that the ATi drivers have always been behind (I'm fully aware they've been bought out by AMD but I still call them ATi)
Nvida has mostly worked straight out of production. I've had few problems. When you got deadlines to make you're going to go with something that has proven to be more reliable. ATi has not earned this.
This however, does not make me an Nvida fangirl because I'm not exactly happy with their practices either. I just find them more reliable and less of a headache to deal with.
If you want to go and find previous posts in the Photoshop forum where people have had problems with ATi drivers on our forum, you're more than welcome to.
However, it is incorrect to say that "video cards have little to no impact" on performance when there are features that rely on certain functions to work. Brush strokes are another matter entirely since we're talking about using a program's available features for workflow.