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Hi,

I am configuring a new machine (C2D e6400, ASUS p5b-e, 1 gig DDR2 533) and I'm very stuck on which graphics card to go for. Let me clarify what I will be using this machine for: AutoCad (2d as well as 3d), Sketchup (3d), PhotoShop and CorelDraw12 (These 2d graphic files sometimes tend to get a bit large). [I'm currently using a 17" CRT monitor and in the forseeable future I might shift to a 17" TFT] Now, I've read that gaming cards will not make much of a difference for the kind of work that I will be doing but I couldn't get any deeper or further than that and I'm at a loss. I don't want to spend a fair bit of money on a card that I will not find useful. Any help will be much appreciated! Thank you!

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Last Post by vicec64
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General advice:

For your applications, signal (=image) quality is the most important criteria when choosing a card. Spikey signals, bad RAMDACs, slow signal rise times and so on are pretty widespread, rendering images blurry and making color calibration useless. Unfortunately, this is roughly tested in most reviews (they mostly mean "quality of 3D rendering" by "image quality"), if at all and there is no rule like "expensive card = good signal", You can find quite expensive cards that even fail to display simple letters sharply.

Professional cards for CAD and pro image editing (nVidia Quattro-based or Matrox) are pretty pricy. To find a cheap consumer level card with similar properties means you'll have to do a lot of research at least. To get an impression: http://management.cadalyst.com/cadman/product/productList.jsp?categoryId=6754

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General advice:

For your applications, signal (=image) quality is the most important criteria when choosing a card. Spikey signals, bad RAMDACs, slow signal rise times and so on are pretty widespread, rendering images blurry and making color calibration useless. Unfortunately, this is roughly tested in most reviews (they mostly mean "quality of 3D rendering" by "image quality"), if at all and there is no rule like "expensive card = good signal", You can find quite expensive cards that even fail to display simple letters sharply.

Professional cards for CAD and pro image editing (nVidia Quattro-based or Matrox) are pretty pricy. To find a cheap consumer level card with similar properties means you'll have to do a lot of research at least. To get an impression: http://management.cadalyst.com/cadman/product/productList.jsp?categoryId=6754

Xpenetrator:

Thank you for your reply. Like you said, I had to do a fair bit of research (which was compounded by the fact that I'm fairly new to doing such research on the net, atleast as far as computer components and their reviews go!) To cut a long story short, I'm most probably giong in for the Geforce 7600 GT (256MB). From everything I've read in umpteen forums and review sites, it looks like this card will do the trick. Maybe I should mention here that the fact that this gaming card as opposed to its workstation counterpart doesn't come with any 'industry standard certifications' doesn't trouble me too much!

toto

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If you don't have to meet industry standards, this seems to be a reasonable decision plus this card will allow you to run some good games, too. I use a 7600GS and I'm fairly satisfied with it. The trick is now to find one with a good signal quality / color representation, as this is a function of the output stages of the card, not the GPU. Since information about that is hard to find, I guess you'll simply have to try and return cards that doesn't fit your needs. A good store should allow you to do this. Good luck!

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For better image quality go for an ATI/Sapphire X1600/1650XT - but honestly since the 7600GT will also be future compliant with HDCP content (7600GS isn't) try for that card first and see if you like it if not go for an X1650XT. BTW with 1024*768 being teh usual native resolution on most 17" monitors you don't need anything more than that but at least a 7600GS/X1650XT class card will give you great IQ and frame rates with up to a 5:4 A/R 19" LCD @ 1280*1024. In other words you should be fine with either solution.

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