Best CPU and Graphic Card for viewing and zooming very large images

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Old 08 August 2014   #1
Question Best CPU and Graphic Card for viewing and zooming very large images

I am looking for a processing configuration enabling smooth and convenient loading, viewing, spanning and zooming of images as large 1-2 gigabytes.

I know that the main workload for real time loading and viewing of graphic files is usually carried out by the display/video card and in case of spill over the CPU will take over the job. So I was wondering what choice of graphic card and CPU can support handling of such large files.

I've also heard that some recent variations of Intel's Haswell architecture CPUs embed a separate special processing core for graphics work eliminating the need for a separate Graphic card. Is that true? Which model(s) is that and which variation can support handling of these large files.

Finally what choice of Graphic Card or CPU and which combination of the two do you recommend for supporting this kind of work?

Thank you.
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Old 08 August 2014   #2
This will all depend on the software being used to view images. Some image viewers use the graphics card to draw the pixels and handle the zoom, rotation, and what not. Other image viewers are rendered entirely in software and don't rely on the graphics card for any computation, just to display the already rendered and buffered data.

The graphics from Intel that are on the processor die are low performance, power efficient, and cost effective. Pretty much the opposite of what you want for computer graphics work. Look at graphics cards with a lot of memory assuming your image viewer actually uses the graphics card. There's a 4GB version of the Radeon R7 250 for around $100, also there's a 4GB version of the GeForce GT 740 which is about the same price. You might want a faster card but those have a lot of memory and are not super expensive.
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Old 08 August 2014   #3
Originally Posted by olson: This will all depend on the software being used to view images. Some image viewers use the graphics card to draw the pixels and handle the zoom, rotation, and what not. Other image viewers are rendered entirely in software and don't rely on the graphics card for any computation, just to display the already rendered and buffered data.

The graphics from Intel that are on the processor die are low performance, power efficient, and cost effective. Pretty much the opposite of what you want for computer graphics work. Look at graphics cards with a lot of memory assuming your image viewer actually uses the graphics card. There's a 4GB version of the Radeon R7 250 for around $100, also there's a 4GB version of the GeForce GT 740 which is about the same price. You might want a faster card but those have a lot of memory and are not super expensive.


Thank you for your help. Would you kindly name some handy applications that use Graphics card for viewing images? I have almost forgotten that when I used to work with 3D S Max we could actually choose whether the software use the graphics card or cpu. But in this case I want a simple application only for viewing images.
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Old 08 August 2014   #4
any modern computer with enough RAM will do this fine. You don't need a crazy good graphics card even for Photoshop because it caches the content smartly. For that size of image, get 16- to 32GB of RAM and you'll be fine.

I wouldn't recommend shareware for images that size. You should really use Photoshop or another application that's designed to work on giant images like this. Other programs will likely be too slow.
 
Old 08 August 2014   #5
Originally Posted by A-Boy-From-Heaven: Thank you for your help. Would you kindly name some handy applications that use Graphics card for viewing images? I have almost forgotten that when I used to work with 3D S Max we could actually choose whether the software use the graphics card or cpu. But in this case I want a simple application only for viewing images.


I know the viewer that comes with Houdini uses the GPU to draw everything because I've tried to look at images that wouldn't fit in the GPU memory and it just showed black (on an older workstation, 1GB graphics card). I can't say for certain what other viewers use the GPU to draw everything but there are some around. I think current versions of Photoshop use the GPU to draw the canvas so zooming and moving around the image should be smooth assuming it all fits in the GPU memory. Older versions of Photoshop use the CPU for the canvas and moving around or zooming a very large image was always painstakingly slow.
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