Graphic Card specs - How do I Understand?

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Old 10 October 2010   #1
Question Graphic Card specs - How do I Understand?

Hi,

I have been working for over 5 years with studio max, photoshop, priemiere and more graphic programs. I think that its a good time to understand abit about hardware

I am planning on buying a new graphic card to improve my workstation.

What I want to know is how do the specs that I see for example on an Nvidia Quadro FX card improve things in my CG workflow.

For example what spec in the Graphic card will improve Rendering Speeds?
What spec will improve the speed when moving around in a heavy (lots of polygons) model?
What spec will improve the quality of seeing models like computer games or movies on the comp?
What are the others specs? maybe new technologies, how do they help me?

I hope Im clear with my question.

Thx for any help!
 
Old 10 October 2010   #2
Quote: For example what spec in the Graphic card will improve Rendering Speeds?

Generally, none

Quote: What spec will improve the speed when moving around in a heavy (lots of polygons) model?

Shader Processors is an ok-ish method to determine which will be faster. More = better. This will usually be somewhere around 100-500.

Quote: What spec will improve the quality of seeing models like computer games or movies on the comp?

Nothing
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Old 10 October 2010   #3
Ok first of all thx for the reply...

Let me understand, what your saying is that apart from Shader Processors in a Graphic card to improve moving around in a heavy model the type doesnt matter? Btw I couldn't find that spec on the Nvidia site.
Is there no importance to the size of memory or speed of memory on a card? what does that affect?

Other than that, what DOES improve rendering speeds if not the card?

Thanks again
 
Old 10 October 2010   #4
They vary the terminology, shader processors, stream processors, cores. Essentially, how much stuff it can do at the same time. Low end cards have 128 or so. High end cards have up to about 500. Theyre not a direct absolute measure of speed but theyre a decent measure of what youre getting.

The speed and size of the onboard memory are important but dont base your choice on this. You can get rubbish slow cards with lots of ram, but you cant get a high end card with little ram. Its usually one of the first things that ill-informed sales people will try to sell you the card with "Hey look its got 1024 megs of onboard ram!" ignore this.

Rendering doesnt use the gfx card unless youve gone out of your way to pick a render engine that runs on the gfx card. Faster processors or more of them will improve render speed, virtually nothing else.
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Old 10 October 2010   #5
Imashination is wise.

For your applications, just get a nice Geforce or Radeon. Max will do fine even with a Geforce 460, which is about the most bang-for-the buck available these days.

Your other apps will only notice a slight difference. That said, you didn't tell us what GPU you have now.
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Old 10 October 2010   #6
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