Video Cards and Photoshop/Lightroom


Junior Member
May 26, 2009
I am still in the process of putting together a new computer. I was wondering... If I were to remove the gaming equation from my build and strictly focus on photo editing, what would my video card requirements be?

For the sake of argument I am/was going to build:

i7 920
6GB ram
x58 "brand name motherboard"
single radeon 9870.
WD 640 GB Black HD
Corsair 650W PSU
24" monitor

I guess my question is, would I be just as well off to use on board video or a less expensive video card if I remove my desire to play any games?



Diamond Member
May 6, 2007
Make sure that monitor is IPS and not TN (panel type).

And from what I know, video cards do not have much of a hand in photo editing, although the newer Photoshop uses GPU acceleration (somehow). Any card should be fine, I think.


Senior member
Dec 19, 2007
Are you using Photoshop? CS3 or CS4?

CS3 doesn't really do any GPU acceleration (that I know of).

CS4 does GPU acceleration through OpenGL, so you can get Nvidia or ATI doesn't matter which. There is a list of "tested" cards on Adobe's website, but I'm pretty sure almost any recent video card should work just fine (Nvidia 9 series and newer, ATI 4000 series and newer). For photoshop, you don't need a really heavy duty video card (doesn't hurt though) since it is mainly used for display stuff like zooming, panning, etc. None of the default filters use GPU acceleration (that I know of), but if you use 3rd party filters they may use CUDA or something so you'd have to check with the 3rd party.

If you are using other CS4 apps like premiere or after effects then the GPU becomes more important.

So to answer your question, you can definitely get a low-end video card (check the list, some are ~$50). Not sure if integrated video would work. I doubt Intel's integrated would work, but maybe AMD or Nvidia integrated *might* work. But if you're going i7, I'd just pickup a discrete card on their list that around ~$50 and call it a day.

If you're not using photoshop, obviously the answer will be different.


Diamond Member
Jun 29, 2007
An e8400 or Phenom 720BE :D
(plus 6Gb of RAMs and a 'couple' 640Gb disks)

I'm thinkin' you are probably a year or so from seeing significant gains from GPU acceleration of certain operations - closely investigate today's options to see if they will benefit you.