Whats a decent graphic card for TBS/Rendering activities?

Its that time again… my desktop is several years old. I built it myself and it runs Athlon 64 …only 2G ram, 80Gb 1.5gbs HD …at the tme that was middle of the road technology …today that system is shamefull to talk about.

My laptop …a Pentium M …when I bought it, just 3 months later out came the dual cores …at (and at times less) than the price I paid for the mine. I kicked myself for a month …but I waited several years …now is the time. I feel justified now in upgrading …yyyeeeaahh!

Time for a new desktop build …about the only thing I’m sure of based on my research so far is that I’m getting the Intel QUAD core Q6600.

But I’m behind the curve in video cards …and what confuses the issue is that much of the talk about video cards is directed at gamers. I don’t need a card to play games …and I’ve read where a kick-ass game card is not necessarily great for grahics work and work station activities. I’m leaning towards NVideo …but I’m not sure. My price range is $150 Tops, and I’m only going there if I know its will be much better than a sub $100 card.

I understand the CPU dictates rendering activities pretty much …but the card helps doing modeling work…Oh BTW …I do some 3D modeling and my system needs to do a good job in 2D as well as 3D modeling and rendering.


Unlike most 3D application we are reallying quite a lot on the same features that the games (OpenGL implementation). For Toon Boom Studio everything that is shown in the Camera/Drawing view is processed through the video card so it is one of the main piece for the software to work properly.

This being said Toon Boom Studio ain’t our most demanding software video card wise and you should be able to get some very good performances with a GeForce 9600.

Else then that most of the rendering is handled in Ram so make sure to get as much as you can in there (make sure the OS supports it for getting 4G+ ram on XP is overkill, XP won’t actually detect the whole thing).

I guess that is pretty much it. Best of luck to you on finding a computer that suits your needs.

Best regards,


Take a look at the NVIDIA 880GT 512Mb
Despite the name it’s got higher performance than the 9xxx series.
Works well with ToonBoom and Q6600, using either OpenGL or Direct3D
Not a big user of games, but it has a very high rating for those also.
You can get one for about $130:

I use a GeForce 8800 GTS 512, and it works fantastic for TBS, as well as Adobe CS3, and the 3D apps I use also.

One thing to keep in mind is that there is a large push for 2D graphics applications to begin utilizing the massively-parallel processing power of 3D graphics processing units (the GPU) . One new technology, called CUDA, utilizes this power to such a strong degree that procedures like video transcoding, which can take 5 to 10 hours, can be done in minutes on a standard, off-the-shelf GeForce 7 or 8 series graphics card. Also, Photoshop and other Adobe apps will be moving toward CUDA/GPU for their plug-ins, meaning applied blurs, ripples, transforms, etc will happen in real-time even on multi-megapxel images.

For 2D animation this could also mean incredibly fast vector transforms with ridiculously high precision. Also, very fast rendering of video frames to multiple formats, and extremely precise image resizing and color correction. Overall, that is a lot of “win” for relatively little cash outlay.

The upshot here is that it would pay to get a slightly more powerful card now, not only for the current benefits (OpenGL and DirectX rendering) but for future performance as well. A surprisingly large number if Windows applications utuilize OpenGL and/or DirectX and offloading that work to the GPU means your CPU is free to handle more multitasking and number crunching, thus having Photoshop, TBS and perhaps another application running simultaneously is virtually no strain and workflow is much smoother.

Although these cards are, by and large, advertised at “gamers” they are vastly useful for those of us in the 2D (and 2.5D and 3D) realms. Although for serious 3D work you’d be better off with nVidia’s Quadro line). A key thing to look for is a card with at LEAST 256Mb of video memory. Anything less than that will be of little use, in general, and 512 is considered a good number to shoot for. Also, stay away from “FX” series cards, as they are typically much slower clock-speeds. They are the same in many respects but with fewer rendering pipelines and slower clocks, they underperform and are not necessairly worth the savings. Right now, I would recommend any 7, or 8 series cards. Avoid the 9600 card series, as it does’t compare favorably to the 8 series overall.


Hope this helps. :slight_smile:

I actually plan to buy the components where I bought them for my last build …yep …newegg. And a day before reading your post I had done some more research and added this card to the wish list I’m building to place my order.

I had 2 other cards there …but I think this is the ticket …I was so surprised to see you recommend it here!!

I think this card with A Quad core Q6600, 4GB of memory and a 500G HD will satisfy my needs for a few years.

My only remaining advice would be that if you are planning to “upgrade” to Vista (either 32- or 64-bit) be sure to check for compatibility regarding drivers for new hardware (and old hardware you will be migrating to the new system), and compatibility of applications you currently have or plan to buy.

If you plan to stick with Windows XP (I tried Vista but then went back to XP) double check compatibility with newer motherboards, specifically some Intel motherboards. Also, some new Intel brand motherboards have reported slight incompatibility with XP, and also have trouble with non-SATA CD/DVD drives (standard IDE P-ATA) which can make installation of XP or Vista a nightmare.

Best of luck to you!


actually, I will be running linux on my new system. I’ve gone as far as I care to go with Microsoft. I’ll keep XP on the older machines …but Vista …will not see any machine I have at home.

I have linux running on my older desktop right now (Mandriva-distro) and its great …faster, safer extremely stable. I use Blender and it works so much better on the linux platforms. No way I’ll ever go back to MS when you consider the number of free linux distro out there today!