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    Matching new monitor (PA246Q) with a proper graphics card - how to??

    I am looking at purchasing an ASUS PA246Q monitor as it seems, from all the reviews I have read, to be a very good one for digital photo image editing. The "problem" I am having, or maybe the decision I have to make, is whether or not to get a new graphics card to drive the monitor. I currently have a Dell Inspiron 545 desktop with an Nvidia GEForce GE 220 graphics card driving two monitors - a Dell ST2310 and an older Dell 1905FP. I want to recycle the 1905FP and replace it with the ST2310 and then use the PA246Q as my new, main monitor for image editing work - this gives me two 16:9/10 monitors and the ST2310 is much sharper thant the 1905FP for viewing images as they are reviewed in Lightroom. This card (the GE 220) works with the current two monitors, but I am not sure that it will run the PA246Q efficiently and deliver all the capability that this monitor has, as it (the PA246Q) is an IPS panel. So, I am looking for advice, insight, etc. from someone who is much more knowledgeable on graphics boards and monitors than I am, as this a whole area of the technology that I am a real newbie. Any thoughts, advice, insight that anyone would care to provide will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    Regards,

    Ron_M

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    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Hi Ron,

    Have you checked the specs on your GeForce 220 card to confirm that it will handle your new LCD's native resolution? If so, I would get the new panel first and then decide on whether to buy a new video card based on what you see. You may be fine with your present card.

    What wattage is your power supply rated for? Check your card specs to see what wattage power supply it requires. If you replace your video card with a new one, be careful that your power supply can handle the increased load of the new card. If not, then you will need a new power supply as well.

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    Unless you're into gaming or editing video, a high end graphics card won't gain you much. Photos are not graphics intensive like video or games. Opening even the largest RAW or TIFF files uses RAM, not video memory, as do the edits made in Lightroom or any other RAW conversion tool. I'm not saying that there will be no gain, but from my experience with RAW editing, the video card is the least concerning factor in the pipeline. The monitor stands on its own when it comes to display quality. Its the monitor profile that gets loaded on the video card to give you accurate color that I find critical. Where you would get more bang for your buck is to use a calibration tool such as a Spyder3, unless of course you already calibrate. Then of course you can ignore my last statements!
    Chuck

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    Deadeye81, thanks for the insight on the power supply, and the GeForce 220 video card. I really hadn't considered the power supply - another thing the guys in the store didn't mention. I will check the specs of the GE 220 against the ATI FirePro V5800 that I am considering and see if there is a match. This process of upgrading my monitor is becoming a real learning process.

    Doc, thanks for the insight on how this process works. Your point that all the "work", so to speak, is done in RAM is well taken, although I think I knew that in the back of my mind - you simply prompted me to make it front of mind, still, the graphics card has to be able to "work" with the monitor to be able to provide a display that the monitor is capable of - my understanding. If the card doesn't work in an optimal fashion, then the display is not using all the "features/capabilities" that it can. I do use a calibration tool - Spyder3 Elite - so I have that end of things covered.

    Thanks to both of you for sharing your insight.

    Regards,

    Ron_M
    Last edited by Ron M; 2011-05-29 at 02:47.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadeye81 View Post
    Hi Ron,

    Have you checked the specs on your GeForce 220 card to confirm that it will handle your new LCD's native resolution? If so, I would get the new panel first and then decide on whether to buy a new video card based on what you see. You may be fine with your present card.

    What wattage is your power supply rated for? Check your card specs to see what wattage power supply it requires. If you replace your video card with a new one, be careful that your power supply can handle the increased load of the new card. If not, then you will need a new power supply as well.
    Hi Deadeye81, I have been doing some checking and I found out the the Dell Inspiron 545 that I have supposedly has a 300 W power supply. I am not sure if that is sufficient to run more than the basic graphics card like the GE220 that is all ready in there. This card requires 58 W and I am not sure how the rest of the power is distributed, my guess is that a significant amount goes to the 2 quad core 9300 CPUs, some to the memory modules, motherboard, the HDD and the CD/DVD drive, so I am not sure how much is left for any additional graphics ppower, e.g., the AMD FirePro V4800 that I like (so far) indicates from the specs that it requires 69 W, so I am not sure if this additional 9 W over and above the current requirement of the GE220 will make any difference. Do you know if there is anyway to actually confirm the "size" of the Power Supply, short of "looking under the hood"? Is there a utility that I can download, or can I get the information from the Control Panel somehow - it would really help if I could determine the actual "size" of the power supply. Any insight you can provide will be appreciated. Thanks.

    Ron_M

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    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Hi Ron, you can find the power supply wattage spec on the side of the power supply. You will have to take the side cover off your PC to see it. It should say '300W'.

    Nvidia lists a 300W power supply as the minimum for the Geforce GT 220gt card. If you meet the minimum recommended size, you should be fine. Each card listed thru the GT 440 card shows a minimum of 300W PS, until you get to the GTS 250, where it jumps to a minimum recommended of 450W. You could look up the specs of equivalent ATI cards as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadeye81 View Post
    Hi Ron, you can find the power supply wattage spec on the side of the power supply. You will have to take the side cover off your PC to see it. It should say '300W'.

    Nvidia lists a 300W power supply as the minimum for the Geforce GT 220gt card. If you meet the minimum recommended size, you should be fine. Each card listed thru the GT 440 card shows a minimum of 300W PS, until you get to the GTS 250, where it jumps to a minimum recommended of 450W. You could look up the specs of equivalent ATI cards as well.
    Thanks Deadeye81, I guess I will have to look "under the hood". I guess the next question is how much leeway does one have in matching the graphics cards to a the power supply. As I indicated, the FirePro V4800 suggests a 350 W power as it draws 69W, whereas the GeForce GT 220 draws 58 watts, so if the extra 9 W requirement doesn't make that much difference, I may "upgrade" to the V4800 as it provides 2 DisplayPort connectors whereas the GT220 does not...not sure if this is important, but my research suggest that they provide a wider colour gamut to the monitor than a VGA connection...anyway, I think I will follow your advice and buy the monitor first and see if the GT220 card provides me with the display capabilities that am hoping I can get by going to a P-IPS panel.

    Thanks for your help...now where is that screw driver...

    Ron_M

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    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Hi Ron,

    It is my opinion that a 300W power supply is marginal for any fairly modern video card, even a lower power card. Since Nvidia recommends a 300W supply as minimum, and you apparently have that on your Dell, I would not worry about that configuration. That said, I would prefer at least a 350W power supply for any discrete desktop video card. Others may disagree with my opinion on that. I would prefer to have better than the minimum recommended spec.

    I tend to agree with Doc's post concerning the video card. That is why I suggested you try the new panel with your existing setup. You will probably be very pleased with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadeye81 View Post
    Hi Ron,

    It is my opinion that a 300W power supply is marginal for any fairly modern video card, even a lower power card. Since Nvidia recommends a 300W supply as minimum, and you apparently have that on your Dell, I would not worry about that configuration. That said, I would prefer at least a 350W power supply for any discrete desktop video card. Others may disagree with my opinion on that. I would prefer to have better than the minimum recommended spec.

    I tend to agree with Doc's post concerning the video card. That is why I suggested you try the new panel with your existing setup. You will probably be very pleased with it.
    Deadeye81, point is well taken and I would strongly agree with your opinion on minimum power supplies - I will definitely be giving this a consideration when I buy my next machine (a few years down the road though) - when it comes to buying a new machine just to get a bigger power supply for potential graphics improvement vs. spending the money on new camera equipment - guess what wins (not the power supply) .

    I will get the monitor and see how the existing card runs it - that may be all I can do for now, given the constraints of the power supply learning for next time...

    I would like to thank you and Doc for your help in all this and the opinion you have so freely expressed - this has been quite the learning experience for me - an experience that will not be forgotten.

    Thanks.

    Ron_M

    P.S. Deadeye, I really like your avatar! Makes me smile!

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