Help on graphic cards for portable PCs

Gwendal

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Hello - I'm about to pick a new portable PC, which I intend to use mostly connected to a nice IPS external screen. I'd like to know if the graphic card makes much of a difference in image quality ? Especially knowing that I'm not a gamer, and that I'm concerned mainly about the things that matter to photography, like color fidelity. In other words, can I choose on other criteria, or are there graphic cards I must be wary of ? Thanks for your help !
 

mattia

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Pretty much all cards should be fine in terms of fidelity and the like. There aren't that many chipsets out there, and driver support should be fine to drive a decent IPS monitor. The advantage faster/bigger cards get you is video (GPU) processing power that some software (like Photoshop) can harness in addition to the CPU cycles. As a rule, more powerful chipset will be a better option.
 

LegacyLens

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Gwendal said:
Hello - I'm about to pick a new portable PC, which I intend to use mostly connected to a nice IPS external screen. I'd like to know if the graphic card makes much of a difference in image quality ? Especially knowing that I'm not a gamer, and that I'm concerned mainly about the things that matter to photography, like color fidelity. In other words, can I choose on other criteria, or are there graphic cards I must be wary of ? Thanks for your help !
Really it will only help you play videos at decent frames so if it plays videos choppily you defiantly want to upgrade.
 

Promit

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As it turns out, the previous posts are incorrect. It's okay, common misconception. I worked for NVIDIA briefly.

There is one specific hangup. High end monitors like the Dell U2711H are 30 bit "deep color" panels. This provides significantly better color rendition on wide gamut, particularly with calibration. Sadly, only AMD has seen fit to support 30 bit mode on their consumer Radeon line. NVIDIA forces you to buy the professional Quadro cards for deep color support, and I believe Intel has no support at all. This is a marketing decision on the GeForce, a deliberate omission from the driver.

In short, Radeon chips will produce slightly better colors on high end monitors and televisions. But the distinction is very subtle and requires a very high end monitor to make any difference at all. I would not recommend selecting a laptop solely on this feature point. I'm mostly just irritated about the NVIDIA upsell, as I respect the company's engineering talents immensely.
 

LeeOsenton

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Also, be aware that integrated graphics chips are very common on portable computers and cannot be upgraded. A proper graphics card has its own processor and memory. One way to save money is to remove the memory from the graphics card and share system memory between the graphics processor and the system processor. This is less than ideal for 2 reasons: system memory is reduced by the amount allocated to the graphics card, and system memory is slower than dedicated graphics memory. The manufacturers have gotten very clever at disguising this. To reduce my own argument; the latest integrated solutions have improved to the point that many will find them adequate. My Mac Book Air is the most recent generation and it has an integrated Intel graphics setup. Fairly fast but it gets warm when doing graphics demanding tasks.

Lee
 

LegacyLens

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Apr 25, 2012
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LeeOsenton said:
Also, be aware that integrated graphics chips are very common on portable computers and cannot be upgraded. A proper graphics card has its own processor and memory. One way to save money is to remove the memory from the graphics card and share system memory between the graphics processor and the system processor. This is less than ideal for 2 reasons: system memory is reduced by the amount allocated to the graphics card, and system memory is slower than dedicated graphics memory. The manufacturers have gotten very clever at disguising this. To reduce my own argument; the latest integrated solutions have improved to the point that many will find them adequate. My Mac Book Air is the most recent generation and it has an integrated Intel graphics setup. Fairly fast but it gets warm when doing graphics demanding tasks.

Lee
As a result of energy being used any computer gets hot under load I am also a 3d modeler and its fun to hold compressed air upside down and pour the condensed air on my cpu heatsink lol sure its not safe though... Sorry horribly off subject
 

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