When you are a digital content creator (photo editor), getting one of the best graphics cards can be a vital upgrade on your computer. This is because your video card is the tool that drives what you can achieve. A good graphics card can therefore help your computer generate high-resolution images, videos, or any kind of digital design.
This guide is meant to help you choose between the best video card options for your computer by listing the top 5 best graphics cards for photo editing. It will also help you identify the card you need to enhance your system and show you how to evaluate whether a particular card suits you or not.
The main players in the GPU world: Nvidia vs. AMD
PC manufacturers typically don’t emphasize on a graphics card. In fact, most computers in the market have no graphics cards. Instead, they depend on a graphics acceleration silicon that is built in the CPU. This one is commonly known as the IGP (Integrated Graphics Processor). However, if you are a digital content creator, this will not cut it for you, and you will need to get a graphics card.
The two main companies that make video cards are Nvidia and AMD. For Nvidia, the most common are the GeForce gaming brands, then there is Quadro for professionals. As for AMD, they produce Radeon for gamers and Radeon Pro for creative software.
Top 5 Best Graphics Cards for Photo Editing
Here are the best five video cards that best suit photo editing programs.
1. Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition
- 11GB GDDR6
- CUDA Cores: 4352
- Chip: Nvidia GeForce
- Memory: 11GB GDDR6
- GPU Cores: 4352 Cuda cores
- Maximum digital resolution: 7680×4320
- Base Clock: 1350 MHz
- Boost Clock: 1635 MHz
- Display connectors: Display ports, HDMI, USB Type C
The GeForce RTX 2080Ti Founders Edition is an incredibly powerful graphics card. It is Nvidia’s newest flagship and is a top tier offering to both gamers and content developers. The card’s ray tracing and AI-drive capabilities are top-of-the-class, which guarantees superior image quality and performance.
This card runs the new Turing GPU architecture. It is an upgrade over the previous Pascal architecture on the preceding GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. The technology offers 6X the performance of prior graphics cards. It produces extreme levels of realism, swiftness, productivity, and immersion.
With the best quality and the finest RAM type (GDDR6) and size (11GB), you can produce top-quality projects in less time. It is all about the type and quality of the RAM to assist you in managing the best awesome tasks regarding photo editing in the best of resolutions (4k and above).
2. AMD Radeon VII – Runner Up
- Chip: AMD Radeon
- RAM: 16GB HBM2
- GPU Cores: 3840 GNC cores
- Bandwidth: 1028GB/s
- Base Clock: 1400 MHz
- Boost Clock: 1800 MHz
The Radeon VII is a competitive high-end card by AMD launched in Feb 2019, and its one of the best graphics cards for photo editing. The card is built on the 7nm process and is grounded on the Vega 20 graphics processor.
Radeon VII comprises of all AMD’s high-end card features to face Nvidia’s tough competition, targeting the exclusive GPU market.
The AMD Radeon VII card features 3840 cores, 240 texture mapping units and a 64 frequency of 1400MHz that can be boosted to 1800 MHz. It is also paired with an amazing 16GB fast HBM2 RAM and the stellar OpenCL routine.
3. Nvidia Quadro RTX 5000 – Editor’s Choice
- Chip: Nvidia Quadro
- RAM: 16GB GDDR6
- GPU Cores: 3072 Cuda cores
- Bandwidth: 448GB/s
- Base Clock: 1620 MHz
- Boost Clock: 1815 MHz
The Quadro RTX 5000 is billed as the first graphics card to support ray tracing, DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling), and advanced shading for next-generation workloads. This card has the potential of rendering photorealistic visuals in real-time, which is superb for photo and video editors.
The Quadro graphics for creative software will always outperform the GeForce gaming cards. And although the 8GB Nvidia Quadro RTX 4000 (fifth option) is an affordable choice, this card offers more performance with its 16GB super-fast memory.
Quadro RTX 5000 card targets the élite users that are willing to pay the high prices in exchange for incredible performance. It incorporates the new Turing GPU architecture tech and has 3072 cores.
The incredible amount and quality of hardware on this GPU drives the rendering of complex models and views with physically precise reflections, refractions, and shades.
4. AMD Radeon Pro WX8200 – Budget Friendly
- Chip: AMD Radeon Pro
- RAM: 8GB HBM2
- GPU Cores: 3584 GNC cores
- Bandwidth: 512GB/s
- Base Clock: 1200 MHz
- Boost Clock: 1500 MHz
Radeon Pro WX8200 is a high-end professional-grade GPUs by AMD which was launched in August 2018. The card is built on the 14 nm process and is grounded on the Vega 10 graphics processor. It is geared towards content creators and professionals looking for top-notch solutions to design media and showbiz workflows.
WX8200 comes with 3584 cores, 224 texture mapping units and frequency of 1200 MHz that can be boosted to 1500 MHZ. It also features a super-fast 8GB HBM2 memory.
This card is only a slim step-down from the Frontier Edition WX9100 flagship but is way cheaper. AMD managed to bring the price down by halving the WX9100 16GB HBM2 memory to a decent 8GB memory. The two graphic cards have however similar level of performance.
The incorporated features will definitely offer a great performance, which can get even better, depending on the tools you are using.
5. Nvidia Quadro RTX 4000 – Best Choice 2020
- Chip: Nvidia Quadro
- RAM: 8GB GDDR6
- GPU Cores: 2304 Cuda cores
- Bandwidth: 416GB/s
- Base Clock: 1005 MHz
- Boost Clock: 1545 MHz
Quadro RTX 4000 is part of the Nvidia’s professional RTX family. The card is specially designed and equipped for content designers to provide powerful realism and immersive collaboration with the designs.
RTX 4000 uses the Quadro SVS (Scalable Visual Solutions). This feature enables RTX 4000 to support up to four two 8k displays at 60 HZ, four 5K displays at 60 HZ, or four 4K displays at 120 HZ. The new Turing architecture paired with the 8GB GDDR6 memory and 2304 cores on the card make a massive difference in performance.
Quadro RTX 4000 also has a brilliant design. It has a svelte single-slot design that comes in handy when fitting in small spaces. The card is also power-efficient and smaller compared to the GeForce cards.
In our list, Nvidia Quadro RTX 4000 is the most affordable option. The card offers great performance and is excellent with creative programs and renders incredible images, 3D, and even videos.
How to Choose the Best Graphics Card for Photo Editing
When choosing between different cards, here’s what you should consider:
- Memory: High resolutions need a lot of memory. If your work includes working with 4K resolutions or larger textures, you will need a card with 8GB or more.
- Performance: If your card offers fast performance, you will get good detail, and it will render advanced graphical effects at high resolutions. 60fps is a good place for fluid results.
- The number of cores: Cores define the total rendering power of a card. The more the cores, the better the card.
- Clock speed: Cards with lower clock speed have lower power consumption. Note that the clock speed tends to increase when the card is under a heavy load.
- The displays and outputs in place: All modern graphics cards require digital video outputs. Those can either be HDMI, USB, or display ports.
- Hardware generation of the card: Nvidia and AMD approximately release a new series after 2 years. Often, the new releases come with more cores, increased memory, enhanced bandwidth, and even more features. Thus, for better performance, go for the newest cards.
- Pricing: Always try to balance what you get with what you pay
The above guide narrows down the best graphics cards for photo editing into a list of 5. All shortlisted graphics cards are bound to offer you speed and improved performance as you carry out demanding projects. You can evaluate them carefully and then pick the one that best fits your needs.
Last update on 2021-01-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API