Choosing a graphics card - manufaturers don't understand their products??

By markchip ·
I contacted Nvidia customer support to ask for advice on choosing a video card - below is the question I posed.

"I am looking for a graphics card that is sole-ly for me to be able to view static greyscale digital xray images - there is no need at all for colour, photo-realism, high fps-rates, anti-aliasing or any other rendering effects - just static 8-bit 256 greyscale images at 2048x1536. This does seem pretty low end to me... I have been looking at the (Nvidia) 8000 series cards but cannot see whether an 8400, 8500, 8600, 8800, GT/GS/OC fits my requirements best

It would be a lot easier if I was looking for a game-playing card but that is precisely why this is hard for me to assess. I have no idea how to assess a card's specs and whether it will meet my particular needs. When I have looked at cards specifically for digital xray viewing they are horribly expensive (?1000 ballpark!) but I believe much of this may be due to the need to run multiple monitors (in hospital radiology departments) and the lower production scales. Multi-monitor capability is something I won't be needing at all so it seems that much "lower" spec (ie. bog-standard) cards should suit me fine... I just don't know how to rate standard video cards against my needs.

Can you advise me?"

This was the gist of the reply I received...

"I understand from your mail that you would like to know if there are any NVIDIA based graphics cards that support 8-bit gray scale images at 2048 x 1536.

Please be informed that there are NVIDIA based graphics cards that support 8-bit color and they are Quadro FX series cards. The GeForce series cards does not support gray scale images. The latest Quadro FX 4600 and Quadro FX 5600 cards support 10-bit and 12-bit color. I am sorry to say that there are no NVIDIA based graphics cards that meet your requirements." (WTF!!!)

So Nvidia seem to be saying that their latest cards can't display black, grey and white??!!!!!

I'll end with my original question - how do I figure out which graphics cards are best to use, and most cost effective, to run an 8-bit, 256 scale mono monitor at 2048x1536 displaying only static images?

Regards, Mark

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Older Question

by TheChas In reply to Choosing a graphics card ...


This same question was posted some months back. As I recall, the answer given then was to go with a nVidia Quadro card.

From the specifics of your question to nVidia, the answer they responded with is correct. While the GeForce cards can display black white and gray, the rendering engine will not produce as clear and sharp of an image as you may need from an 8-bit gray-scale source.

Aside from the capabilities of the graphics card, the program you use for viewing the images can have a significant impact on the quality of the image displayed.

What graphics adapter is in your present computer?

How well does it display the images?

You might try using a good image editor such as Adobe Photo-Shop Elements and see if you can display the images at an acceptable resolution.

The more I think about this, the more I believe that the software used to display the image is the critical factor. So long as the graphics adapter supports the highest resolution of the monitor being used.


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by markchip In reply to Older Question

I think I must have forgotten to tick the email notification box when I first posted and had thought I had no replies! Mea Culpa!! :-(

I hadn't tested out the monitors but I now have them with me and will try them out on my home pc - Nvidia 8400GS dvi card. As suggested in the replies earlier, the answer may lay in twin dvi cards. Will suck it and see.

Software will be a dicom-capable image viewer, as normally used in digital xray viewing. This should match with any digital xray images. I'll also look at the quadro cards in more depth.

Many thanks!

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Just one suggestion here

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to oops!

NVidia has some problems with some of their Graphic Chip Sets and it appears that there may be a Design Issue present. Apparently NVidia has set aside 200,000,000.00 to rectify this problem and are blaming everyone but themselves for it.

While you are looking at very low end work as far as Graphic Resolutions go you may wish to look at a different brand at least till NVidia get their act together and fix their problem.

I would suggest sticking with a CRT Monitor as quite a lot of the TFT and LCD Monitors have very poor Black-Grey Resolution Capabilities and when it comes to viewing XRays for Diagnostic work they will most likely not be good enough for the needs that they are being asked to do.

Something like a Sony Trinitron Monitor would probably be the best option for a clean sharp image here. If you can get one that is.


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not an option here

by markchip In reply to Just one suggestion here

Thanks for the input, Col. Unfortunately I simply don't have the deskspace for CRT screens which was why I bagged these Eizos as soon as I saw them. They were being used for digital xray images at the time.

So to take the rest of your suggestion, I understand that you would recommend a non-nVidia card with a max res of 2048x1536, ideally with dual-dvi output (the monitors have dual inputs) then?

Cheers, Mark

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Yep that should work for you

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to not an option here

Just at the moment with NVidia being the way it is I would tend to steer clear of their products till things have been sorted out.

They work quite well but if the GPU has a design fault you don't need the problems that come with that.


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Click on the link below, it will answer your question on more detail..

Please post back if you have any more problems or questions.

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