Here's our Hardware Tip for.. December 15, 2006
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High End Video Cards
If you're not a gamer, do you really need one of those expensive high-end graphics cards? Probably not today, but you might—sooner than you think.
Today, few applications outside of PC games really take advantage of a high-end video card, so all that 3D horsepower will likely go unused. Some programs can make use of the GPU, though. For example, some video-editing apps accelerate 3D transitions when 3D-accelerator hardware is present. A midrange graphics card is often good enough. CAD and 3D modeling apps can also make use of the GPU, but those often are best served by workstation-level hardware that costs even more than gamer cards.
Still, tomorrow you may want that 3D horsepower. The reason is Windows Vista. The full Vista experience can take advantage of all the memory and 3D-rendering power that modern graphics hardware can deliver. The combination of the new Windows compositing engine with the fact that every window will be a fully independent 3D surface means that 3D graphics acceleration will be highly desirable.