Workstation choices - high end PC or Mac Pro

Started Feb 5, 2014 | Discussions thread
Jim Cockfield Forum Pro • Posts: 16,342
That's still 8 bits per channel (24 bit color depth)

Flashlight wrote:

David Rosser wrote:

Flashlight wrote:

So the OS also needs support for 10 bit (not listed in your workflow)?

And what is the difference between 8 and 16 bit in Photoshop and 8 and 10 bit in the video card/display? I was under the impression that with 16 bit editing and using a wide gamut display you're seeing 1 billion+ colors?

No, 16 million colours, your display pipeline is 8 bit at most unless you have invested in a 10 bit pipeline as described in this thread. Your display driver will take your 16 bit original and convert it to 8 bit for display so whole subtle ranges of colours in your original will be displayed as a single colour.

OK, but my display is set to 32 bits (true color).

That's still 24 bit color (8 bits per channel for Red, Green and Blue channels). What Microsoft refers to as 32 bit True color has what is called an Alpha Channel for Transparency effects that represents the other 8 bits. But, the color information is still only 8 bits each for Red, Green and Blue.

In order to display 30 Bit Color (10 bits per channel), a.k.a. "Deep Color", you need a 10 bits per channel monitor connected via a Displayport. But, you also need software that provides 10 bits per channel. For example, newer versions of Photoshop support that feature.

You also need a video card with drivers that supports 10 bits per channel. That means an Nvidia Quadro Card or AMD Firepro card (but, I've seen reports that Firepro users are having issues getting 10 bits per channel to work with the latest Photoshop CC release, even though they worked with Photoshop CS6). Chances are, Adobe and AMD will find a solution to that issue, if they haven't already.

AMD Radeon cards and Nvidia GeForce cards do *not* support 10 bits per channel color with apps like Photoshop,. Only the drivers for the AMD Firepro cards and Nvidia Quadro cards support the 10 bit OpenGL buffers needed for that feature. Here's a page on Nvidia's web site about it:

But, the same thing applies to AMD cards (only the Firepro cards have drivers supporting that feature).

Anyway, getting 30 bit (10 bits per channel) color output to a display requires a complete software and hardware chain that supports it, including software like Photoshop CS6 or CC, a supported video card and drivers (and only the Professional grade AMD Firepro Cards and Nvidia Quadro Cards have drivers supporting 10 bits per channel), and a true 10 bits per channel monitor connected via a Displayport.

If you don't have all of those things, you're going to be limited to 8 bits per channel color to a display. But, even if you do have everything needed (including a Pro Grade video card with drivers supporting 10 bits per channel and a display supporting it), very few software packages provide 10 bits per channel color (for example, newer versions of Photoshop will but Lightroom won't).

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