I work in IT for some small schools and I have some students that want to take some game development and 3D modeling courses. The computer models that we have available at the school are: Optiplex 960 and Optiplex 760. Both have decent Intel multicore CPUs so I'm not too worried about that. But one of the programs in the course requirements will be Blender which wants a 256MB video card... The games side of it doesn't look as demanding (TrackMania Nations!).
That begets my question: what video card (if any) do I need or can I get away with? It's a bit more complicated than that so let's see if I can frame the criteria a bit better here:
- A video card with at least 256MB
- A video card with really low power requirements...
- The OptiPlex 960s have a PSU (model: WU123) that outputs only 255W
- Needs to be half-height to fit in these half-height cases, or super-bonus points if they have different sized brackets for full and half-height systems.
- Bonus points if it's passively cooled
And a second quick question: another class of students wants to get into doing some photo editing. And by photo editing I mean just like Paint.NET or something; nothing too crazy like Photoshop or rockin' 20 ultraHD layers in Gimp. Anyway, one of the administrators asked if they needed to get video cards for those machines as well. I haven't kept up to date on this, but I thought GPU acceleration in photo-editors is uncommon and didn't think it would be necessary for this. Can anyone shed a bit more info on this for me? If we ensure the systems are multicore and upgrade the RAM to 4GB, are they pretty much good to go for this or would a discrete video card make any significant difference?
Thanks for any input!