Video Cards for Adobe Premiere CS5, CS5.5 and CS6




How to Unlock Adobe Premiere CS5, CS5.5 and CS6 to use almost any
NVIDIA graphics card with CUDA acceleration.

Starting with Adobe Premiere CS5, Adobe added the Mercury Playback Engine (MPE).  The Mercury Playback Engine can use an NVidia video card’s GPU to accelerate playback, effects and rendering.

However, Adobe has only “certified” a few video cards from NVIDIA. (See Note 1, About Adobe's Certified Video Cards).  According to Adobe, they only certify video cards that have gone through rigorous testing by Adobe, which takes a lot of time.  With all of the different video cards using the NVidia chipset and the variations of these video cards from the various manufacturers, it's easy to understand why Adobe doesn't certify more video cards.

If you don't have a certified card or you want to use a non-certified NVidia video card, there is a way to edit a file and add your video card to a list, so Adobe Premiere CS5, CS5.5 and CS6 will allow your video card to run with GPU Acceleration.  Some people call this a mod, hacking or unlocking the video cards, whatever you choose to call it, this will not make it "certified" in the eyes of Adobe.  But, you will be able to use the GPU Acceleration feature of Adobe Premiere CS6, CS5.5 and Premiere CS5.

There are thousand and thousands of Adobe Premiere CS6, CS5.5 and CS5 users who are using non-certified NVidia video cards without any problems.  In fact, we have 8 systems running non-certified video cards without any problems.

This article will show you how to "unlock" Adobe Premiere CS6, CS5.5 and CS5 to use almost any NVidia video card with GPU Acceleration in Premiere CS5 and above. There are two methods covered in this article, one is by using a small program I wrote, the other is by doing it manually.

Note for Laptop Owners:
On some Laptops models, you may not be able to use the GPU Acceleration with Premiere CS5, CS5.5 or CS6.  Please make sure you read the section on page 2 marked Special Note for Laptop Owners.

This article covers a lot of information, not just how to unlock the video.  It coves topics such as the video card requirements for the unlock to work,  how to setup Premiere for GPU Acceleration, I show some benchmark results, talk about power supply requirements, video card cooling, how to do the unlock and more.  Please read the article in it's entirety.

There is also a Frequently Asked Question section at the end of the article.  This cover different problems and questions that you may have.  Please make sure you read it.


PLEASE NOTE: At Studio 1 Productions, we do not sell video cards, Adobe products or other products mentioned in this article.  We are simply users of Adobe Premiere CS6, CS5,5 and CS5.  So we are not trying to sell you anything by providing this article or the unlock software.  We invite you to take a look at the products we do offer, simply place your mouse over the products link at the top of the page or click on the products link at the top of the page.



Number 1 - Introduction
There are two modes for the Mercury Playback Engine.  The are:

A) Mercury Playback Engine GPU Acceleration
B) Mercury Playback Engine Software Only

To use the Mercury Playback Engine in Adobe Premiere CS6, CS5.5 and CS5 in the GPU Acceleration mode, you need an NVIDIA graphics cards (aka. video cards) with at least 896 megs of video ram and preferably, one of the newer model video cards.  I will explain more on this a little later in the article.

When you install Adobe Premiere, and it does not find one of the “certified“ NVidia video cards, the Mercury Playback Engine is set to run in “Software Only” mode, using only the computer’s CPU and not the video card’s GPU.

If you don't have a video card with the NVidia chip set, then Adobe Premiere will run in  the "Software Only" mode.

The GPU Acceleration is for accelerated playback, GPU accelerated effects, deinterlacing, blending modes, scaling and rendering the previews and final output.

Adobe Premiere CS5, CS5.5 and CS6 does NOT use the GPU for encoding or decoding the video, only the CPU is used for that.



Number 2 - Maximum Render Quality Mode
Adobe Premiere CS5, CS5,5 and CS6 has a setting called  the Maximum Render Quality mode (or MRQ).

The Maximum Render Quality mode will maximize the quality of motion in rendered clips and sequences.  So when you select this option, the video will often render moving objects more sharply.  Maximum Render Quality also maintains sharp detail when scaling from large formats to smaller formats, or from high-definition to standard-definition formats.  For the highest quality exports you should always use the Maximum Render Quality mode.

Whether you are running the Mercury Playback Engine in the software mode or GPU hardware mode, you can turn the Maximum Render Quality mode on or off.

Here is how to set the Maximum Render Quality.
1)  Open up Adobe Premiere
2)  Click on Sequence at the top of the screen
3)  Then select Sequence Settings
4)  At the bottom of the window select Maximum Render Quality and click Okay

Basically, I recommend you always set the Maximum Render Quality mode to ON.

Please Note:  I receive quite a few emails from people who say they don't see much, if any speed difference between the Software mode and the GPU mode.  This is because, when they are testing in Software mode, the Maximum Render Quality mode is set to OFF and is rendering at a lower quality, which makes it run faster.  When it is set to GPU mode, the Maximum Render Quality mode is automatically set to ON and rendering in higher quality.

PLEASE make sure when you test your video card in Software mode, have the Maximum Render Quality is set to ON, so the test will be equal with the GPU mode.  Otherwise, you will not see the true difference in speed between GPU accelerated mode and Software mode.



Number 3 - Updates & Video Card Drivers

When Adobe releases an update to Premiere, you will need to unlock the video card again, as they tend over write the cuda_supported_cards.txt file, which is the file that holds the name of your video card.

Important
- DO NOT use the video card drivers from the video card manufacturer or from Windows, they are almost never current. 

Important - Do NOT use auto-updates for the video card drivers, they don't always have access to the latest version.

You need to go directly to the NVIDIA website yourself and download the drivers directly from them. 
Please go to www.nvidia.com and download the latest drivers.

Before you install your new NVIDIA video card, you should remove the old video drivers that you were using.  On Windows 7 go into the Control Panel and select Programs and Features.  Scroll down the list of programs and remove the video driver that you are currently running.

Then power down the computer and install the new NVIDIA video card.  Once that is done, power up the computer and install the driver you downloaded.  Then Reboot your computer.

DO NOT down load any Beta drivers.  They may not be stable.  Only download the WHQL drivers.

If you lose the on board sound in your computer, then read the FAQ article on how to fix it.  Note: This FAQ article is for Adobe Premiere, but the on board sound fix will be the same.


Number 4 - Decoding
The decoding of video footage is still handled by the CPU and not the GPU.  So if you are using heavily compressed video, such as AVCHD or h.264, you will need a fast processor, since the video card won’t help with the decoding of the video.  Also, keep in mind, that if you use a non-Mercury Playback Engine enabled plug-in or effect, the GPU on the video card won’t help you with rendering that effect.

Different types of footage, such as DV, HDV, XDCAM, AVCHD, H.264, DSLR footage, RED, etc. will all play a big part in overall editing performance, as the CPU has to do the decoding of the video format.  For example, HDV is easier to decode than AVCHD.


Number 5 - CUDA Cores
Each NVIDIA GPU has a certain number of CUDA cores, which is the computing engine in the NVIDIA GPU. 

Now some of you might just stop here and think, "I will just buy a video card with the most CUDA cores".  While this might seem like a good idea, it may not be for you.  There are other factors that are involved than just CUDA cores.  We will cover that later, right now I just wanted you to know that different NVidia graphics cards will offer a different amount of CUDA cores.

(Your video card should have 96 CUDA cores or more.  I will cover more on this later in the article.)
Number 6 - Video Card Memory
The Mercury Playback Engine requires the NVIDIA video card to have at least 896 megs memory or more.   Anything less, the Mercury Playback Engine will NOT work in the GPU accelerated mode.  It will work in the Software mode, but you want it to work in the GPU accelerated mode.

Video cards come with different types of memory, such as DDR2, DDR3, and DDR5 type of memory. 

Video cards with DDR2 memory will be to slow for the Mercury Playback Engine, causing problems with Premiere.  If you have a older video card with DDR2 memory, replace it, plain and simple.

If you already have a video card with DDR3 memory, you may be fine with that.

If you are buying a new video card, the newer video cards come with either DDR3 or DDR5 memory:
  • The lower end cards generally come with DDR3 memory
  • The mid-level cards can come with either DDR3 or DDR5.  In this case, go for the DDR5 version
  • The higher end cards come with DDR5 memory.
DDR5 memory is faster than DDR3 memory, when all things are equal.

Below, I ran several tests using different video cards with DDR3 and DDR5 memory.  You might be surprised that in one test the video card with DDR3 memory was faster than the video card with DDR5.  Doesn't make sense does it?  I will explain after the test results.

Test Number 1
Video Card Number of Cuda Cores Type of Memory Memory Interface Width
GT 240 96 Cuda Cores DDR3 Memory 128 bit
GT 240 96 Cuda Cores DDR5 Memory 128 bit
Results:  The video card with DDR5 Memory was approx. 40% faster.


Test Number 2
Video Card Number of Cuda Cores Type of Memory Memory Interface Width
GT 545 144 Cuda Cores DDR3 Memory 192 bit
GT 545 144 Cuda Cores DDR5 Memory 128 bit
Results:  Both video cards produced almost the exact times.


Test Number 3
Video Card Number of Cuda Cores Type of Memory Memory Interface Width
GTX 260 192 Cuda Cores DDR3 Memory 448 bit
GTX 450 192 Cuda Cores DDR5 Memory 128 bit
Results:  The GTX260 was approx. 25% faster.
Explaining the results:
Test Number 1 - Both video cards had the same number of CUDA cores and the Memory Interface Width was 128bit on both cards.  The only difference here was one video card had DDR3 memory and the other had DDR5.  The DDR5 card was clearly faster.

Test Number 2 - Both video cards had the same number of CUDA cores, but look at the Memory Interface Width.  The video card with DDR3 memory had a wider, 192 bit width, while the video card with DDR5 memory had only a 128 bit width.  In this case, the wider 192 bit memory interface width made up for the lack of DDR5 memory, allowing it to produce almost the exact same rendering times.

Test Number 3 - Once again both video cards had the same number of CUDA cores.  However, the the GTX260 with DDR3 memory has a memory interface width of 448 bits.  That is over 3 times the memory interface of the GTX450.  In this case, the wider memory interface width more than made up for the DDR3 memory speed, allowing the GTX260 to produce rendering time that were approx. 25% than the GTX450 video card with DDR5 memory.

Bottom Line:  The older GTS and GTX 200 series of video cards with DDR3 memory came with a wider memory interface width that allowed them to make up for the slower speed of the DDR3 memory.  They also had a higher Memory Bandwidth measured in GB/sec.

If you have a older NVidia card, upgrading to a newer one may not gain you that much.  It will all depend on the total specs. of the video card.

Just remember the video cards needs to have at least 896 megs, 1 gig or more would be best.


Number 7 - Chart of NVidia graphics Cards
As we said earlier, each NVIDIA GPU has a certain number of CUDA cores, which is the computing engine in the NVIDIA GPU.  Below is a list of NVIDIA video cards and the number of CUDA cores that each video card offers. (Note: the more CUDA cores the larger the power supply will have to be, we will cover that next).

In the chart below, the video cards that are in RED are OEM cards.  An OEM video card is one available through large computer manufacturers such as HP, Dell, etc.  These card are not normally available through a computer store.  If you want an OEM version of a video card, you can sometimes order it as a replacement part through places like HP and Dell.
NVIDIA Card Number
of CUDA
Cores
Size of Power Supply ** Memory Type Memory
Interface
Width
Memory
Bandwidth
GB/sec
Graphic Clock
Speed
Processor Clock
Speed
NOTES
9400 GT 16 300 watt DDR3 128 Bit 12.8 GB/s 550 Mhz 1400 Mhz Not Recommend
9500 GT 32 350 watt DDR2 128 Bit 16 GB/s 550 Mhz 1400 Mhz Not Recommend
9500 GT 32 350 watt  DDR3 128 Bit 25.6 GB/s 550 Mhz 1400 Mhz Not Recommend
9600 GT 64 400 watt DDR3 256 Bit 57.6 GB/s 600 Mhz 1500 Mhz Not Recommend - Only has 512 Megs
9800 GT 112 400 watt DDR3 256 Bit 57.6 GB/s 600 Mhz 1500 Mhz
9800 GTX 128 450 watt DDR3 256 Bit 70.4 GB/s
1688 Mhz
9800 GX2 256 580 watt DDR3 512 Bit 128 GB/s 600 Mhz 1500 Mhz (128 per GPU) Premiere only supports 1 GPU








NVIDIA Card Number
of CUDA
Cores
Size of Power Supply ** Memory Type Memory
Interface
Width
Memory
Bandwidth
GB/sec
Graphic Clock
Speed
Processor Clock
Speed
NOTES
GeForce G100 8 300 watt DDR2 64 Bit 8 GB/s 567 Mhz 1400 Mhz OEM Video Card - Not Recommended
GT 120 32 350 watt DDR2 128 Bit 16 GB/s 500 Mhz 1400 Mhz OEM Video Card - Not Recommended
GT 130 48 350 watt DDR2 192 Bit 24 GB/s 500 Mhz 1250 Mhz OEM Video Card - Not Recommended
GTS 150 128 450 watt DDR3 256 Bit 64 GB/s 738 Mhz 1836 Mhz OEM Video Card








NVIDIA Card Number
of CUDA
Cores
Size of Power Supply ** Memory Type Memory
Interface
Width
Memory
Bandwidth
GB/sec
Graphic Clock
Speed
Processor Clock
Speed
NOTES
GeForce 205 8 300 watt DDR2 64 Bit 8 GB/s 589 Mhz 1402 Mhz OEM Video Card - Not Recommended
GeForce 210 16 300 watt DDR2 64 Bit 8 GB/s 589 Mhz 1402 Mhz Not Recommended
GT 220 48 300 watt DDR3 128 Bit 25.3 GB/s 625 Mhz 1360 Mhz Okay on low speed dual core processors
GT 240 96 300 watt DDR3 128 Bit 22.4 GB/s 550 Mhz 1340 Mhz Not Recommended, get a DDR5 version
GT 240 96 300 watt DDR5 128 Bit 54.4 GB/s 550 Mhz 1340 Mhz
GTS 240 112 450 watt DDR3 128 Bit 70.4 GB/s 675 Mhz 1620 Mhz OEM Video Card
GTS 250 128 450 watt DDR3 256 Bit 70.4 GB/s 738 Mhz 1836 Mhz
GTX 260 192 500 watt DDR3 448 Bit 111.9 GB/s 576 Mhz 1242 Mhz
GTX 275 240 550 watt DDR3 448 Bit 127 GB/s 633 Mhz 1404 Mhz
GTX 280 240 550 watt DDR3 512 Bit 141.7 GB/s 602 Mhz 1296 Mhz
GTX 285 240 550 watt DDR3 512 Bit 159 GB/s 648 Mhz 1476 Mhz
GTX 295 480 680 watt DDR3 896 Bit 223.8 GB/s 576 Mhz 1242 Mhz (240 per GPU) Premiere only supports 1 GPU








NVIDIA Card Number
of CUDA
Cores
Size of Power Supply ** Memory Type Memory
Interface
Width
Memory
Bandwidth
GB/sec
Graphic Clock
Speed
Processor Clock
Speed
NOTES
GeForce 310 16 300 watt DDR2 64 Bit 8 GB/s 589 Mhz 1402 Mhz OEM Video Card - Not Recommended
GeForce 315 48 300 watt DDR2 64 Bit 12.6 GB/s 475 Mhz 1100 Mhz OEM Video Card - Not Recommended
GT 320 72 300 watt DDR3 128 Bit 25.3 GB/s 540 Mhz 1302 Mhz OEM Video Card
GT 330 96 300 watt DDR2 128 Bit 24 GB/s

OEM Video Card
GT 330 112 300 watt  DDR3 128 Bit  32 GB/s OEM Video Card
GT 340 96 300 watt DDR3 128 Bit 54.4 GB/s 550 Mhz 1340 Mhz OEM Video Card
NVIDIA Card Number
of CUDA
Cores
Size of Power Supply ** Memory Type Memory
Interface
Width
Memory
Bandwidth
GB/sec
Graphic Clock
Speed
Processor Clock
Speed
NOTES
GeForce 405 16 300 watt DDR3 64 bit 12.6 GB/s 580 Mhz 1402 Mhz OEM Video Card - Not Recommended
GT 420 OEM 48 300 watt DDR3 128 Bit 700 Mhz 1400 Mhz OEM Video Card - Not Recommended
GT 430 96 300 watt DDR3 128 Bit 28.8 GB/s 700 Mhz 1400 Mhz
GT 440 96 300 watt DDR3 128 Bit 28.8 GB/s 810 Mhz 1620 Mhz Better to get the DDR5 version.
GT 440 96 300 watt  DDR5 192 Bit 51.2 GB/s 810 Mhz 1620 Mhz
GTS 450 192 400 watt DDR5 128 Bit 57.7 GB/s 783 Mhz 1566 Mhz
GTX 460 336 450 watt DDR5 256 Bit 115.2 GB/s 675 Mhz 1350 Mhz Specs are for 1GB DDR5 version of this card.
GTX 460 SE 228 450 watt DDR5 256 Bit 108.8 GB/s 650 Mhz 1300 Mhz
GTX 465 352 550 watt DDR5 256 Bit 102.6 GB/s 607 Mhz 1215 Mhz
GTX 470 448 550 watt DDR5 320 Bit 133.9 GB/s 607 Mhz 1215 Mhz
GTX 480 480 600 watt DDR5 384 Bit 177.4 GB/s 700 Mhz 1401 Mhz








NVIDIA Card Number
of CUDA
Cores
Size of Power Supply ** Memory Type Memory
Interface
Width
Memory
Bandwidth
GB/sec
Graphic Clock
Speed
Processor Clock
Speed
NOTES
GT 520 48 300 watt DDR3 64 Bit 14.4 GB/s 810 Mhz 1620 Mhz OEM Card
GT 520 48 300 watt DDR3 64 Bit 14.4 GB/s 900 Mhz 1024 Mhz
GT 530 96 300 watt DDR3 128 Bit 28.8 GB/s 700 Mhz 1400 Mhz OEM Card
GT 545 144 350 watt DDR3 192 Bit 43 GB/s 720 Mhz 1440 Mhz
GT 545 144 400 watt DDR5 128 Bit 64 GB/s 870 Mhz 1740 Mhz OEM Card
GTX 550 Ti 192 400 watt DDR5 192 Bit 98.4 GB/s 900 Mhz 1800 Mhz
GTX 555 288 450 watt DDR5 192 Bit 92 GB/s 776 Mhz 1553 Mhz OEM Card
GTX 560 384 450 watt DDR5 320 Bit 128.2 GB/s 552 Mhz 1104 Mhz OEM Card
GTX 560 336 450 watt DDR5 256 Bit 128 GB/s 810-950 Mhz 1620-1900 Mhz
GTX 560 Ti 384 500 watt DDR5 256 Bit 128 GB/s 822 Mhz 1645 Mhz
GTX 560 TI 352 500 watt DDR5 320 Bit 152 GB/s 732 Mhz 1464 Mhz OEM Card
GTX 570 480 550 watt DDR5 320 Bit 152 GB/s 732 Mhz 1464 Mhz
GTX 580 512 600 watt DDR5 384 Bit 192 GB/s 772 Mhz 1544 Mhz
GTX 590 1024 700 watt DDR5 384 Bit Per GPU 327.7 607 Mhz 1215 Mhz Dual GPU - Premiere only supports 1 GPU.








NVIDIA Card Number
of CUDA
Cores
Size of Power Supply ** Memory Type Memory
Interface
Width
Memory
Bandwidth
GB/sec
Graphic Clock
Speed
Processor Clock
Speed
NOTES
GT 605 48 300 watt DDR3 64 bit 14.4 GB/s 523 Mhz 1046 Mhz OEM Card
GT 610 48 300 watt DDR3 64 bit 14.4 GB/s 810 Mhz 900 Mhz
GT 620 48 300 watt DDR3 64 bit 14.4 GB/s 810 Mhz 1620 Mhz OEM Card
GT 620 96 300 watt DDR3 64 bit 14.4 GB/s 700 Mhz 1400 Mhz
GT 630 192 300 watt DDR3 128 bit 28.5 GB/s 875 Mhz 875 Mhz OEM Card
GT 630 96 300 watt DDR3 128 bit 28.5 GB/s 810 Mhz 1620 Mhz
GT 630 96 300 watt DDR5 128 bit 51.2 GB/s 810 Mhz 1620 Mhz
GT 640 384 350 watt DDR3 128 bit 28.5 GB/s 900 Mhz 900 Mhz
GT 640 384 300 watt DDR3 128 bit 28.5 GB/s 797 Mhz 797 Mhz Version 1 - OEM Card
GT 640 144 350 watt DDR3 192 bit 43 GB/s 720 Mhz 1440 Mhz Version 2 - OEM Card
GT 640 384 350 watt DDR5 128 bit 80 GB/s 950 Mhz 950 Mhz Version 3 - OEM Card
GT 645 288 450 watt DDR5 192 bit 91.9 GB/s 776 Mhz 1552 Mhz OEM Card
GTX 650 384 400 watt DDR5 128 bit 80 GB/s 1058 Mhz 1058 Mhz
GTX 650 Ti 768 400 watt DDR5 128 bit 86.4 GB/s 928 Mhz 928 Mhz
GTX 660 960 450 watt DDR5 192 bit 144.2 GB/s 980 Mhz 980 Mhz 2GB Standard Memory Size
GTX 660 1152 450 watt DDR5 192 bit 134 GB/s 823 Mhz 823 Mhz OEM Card
GTX 660 Ti 1344 450 watt DDR5 192 bit 144.2 GB/s 915 Mhz 980 Mhz 2GB Standard Memory Size
GTX 670 1344 500 watt DDR5 256 Bit 192.2 GB/s 915 Mhz 980 Mhz
GTX 680 1536 550 watt DDR5 256 Bit 192.2 GB/s 1006 Mhz 1006 Mhz Base Clock Speed 1006 Mhz
GTX 690 3072 650 watt DDR5 512-bit (256-bit per GPU) 384 GB/s 915 Mhz 915 Mhz Dual GPU - Premiere only supports 1 GPU.
GTX Titan 2688 600 watt DDR5 384 bit 288.5 GB/s 837 Mhz 876 Mhz Boost Speed, 6GB memory
NVIDIA Card Number
of CUDA
Cores
Size of Power Supply ** Memory Type Memory
Interface
Width
Memory
Bandwidth
GB/sec
Graphic Clock
Speed
Processor Clock
Speed
NOTES
Quadro FX 370 LP 8 350 watt DDR2 64 Bit

Not Recommended - Only has 256 Megs
Quadro FX 370 16 450 watt DDR2 64 Bit

Not Recommended - Only has 256 Megs
Quadro FX 380 LP 16 350 watt DDR3 64 Bit

Not Recommended - Only has 256 Megs
Quadro FX 380 16 450 watt DDR3 128 Bit

Not Recommended - Only has 256 Megs
Quadro FX 570 16 450 watt DDR2 128 Bit

Not Recommended - Only has 512 Megs
Quadro FX 580 32 50 watt DDR3 128 Bit 25.6 GB/s

Not Recommended - Only has 512 Megs
Quadro FX 1700 32 450 watt DDR2 128 Bit

Not Recommended - Only has 512 Megs
Quadro FX 1800 64 450 watt DDR3 192 Bit 38.4 GB/s

Not Recommended - Only has 768 Megs
Quadro FX 3700 112 450 watt DDR3 256 Bit

Not Recommended - Only has 512 Megs
Quadro FX 3800 192 550 watt DDR3 256 Bit 51.2 GB/s

Has 1 Gig Memory
Quadro FX 4600 112 750 watt DDR3 384 Bit

Not Recommended - Only has 768 Megs
Quadro FX 4800 192 750 watt DDR3 384 Bit 76.8 GB/s

Has 1.5 Gigs Memory
Quadro FX 5600 128 750 watt DDR3 384 Bit

Has 1.5 Gigs Memory
Quadro FX 5800 240 750 watt DDR3 512 Bit 102 GB/s

Has 4 Gigs Memory
Quadro CX 192 750 watt DDR3 384 Bit

Has 1.5 Gigs Memory
Quadro 600 96 300 watt DDR3 128 Bit 25.6 GB/s

Quadro 2000 192 500 watt DDR5 128 Bit 41.6 GB/s

Has 1 Gig of DDR5 Memory - Can vary by manufacturer
Quadro 2000D 192 500 watt DDR5 128 Bit 41.6 GB/s

Has 1 Gig of DDR5 Memory - Can vary by manufacturer
Quadro 4000 256 500 watt DDR5 256 Bit 89.6 GB/s

Has 2 Gigs of DDR5 Memory - Can vary by manufacturer
Quadro 5000 352 550 watt DDR5 320 Bit 120 GB/s

Has 2.5 Gigs of DDR5 Memory - Can vary by manufacturer
Quadro 6000 448 750 watt DDR5 384 Bit 144 GB/s

Has 6 Gigs of DDR5 Memory - Can vary by manufacturer
Quadro K5000 1536 500 watt DDR5 256 Bit 173 GB/s








**NOTE:  The specs and power supply requirements listed above are based on NVidia's web site.  PLEASE check with the manufacturer of the video card you plan on purchasing to see what their power supply requirements are.

NOTE: Adobe Premiere CS6, CS5 and CS5.5 does not support more than 1 GPU.  So the GTX590 and GTX690, which has dual GPU's, only 1 GPU and  half of the CUDA cores will be used by Adobe Premiere.  If you are looking at the GTX590 or GTX690, you would be better off with the GTX580 or GTX680.


Number 8 - Power Supplies
The Power Supply - Before you run out and buy an NVIDIA video card, you need to know how big your power supply is in watts.  Different video cards will require that you have a minimum number of watts power supply.  So open your computer, if you are comfortable doing that, otherwise, find someone who is.

Look on the label on the power supply for the number of watts it is rated. It may say something like 300 watts, 450 watts or higher.  Once you know the watts, then you can select a video card that will work with your power supply.

For example, the NVIDIA GeForce GT440 will work fine with a 300 watt power supply.  But, the GeForce GT580 will require a minimum of a 600 watt power supply.

This is why you need to know your computer’s power supply size before you run out and buy a video card.  You don’t want to use a video card that your power supply can’t handle.  For example, if you decide you really want a GeForce GT580 video card and you only have a 300 watt power supply, then you will need to upgrade your computer’s power supply.

If you don’t want to bother upgrading your power supply, then make sure you stick with a video card that will work with what every the size of your power supply is.

In the chart above, we list a minimum power supply size needed for the each video card.  This list above are based on NVidia's web site recommendations.

We have received email about what the video card box states as the minimum power supply requirement.  For example, the MSI N240GT (GT 240) video card with 1 GB of DDR5 memory, the MSI box says it requires a 350 watt power supply.  So why does our chart list a 300 watt power supply?


Okay, if you look at the MSI box for the GT240 with DDR5 memory, it does say they recommend a minimum of 350 watt power supply.  But, when you open up the installation guide it says the minimum power supply is 500 watts based on a PC configured with an Intel Core2Extreme Qx9650 processor.   Wait a minute, the list above says 300 watts.  Okay so what is going on here?

According to MSI, the main group of people who buy higher performance video cards are people who use the computer to play games. The GT 240 card falls into this category and the GT 240 card with 1GB of DDR5 memory is capable of being overclocked. (See Note 2 on Overclocking).  MSI recommends a 350 watts if you are a gamer and are going to overclock the video card.  If you won't be overclocking the card and you really don't need to for video editing, MSI said you will be fine with a 300 watt power supply.

If you are running a quad core system, such as one with the Core2Extreme Qx9650 processor, you will generally have a larger power supply than 300 watts any way and most likely it will be 450 to 500 watts or larger.  This is why their installation guide recommends a 500 watt power supply.  The more powerful the CPU, the larger power supply your computer will have, since the CPU pulls quite a bit of power in watts.  For example, the quad core Qx9650 processor pulls around 65 watts and the I7-930 processor pulls 130 watts.

Also, I was informed by several other video card manufacturers that they put a higher minimum power supply requirement on their video cards, since they don't know what other devices or the number of hard drives you have in your computer.  This way, they will be on the safe side.


Number 9 - Video Card Performance and System Performance.  PLEASE READ THIS SECTION CAREFULLY.
As I will show you below, your video card performance will vary greatly on your overall computer system.  Everything from the type of CPU, the CPU speed, the amount of memory in the computer and more, will all play a part in your over all performance with Adobe Premiere.

Let's take a look at a couple of benchmark tests using a project in Adobe Premiere.  I used the PPBM5 benchmark test with 4 video tracks.  This benchmark test was designed to test the performance of you total computer system by using a project for Premiere.  Since the benchmark is designed to test your entire computer, I only used the benchmark to test the video card.

Our First test system (AMD Quad Core):
  • HP Computer with an AMD Phenom II X4 (quad core)
  • CPU running at 3.2 Ghz
  • 8 gigs of Ram
  • Dual Samsung 7200 rpm SATA 3.0Gb/s hard drives
  • Windows 7 Home Edition
  • 1 Gig or more of DDR 5 on all video cards tested, except for the GT-640 video card.  It had DDR3 memory.
  • All tests were run with the MRQ (Maximum Render Quality) set to ON.
  • Each test was run 5 times in the GPU mode and then averaged together.
  • To measure the time, I used a stopwatch.
  • Tests with the Mercury Playback Engine in Software mode was run once.
MPE GPU = I was running the Mercury Playback Engine using GPU Acceleration.
MPE Software = I ran the test with the Mercury Playback Engine using Software only.

First Benchmark Test Using CS6  (Updated 12/08/12)
Video Card # of Cuda Cores Time Line Render
MPE GPU On
Time Line Render
MPE Software
MPE GPU On
Export to
MPEG-2 DVD
MPE Software Mode
Export to
MPEG-2 DVD
GT-240 96 32.9 Seconds 368 Seconds 282 Seconds 384 Seconds
GT-440 96 32.4 Seconds 368 Seconds 279 Seconds 384 Seconds
GTX-470 448 30.8 Seconds 368 Seconds 222 Seconds 384 Seconds
GTX-545 144 32.0 Seconds 368 Seconds 250 Seconds 384 Seconds
GTX-550 Ti 192 31.2 Seconds 368 Seconds 240 Seconds 384 Seconds
GTX-570 480 30.0 Seconds 368 Seconds 190 Seconds 384 Seconds
GT-640 (w/DDR3 Mem.) 384 31.5 Seconds 368 Seconds 248 Seconds 384 Seconds
GTX-660 960 30.0 Seconds 368 Seconds 188 Seconds 384 Seconds
GTX-680 1536 29.0 Seconds 368 Seconds 184 Seconds 384 Seconds
Quadro 2000 192 32.0 Seconds 368 Seconds 256 Seconds 384 Seconds
Quadro 4000 256 31.0 Seconds 368 Seconds 240 Seconds 384 Seconds
Note: the MPEG-2 DVD test above was run by using direct export, by selecting File, then Export and then Media.  I used the following settings during the Export.  Format = MPEG2-DVD,  Preset = NTSC High Quality Widescreen, I then unchecked Export Audio and I unchecked the following options - Use Max Render Quality, Use Previews and Use Frame Blending.

Our Second test system (I7-920)  Using CS6  (Updated 12/8/12)
  • Intel I7-920 Quad Core
  • CPU running at 3.05 Ghz
  • 16 gigs of RAM
  • Dual Seagate 7200 rpm SATA 3.0 GB/s hard drives
  • Windows 7 Home Edition
  • 1 Gig or more of DDR 5 on all video cards tested, except for the GT-640 video card.  It had DDR3 memory.
  • All tests were run with the MRQ (Maximum Render Quality) set to ON.
  • Each test was run 3 times in the GPU mode and then averaged together.
  • To measure the time, I used a stopwatch.
  • Tests with the Mercury Playback Engine in Software mode was run once.
I used the same PPBM5 benchmark project that uses 4 video tracks, as I did above.
Video Card # of Cuda Cores Time Line Render
MPE GPU On
Time Line Render
MPE Software
MPE GPU On
Export to
MPEG-2 DVD
MPE Software Mode
Export to
MPEG-2 DVD
GT-240 96 11.0 Seconds 110 Seconds 174 Seconds 174 Seconds
GT-440 96 11.0 Seconds 110 Seconds 174 Seconds 174 Seconds
GTX-470 448 9.8 Seconds 110 Seconds 95 Seconds 174 Seconds
GTX-545 144 10.8 Seconds 110 Seconds 166 Seconds 174 Seconds
GTX-550 Ti 192 10.5 Seconds 110 Seconds 159 Seconds 174 Seconds
GTX-570 480 9.4 Seconds 110 Seconds 90 Seconds 174 Seconds
GT-640 (w/DDR3 Mem.) 384 10.5 Seconds 110 Seconds 163 Seconds 174 Seconds
GTX-660 960 9.4 Seconds 110 Seconds 88 Seconds 174 Seconds
GTX-680 1536 9 Seconds 110 Seconds 84 Seconds 174 Seconds
Quadro 2000 192 11.2 Seconds 110 Seconds 160 Seconds 174 Seconds
Quadro 4000 256 10.7 Seconds 110 Seconds 156 Seconds 174 Seconds
Note: the MPEG-2 DVD test above was run by using direct export, by selecting File, then Export and then Media.  I used the following settings during the Export.  Format = MPEG2-DVD,  Preset = NTSC High Quality Widescreen, I then unchecked Export Audio and I unchecked Use Max Render Quality, Use Previews and Use Frame Blending.

Explaining the Test Results - (Please read this section very carefully!!!!!)

In case you are wondering, Adobe Premiere uses ALL of the CUDA cores on the video card.

Let's take a look at the results.  As you can see even though both computers are quad core systems and the clock speed is close, the Intel processor performed much better.  The reason is, most AMD processors do not have SSE 4.1+ instruction set support, where the newer Intel processors do and Premiere uses the SSE4.1 instruction set.  Now this doesn't mean you can't use an AMD processor or an older Intel processor, you can, it will perform slower than processors that have the SSE4.1 support.

NOTE: Newer AMD FX series processors DO have the SSE4.1 instruction set. The AMD computer I ran the test on, that processor did not have the SSE4.1 instruction set.

Timeline Rendering.  As you can see in the above benchmark tests, there is a huge difference in timeline render speeds between the Mercury Playback Engine running in GPU mode vs. Software mode on either computer.

Another thing you will notice is there is NOT a big difference between a NVidia card with 96 cuda cores vs. one with 480 cuda cores, when rendering the timeline.

Exporting to MPEG2-DVD format.  Here is where things get interesting.  You will notice on both systems, that the more cuda cores the faster it is to export to the MPEG2-DVD format with the Mercury Playback Engine (MPE) in the GPU acceleration mode vs. the MPE in software mode.

Let's look at the AMD system first.  Even having just 96 cuda cores, the MPE GPU mode is faster than the MPE is in software mode. And you will see that with more cuda cores, the faster the export to MPEG-2 is.

With the Intel I7-920 system, a video card with 96 cuda cores, was a few seconds slower in the GPU mode than if you used the MPE in software mode. The reason for this is, on this Intel system, the CPU could actually export the MPEG2-DVD footage faster than the video card with only 96 cuda cores.  Once I put in a GTX-545 with 144 cuda cores, then the video card was able to export faster than the software mode.  Just like on the AMD system, on the Intel system, the more cuda cores, the faster the export to MPEG-2 is.

Important Note:  When exporting to MPEG-2, the more ram you have the faster the exporting time will be.  I did a quick test on the AMD system.  I upgraded the memory from 8 gigs to 12 gigs and the render times improved by 20% when exporting to MPEG-2 using all of the video cards above. When I upgraded the system memory to 16 gigs of RAM, the rendering times where approximately 40% faster than when I only had 8 gigs of memory.  By adding more system memory, you can actually speed up the time it takes to export to MPEG-2 DVD with what ever NVidia video card you are using.

Exporting to h.264 format.  Although I don't show the results above in the charts, exporting to the h.264 format with MPE in the GPU mode, was any were from 38% to 50% faster then exporting in the MPE software mode.  The difference between a 96 cuda core video card and a 480 cuda core video card was 7 seconds when exporting in the MPE GPU mode.

Newer Intel CPU's - If you have a newer Intel CPU, such as the I7-xxx processor, you will benefit by having 300 or cuda cores on the video card when exporting to the MPEG2-DVD format.

Important Note About the NVidia 600 series of Video Cards:  The NVidia 600 series of video cards have a lower memory interface than the 500 series.  However,  due to the new architecture (or design) of the 600 series of video, they are capable of turning in better results with lower specs.  In addition, they consume less power and run cooler.

We Ran Second Benchmark Test Using CS6  (Updated 12/08/12)

Using the same HP Computer that we used in our first test above.  I ran a second benchmark test made up of a project I was currently working on as a real world test.

Second Benchmark Test  - I used Adobe Premiere CS6 and a 10 minute time line with 3 tracks and multiple effects and dissolves.  Each video card had at least 1 Gig of DDR5 memory.
Video Card # of Cuda Cores Time Line Rendering
MPE GPU Hardware
Minutes & Seconds
Time Line Rendering
MPE Software
Minutes & Seconds
GT-240 96 5:29 38:05
GT-440 96 5:26 38:05
GTX-470 448 5:16 38:05
GTX-545 144 5:24 38:05
GTX-550 Ti 192 5:21 38:05
GTX-570 480 5:10 38:05
GT-640 384 5:20 38:05
GTX-660 960 5:08 38:05
GTX-680 1536 5:05 38:05
A word about the Second Benchmark Test: The second benchmark tests were run only rendering the timeline.  This was done so I could show you the difference in using the Premiere in GPU mode vs. software mode using various video cards on a longer timeline.

Your results will vary from mine simply because our systems are different.
From the chipset on the motherboard, to the memory chips, type of video card, etc. all of these things will make a difference in the benchmarks.  If you run your own tests, make sure you run your tests with the Maximum Render Quality set to ON for both Software mode and GPU mode.


Here are some factors that will come into play for overall system performance, they are:

CPU Cores and Clock Speed - The more CPU cores you have and the higher the clock speed the better.  Remember, the decoding of your video is handled by the CPU and not the GPU.  Having a newer Intel processor or an AMD FX series processor will help with decoding heavily compressed video formats such as AVCHD and h.264.

Again if you CPU doesn't have SSE4.1 support, it just means it will decode the video a little slower.

Hard Disk -  A rotation speed of 7,200 RPM's is the minimum you want.

If your mother board has SATA 6 Gb/sec connections and you have a SATA III/6 Gb/sec hard drive, you won't gain anything over the SATA II/3 Gb/s interface and drives.  The exception to this is if you are using a SSD with a SATA 6 interface.  Here you will see a difference.

If your motherboard only supports SATA 3 Gb/sec drives, then you should be using SATA 3 Gb/sec hard drives with the largest amount of cache for the best performance with your system.

If your motherboard only supports SATA I/1.5 Gb/sec drives, then your data transfer rate will be slower.  For some people this maybe a problem, for others it's not.  However, you may want to consider upgrading your computer to get better hard drive performance.

Raid drive systems will improve performance.  Also, the amount of cache the hard drive has can make a difference.  The more cache the better.

RAM Memory - The ram speed and latency will play a part in the overall performance.   Plus, the more memory you have in your computer the better the overall performance will be.  Going from 4 gigs to 8 gigs, we saw a speed improvement when encoding to a MPEG2 DVD.  When we upgrade from 8 to 12 gigs, we saw another 20% speed improvement when encoding to a MPEG2 DVD.  Others have reported even higher speed improvements on their systems.

GPU and CUDA cores - The more CUDA cores, the faster the bandwidth, and having DDR5 memory on the video card, the better performance the video card has to offer.  Remember, just because the video card has more to offer, doesn't mean the rest of the computer system will take advantage of it.  Most of the time the video card's GPU will be waiting on the rest of the computer to feed it the data to process.  When the GPU gets a hold of the data, the more CUDA cores the faster it will process the data.  Then it hands this data back to the CPU.  The wider the memory interface width and the higher the memory bandwidth, the faster the data will move back to the CPU.

For example, the GTX 570 video card has 480 CUDA cores, while the GTX680 has 1,536 CUDA cores.  Since the GTX680 has more than 3X the number of CUDA cores over the GTX570, you might expect the GTX680's benchmark times to be 3X faster than the GTX570.  But, they are not.  They are only few seconds difference.  The reason is, the memory interface width is smaller on the GTX6XX series of video cards, even though they have more cuda cores.  Where the GTX5XX series of video cards have a much wider memory interface width, which makes up for them having fewer cuda cores.

The GT 600 and GTX 600 series of video cards are overall slightly faster than the older series of video cards.  This is due to their design, chipsets and clock speed.

The Video Formant - Different video formats put different demands on the CPU and GPU.  For example, if you have an AVI clip on your timeline and you export it to an AVI file with no effects or transitions then the GPU will get around 1% usage.  However, if your timeline has the same AVI clip with no effects or transitions and you are exporting to an MPEG2 DVD then GPU will see much more usage.

Please understand, do to all of the various computer configurations (ie. amount of RAM, BUS speeds, hard drive speeds, type of video card, the type of RAM on the video card, the CPU type, the speed of the CPU, etc. ) your performance results will naturally vary from others. This is not due to Premiere, but do to the way your computer is configured and to the video format you are working with.

Bottom Line: Will you see a performance increase?  Yes.
How much, will vary with the factors listed above.  Now the performance increase I am talking about is between having the Mercury Playback Engine in Software mode vs. GPU Acceleration mode and having the Maximum Render Quality set to ON when comparing between the Software mode and GPU Acceleration mode.

Note:  Some people have reported they have only seen a small increase in performance, while others say they have seen up to 12 time faster performance.  This is because of the video format, the effects and transitions they are using.  Each can play a big part in how much speed increase you will see.  If you use a simple video format with no effects or transitions, don't expect to see a huge increase in performance.

Note: these test results are from our systems, your results will vary from ours, simply because of the hardware differences.


Quadro or GeForce Video Cards

The only reason to use a Quadro video card with Adobe Premiere is if you are using  a 10 bit monitor like the HP Dreamcolor or similar or you need SDI output. Otherwise, the Quadro’s are under powered and over priced.

Let’s take a look at some of the Quadro cards.

The Quadro 2000 - This video card only has 192 CUDA cores and a 128bit memory interface. Basically, it is just an GTS 450 with a slower clock speed. In other words, the GTS450 would be slightly fast. Also, the GTX 550 Ti, with it’s 192 CUDA cores and 192 bit memory interface would be faster than the Quadro 2000, due to the wider memory interface and slightly faster clock speed.

The Quadro FX 3800. This card is now 3 generations old and is based on the GTX 260, but with only a 256 bit memory interface. The GTX260 has a wider memory interface at 448 bit and would produce faster results than the FX 3800.

The Quadro 4000 - This video card is based on the same GPU that was used on the GTX 470. However, it performs much slower than the GTX470. In fact, the performance level is like the GTX 460 SE. Even a regular GTX 460 (not the GTX 460 SE version) would give you better performance due to the Quadro 4000 have only 256 CUDA cores, while the GTX 460 has 336 CUDA cores.

Quadro 5000 - This is based on a GTX 465, with a wider memory interface 320-bit memory bus giving it an edge over the GTX 465. However, it would be slower than a GTX 470 or GTX 570..

Quadro 6000 - This video card is on par with the GTX470, although the Quadro 6000 is much more expensive.

I do not recommend a Quadro video card, unless you have a specific program that requires a Quadro video card or if you have the HP Dreamcolor monitor or similar 10bit monitor or you need SDI output from the video card.

You will get better performance for a lot less money with the GeForce cards.

Note 1

Unlocking the NVIDIA video card will not make it "certified" in the eyes of Adobe.  Adobe would like you to use a "certified" NVIDIA video card, because these are the ones they have put through rigorous testing with Premiere CS6, CS55.5 and CS5.5.
With Adobe Premiere CS5
version 5.03, Adobe recommends the following video cards:

GeForce GTX 285
GTX 470
Quadro 4000
Quadro 5000
Quadro 5000M
Quadro FX 3800
Quadro FX 4800
Quadro FX 5800
Quadro CX
With Adobe Premiere CS5.5, Adobe
recommends the following video cards:

GeForce GTX 285 (Windows and Mac OS)
GeForce GTX 470 (Windows)
GeForce GTX 570 (Windows)
GeForce GTX 580 (Windows)
Quadro FX 3700M (Windows)
Quadro FX 3800 (Windows)
Quadro FX 3800M (Windows)
Quadro FX 4800 (Windows and Mac OS)
Quadro FX 5800 (Windows)
Quadro 2000 (Windows)
Quadro 2000D (Windows)
Quadro 2000M (Windows)
Quadro 3000M (Windows)
Quadro 4000 (Windows and Mac OS)
Quadro 4000M (Windows)
Quadro 5000 (Windows)
Quadro 5000M (Windows)
Quadro 5010M (Windows)
Quadro 6000 (Windows)
Quadro CX (Windows)
There are a thousands of users out there that are using this unlock technique on their NVIDIA cards with no problems at all and that includes us, at Studio 1 Productions.

Mercury Playback Hack Premiere CS5 Premiere CS5.5
Adobe Premiere CS6 Mercury Playback Engine
Note 2

The MSI N240GT series of graphics cards (including the N240GT-MD512-OC/D5 and N240GT-MD1G) allows the user to adjust both the voltage and the overclocking configurations via the Afterburner overclocking software from MSI to increase GPU clock up to 30%.  The core clock can go from 550Mhz to 625Mhz.

We do NOT recommending overclocking ANY video card when working with Adobe Premiere CS6, CS5.5 or CS5.
If the video card comes with Factory Set Overclocking you will be okay.  However, we have experienced, along with other users reporting, that when they would overclock video card, Premiere would crash after using it a few minutes.  The crashing can be from high video card temps and/or overclocking the video card to a speed that is beyond what the video card can handle for long periods of time.


sorce from http://www.studio1productions.com

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+ komentar + 3 komentar

1 Juni 2015 05.44

Hi, This is a good post, indeed a great job. You must have done good research for the work, i appreciate your efforts.. Looking for more updates from your side. Thanks
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22 Juni 2015 03.58

The geforce graphics card are the very important element in any computer. Thanks for sharing.

4 Agustus 2017 01.48

Nice Blog Post !

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