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Video Cards for Adobe Premiere CC 2014, CC, CS6, CS5.5 and CS5

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Adobe Premiere CS5 Video Card Cuda
Copyright 2014, Studio 1 Productions
Written by David Knarr of Studio 1 Productions
FAQ section is near the end of the article.

Number 16 -  What Video Card to Buy
Some people think they should run out and buy a video card with the most cuda cores (for example a GTX-780).  However, that may not be the best idea.

For example, on some tests I have done with After Effects using OpenGL plugins, the GTX570 or the GTX780 card with it's wider memory interface performed a slightly better than the GTX680.  In this case, OpenGL doesn't care about the number of cuda cores.

Also, if you have an older computer, such as a quad core running at 2.0 Ghz with only 4 gigs of memory, then buying the GTX-780 would be over kill.  On this system, you are better off adding more memory to the computer and use a video card with about 300+ cuda cores.

Since everyone has a different level of acceptable editing performance.  Some people are fine with a working on a slower system, while other people need a high end, super fast system.  A lot depends on whether they are a hobbyist, semi-pro or a professional editor, as to what their needs are.

From the people I've talked to via email and phone calls, I've noticed that most people have said they are mainly interested in the editing, rendering and playback of the timeline and they don't mind if the exports aren't as fast as they could be with a high end card.  While others are looking for not only timeline performance, they are also looking for fast exports.  As you can see everyone's needs are different.

At this point I recommend you go back and look at the benchmark's again and re-read the section above on "Here are some factors that will come into play for overall system performance".

Now remember, you can speed up your exports to MPEG-2 DVD format by increasing your ram size up to 8, 12 or 16 gigs.  This can make a huge performance difference without having to get the highest end video card.

While I really can't recommend what video card you should buy, because I don't know the specs on your computer system.  I will, however, give you these general guide lines:

  • AMD dual or quad core computer - 96 cuda cores or more
  • AMD FX series 6 or 8 core system - 384 cuda cores or higher would be better.
  • Intel dual core - 96 cuda cores or more
  • Intel older quad core - 192 cuda cores or more.
  • Intel newer CPU I7 series - 500+ cuda cores or more.  Yes, you can run a card with less cuda cores, but your edit performance will be slower.

I know some people may feel the number of cuda cores listed above are low, however, you have to remember, everyone has a different level of acceptable performance and they have different editing needs.  (This is for Adobe Premiere only).

I know a lot of people, including businesses are on a tighter budget these days. For Adobe Premiere only, the video card right now offering the best bang for the buck is the GTX750 Ti for those with only a 300 watt power supply and a the GTX-760 or GTX770 for those of you with a larger power supply.

If you don't want to upgrade your power supply, then make sure what ever video card you get will work with your power supply.

NOTE:  For those of you who also work with After Effects, please read this article, as After Effects video card requirement can be higher, especially with the Raytrace 3D Render Engine.

NOTE: If you are considering a GTX660, GTX670 or a GTX680, I would recommend you look at the GTX 760, GTX770 or the GTX780 video cards.  The 700 series offer more CUDA cores and a Higher Memory Transfer Rate for about the same price.


NOTE 1:
Unfortunately, there are people on the web that like to just make a blanket statement, such as "you need to have 384 cuda cores to get good performance with Premiere" or "you need a GTX-xxx card".

They don't stop to think about the type of CPU you have, how much memory your have, what you export your final product to or what your power supply is.  Remember, you may have to upgrade your power supply if the video card you select won't work with you current power supply.

And they don't take into consideration if you are a hobbyist, student, amateur, part-time editor or pro editor.  Plus, they don't take into account your budget.

While they are trying to be helpful, they are not asking you enough questions to give you a good answer, just a blanket statement.

Another thing that has been brought to my attention through emails and phone calls is, on some of the forums, people are being told their system won't cut it.  However, they are reporting to me, that once they have either put in a NVidia video card and unlock it or unlocked their existing card, they feel they are getting great performance.  So they asked me why are they being told their system won't cut it?

What is happening here is everyone has a different level of acceptable performance.  Some people just need the fastest (and expensive) system in order to be comfortable editing, they have a high level of acceptable performance.  And in their way of thinking, if YOU don't have a system that is like theirs or close to theirs in specs, then YOUR computer just won't cut it.

While other people are just as comfortable editing on a slower and less expensive system.  They have a lower level of acceptable performance and there is nothing wrong with that.  They are not concerned if it takes a little longer to render.

To be fair, not everyone on the forums are like this.  But, there are those few who are and they can be very vocal about their opinions on what you should have, without regard to the cost, so be careful.

I realize that people's budgets are tight.  That's why I show the speed differences across a variety of video cards.  So you can get an idea of how different video cards perform in the two different systems I ran the tests on.


NOTE:  If you run games or other programs that are video card intensive, a high end video card may boost your performance in those programs.


Okay, before you run out and buy a video card, there is one more thing you need to know......

Video Backgrounds


Number 17 - Video Card Cooling

Video cards generate a lot of heat, especially when the GPU is in high use, such as when rendering.

In order to get the best performance from your video card, you need to make sure it is not over heating.  Otherwise you will have performance problems.

If you don't have any way to monitor you CPU and GPU temperatures, I wrote an article on monitoring your computer's temperatures and a source for free temperature monitoring software.

Even if you already have a video card, please keep reading.  There are things you are going to want to know about your video card and options for cooling it.  In addition, we will show you how to keep your existing video card cooler, thus performing better.

If you haven't bought a NVIDIA video card yet, we are going to show you what you should look for for the best cooling options for a video card.

Please note, there are several manufacturer's of video cards that use the NVIDIA chipset and these manufacturer's may make several models of the video card using the same chipset.  Below you will see photos of video cards from MSI, these are simply the video cards we use here at Studio 1 Productions.

Video Cards for Adobe Premiere CS5

Let's take a look at the video cards above.

The two video cards on the left are standard video cards.  They both have standard size cooling fans and the bottom video card is completely enclosed with only one fan to keep the video card cool.  With the enclosed video card, the air will have to vented out the back.

Now, the two video cards on the right are designed for overclocking.  They have larger fans and the bottom card has dual fans with heat pipes.  Both of these video cards offer better cooling than the standard video cards.  They are also open in design allowing air to circulate around the components on the video card, which helps with the cooling.

While most standard video cards will work fine, they will run a little warmer than a video card designed for overclocking.

TECH NOTE: With ANY video card, it is best to leave 1 slot open between the video card fans and the next card below it.  This will allow for better air flow and better cooling.


Number 18 - Cooling your Existing Video Card

If you have an existing video card that is a standard (non-overclocked version), like the video cards shown above on the LEFT side, you can add a slot fan to your computer to help keep the video card cooler.  Here is an Article that covers slot fans and cooling.  This article will open up as a separate window so you won't loose your place in this article.

If you are overclocking your video card or you are using a factory overclock video card and you are experiencing Premiere or the system crashing when you render your project, then chances are you will need to return the video card back to a non-overclock state and/or add additional cooling fans to your computer system.

XLR Audio Adapters

Number 19 - Making Your Computer Run Better and Faster for Premiere

There are two things you can do to keep your computer performing well.  First, use a good program for defragmenting the disk, not the disk defrag program that comes with Windows.  By keep your hard disk defragmented, file and programs will load faster.  Second, run a Registry Cleaner at least once a month.

There are two programs that I use and recommend and they are from Auslogics.com and they are FREE.  For more information about them and how to set them up for your computer, just watch the video on our blog page.


Special Notes for Laptop Owners.
Studio 1 Productions Optimus Technology

If you laptop has Optimus Technology or a built-in graphics card with an additional NVidia graphics card, then you will need to do some special setup with the NVidia Control Panel in order for the Mercury Playback Engine in Premiere to run in GPU mode.

Finish reading this article and follow the procedure below for unlocking your video card first.

If you can not get it to work, then read this article:

After Effects Optimus Technology


If the video does not show up in the Preview and/or Program monitor windows in Premiere, then the NVidia Optimus is enabled.


Number 20 - Video Card Drivers - Important

It is very important that you are using the latest drivers from NVIDIA and not the ones that came with the video card.  Please go to www.nvidia.com and download the latest drivers.

The NVidia driver MUST be version 301.42 or higher for CS6.  Dated May 22, 2012 or newer.  CS5 and CS5.5 you can still use the older drivers.

NOTE:  The NVidia driver version 306.97 - WHQL has some problems with older video cards (the GT2xx, GTX2xx, GT4xx, GTX4xx series) and with some of the newer 500 and 600 series of video cards. Please read our blog posting for more information.

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.


Now how to Unlock your NVIDIA Card for Premiere CC 2014, CC, CS6, CS5.5 and CS5
For Windows Users
(If you are a Mac User, we have information at the end of the FAQ Page)

NOTE:   If you download and install any updates to Adobe Premiere you will have to go back and unlock the card again using either the Automatic Method or the Manual Method.


Automatic Method Manual Method

To make it easier to unlock your video card, I wrote a small program
that will do all of the steps automatically.  This program is for:

  • Adobe Premiere CS5
  • Adobe Premiere CS5.5
  • Adobe Premiere CS6
  • Adobe Premiere CC
  • Adobe Premiere CC 2014
  • Adobe After Effects CS6
  • Adobe After Effects CC
  • Adobe After Effects CC 2014
  • Adobe Media Encoder CC
  • Adobe Media Encoder CC 2014
  • Adobe Speedgrade CC
  • Adobe Speedgrade CC 2014
  • Adobe Prelude CC 2014

and runs under Windows Vista 64bit, Windows 7, 8 and Windows 8.1

This Program will work for those of you who have the following video cards:

Desktop Video Cards
Your video card MUST have at least 896 Megs of video ram.
Laptop GPUs
Your laptop MUST have at least 1 gig of video ram.
GeForce 9400 GT
GeForce 9500 GT
GeForce 9600 GSO
GeForce 9600 GT
GeForce 9800 GT
GeForce 9800 GTX+
GeForce 9800 GX2
GeForce GT 120
GeForce GT 130
GeForce GTS 150
GeForce GT 220
GeForce GT 230
GeForce GT 240
GeForce GTS 240
GeForce GTS 250
GeForce GTX 260
GeForce GTX 275
GeForce GTX 280
GeForce GTX 285
GeForce GTX 295
GeForce GT 320
GeForce GT 330
GeForce GT 340
GeForce GT 420
GeForce GT 430
GeForce GT 440
GeForce GTS 450
GeForce GTX 460
GeForce GTX 460 SE
GeForce GTX 465
GeForce GTX 470
GeForce GTX 480
GeForce GT 520
GeForce GT 530
GeForce GT 545
GeForce GTX 550 Ti
GeForce GTX 550
GeForce GTX 555
GeForce GTX 560 Ti
GeForce GTX 560
GeForce GTX 570
GeForce GTX 580
GeForce GTX 590
GeForce GT 605
GeForce GT 610
GeForce GT 620
GeForce GT 630
GeForce GT 640
GeForce GT 645
GeForce GTX 650
GeForce GTX 650 Ti
GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost
GeForce GTX 660
GeForce GTX 660 Ti
GeForce GTX 670
GeForce GTX 680
GeForce GTX 690
GeForce GT 720
GeForce GT 730
GeForce GT 740
GeForce GTX 750
GeForce GTX 750 Ti
GeForce GTX 760
GeForce GTX 760 Ti
GeForce GTX 770
GeForce GTX 780
GeForce GTX 780 Ti
GeForce GTX 970
GeForce GTX 980
GeForce GTX TITAN
GeForce GTX TITAN Black
GeForce GTX TITAN Z
Quadro 600
Quadro 2000
Quadro 2000D
Quadro 4000
Quadro 5000
Quadro 6000
Quadro CX
Quadro FX 3700
Quadro FX 3800
Quadro FX 4800
Quadro FX 5600
Quadro FX 5800
Quadro K420
Quadro K600
Quadro K620
Quadro K2000
Quadro K2000D
Quadro K2200
Quadro K4000
Quadro K4200
Quadro K5000
Quadro K5200
Quadro K6000
GeForce G110M
GeForce GT 130M
GeForce GTS 150M
GeForce GTS 160M
GeForce G210M
GeForce GT 230M
GeForce GT 240M
GeForce GTS 250M
GeForce GTS 260M
GeForce GTX 280M
GeForce GTX 285M
GeForce 310M
GeForce GT 325M
GeForce GT 330M
GeForce GT 335M
GeForce GTS 350M
GeForce GTS 360M
GeForce GT 415M
GeForce GT 420M
GeForce GT 425M
GeForce GT 435M
GeForce GT 445M
GeForce GTX 460M
GeForce GTX 470M
GeForce GTX 480M
GeForce GTX 485M
GeForce GT 520M
GeForce GT 520MX
GeForce GT 525M
GeForce GT 540M
GeForce GT 550M
GeForce GT 555M
GeForce GTX 560M
GeForce GTX 570M
GeForce GTX 580M
GeForce GT 610M
GeForce GT 620M
GeForce GT 630M
GeForce GT 635M
GeForce GT 640M
GeForce GT 640M LE
GeForce GTX 645M
GeForce GTX 650M
GeForce GTX 660M
GeForce GTX 670M
GeForce GTX 670MX
GeForce GTX 675M
GeForce GTX 675MX
GeForce GTX 680M
GeForce GTX 680MX
GeForce GT 720M
GeForce GT 730M
GeForce GT 735M
GeForce GT 740M
GeForce GT 745M
GeForce GT 750M
GeForce GT 755M
GeForce GTX 760M
GeForce GTX 765M
GeForce GTX 770M
GeForce GTX 780M
Geforce 820M
Geforce 830M
Geforce 840M
GeForce GT 850M
GeForce GTX 860M
GeForce GTX 870M
GeForce GTX 880M
GeForce GTX 970M
GeForce GTX 980M
Quadro 1000M
Quadro 2000M
Quadro 3000M
Quadro 4000M
Quadro 5000M
Quadro 5010M
Quadro FX 880M
Quadro FX 1800M
Quadro FX 2800M
Quadro FX 3700M
Quadro FX 3800M
Quadro K500
Quadro K510
Quadro K610
Quadro K1000M
Quadro K1100M
Quadro K2000M
Quadro K2100M
Quadro K3000M
Quadro K3100M
Quadro K4000M
Quadro K4100M
Quadro K5000M
Quadro K5100M

Note: Do not host this program on other sites as we will be making updates to it as nVidia releases new cards.  Thanks.

Program Updated:  11/30/2014
Latest Version: 6.2.1
For the following programs when they are installed on the C: drive.
This program will run under Vista 64bit, Windows 7, 8 and 8.1

  • Adobe Premiere CC 2014
  • Adobe Premiere CC
  • Adobe Premiere CS6
  • Adobe Premiere CS5.5
  • Adobe Premiere CS5
  • Adobe After Effects CS6
  • Adobe After Effects CC 2014
  • Adobe After Effects CC
  • Adobe Media Encoder CC 2014
  • Adobe Media Encoder CC
  • Adobe SpeedGrade CC 2014
  • Adobe SpeedGrade CC
  • Adobe Prelude CC 2014

Program Instructions

Please read the instructions below before you download the program.

1.  Follow these steps exactly.  Remember Premiere must be installed on the C: drive.

2.  Download the Cuda.zip file and save it to the C: on your computer.  The programs are below, but you need to read the following steps first.

3. When you download the program, please pay attention to where you are saving it to.  You MUST save the program to your C: hard drive.

4. Find the program on your hard driver and unzip it. 
Windows users, just Right Click
on the Cuda.zip file and select "Extract All"  to unzip it OR use what ever other program you have for unzipping files .

5.  There is a Cuda Install Intruction file (or just read these instructions) and the cuda.bat file.

Make Sure You EXIT From Adobe Premiere BEFORE Running the Program, or else it will not work.

Right Click on the cuda.bat file and select
Run as Administrator.
(This is the most important step.)

6. The program program brings up a menu giving you options for different programs.

Make your selection.  Then you will get a message that says "The CUDA Supported Card file has been updated.

7. That's it.  Simple wasn't it?  But, your not done yet.

8. Now startup Adobe Premiere and open or create a Project.

9. Then at the top of the screen select Project, then select Project Setting and select General

10. Look under Rendering and Playback in the window, it will say:

Renderer:  Mercury Playback Engine GPU Hardware

If it says -- Renderer: Mercury Playback Engine Software Only.

Simply change it for Mercury Playback Engine GPU Hardware and you are done.

Okay, now download the program.  Save it.  UnZip it.

Cuda Link

You should save the program in case you need it again.  However, if you are upgrading Premiere or After Effects, OR you are installing a new video card, MAKE SURE you come back to this page and download the latest version.

Remember, every time you update your Adobe software, you will need to run this program so your video card will be seen.

Having a Problem with the Software:  If Adobe Premiere does not allow you to change to the Mercury Playback Engine GPU Hardware setting, then one of the following 3 things happened.

1.  You didn't follow the instructions exactly as stated above.  Such
      as right clicking on the program and running it as Administrator.
2.  Your video card does not have at least 896 megs of memory.
3.  Your video card is not in the list above.

These are the only three things that will cause the program not to work.

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Here are the steps, PLEASE follow them exactly as they are written:

Make Sure You EXIT From Adobe Premiere BEFORE You Follow These Steps

1. Go to All Programs, then Accessories.

2. RIGHT click on Command Prompt and
    select Run as Administrator

3. Type cd \ it will give you a C:\> Prompt.

4. For Adobe Premiere CS5, then type in
    cd \Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Premiere Pro CS5

    For Adobe Premiere CS5.5, then type in
    cd \Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5

    For Adobe Premiere CS6, then type in
    cd \Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Premiere Pro CS6

    It will give you a C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Premiere Pro>
    Prompt

5. Type in  GPUSniffer.exe  Press enter and wait a few seconds

You should see something like this: (Note the lines I have
highlighted in red)

Device: 00000000001D4208 has video RAM(MB): 896
Device: 00000000001D4208 has video RAM(MB): 896
Vendor string: NVIDIA Corporation
Renderer string: GeForce GTX 295/PCI/SSE2 < The card type
Version string: 3.0.0

OpenGL version as determined by Extensionator...
OpenGL Version 2.0
Supports shaders!
Supports BGRA -> BGRA Shader
Supports VUYA Shader -> BGRA
Supports UYVY/YUYV ->BGRA Shader
Supports YUV 4:2:0 -> BGRA Shader
Testing for CUDA support...
Found 2 devices supporting CUDA.
CUDA Device # 0 properties -
CUDA device details:
Name: GeForce GTX 295 Compute capability: 1.3
Total Video Memory: 877MB
CUDA Device # 1 properties -
CUDA device details:
Name: GeForce GTX 295   Compute capability: 1.3  < The Video Card Name I have shown in red
Total Video Memory: 877MB < ---- Total video memory
CUDA Device # 0 not chosen because it did not match the named list of cards  <---See Below
Completed shader test!
Internal return value: 7

If you look at the 3rd from the bottom it says the CUDA device is not chosen because it's not in the named list of card. That's fine. Let's add it.

6. Next, click on the Start icon in the bottom left corner of
    Windows 7.

7. Then click on All Programs and then click on the
    Accessories folder.

8. Look in the Accessories folder for Notepad and
    RIGHT click Notepad

9. The left click on Run as Administrator

10. Once Notepad opens up, click on File and then Open

11. Navigate to the
      Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 folder

      or Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5 folder

      or Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 folder

12. Find the file: cuda_supported_cards.txt then click on it to
      select the file, then click Open

13. You will see a list of cards

14. Go to the end of the list and add your video card. 
      For Example, above it listed the video card as:

      GeForce GTX 295

15. Now just add the name of the card between the
      “Renderer string:” and the forward slash “/” to the
      cuda_supported_cards.txt file.

     Using the example above, you would add only the
     GeForce GTX 295
part to the file.  Make sure you enter your
     video card correctly.   It is case sensitive.

16. Click on File and click Save.  Then exit Notepad.

17. In the window that has the GPUSniffer program, type in
     GPUSniffer.exe again and press enter and wait a few
     seconds.

18. Look to see your video card is listed and how much memory
      it is showing.

19. If everything is correct, type in Exit at the command prompt.
      Otherwise, go back to step 6 and make sure you have the
      name of the card entered correctly.

Now startup Adobe Premiere and open or create a Project.

Then at the top of the screen select Project, then select Project Setting and select General

Look under Rendering and Playback at the bottom of the window, it will say:

Renderer:  Mercury Playback Engine GPU Accelerated

If it says -- Renderer: Mercury Playback Engine Software Only.

Simply change it for Mercury Playback Engine GPU Accelerated and you are done.

NOTE:  If you can not change to the GPU mode, chances are you did not follow steps 6 to 9 or you didn't type in the name of the video card correctly.

Note:  Save this page, because if Adobe comes out with a new update for Premiere, you will need to do the unlock again.

Studio 1 Productions Video Equipment


Please read the FAQ section next.  This section covers questions and problems other have had.

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Note 3

At Studio 1 Productions have tested unlocking the following cards, so far:


GT 220, GT 240, GTX 250, GTX 260, GTX 275, GTX 285, GTX295, 9400GT, 9500 GT, 9600 GT, 9800 GT, GT430, GT440, GTS450, GTX460, GTX470, GTX480, GTX 550 Ti, GTX 570, GTX580 and a GTX680

We tried the 9400 GT, while it worked, we saw no difference between running the Mercury Playback Engine in software or hardware mode.  It simply doesn't have enough CUDA cores to be helpful on our test systems.


Note 4

The mod, unlock or hack, what ever you want to call it, on modifying the Adobe Premiere cc, CS6, CS5.5 and CS5 video card file is know around the web. Studio 1 Productions, Inc. will not be responsible for any damage you may cause your computer or software.

Studio 1 Productions has tried this modification on 8 of our in house systems and it is working with no problems.  We have tested several NVIDIA video cards using this unlock procedure and it has worked fine on all of them.

Please understand, do to all of the various computer configurations (i.e.. amount of RAM, BUS speed, 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 CS5, but do to the way your computer is configured.

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