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 download from the
www.nvidia.com website the latest driver for your video card and install it.
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 5 - 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 6 - 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.
Number 7 - Video Card Memory
The Mercury Playback Engine requires the NVIDIA video card to have at least
1 GB of 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
Results: The video card with DDR5 Memory was approx. 40% faster.
||Number of Cuda Cores
||Type of Memory
||Memory Interface Width
||96 Cuda Cores
||96 Cuda Cores
Test Number 2
Results: Both video cards produced almost the exact times.
||Number of Cuda Cores
||Type of Memory
||Memory Interface Width
||144 Cuda Cores
||144 Cuda Cores
Test Number 3
Results: The GTX260 was approx. 25% faster because it offers a much wider Memory Interface Width.
||Number of Cuda Cores
||Type of Memory
||Memory Interface Width
||192 Cuda Cores
||192 Cuda Cores
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.
Number 8 - How Much RAM on the Video Card do I need for Adobe Premiere?
The minimum is 1 GB for HD, however, depending on your video footage, the complexity of the timeline, etc., you may need 4 GB of or more.
Let me explain. When you have the Mercury Playback Engine (MPE) in Premiere set to use the GPU mode and the MPE runs out of memory that’s on the video card, the MPE will
automatically switch from using the GPU mode to using the Software mode. In addition, it will stay that way for the rest of the rendering process. This will
cause the rendering process to slow down considerably.
The two main things that will cause this is:
1. The complexity of your timeline.
2. If you are have large pixel size photos or photos with a high dpi on the timeline.
Let me say, not everyone will have this problem. A lot depends on your workflow and editing style. However, some of you may have already run into the situation
where Premiere’s MPE switches into the software mode and slow down the rendering process. So how much ram should your video card have for Adobe Premiere?
Here is a chart with a basic guideline for the amount of video ram you have on your video card.
||1 GB is fine
||1 GB is min.
||2 GB or more is better
||3 GB is min.
||4 GB or more is better
||3 GB is min.
||4 GB or more is better
||6 GB is min.
||more is better
Remember, this is just a guideline. Having more ram on the video card than what is listed above is a good thing.
Now I know some of you are probably thinking, “I only have 1 GB of ram on my video card and I never had any problems working with or rendering HD footage
with Adobe Premiere.” Well, neither have I. But, that is probably due to the fact that we are not working with a very complex timeline.
I have had several people contact me about Adobe Premiere shutting of the GPU mid-render and switching into software mode and the rendering slowing down
dramatically. After talking with them and seeing the complexity of their timeline, it was easy to see why they were running out of video ram on the video card.
Once they upgraded to a video card that offered more ram, their problems went away.
Number 9 - Overclocking your Video Card or
Using a Factory Overclocked Video Card
You can buy some video cards that are factory overclocked or that are designed
so you can overclock them. For those of you who are not familiar with
overclocking, this where you can change the clock speed on the video card to
make them run slightly faster.
My advice is DO NOT overclock the video card yourself. Yes, I know, your
video card runs fine in other programs when it is overclocked. Well guess
what? Premiere is pushing your video card harder than you other programs.
I have received numerous emails and phone calls from people who say as soon as
they start to render something in Premiere the system either crashes or Premiere
locks up. Most of the time, they have the video card overclocked and this
is root of the problem. As soon as I have them reset the video card back
to the manufacturer's specs, in other words, turn off the overclocking, their
problems disappear. And now Premiere renders without crashing or locking
Now, on my system I do run video cards that are factory overclocked. This
is where the manufacturer overclocks the card at the factory. Generally,
you will not have problems with these video card running Premiere.
However, I have had a couple of people contact me and they were running a
factory overclocked video card and Premiere would crash when they would start to
render. As soon as I had them reset the card back to the non-overclocked
specs, everything ran fine. For some reason these video cards were a bit
touchy with Premiere.
Another problem with overclocked video cards is, they generate a little more
heat and run hotter than a standard non-overclocked video card. I worked with one guy for several days trying different things with
his factory overclocked video card. The one thing that worked was, he
added an additional fan to his computer that blew air directly across the video
card. By just adding the fan, he was able to use his factory overclocked
video card with no further problems.
So be aware of problems you may have from overclocked video cards.
Number 10 - Chart of NVidia graphics Cards
Here is a chart of the different NVidia Graphics Cards.
This chart will open up in a separate window so you won't loose your place here in the article.
It will show you how many CUDA cores are on each card, the Memory Interface Width, the Memory Bandwidth Speed, the Recommend Size of the Power Supply.
specs and power supply requirements listed in the chart 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 11 - 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 GT740 will work fine with a 400 watt power supply. But, the GeForce GT780 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 GT780 video card and you only have a 300 watt power supply, then you will need to upgrade your computer’s power supply.
If you do upgrade your power supply, it is always best to upgrade to a higher
wattage power supply than what the video card recommends. For example, if
you are buying a GTX-780 video card and it requires a 600 watt power supply,
then get one that is 750 or higher. The reason for this is you don't want
to over stress the power supply as it can cause system stability problems.
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.
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 12 - Video Card Benchmarks.
Here is the NEW article that shows the results of the Video Card Benchmarks
we ran using an Adobe Premiere Benchmark Project and a Real World Project.
This is a MUST read article. Just click on the link above and the article
will open up in a new window so you don't loose you place here. The new
article is very long and has a ton of charts and graphs.
Number 13 - WARNING About
the GTX-970 Video Card
Nvidia advertised the GTX 970 as having 4GB of vram running at 224GB/S.
HOWEVER, it has been revealed that the first 3.5GB
operates at 192GB/s (7/8th) while the remaining 0.5GB operates at 1/8th
that speed. A quite a drop in ram speed and this does effect
When I ran out benchmark tests on both systems, we were working with HD
footage only. I must say I didn't notice any problems. I was
monitoring the video ram usage and it never got over 3GB, so I wouldn't
have had any problems.
While gamers have reported problems with game playing, I have heard from
a couple of video editors that are having problems with 4K footage.
They are reporting that when the video ram usage goes over 3.5GB, they
have noticed Premiere starts to slow down at times when it is rendering,
exporting or during playback. William Beck, from London wrote me
and said if he switched his video card back the GTX-680 he didn't have
this problem of slowing down.
Now other people who are using 4K media with the GTX-970 are not having
any problems. This is most likely due to the complexity of the
You should be aware that using 4K+ media that really starts to push over
the 3.5GB video ram limitation.
Number 14 - 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.
When I put together the AMD FX-83500 system, the motherboard has SATA 6 Gb/sec hard drive connections. I first set it up using the SATA 3
Gb/s internal hard drive and ran ATTO Disk Benchmark program to see what the data transfer rate would be. With the SATA 3 Gb/s drive it
gave me 122 MB per second read transfer rate and a 111 MB per second write transfer rate.
Next, I installed a Western Digital Black 1 TB hard drive that has a SATA 6 Gb/sec interface and ran the test hard drive test on the drive.
It gave me 161 MB per second read transfer rate and a 153 MB write transfer rate.
So, if your motherboard has SATA 6 Gb/sec drive connection, then you should use SATA 6 Gb/sec hard drives for better performance.
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 much slower. 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 8 gigs to 16 gigs, we saw a speed improvement of about 40% when encoding to a MPEG2 DVD. The
more system ram the better when exporting to MPEG-2.
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.
Number 15 - The Video Card Spec that is most often over looked.
GPU and CUDA cores - While the more CUDA cores your video card has, this size of the Memory Interface Width, the Memory 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. There are times 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.
Two specs that most people overlook when selecting or recommending a video card are the Memory Interface Width and the Memory Bandwidth. Let's take a look at the chart below:
The first two video cards listed above, the GTX640 and the GTX650 has the same
number of CUDA cores and the same Memory Interface Width. These are the two specs I see a lot of people on the forums
talk about. I have also seen a few people say they will give you equal performance since these two specs are the same. That's is just NOT true.
Just take a look at the column for the Memory Bandwidth. The GTX640 only has a memory bandwidth of 28.5 GB/s, where the GTX650 has an
80 GB/s memory bandwidth. Three times more memory bandwidth than the GTX640.
I ran an informal test using these two video cards. I slowed down the clock speed on the GTX650 to match the GTX640, trying to make
things as equal as possible. I rendered the timeline using the PPBM5 benchmark and the result are:
GTX640 took 14 seconds
GTX650 took 11 seconds
Clearly the GTX650 with the higher Memory Bandwidth made a difference, when everything else was equal. But, so many people forget about the Memory Bandwidth spec.
For the next set of cards listed, the GTX670, and the GTX760, I rendered the timeline again and here are the results:
GTX670 took 6.5 seconds
GTX760 took 6.6 seconds
With both of these video cards they have the same memory interface width and the same memory bandwidth. However, they have a
different number of CUDA cores and the clock speed is different. What this is showing me is the GTX760 with it's higher clock speed, but
lower number of CUDA cores will give you the same performance as the GTX670.
The last card on the list, the GTX770 is to show you that while different video cards may have the same Memory Interface Width, they may
not have the same Memory Bandwidth.
So if you read something on the forums and they are only talking about the number of CUDA cores and the Memory Interface Width, make sure YOU look into the Memory Bandwidth spec before buying a video card.
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.
Number 16 - 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.
Please continue to the Next Page for more information and the Unlock procedure......
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
CC 2014, CC, CS6, CS55.5 and CS5.5.
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 Premiere CS6 Premiere CC
Premiere CC 2014
Adobe Premiere CS6 Mercury Playback Engine
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
CC, 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.