I am in search of a graphics card that makes video editing fast.

I think to buy an i5 cpu with a motherboard with quicksync (z68?) and an SSD.

Quicksync on cpu is only for transcoding (h.264 and mpeg2 as I understood).

I suppose that I need a discrete graphics cards with cuda to make faster the rest of video editing. I don't care about 3D games.

Ofcourse, I will use software that supports the technologies needed.

The differences among the various graphic cards currently are the number of cuda cores (eg 96), the memory size (eg 1GB), the memory-channel size (eg 128bit), the type of RAM (DDR3/DDR5) etc.

Up to what point, adding cuda cores, and more memory to the graphics helps would help my video editing process?

  • Is it enough to buy a cheap cuda card (under $100)?
  • Would buying an expensive card with more cuda cores, extra memory, bigger memory channel size, offer significant advantag over cheap cards?
  • Could an expensive cuda card even offer no advantage at all, if there are other bottlennecks at the system?
  • Does a system with i5, z68 motherboard and SSD disk, 8 GB ram, and windows 7 64 bit have any bottleneck for high-end cuda cards?

1 Answer 1


First question to ask is:

  • Does your video editing software actually use your GPU at all in the editing process? If it isn't written to use CUDA then you will not benefit from getting a better video card, other than being able to view it in higher quality on the screen.

For software that can, all of those factors are important:

  • Memory size is likely to be the most important as working with all relevant data in memory is faster than having to import from disk.

  • Memory channel size is also important, as is the speed, for ensuring you minimise latency when reading video data.

  • CUDA cores are probably the least relevant when editing, as this is not a hugely intensive task. They would be much more important when rendering, or carrying out complex image manipulation.

update based on comments

Adobe Premiere Pro does use CUDA, through the Mercury Playback Engine. From this post on the Adobe forums, whether a frame can be processed by CUDA depends on the size of the frame and the amount of RAM on the graphics card (VRAM), which supports my point that the most important is RAM size.

  • Thanks for your answer, but I did not ask what are the important features in the graphics card. I know them. I need to know what is the limit of adding extra memory, cores, and channel size to the card, after which the rest of the computer cannot take advantage of. I gave example of an core i5 with ssd disk.
    – john
    Commented Dec 7, 2011 at 23:35
  • @John - the important bit is your software, and what type of editing you are doing. That is what will determine the answer.
    – Dr Mayhem
    Commented Dec 8, 2011 at 8:47
  • I will select the software that can do the job fast. Editing will be with Premiere probably, but I may also find other software also that cooperate with CUDA cards. About transcoding, I ve read about some software that uses quicksync, but I don't remember its name. I can find it easy again if I google
    – john
    Commented Dec 8, 2011 at 14:10

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