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Video Card Upgrade?


MountneerMan
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I currently have an old HP desktop computer that I got for free two years ago. It has the following specs;

  •          Core i5 2500 3.3 Ghz (quad core)

  •          16GB of ram

  •          Gigabyte R7 240 OC video card

  •          SSD working drive and WD green storage drives

My question is will I see an improvement in editing tasks(I dont care about rendering times) by upgrading my video card or is the computer just junk entirely? I was thinking about a GTX 960 for the H.265 support (I have an NX1). Also it might be worth mentioning that the motherboard only support PCIe 2.0.

I know my computer is quite shitty but honestly I only edit videos that are 5 min long on a 1080p timelines.

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Do you even have a bottleneck? Your SSD and RAM should be able to handle small bits of footage.

Assuming you can scrub through your footage in real time, I'd say save the money for a 4K upgrade down the road (monitor, video card, at that point a new machine.)

I am not sure if I have a bottle neck. When I scrub through video is it definitely not smooth and take a second or two to catch up. When I monitor my CPU usage and GPU usage while scrubbing my CPU maxes out to 100% on all four cores but my GPU stays under 10%

This makes me think that the GPU is not even being used and upgrading would relieve stress from the CPU. What do you think?

You should see a significant upgrade in speed because the software will use the graphic card's CUDA cores which are designed specifically to aid video production.

Does adobe effectively use the CUDA cores for editing tasks like scrubbing and playback or does it only use them for rendering?

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I am not sure if I have a bottle neck. When I scrub through video is it definitely not smooth and take a second or two to catch up. When I monitor my CPU usage and GPU usage while scrubbing my CPU maxes out to 100% on all four cores but my GPU stays under 10%

This makes me think that the GPU is not even being used and upgrading would relieve stress from the CPU. What do you think?

Does adobe effectively use the CUDA cores for editing tasks like scrubbing and playback or does it only use them for rendering?

It depends on the codec. If you already see that you are CPU bound then upgrading the GPU will not make a difference. If you want better performance, you are better off trans-coding to cineform. H264/H265 are not editing friendly :) 

See here:

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It depends on the codec. If you already see that you are CPU bound then upgrading the GPU will not make a difference. If you want better performance, you are better off trans-coding to cineform. H264/H265 are not editing friendly :) 

See here:

Thank you for the advice.

Any recommended transcoder for H.265 to cineform? I currently use RMMC to convert to H.264.

Also the option to add a LUT while transcoding would be useful as well.

 

Also I was doing some research and it seems to me that I shouldn’t be seeing such poor performance with the i5-2500, are you sure getting a new graphics card won’t help?

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Any recommended transcoder for H.265 to cineform? I currently use RMMC to convert to H.264.

Also the option to add a LUT while transcoding would be useful as well.

I used Adobe's Media encoder for H264 files. I guess it can work with H265 now but I doubt it supports LUTs. 

Also I was doing some research and it seems to me that I shouldn’t be seeing such poor performance with the i5-2500, are you sure getting a new graphics card won’t help?

I am not sure no. Every codec is different and from what you described, it seems the CPU is doing most of the decoding work during scrubbing. Certainly a better GPU could offer some advantage, mainly due to better memory speed, but since your CPU now is 100% I can't see how it would help that much. 

Also I am not sure why you should expect the i5-2500 to be better for H265. In my test with an 8core CPU overclocked  @4.5 I had trouble scrubbing H264 footage so my guess is that you are CPU limited. But don't go upgrade yet cause one of the conclusions of my test was that you should always optimize the codec first before any hardware upgrade cause it can get very expensive with very very little return in performance. 

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I used Adobe's Media encoder for H264 files. I guess it can work with H265 now but I doubt it supports LUTs. 

I am not sure no. Every codec is different and from what you described, it seems the CPU is doing most of the decoding work during scrubbing. Certainly a better GPU could offer some advantage, mainly due to better memory speed, but since your CPU now is 100% I can't see how it would help that much. 

Also I am not sure why you should expect the i5-2500 to be better for H265. In my test with an 8core CPU overclocked  @4.5 I had trouble scrubbing H264 footage so my guess is that you are CPU limited. But don't go upgrade yet cause one of the conclusions of my test was that you should always optimize the codec first before any hardware upgrade cause it can get very expensive with very very little return in performance. 

Thank you again.

I started to some research into codec and quickly got overwhelmed lol.

Some time this weekend I will try to see if I see an improvement with cineform. I am also going to try Prores LT again.

Your laptop, what CPU did it have and how does it compare to an i5-2500? This is where i feel like my computer should do better. 

 

If cineform doesn't help me out any other suggestions for optimization?

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... Every codec is different and from what you described, it seems the CPU is doing most of the decoding work during scrubbing. Certainly a better GPU could offer some advantage, mainly due to better memory speed, but since your CPU now is 100% I can't see how it would help that much....In my test with an 8core CPU overclocked  @4.5 I had trouble scrubbing H264 footage so my guess is that you are CPU limited....

This is good advice. While his Radeon R7 240 video card is pretty slow, and a GTX-960 might seem a worthwhile upgrade, if he is CPU-limited even an infinitely fast video card will not help.

Playback of H264 is a decoding issue, not a rendering issue. Decoding of long-GOP codecs cannot be generally GPU-accelerated. He is working only with 1080p timelines but has an NX1 so what codec he uses is a big factor.

If he transcodes to some variation of ProRes that should help a lot. If he will ever be doing 4K, he needs to think about a much more powerful system. Likewise for H265 he needs hardware playback support from the newest high-end nVidia cards. Note NVENC hardware acceleration is not coming from the GPU but separate logic integrated on the same card.

I assume he is using Premiere. If Adobe ever supports Intel Quick Sync that would make a big improvement.

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If he will ever be doing 4K, he needs to think about a much more powerful system.

No he doesn't. The difference between 4K and 1080 ProRes is merely data rates. He already has an SSD work drive, problem solved.

 

A quad-core sandy bridge and a 1GB video card will preform admirably for simple edits. (30 layers in AE and 10 nodes in Resolve are a different game.) Render times are a waste of diminishing returns. I'd much rather invest in suitable RAID storage to speed up my post-ingestion work flow. I wouldn't spend a dime on current era Intel chipsets. They're overpriced and under-engineered given the lack of competition from AMD.

 

HEVC isn't client or web deliverable. I'd forget about that codec for the time being and simply batch process uploads from an NX1 with a script.

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Did some testing this weekend and solved the problem... sort of...

So by transcoding to ProRes LT as suggested helped a lot. It will scrub a lot smoother even with 4K files. I also tried Cineform but did not see a noticeable difference from ProRes LT and since I am using RMMC for transcoding I will be using ProRes LT.

Now the minute I add any effects or colour grade to the sequence the playback goes choppy again and won’t scrub smoothly.

So I also ran a bunch of other tests to try and optimize my machine some more and figure that I wasn’t getting optimal performance out of my SSD so I optimized it by reducing the virtual memory window uses and enabling rapid mode. I also moved a bunch of junk off my SSD onto my HDD so that the percent free is a lot lower as I read this can speed things up as well.

Conclusion I can now scrub smoothly as long as there is no video intensive effects on like warp stabilizer or colour grading. This will just emphases the importance of colour grading last.

Thank you for everyone’s help.

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Ok thats great. Now if you look at the GPU usage you will see that when you have an effect it goes much higher than 10%. 

If that is the case, a better GPU will help for smooth scrubbing with effects. 

What was the playback resolution set at? A lower playback resolution will make the GPU computations much easier and give you better smoothness. 

Also the reason I suggested cineform over prores is that I was getting some artifacts when transcoding to prores but not cineform. 

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No artifacts with ProRes yet (fingers crossed)

I have always had my playback resolution set it 1/4 because  my monitor is only 1080p and the playback window is only about 1/4 of the screen size. Is that not how it works? I will try 1/2 and full tonight and see if I can see a difference and see if it will still scrub.

Yea I would really like to pick-up a new video cards to help with the effects playback but unfortunately the CAD is horrible right now so all the prices for me are ridiculous. >$300 for a GTX 960 :(

Speaking of video cards how does the VRAM get used with editing? Should I opt for the 4GB version or is the 2GB alright?

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Mountneer I highly recommend the GTX 960 4gb version. I use it and it plays back 4K NX1 H265 files in realtime with lumetri grades on the clips. You'll love it!

Also, ignore those who say a GPU will not be as big a gain as CPU, if you get a CUDA gpu Premiere transfers the processes usually handled by the CPU to the GPU, it is a significant performance increase.

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No he doesn't. The difference between 4K and 1080 ProRes is merely data rates. He already has an SSD work drive, problem solved....

I meant if he ever edits H264 4K on Premiere he will need a much more powerful system, from both CPU and GPU standpoint. Scrubbing through an H264 timeline is mostly a CPU issue, as he's already observed. This is because decoding long-GOP codecs like H264 cannot be meaningfully accelerated by the GPU. It is typically not I/O bound because it's a camera codec designed to keep the data rate low. Anybody who doubts this can observe for themselves during editing using Performance Monitor (Windows) or Activity Monitor (Mac) -- the I/O rate when editing H264 is not very high.

Because of his limited system, he has been forced to transcode to ProRes LT, which is a good workaround provided he does not mind the extra space. This greatly decreases the CPU load but increases I/O. So in this case it can become I/O limited.

The design goal of Premiere is to allow most editing using the native codec without transcoding. However this requires a relatively powerful CPU. For H264 4K it requires an extremely powerful CPU, the fastest you can obtain. He has a NX1 so it's reasonable he'll be using 4K in some format.

Transcoding to ProRes solves the CPU problem but it takes about 8x the space of H264. My documentary team shot a 1 hr two-camera interview using H264 4K and it took about 90GB. After transcoding to ProRes 422 this was about 720GB.

His system cannot remotely edit 4K H264 effectively. His question was whether a better GPU would help -- the answer is not sufficiently. The GPU itself cannot meaningfully accelerate encode/decode of H264, just effects. So his options are get a much more powerful system or transcode to ProRes and be prepared for the huge space and I/O increase.

If he can afford the time and space cost of transcoding everything he shoots, and only has problems with effects, then it's possible a better GPU might help that.

 

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His system cannot remotely edit 4K H264 effectively. His question was whether a better GPU would help -- the answer is not sufficiently. The GPU itself cannot meaningfully accelerate encode/decode of H264, just effects. So his options are get a much more powerful system or transcode to ProRes and be prepared for the huge space and I/O increase.

 

This is completely false, using a GPU with CUDA takes the playback away from the CPU and puts it on the GPU. Most modern GPU have hardware H264 decode.

This is especially the case with H265 from the NX1 with the GTX960, as it uses the onboard H265 decoder on the card for playback.

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WD GREEN = GIANT PEACE OF SHIT, get something 7200 RPMish with good reviews.

 

I actually have a WD red not green. I only really use it to store photos and video projects after I am done editing them.

 

Mountneer I highly recommend the GTX 960 4gb version. I use it and it plays back 4K NX1 H265 files in realtime with lumetri grades on the clips. You'll love it!

Also, ignore those who say a GPU will not be as big a gain as CPU, if you get a CUDA gpu Premiere transfers the processes usually handled by the CPU to the GPU, it is a significant performance increase.

Thank you, Do you mind me asking what CPU you have?

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