Diving into NVIDIA GPU’s and what they mean for Premiere Pro

Dennis,
This has to be the best article on GPU performance I have seen to date. I loved how you used benchmarks and your own real world tests. What Adobe has done with the Mercury Playback Engine is remarkable. Anyone and everyone needs to understand and realize this is not the Premiere you remember. Adobe has built this into a professional app, integrated tightly with After Effects, Photoshop, Encore and the rest of the Production Premium. Video Editors need to jump on the Adobe SWITCHer offer while it is still available. $849 for the full Prod Premium CS5.5 Suite is a SWEET DEAL! http://www.webvideoguys.com/AdobeCS55switch.html

The Genesis Project by Dennis Radeke

Trying to quantify the GPU in a Premiere Pro…For the editing and pro community, it is a big deal. It is something that I’ve wanted to do for some time, but I had no idea how complicated and time consuming this would be!

I went into this endeavor thinking that I would clearly delineate between different Quadro level cards and along the way understand what each one offered in the way of performance. I was methodical in setting up my system and in trying to create real-world tests that would emphasize what the GPU brought to the table.

While I did learn a lot (which I will pass on to you in due course), the experience and tests in some cases were not always as clear-cut as I had expected.

Without apology, this article is long – a necessary result in trying to present my findings. Bookmark the link, copy the text or download this PDF if you wish to read at your leisure and refer back to.

In my role at Adobe, I sometimes have to present an ‘executive summary’ that gives the key points in a pithy and concise manner. For those of you that have no time to waste and lets be honest that’s most of us, here are my key findings:

  • The idea of a balanced system for Adobe CS5 and above with regards to 64-bit native applications is critically important to having the very best performance.
  • While you still get the Mercury Playback Engine without having a GPU card installed on your system, I was genuinely surprised by how much of a difference it made on many of the tests I ran.
  • What the GPU provides in terms of a boost is dependent on the kinds of codecs you’re using. This is similar to the CPU which makes me point you back to my first point again (!)
  • The difference in cards is a mixed bag, but there are clear differences in performance as you scale up.
  • Determining the right card for you depends on two primary things: the rest of your system’s capabilities (point 1 again) and the kind of codec(s) you’re using.
  • Finally, the fractional resolution playback system in Premiere Pro CS5 and later is a marvelous feature that allows lesser systems to still have acceptable or even good performance with big, heavy productions. Combined with the GPU, this allows read more...
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