I need help figuring out which one to buy.

So I want to buy a graphics video card for my desktop computer that will make Adobe Premiere CS5 render in real time – super fast.

But a few questions come up before buying one.

  1. Which Mercury Engine support card do I get? Which one is the cheapest that will give me the real time rendering results that I want? I a leaning towards NVidia GeForce GTX 470.
  2. These cards are long! Will it fit in my computer, looks like I have about 10 inches? The NVidia GeForce GTX 470 is 9.5″ long.
  3. Will my power supply that can do 460Watts Max need to be upgraded? Judging by the NVidia site I don’t make it.
  4. Will it be quiet?

When it comes to upgrading your system there is no one to turn to for help.

  • HP the company I purchased my computer will not help with these questions because they already got my money.
  • NVidia can’t help because I can’t find their sales phone number anywhere.
  • Adobe won’t help because they don’t know what’s in my computer. Update: Actually since I wrote this two Adobe employees have reached out to me to help, so I want to thank Adobe for that!

So right now I am thinking of getting the NVidia GeForce GTX 470 card for around $260 on Amazon – should I get this one?

Great Demonstration Video

Since the manufacturers can’t help I turned to YouTube to find the answer and ran across this most excellent video by b2dmastersniper who demonstrates the NVidia GeForce GTX 470 with Premiere Pro CS5.

So it looks like I need the following attributes in the video card to make it work. I got these notes from the studio1productions.com site. If you are in my shoes looking for a CS5 video card, you must read that page – it is really good!

  • NVIDIA video card
  • Mercury Playback Engine requires at least 896 megs memory or more.
  • Latest NVidia drivers 260.99 WHQL
  • DDR5 memory if you can, but DDR3 memory will work, don’t go lower than 3.
  • Rumor is CS5 only uses 100 CUDA cores, but might use more later.

From all the reading I did on that page looks like they recommend the MSI N240GT which is about $90 and will work on my power supply. The 240 is 6.9″ long which should fit nicely.

MSI N240GT-MD1G/D5 GeForce GT 240 1GB  GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0

Note to self, make sure you remove all video drivers before installing the new one.

The card I have now is the ATI Radeon 5450 which uses a DDR2 RAM and typical power of 19.1watts and the new 240GT card has DDR5 RAM and max power of 69watts.


  • If the GTX 470 card is too long for your PC, there are other nvidia cards not “officially” supported by usable through a “hack” of editing a text file and enabling an option in the nvidia driver, like the GTX 460, which is likely shorter than the 470, or you could even use a 9800GT (only single wide, doesn’t take up two slots / double width), and shorter than other cards

    Complete list of cards here

    You could even use a laptop with several different GPUs that people have confirmed that it works. You just need a minimum 768MB of ram (1GB is the safer bet for any card)

  • I used the Premiere hack on my Nvidia GTS 250 that is about a year old and a half old. It’s pretty straight forward and only took about a half an hour (that’s with me being very cautious). Once it was all over the GPU was doing all the work in Premiere. All my red line footage turned into yellow line, all the GPU enabled effects worked including Ultra Key, and rendering became considerably faster. And that’s with a 100 or so dollar Card. A much better card that is actually supported by Nvidia legitimately is the GTX 285 but that may require a power supply upgrade as it is a beast. Hope this helps.

    P.S. The card has to support CUDA 3.0, It needs about a gig of ram to work, and 128 stream processors is recommended.

  • I have been looking around some more and found the GeForce GTX460 which my 460W power supply can handle. I am having troubles figuring out if this matches all the specs need to work with CS5.
    – 336 Cuda Cores (not sure if it is version 3)
    – 1 GB GDDR5 memory
    – Stream Processors – 336 Processor Cores

  • Rather than buying your gear at Amazon.com, why don’t you take your pc to a local hardware shop?
    I’m sure they will be glad to help you, even test the card with various power supplies, until you are happy.
    And you’ll be funding the local economy, rather than a greedy corporate multinational like Amazon.
    Sometimes people forget what REALworld support and help is like…

  • A word of advice, never go with the Minimum when it comes to power for your PC. Minimum is not good! You should run at least 650 watts, just think later you might want to run SLI cards.. It makes a huge difference when doing video graphics of any sort.

  • I’m using gtx 285 which you don’t need to hack the software. I believe 470 is newer version, but 285 works great even with my Core 2 duo 2.4ghz! I assume you don’t play heavy games, so just pick the cheapest one!

  • We tested the “hack” on an older system that happened to have an Nvidia card with more CUDA cores than the cheapest officially designated card — and it worked flawlessly. The term “hack” is a bit liberal, all you do is add your card’s name to a list — it’s so easy that even Dave Dugdale could do it.

    I can confirm that the “hack” works, that it’s easy to implement, and that you can use it with less expensive Nvidia video cards.

    In an ideal world you’ll find an Nvidia with DDR5 memory as opposed to DDR3 — as it’s been reported that it makes a major difference. But, DDR3 cards work fine, and relative to Vegas even DDR3 will be an improvement of a lifetime.

  • @Dude, even though that reads like a trolling comment, Being able to customize and control your rig is a good reason why to go Non-Mac. Not to mention you can get more machine for way less money. IE:http://nofilmschool.com/2010/10/build-video-editing-hackintosh-thats-faster/

    @Dave, I too have been eying the 470. it seems to be a pretty good price and the GDDR5 is pretty sweet!
    new egg has some pretty good options right now too.

    I would definitely agree with some of the commenters before, You will want to upgrade your power. Having just barely enough is asking for trouble. It would stink to be doing some heavy rendering and have a disk read/write error because of a power issue… not fun at all!

  • Using a GPU with a Power Supply Unit that requires exactly the amount of wattage output can be dangerous. Ruben is right, you don’t go with the bare minimum. If you get a new processor or add another drive of any kind could go over the output limit and burn something out. It happened with my 380 watt I was using two years ago. You could lose important work. Also the 470 sounds like overkill. You will only get a real performance boost in Premiere. Adobe After Effects will hardly notice, but it helps a little. It’s possible Adobe will update PrePro soon and the cards will notice more of the stream processors. I’ve read that prepro is only using the 128 CUDA cores.

    P.S. SLI configurations aren’t supported by adobe programs at this time. You can have two cards but adobe will only use one.

  • @Felipe the reason I say it is better is because you can do real time editing (preview window is smooth with lots of effects added) in PPro while you can’t in Vegas. Believe me there are many frustrating things in PPro. But if I can get the job done faster in PPro then I consider it better.

  • PC vs. MAC

    I use both. I have a self-assembled PC, with all parts sourced from Newegg. I think I have $1500 into it, maybe a little more. I use this machine exclusively for the CS5 production suite at home.

    I have a $10,000 Mac at work, which is also used exclusively for CS5. This machine rocks, but not enough that I’d consider buying one to replace my home machine.

    Where I notice the power the most is in rendering and encoding. My home machine seems to encode in a 2:1 ratio – two minutes for every minute of footage. The MAC is working at 1:1, maybe even better than that. For my personal film projects and shows that I produce, where the total length is 15 minutes or less, my $1500 PC works great. At work, where I am encoding 2 1/2 hour recordings, that mondo MAC is a necessity.

    The MAC replaced a DELL that used to take 20 hours to encode a two hour video. That meant we could encode one video per day. You know what they say: “Time is money.”

  • @Felipe – When I priced a new DELL, it was only about $1000 cheaper than the MAC. And one thing the DELL cannot do is run FCP, should I ever have to switch.

  • If your only running premiere and not fcp go with a pc. you cant beat the cheeper prices, sli video cards, etc…

    Come on guys dont bash on the mac. You can upgrade the ram, drives, graphics cards, i/o interfaces. There is alot more to a computer performance than just the processor.

    As for your question dave. You could always get a different case if your worried about the card fitting from newegg or something. Have you considered getting two cheeper cards and running them in sli?

  • i just read from jacobs post that sli isnt supported in adobe. where did you read this from?

    Maybe instead of a graphics card upgrade you could get a hard drive raid setup or solid state drive to increase performance.

  • Hey thanks to everyone for all your input! After about 4 or 5 hours of researching which card I should go with I felt that the MSI N240GT-MD1G/D5 GeForce GT 240 1GB GDDR5 was the best fit for me and my computer.

    I just ordered one today from NewEgg. Once it gets here I will create a video on installation of the card and how well it works.

  • Dave,

    That MSI card will work just fine. You’ll be impressed with the hardware acceleration. Myself, I went with a GTX 260 pre-OC’ed by a company called BFG. It hits 896 MB of DDR3 with 216 cores. And I’m still routinely blown away by how fast I can edit my DSLR footage.

    Koo over at NoFilmSchool has benchmarks that illustrate Premiere’s acceleration to the tune of 10 TIMES when harnessing GPU acceleration through the MPE. It’s completely worth the switch.

  • Officially the only card in the GTX line that accelerates CS5 is the GTX285 , you can however add (unofficially) newer video cards to the premiere cs5 config file. The Fermi 460 line and up are a good choice also.

  • hi dave , i use the mercury engine with a nvidia geforce gtx 285 that is awesome for this use , in the past i used a quadro fx 1800 that is very bad because you cant choose the mercury engine and the price is twice than a gtx 285,be carefull , premiere cs5 accept in native the gtx 285 and not the gtx 470, i used the gtx 285 for maya 2011 and the result is 50 % better than my old quadro fx 1800 , i just buy the gtx 285 for 210 dollars or 230 euros, and i am very very happy . i test it in big 3d games two and its awesome, the quadro fx cards are expansive and not making for games. so dave gtx are better ans cheaper for all the video and 3d world. bye the way i use too a intel i7 980 6processors and 16 go ram in 64 bit windows 7 and in conclusion you can hack cs5 with a gtx 470 as you know but i repeat the gtx 285 is native with cs5

  • Hi there,

    I just bought a DELL XPS8300 with i7 2600 & 8GB DDR3 SDRAM. I changed the video card originally from ATI Radeon HD 5450 1GB DDR3 to ASUS GT440, in this machine, to use the Mercury Engine Rendering Software of Adobe Premiere CS5 cos I’m heavily into HD video editing and rendering dealing with lots of AVCHD & DSLR video formats.

    With the CUDA “hack” I got this card working smoothly and is rendering at a pretty good speed. No hassle.

    Now the question is should I leave the computer like this and keep working or should I get a new assembled workstation having the same configuration maybe better with video card like GTX 470 or 480 to get more out of my system or what?

    Cos the thing is, in DELL you can only upgrade RAM or everything else but can’t really upgrade your video card to a bigger ones cos of compact small chasis, motherboard and 450 watts of power supply, but then again is it useful, will I be experiencing any difference in speed and performance if I upgrade to bigger video cards? I can give back my DELL and go for an assembled computer cos I still have 20 days left to return it.

    I’m looking for a workstation for a long run but right now my main concern is GT440 cards ok for GPU usage for real time editing and rendering or should I go for bigger ones like GTX470 or GTX480? Will that help? If there is no difference in the output between my GT440 and GTX 470/480 card then I will stick to my DELL.

    Please help with any suggestion or advise, as soon as possible. Thank you.

  • I’m waiting for a quick reply to my above confusion that would be a great help to me please. Thank you.

  • @Rohit you might check CS5.5 since I hear it might be using more of the GPU now so all my info is old now. Sorry I can’t help.