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sgrom

How Expensive a Video Card Does my Computer Need?

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Hello All-

 

I just got a new computer that I eventually hope to do some video editing on. For now, I'll probably do some SD from a consumer camcorder, but I'm also thinking eventually of moving to an HD consumer camcorder, or maybe even one of the cheaper "prosumer" models.

 

My question is, does the video card you use make any difference in the speed in which your system processes your footage? (my guess would be yes) What's the main determinant of performance, i.e. will an older card good be enough for HD, or will newer gaming cards with lots of memory and new technology make a substantial difference in performance?

 

Put more concretely, if I want to edit the video from my HDR-HC3 on my machine (Athlon XP 4200 with 2 GB of RAM), will I notice thay my computer's performance is significantly faster if use two ATI X1950s with 512MB of memory versus just one ATI Radeon 9600 with 128MB of memory?

 

[i'm using these only as examples; I'm not set on Sony or ATI, and I know that an AGP card isn't gonna work optimally in a PCI express slot. Oh, and any video card recommendations you may have are of course welcome]

 

Thanks!

 

Markos

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Hi Markos

Welcome to the forum..

 

For SD editing then a 16 meg card will be fine, I used a twin 32 meg AGP port card for years.

For HDV you need at least 128 megs for your card or you may not be able to play the 1440/1080 back smoothly at full screen. Having said that I was editing HDV with Prem Pro with the 32 meg twin port video card for awhile there.

 

The best way to boost your editing power now day is by having a fast prosessor. A 3 GIG will work but with a Core2dual or Core2Quad, you will be editing HDV like DV now.

Ram you need at least 2 GIGs but it's all about CPU power.

 

Some editing programs can OpenGL to the video cards GPU to help realtime perfromance but CPU power rules.

 

Nvidia make good graphics cards. I use my motherboards 128 meg port and a Nvidia Quadro FX 560 pci Xpress card to drive my two screens and out to a TV.

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Video editing is probably more bounded by:

-hard drive speed (xfer to/from RAM to hard drive)

-available computer RAM

-processor speed (applying filters, color correction, etc to each frame takes processor power)

 

A decent (current middle of the road) ATI or nVidia video card with 256MB of memory on-board will do a great job for video editing. Just make sure your monitor supports 1080 HD resolution (1920 x 1080) or larger. (note: some video editing SW can use the video card (graphics processing unit) to do realtime work on video streams; also, both ATI and nVidia are doing work to allow programmers to use their GPUs as massively parallel general purpose computing devices which could enable some very wizzy stuff in the future; mostly supported on their higher end GPUs)

 

Take Care,

Chris

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The best way to tailor a editing system is to decide on the software it will run. Some software use the GPU a lot more for playback.

Decide on the software and see what the system requirements are (esp recommended systems vs minimum required).

Your question of whether the GPU helps with processing, and the answer is yes. For certain playback/rendering of realtime effects, the GPU speed is crucial. Adobe Premiere for eg. uses the GPU for rendering. I've heard ATI cards have had problems with Adobe Premiere so it's best you check with Adobe if you are using that. Always check with software manufacturers for incompatibilities as well. Not much point of having 512 MB if there's a problem and it accesses only 64MB.

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With Apple now going increasingly to the FX Plug route, the better the graphics card the more you will be able to take advantage of GPU in the system. I am currently using a 2 yr old Radeon 9800 Pro card which was a significant improvement over the stock G5 card at the time but am thinking of upgrading again.

Steve B)

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All-

 

Thanks for the suggestions. Yep, the software I guess will need to drive the hardware. That leads me to which software suite suits my needs and a whole different can of worms.

 

But, I will budget a decent GPU into the hardware equation as well.

 

Thanks again,

 

MarkosC

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