Video Card recommandations…

Viewing 5 reply threads
  • Author
    • #39922


      I’m a videographer, not a professional one, but I make some money here and there with little contracts for videos/documentaries. I don’t make millions, but around 2000$/year in jobs.

      What would you recommand in terms of video card (graphic card) for my computer ?

      People recommanded me nvidia and ATI. I’d like to know what you guys who work “in the business” think about it. I have some budget (up to 500$) for the card.

      Also, is 512MB the standard in the industry ?

      I would also love to have an output for HDMI on the card. Is it possible ?

      Thank’s for any input!


    • #172066


      Since it’s been over a year since I last bought a video card, I’m not up on the current models. But ATI and nvidia have always been good cards. You should probably get a card that plugs into a PCI-Express slot in your computer. I’m using an ATI with 256MB, but then I’m only doing standard def. Since you mentioned HDMI, I assume you’re gearing up for high def. Probably 512MB would be good for that. For an HDMI port, I think you need to get a special interface card from BlackMagicDesign or AJA (in addition to your regular video card).

      Other things to consider for high def are plenty of system RAM (many recommend 2 MB, some say 4MB for optimal performance), a separate hard drive for the video files (some say to get a RAID array of hard drives to handle the high bandwidth, but I think that’s mostly for capturing HDMI high def directly from the camera to the computer).

      Good luck,

      Ken Hull

    • #172067

      Thank you very much Ken!

      Is there any difference between PCI & PCI Express ?

      Yes, you are right, I’m gearing up for hi-def. I recently did a documentary shot with my very good (but not HD) camcorder (Panasonix PV-GS300) which I simply love, but once I saw the result on my HD TV, I wanted to throw it away! I’ll let few months go by to see the prices going down on HD Camcorder.

      Yes, I was thinking about buying a video card with 512MB on it. With my luck, the very next day I’ll buy it, there’s gonna be a 1G Video card on the market! πŸ™‚

      So basically, you mean that you must have Premiere (or any other NLE) on one drive and your project and data on a different drive ? Does that make such a big diff in rendering/saving/working with the project timewise ?

      Thnak you for any advice, young man!


    • #172068


      PCI-Express is a faster interface than regular PCI, so it’s ideal for high-bandwidth applications like video cards (or HDMI cards).

      The reason for having your video data files on their own hard drive is so that video recording or playback is not interrupted by the hard drive having to stop and get some system file or load a program file. (Remember that modern computers are complex, multi-tasking machines, doing all sorts of things in the “background” while you’re working at your computer.)


    • #172069


      Merci beaucoup! (being said with my french canadian accent!)

      You are a brain on two feet! πŸ™‚


    • #172070

      “Hey Jean, FYI. All new graphics cards support HDMI, it’s just called DVI on a graphics card. All you need is an DVI to HDMI adapter and plug it into your TV. “

      Not entirely accurate as HDMI allows audio to stream through the connection where as DVI is purely video. With a DVI->HDMI converter all you will get is video output through the connection and not see any difference than if you were using a straight DVI cable. A true HDMI connectable card will have some sort of sound processing function either incorporated into the GPU chipset or via a seperate sound processor built onto the card.

      With regards to the cards themselves, at this present time, I have seen nothing better value for money wise (unless you are going to be playing games a lot on the system as well) that can knock the ATI Radeon HD38xx family of cards as a consumer item. The FireGL cards are fine if you wish to pay a fair bit extra for a couple of extra pipelines being open on the card, but 99.9999% of users would not see any difference.

      Another thing to bear in mind is the amount of video RAM that is on the card compared to what you have in the system already and the operating system used. If you are using a 32bit operating system with a large amount of RAM (3GB+), the maximum amount of memory addressing space is limited to 4GB including the video memory. As an example, if you had 2 x 512MB cards in the system and 4GB of system ram, the addressable memory would would be 1GB of video memory + 3GB of system RAM (as 32bit systems reserve at least 512MB of the upper memory band for system resources such as video card memory and any additionalnon-system memory requirementstakes priority over system RAM in the upper memory band allocation). This was proved to me a few years back when a customer wanted a PC built with specific components that they had ‘researched’ & wanted 4GB of RAM with a 512MB card. When the 512MB card was installed in the system, the amount of addressableRAM stated within the OS was 3.2GB. With a 256MB card fitted, the amount of memory rose to 3.5GB. This is where a 64bit OS is beneficial in regards to the significantly higher amount of addressable memory space & higher memory capacity on the cards themselves.

      Personally I have found that most of the cheaper cards will be loaded with higher amounts of memory to try to make up for the lower performance of the chipset (as well as trying to convince the non-technical buyer into buying it over a slightly higher priced card using a better GPUwith less memory on it). With regards to video work, ahigher specGPU with faster GDDR4 memory of a lower amount is better than a lower spec GPU with more slower memory.

Viewing 5 reply threads
  • The forum ‘Video and Film Discussion’ is closed to new topics and replies.

Best Products


Need help making a stellar first video?


Download our free eBook with 8 tips to get on the right track and create a video that you can be proud of.



Given away to one lucky winner

Competition is open worldwide