Determining the best video editing graphics cards in 2017 is a multi-phase process. The graphics card (also known as the video card) is one of the most important parts of a video editing computer. In 2017, having a discrete graphics card, as opposed to using integrated graphics (graphics built in to the motherboard) is necessary except for only the simplest of tasks. Video editing, photo editing, and any type of creative or design work benefit greatly from using discrete graphics. The year of 2017 has seen the release of some new cards that compete with the GeForce GTX 1000 series, but the GTX 1000 series still holds the slight edge. The Radeon RX 580 is perhaps the strongest newcomer, and some old GTX 900 series cards still offer great value. However, the cards in the GTX 1000 series have been refined and optimized and thus offer the best bang for the buck in today’s world of graphics cards.
While testing and comparing graphics cards is a subtle process that takes many details into consideration, a continually reliable source of easy to understand performance test benchmarking is PassMark Software. For nearly two decades, PassMark has been one of the leaders in 3D graphics benchmarking. PassMark runs thousands of performance tests on nearly every graphics card available on the market. After calculating an average score (called G3D Mark) usually based on hundreds of samples, PassMark ranks these video cards in a way that is easy to understand and compare.
At Regal Computers, it has always been a goal to give the customer not only the best in performance, but the best value per dollar spent. We choose our hardware based on this philosophy, and it is reflected in the G3D Mark scores of our graphics cards. The images below show some of the top scoring cards available today normalized to show relative price-performance (Source: PassMark Software). High value cards have been highlighted by a red box.
As seen above, the GTX 1050 Ti and GTX 1060 are in the top five among the most powerful graphics cards available today. This shows the tremendous value of having a graphics card from the GTX 1000 series in our builds. The GTX 1000 series is the leader when it comes to offering great performance at a great price and we offer this same value to our customers. While the GTX 900 series still offers quality graphics, these cards are mostly available in only 2GB models. Regal Computers recommends at least 4GB of VRAM for 4K video editing. Similarly, the GTX 1060 3GB model does not quite have enough VRAM for video editing in 4K. So, while these cards may be adequate for editing in 1080p, they will not perform well with 4K footage. The Radeon RX 580 is ranked just a few spots below the GTX 1060, and is worth considering as it offers 8GB of VRAM to the 1060’s 6GB, but it also draws significantly more power than the 1060.
While the G3D Mark score tells a lot about how powerful a graphics card is, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Other factors to consider in a graphics card include the amount of VRAM, which was discussed above, thermal design power, and clock speed.
VRAM, measured in Gigabytes (GB), largely determines graphics card performance. As 4K resolutions become more accessible, having adequate VRAM will be important to ensure that lag and stuttering are not common problems. Generally, a graphics card with at least 4GB is desirable. Every Regal Computer proudly offers a graphics card with at least 4GB of VRAM.
Thermal Design Power (TDP), measured in Watts (W), is the maximum amount of heat generated by a graphics card that the cooling system in a computer is required to dissipate. TDP is usually ranges from around 90W to 180W. TDP generally increases with more powerful graphics cards, although most cards run very efficiently. It is important to consider TDP when selecting a power supply for a computer, as the power supply needs to have adequate capacity to properly power all hardware in a PC.
Clock speed, quantified in MHz, is a measure of a graphics card’s ability to perform operations. Generally, as clock speed increases, the amount of tasks that a graphics card can perform increases. Clock speed can be affected by things such as different graphical architecture (how a graphics card handles input instructions) and how efficiently a software utilizes such architecture. Some applications run best when using specific types of architecture so it is important to understand minimum and recommended hardware specifications to ensure optimal graphics performance.
Choosing the best graphics card for a video editing PC is essential. Having the right card determines a large portion of PC performance, especially at higher resolutions. While comparing cards based on VRAM, TDP, and clock speed is valuable, a very easy way to quickly compare graphics cards is by utilizing PassMark software scores. These G3D scores allow for simple benchmarking based on the average of thousands of samples across hundreds of graphics cards. PassMark scores should be considered when determining what are the best video editing graphics cards in 2017.