NVIDIA GTX 1080 Video Editing: Review & Comparison GPU vs. CPU in Adobe Premiere Pro & After Effects

July 31, 2019 posted by

The NVIDIA GTX 1080. What’s it like for video
editing, and should you buy one or is it overkill? Hello and welcome to another Switched On Network
video, I’m paulfp. In this video we’ll be discussing graphics cards for video production
work, specifically Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects. I built my current video editing PC back in
2012 and it’s the machine that I use to make these videos as well as other client work
with my business. It’s based around an Intel Ivy Bridge i7 processor, and you can see a
video of it being built and check out its full specs by clicking the i just up there. Partly to save on costs and partly as a bit
of an experiment to see how long I could last without one, I left a dedicated GPU off the
spec sheet and maxed out the budget on other components instead, sticking with just the
integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics. Well, 5 and a half years have now passed and
I’ve decided I could no longer live without one, partly for the time it takes to render
and export projects from Premiere Pro and After Effects, but also for the enhanced experience
of being able to edit with full quality effects previews in real-time on the timeline without
everything grinding to a halt. In choosing which GPU to buy, Nvidia and CUDA
are generally considered best for Adobe CC work so it boiled down to a choice between
the 1060, 1070 or the 1080. Initially I was considering whether a lower cost 1060 would
be sufficient but since I’m going to be doing more and more work with 4K and possibly even
VR in the coming years, and I tend to have multiple effects plus colour corrections and
grading all stacked on top of each other, I was worried the 1060 might not be quite
up to the job and need replacing down the line. Then, looking at the price difference
between the 1070 and the 1080 (in December 2017) (fueled partly by cryptocurrency miners)
as well as the impressive performance increase to price increase ratio, it became harder
and harder to advocate the 1070 so in the end I went for the 1080, and you can see more
details about exactly which card I bought with the links in video description below. The 1080 also has many more CUDA cores than
the 1070; 2,560 vs 1,920 so there’s all that extra power for the software to make use of.
Now, before the comments section goes wild, I’m aware that most of the performance increases
of the 1080 over the 1070 will be of benefit to gamers rather than video editors like me,
but I also wanted to ensure I was future proofing my rig as much as possible, and going forward
updates to software like Premiere Pro, After Effects and Photoshop will surely make better
and better use of that extra power as the software is refined and improved. So, enough talking! To evaluate the GTX 1080
for video production work, I’ll be running some tests in Premiere Pro and After Effects
to look at the performance jump from CPU-only to the GTX 1080 so let’s head over to the
editing suite and get stuck in! To do these tests I’m using a recent video
from the channel, which is based around greenscreen footage of me speaking. There are quite a
few effects applied to the video, namely scaling and rotation, a mask, the greenscreen keying
itself, plus the sharpening and Lumetri colour correction and then a drop shadow… so lots
of effects which, according to Adobe, can take advantage of GPU acceleration – with
the exception of the Unsharp Mask which still uses CPU only. You can check which effects
can make use of GPU acceleration here, in the effects window. The project also contains 6 After Effects
comps, so we’ll be putting the machine through its paces pretty well and with a realistic
real-world project. We also have some stock footage like the new
year fireworks placed underneath me as a background, and other bits used as B-roll for the cutaways.
These were taken from VideoBlocks, who are the sponsor of this video. VideoBlocks is a stock video website where
you can get all sorts of video clips for your projects as well as After Effects templates
for some more advanced looking effects. It works on a subscription model so you just
pay a very reasonable annual fee and can then download as much as you want. Everything you
download is yours to keep, even if you don’t renew your subscription, and it’s all royalty
free. You can get a 7 day free trial by clicking the link in the video description, and even
stuff you download during your trial is yours to keep so definitely worth checking out! Back to our timeline, without rendering let’s
see how well this plays back on CPU only and then with Premiere Pro using the GPU. First
of all let’s try with CPU only……….. and as you can see, with the preview playback
set to full, it’s unwatchable. If we drop that down to half-resolution the situation
does improve massively…………. but that’s not great if you want to use a dedicated monitor
as your preview screen! Now let’s allow Premiere to use the GPU and just see the difference…………..
almost perfect! For this next test we’ll make sure the timeline
is completely unrendered and then… render it. With just the CPU, which sat at 100% for
nearly the whole render, and it finished in 1 hour 36 minutes and 53 seconds. However,
exactly the same task using the GPU finished in just 31 minutes and 20 seconds, which is
a whopping 68% improvement! The CPU was at still mostly at or around 100%
during the export, which might be partly to do with the Unsharp mask effect in use, and
the GPU danced around no more than about 24% so wasn’t even breaking a sweat. Next, we’ll take that same video project and
export it using H.264 as an MP4 file using one of my customised YouTube presets which
in this case exports at a Constant Bit Rate of 10Mbps. This takes the CPU 3 hours, 31
minutes and 35 seconds. Switching to reproduce the test with CUDA enabled brought the export
time down to 49 minutes and 14 seconds, which is an even more impressive 77% improvement. And finally let’s look at this After Effects
project, which is based on a template and I used as a teaser trailer last year for my
video production company. It’s quite effects-heavy, and does lots of scaling of the video clips
which are inserted into these fake film strips. By the way, you can download lots of similarly
impressive After Effects templates to use in your projects for free from VideoBlocks
on a 7-day free trial by clicking the link in the video description! First of all let’s see how we get on trying
to play a RAM preview of the comp with CPU only at full quality… and less than a second
into the playback, we’re already struggling – obviously not usable. Interestingly, if
we select Auto then After Effects goes for Half quality, but that’s still unwatchable. Now let’s switch to GPU by going File, Project
settings and selecting Use Mercury GPU Acceleration. I also deleted all pre-rendered preview files
to ensure we’re starting from a clean slate. We’ll start by trying a RAM preview on Full
quality. Disappointingly, that doesn’t make it play
much better, even on half, or even a quarter! If we bring up Windows’ task manager you can
see that the CPU is getting used a lot – although not fully – and the GPU isn’t really doing
much at all. After Effects is still somewhat behind Premiere Pro when it comes to GPU acceleration,
so hopefully this will continue to improve going forward and it can start to take advantage
of the GPU. A better CPU with more cores would make more of a difference here. Moving to export the After Effects comp, let’s
see how things fair with that. This took 1 hour, 17 minutes and 17 seconds
to export using the CPU only, and exactly the same settings using the GPU produced an
identical MP4 file in just 1 hour and 56 seconds; that a 21% improvement, which isn’t to be
sniffed at. So on this graph here we can see the difference
using a GPU makes for video production work. Firstly, we saw the anecdotal evidence of
how we were able to play back the Premiere Pro timeline in full quality without rendering
it, even with lots of heavy effects applied. The same couldn’t be said for the After Effects
example though, so hopefully that will improve with later releases of the software. We saw a 21% improvement in export time from
After Effects, but this was dwarfed by the huge performance increases in both Premiere
Pro tests; a 68% improvement when rendering an effects-heavy timeline and a massive 77%
improvement when exporting that same timeline to H.264. GPU wins game, set and match! Now it should be noted that I only performed
each test once, and I’ve only tested the difference on these two projects, so these aren’t hugely
scientific results and you should certainly take them with a pinch of salt. However, they
still give a demonstration of the GPU making a noticeable different to the workflow. As
a side note, they were performed straight after a fresh install of Windows 10, and although
there was screencast software running in the background using up resources and encoding
video itself, this was pretty much constant through all the tests so can be largely discarded. Conclusion time! Is buying a good GPU a good
investment and a wise purchase? Definitely yes. It saves you time, and time is money.
With time saved, you can be more productive and earn more money. But is the 1080 overkill for video production
work or would you be fine with the 1070… or even just the 1060? Sadly our budget here
didn’t quite stretch to buying one of each card to pit them all against each other and
answer that question definitively, it would be very interesting to compare exporting the
same timelines with all three cards to see the difference in the real world. The real answer, which is a bit of a cop out,
is it depends on what you’ll be using it for, what your budget is and what other bottlenecks
might already be present in your PC. You also have to ask yourself what the future might
hold as 4K and even 8K come along, as well as VR and HDR video, so what might be seen
as extravagant overkill today could be needed a lot more or even be considered standard
in 18 months’ time, so I think it’s better to only have had to buy one card rather than
need to upgrade in the future. I’m certainly very pleased with the GTX1080
and if you’d like to get one yourself or even a 1070 or 1060, you can find links in the
video description below as well as the full specs of my video editing PC so please consider
using those links to help support this channel. I hope you’ve found this test useful, give
the video a thumbs up and let us know in the comments what else you’d like to see. Don’t forget to sign up for your 7 day free
trial of Videoblocks using the link in the video description, and remember that you can
keep everything you download during the trial, even if you cancel! Make sure you also subscribe
to the Switched On Network to see all of our new videos, and you can check out some past
videos too which you should find interesting. In the one up there you can watch a timelapse
of us building our Video Editing PC so definitely check that one out. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you in the
next video!


26 Replies to “NVIDIA GTX 1080 Video Editing: Review & Comparison GPU vs. CPU in Adobe Premiere Pro & After Effects”

  1. rPm Nexus says:

    Thank you for this. Ive been wonder what could do the job for my editing software

  2. themartin1c says:

    Thanks for this. I have a GTX770 and was wondering whether it would be worth upgrading. After having seen your video, I don't think it is at present. As you say, future versions of Premiere Pro and After Effects will hopefully make more use of a graphics card but for now I don't think I'd see a massive difference in upgrading my 770.

  3. Jimmy Go says:

    thank u very much for this video

  4. Schuyler welch says:

    Just the video I was looking for, thanks!

  5. Start Action Cut entertainment says:

    thanks sir

  6. John Kokujin says:

    why do my nested sequences just show a black screen when rendering and previewing them when i use gpu acceleration?

  7. giobikefans says:

    So what kind of rig are people running, then, to get decent performance in After Effects?

  8. Nicolás Youssefian says:

    how can I enable cuda in after effects o premiere pro with a gtx 1050?

  9. BZ production says:

    Why you don't buy 2011v2 xeon with 12 cores on aliexpress

  10. Micro Doulo says:

    if I use two video card on the same time is better for adobe premiere?

  11. Rakesh Oo says:

    just render ur aftereffect project in premier pro…in half time…thank me later….

  12. victor ubaldo ancajima says:

    a consultation a Quadro card improves the performance in after effect

  13. Niels says:

    @Switched On Network Would you suggest investing in a better cpu or gpu (price – performance wise)? Currently thinking about an AMD2600 with GTX 1060. I imagine an AMD 2700X performs much better than an old Intel 4770.

  14. Nicholas Lau says:

    Very interesting video. I currently use a 1080ti. I've noticed that when exporting on Premiere Pro (GPU accelerated), the GPU usage is 5-20% max. Is that normal? I think Adobe really need to sort out their optimization.

  15. Ulti says:

    i have computer that cost me around $1880 to build with gtx 1080 desktop computer i plan on selling it at $1500 do you guys think its a resanoble price or should i make it higher?

  16. Andrej Nastevski says:

    You helped me a lot, thank you very much! Anubhab is the real man! I am doing the same thing so if someonr likes me to leave me a subscribe thank you. i want to keep up and you keep up man great work💪❤

  17. Lopsang Lama says:

    after effects doesn't use GPU much at all

  18. ki6kobra says:

    Does the GPU support 10 bit color?

  19. Ashu Bharmaik says:

    Appreciate your efforts to put up such valuable information..would like to see more such informative videos..Thanks

  20. Video says:

    Next time enable drop frame indicator

  21. John Amaro says:

    thanks for this.i build an i7-8700k and i am a bit disapointed with the rendering times:) i am buying soon the gtx 1070ti hopefully it will make a difference? ps did you try to overclock the gtx 1080? it will make even more difference for sure on rendering times:)

  22. Pavle Pejic says:


  23. AHS Society says:

    Dont think there is anything called future proofing. NExt week a new architecture will come out and it will perform much better.

  24. deepak dewangan says:

    PRE PRO 2018-2019….i7 3770 AND CT730 support I ans pls YES & NO

  25. Max_I says:

    I have a probleme Adobe première pro use my CPU AND NOT MY GPU please help me (i’m french)

  26. Learn 4ever says:

    Which Graphic card suits?
    to My system: Intel Core i7 6700 3.4GHz for film Rendering ??
    MotherBoard: MS-7996
    32GB RAM
    Premier pro

    Please, little urgent buddy, help me out!

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