Video card for HD video editing

Am building a PC with the main purpose of video editing (not going with a Mac due to personal preference).

I am not sure which video card to get. I plan running dual monitors and I expect little to no gaming on the system: the horsepower is to run Adobe Premiere CS4. The editing may include HD/RED Camera footage, and I don't need to worry about analog video capture. I have narrowed it down to two video cards:

XFX Radeon HD 4850 1GB -


EVGA GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB -

Does the bump from 512 to 1GB in VRAM make much of a difference in a dual-monitor setup? I know the GPU effects are minimal in CS4, but I am concerned about running two monitors at 2048 x 1152. Would going from 512MB to 1GB matter? Below are the rest of the specs for the system. Let me know if anyone sees any red flags:

Processor: Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz
CPU Fan: ZALMAN CNPS9900LED 120mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler
Motherboard: ASUS P6T SE LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX
RAM: CORSAIR XMS3 12GB (6 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Triple Channel
Power Supply: CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V
Dual Monitors: SAMSUNG 2343BWX High Glossy Black 23" (native resolution 2048 x 1152)
Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme
OS HDD: Kingston SSDNow V-Series SNV125-S2BD/64GB 2.5" 64GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid state disk
Storage HDD x 2: Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EADS 2TB 32MB Cache SATA
Blu-Ray Burner: LG 8X BD-R
Case: COOLER MASTER COSMOS 1000 RC-1000-KSN1-GP Black/ Silver Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case

Thanks a ton for any input- I want this thing to be perfect before I drop a bunch of loot on it, and I am confident the brain trust here will steer me in the right direction!
5 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. The difference between 512mb and 1gb of video ram should be noticeable with those monitors, also you probably don't need 12 gigs of ram. Six is plenty. I would also recommend, a faster drive(possibly an ssd) for windows/programs but the caviar green is great for mass storage.
  2. Best answer
    Ghouls, WTF are you talking about !?! You've got it totally backwards. And I think you missed that he has an SSD and the others for archive. Although a small SSD scratch/cache drive would be a good idea too.

    Do you know what Resolution a RED Camera shoots at? It's a 4K camera semi-pro camera (a revolution for indie film), not a basic 1080P consumer camera, that's alot of data being processed not just typical compressed consumer HD.

    The 12GB is a far better idea than the 1GB of video memory, which might be slightly helpful (not because of dual monitors, but for preview effects), but nowhere near as useful as a ton of RAM, which does have a major impact on everything when editing large HD files and applying transitions. The red puts out a ton of information a to deal with, and the more RAM in this situation the better.

    To the OP, CS4 takes advantage of OpenGL (mainly in After Effects) for assisted preview acceleration so it's open to both vendors, for this it's more of a question of what you feel comfortable using, the two advantages to each are more current power from the HD4850, but potentially nearer term advantages from the GF9800's CUDA support which may offer some interesting refresh benefits, and then longer term advantages from the HD4850 as we move towards a more ComputeShader future where it has more suport for more features.

    BUT, to me an even more important thing would be to get full colour-depth support, and I would recommend a better monitor and also I would recommend switching to something like an HD5750 card for both the better core features, and also the better output support, especially for display-port which is a good idea for driving bit-depths above the standard 8bit per channel, with DP supporting 10 bit and 12 bit which is handy as we move to DeepColour when you would be able to sho the full 12bit range of RED RAW, while DVI will only support up to 10bit (also remember if the monitor supports it). So a solid dual DP card with compatible monitors would be a preference, but usually also a premium. And I haven't seen any under 30" that would support a full-RED-frame, so you're still a bit ahead of the consumer grade computer hardware for the task. BUT a nice HD5850/70 would give you more horsepower than the HD4K, better compute shader, OpenGL, OpenCL, and also dual DVI plus DP support for a future monitor. But you would need to wait a few more days for those to come out.

    At this time it won't matter much, but longer term I'd consider at least a DP supporting older card, or at least a slightly more efficient HD57xx series card.

    And Vx don't worry about Final Cut PRo, IMO CS4 is better for Red footage, along with Avid's solution (which is more of a personal preference for me, but I like CS too), friends who still work in the industry (I used to be a cameraman in Montreal) said they found FCp a little clunkier when working with Red footage because of Quicktime, and I've heard lotsa positive about CS4 with Red footage. From the sound of it, I think you probably made the right choice, but I would recommend just asking around.
  3. I missed the ssd, and considering the price difference between the cards, the extra memory is worth it.
  4. But it'd worth it not for the monitor resolutions (which are lower than many that can be driven equally well on a Parhelia 256MB card), but for the potential of OGL and compute shader acceleration, different item, and there's benefits and drawbacks to the core architecture more than the memory.

    All things being equal, then more memory the better, but you chose VRAM over RAM, and in this case the utility is the opposite of that.
  5. Thank both of you for your help. The guy I'm building the system for freed up some cash so I upgraded the video card to a Radeon 4850 1GB per your advice.

    @TheGreatGrapeApe: You know a ton about this and I really appreciate your detailed response.

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