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Our Premiere Pro CS5 test is based on the very processing-heavy Paladin trailer. We already know this project is capable of taking advantage of Nvidia’s CUDA technology. And although it’s possible to manually force CUDA support for cards otherwise not recognized by Premiere Pro CS5 (the Quadro FX 580 isn’t by default), there’s a minimum memory requirement of 750 MB, meaning this 512 MB board can’t help us out.
As a result, all three configurations run in software mode, meaning their respective CPUs—operating at the same frequencies—are on even footing. Though the benchmark does exhibit some variance, we’re confident in calling this one a three-way tie. It’d take a Nvidia card with more memory to make a dent in the render time.
After Effects is similarly processor-limited. The graphics products in our benchmark platforms don’t make a difference in the outcome.
The same holds true for our Photoshop CS5 benchmark, which is optimized to take advantage of threaded processors, but doesn’t benefit from more powerful GPUs.
Fortunately, if your primary reason for buying a workstation is either to work in After Effects or Photoshop, it’s good to know that spending money on a faster graphics card isn’t as helpful as a more powerful CPU or a better storage subsystem.