Putting together a video editing PC can be a very labor intensive process, but it’s well worth your time if you’re serious about video editing. The difference between a merely average video editing rig and the best can be pretty sizable, and there are few things more frustrating in this field than having to deal with lagging and stuttering video while you’re trying to do your work. And there’s no more important component for a video editing machine than the graphics card.
We’re here to help you find the best video editing graphics card for your needs. We’ll start by outlining 10 of the best models and then provide you with a rundown of all the specs and features you should be paying attention to when shopping for one.
Quick Look: 10 Best Graphics Cards for Video Editing
- EVGA 1GB GeForce 8400 GS DirectX 10 Graphic Card
- NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition Graphic Card
- XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS Black Edition Graphic Card
- MSI GAMING GeForce GTX 1060 Graphic Card
- ZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX 2060 Graphic Card
- MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Graphic Card – B07N824KNV
- EVGA GeForce GT 1030 Graphic Card
- MSI GeForce GT 730 Graphic Card
- AMD Radeon Pro WX 8200 Graphic Card
- EVGA GeForce GT 730 Graphic Card
1. EVGA 1GB GeForce 8400 GS DirectX 10 Graphic Card
Looking for a video card that's capable of handling high end editing without setting you back a small fortune? You can pick up the GeForce 8400 GS for right around $40, and you can rest easy knowing that it comes with a range of features built with modern solutions in mind. This card comes prepared for handling Nvidia's PhysX technology for more realistic looking physics, and it's high dynamic range ready so that you can get a richer palette of colors to work with while editing.
And the processing efficiency is incredibly strong here as well. The 8400 GS employs GigaThread technology so thousands of independent threads can work in conjunction with one another. This video editing graphics card is a huge get for a meager price tag, and it's one of the best budget choices around if you find yourself doing a lot of multitasking with frequency.
2. NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition Graphic Card
The price difference between the first and second graphics card on our list of the best video editing models is extraordinarily. While the former can be picked up for $40, the latter comes with a price tag of about a grand and a half. But if you want the best of the best, it's hard to argue with the specs here. The 11 GB of RAM here goes well beyond what most video editors will need and ensures that this will continue to be a top of the line model years into the future.
The presence of a staggering 4352 CUDA cores is equally as impressive. You can run countless graphics heavy applications at the same time without worrying about your computer lagging or shutting down on you. This is also a rare graphics card that's capable of handling an 8K resolution with ease, so it will stay relevant into perpetuity.
3. XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS Black Edition Graphic Card
XFX has made some smart decisions to get as much juice as possible out of the Radeon RX 580, and while the results may be tailored to the needs of serious gamers, those same decisions go a long way towards fulfilling the needs of hobbyists or professionals involved in video editing. The 8 GB of memory is pretty hefty, and XFX has done a great job providing BIOS driven overclocking. You can get powerful performance here without needing technical knowledge about OC.
Of course, more power means more heat. Fortunately, XFX has pulled out the stops to ensure that there's capable enough cooling on this graphics card for video editing. The double dissipation technology doesn't just keep your memory and VRM cooled properly, even when overclocking, but it also ensures that the sound of your graphics card at work isn't going to be too much of a distraction.
4. MSI GAMING GeForce GTX 1060 Graphic Card
Gaming is right in the name of this MSI video card, but it has multiple applications, and it's especially well suited to the needs of video editing. While it only comes with 3 gigabytes of RAM, this GTX video card does run off one of the better graphical processing units on the market. And it offers a memory clocking speed that goes well beyond what you could hope from the EVGA that started off our review list.
And the cooling system here is one of the best we've seen for the price range. It employs a pretty substantial heat sink with heat pipes built right in. It also makes use of PWM cooling and has an anti-bending plate that will make sure your card doesn't get warped by the heat that builds up from running multiple applications at the same time.
5. ZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX 2060 Graphic Card
The artificial intelligence enhanced features and ray tracing technologies that are positioned so prominently in this video card isn't going to be of much use in video editing, but there's still a lot to love about this graphics card. The dual slot interface allows for a significant amount of power. Six gigabytes of RAM are packed into this video card, and it has ports that allow it to work with practically any PC on the market. ZOTAC boasts that their video card is compatible with 99% of machines.
The LED lighting is another feature that's clearly designed with lovers of games in mind, but it's balanced by the inclusion of a really meaningful cooling system. The proprietary Ice Storm 2.0 cooling design is the strongest system that ZOTAC features in their graphics card models, and that's especially thoughtful since this is a video card that can handle 4K resolution with ease.
6. MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Graphic Card – B07N824KNV
If you're a serious PC gamer, you've probably heard about the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660. If you're not, all you need to know is that it's one of the best GPUs on the market today. It's not the most powerful, but it's a good deal for one of the better GeForce GTX cards available, and it's more than enough to handle the majority of tasks that gamers and video editors will need to accomplish. Conveniently enough, it's packed into this video card from MSI.
This GTX video card features a healthy 1770 MHz clock speed, but you can even squeeze a little more juice out of it through overlocking and hit a speed of 1830 MHz without having to do any seriously technical work on it. The cooling system, meanwhile, does a great job without making too much noise. It includes both a dispersion and a traditional fan to provide airflow to the heat sink and accelerate airflow.
7. EVGA GeForce GT 1030 Graphic Card
This graphics card is the most expensive EVGA offer that appears on our list, but it's still modestly priced, and it offers a significant boost in performance over the two models that preceded it. The clock offers a base speed of a decent 1,290 MHz, but that can be raised up to 1,544 through the use of overclocking features built right in. And with its compact frame, it will fit comfortably into most PC frames. The inclusion of a low profile bracket further allows its compact size to be squeezed into your computer.
There's some nice software at work here as well. OpenGL 4.5 and Microsoft DirectX 1.2 are both supported with this card, and it also has compatibility with the Vulkan API. And inside that compact frame is a full 384 CUDA cores.
8. MSI GeForce GT 730 Graphic Card
For less than a hundred bucks, you can get a solid video editing card that's catered to the needs of beginners and hobbyists. MSI's card includes a respectable 4 GB of video memory and support for the DirectX 12 API. It's also generous with its abundance of connectors. Two separate HDMI ports are available and can be hooked up to separate monitors simultaneously. There are also DVI and VGA outputs available for your convenience.
Make no mistake. If you're doing video editing professionally, this probably isn't going to meet your needs. But at this cost, it doesn't hurt to give it a spin, as it's capable enough for anyone who's not deep into their career and in need of software performance that goes beyond the basic standards that Adobe and other software developers expect.
9. AMD Radeon Pro WX 8200 Graphic Card
AMD has proven themselves to be one of the most capable graphics card manufacturers around, but they've really pulled out their stops with the Radeon Pro WX 8200. Unlike many other video cards available today, this is essentially just the GPU by itself, but it works hard to earn its thousand dollar cost. Built from the Vega architecture, this dual slot card uses thousands of stream processors for an exceptional level of top shelf performance.
But you don't need to take any special measures to keep it properly ventilated either. A full cooling system is built right in. That's a good thing, considering that the 8 GB of bandwidth on display here can deliver an exceptional bandwidth rate of 512 gigabytes per second.
10. EVGA GeForce GT 730 Graphic Card
EVGA continues their trend of delivering quality entry level graphics cards for a fraction of the typical price you could expect to pay. This model costs about double that of the first EVGA that we listed, but it has the specs to justify that. The base clocking speed of 700 MHz is a significant step up in terms of performance, and it utilizes 90 different CUDA cores to assist with running multiple applications at the same time.
And this graphics card doesn't just include compatibility with DirectX 12 but its API as well. Just like the EVGA we listed before, it also supports NVIDIA PureVideo technology for easier editing with high definition videos. OpenCL and OpenGL compatibility is also included. And if you want this to double as a gaming video card, it works in conjunction with a variety of different 3D vision formats.
Graphics Card for Video Editing Buyer’s Guide
This isn’t HotRate’s first rodeo when it comes to reviewing the performance of video cards. We’ve already turned out attention to the best graphics cards under $100 and the best external graphics cards, and you can check out those articles if you want to dig deeper into the quality features and specs you should pay attention to when shopping for a GPU.
But being skilled at video editing doesn’t mean that you know a whole lot of about computers. That’s okay. In lieu of providing a comprehensive guide to all the components of a graphics card, we’ll instead give you a step by step guide for finding the best graphics cards for your video editing needs, and we’ll also tackle some of the consumer questions we hear most regularly regarding graphics cards for PC video editing.
If your computer isn’t capable of handling your graphics card for video editing, it won’t be a tremendous amount of use to you. If your computer already has a dedicated graphics card, you should be able to slot in any compatible graphics cards for improved video editing applications and gaming performance. If it uses an integrated graphics card, it may be time to make an upgrade.
Just as important is what motherboard is built into your computer. Video cards take up a given amount of slots, and there are only going to be so many of these expansion slots available. Make sure that you look at video cards that don’t use up more slots than what’s available for your motherboard. Also be sure that the power supply is strong enough for your graphics card, otherwise you could find yourself dealing with issues of overheating with some frequency.
The GPU, or graphical processing unit, is the beating heart for any graphics card, whether you’re using it to play games or for video editing. No matter what manufacturer you get your graphics card from, they’re either going to use a NVIDIA or AMD GPU. Both manufacturers make some pretty great GPUs, but some are faster than others. The AMD Radeon RX represents the better half of AMD’s output, while the NVIDIA RTX is the high point for NVIDIA. There’s a lot more to unpack here than this guide can properly cover, but you can check out our analysis of AMD vs. NVIDIA: Which is Better if you’re a consumer who wants to learn more about the premiere manufacturers.
While NVIDIA and AMD processor architecture is pretty great around the board, most manufacturers offer more performance for the graphics card than they’d offer on their own. Once you’ve picked the right processor, your next step is to see what the specific manufacturers offer.
Any AMD or NVIDIA processor you find is going to offer a standard clocking speed, and this determines how hard your graphics card unit will work for your video editing needs. But you should pay attention to whether or not overclocking is supported and how much extra juice it offers. Overclocking allows power to be reallocated for the sake of increased performance, and that can assist for everything from video editing software to games. Take the time to compare graphics cards that use the GPU to see what the top clocking speed is if you want to squeeze the most out of your video editing PC.
Next to the CPU, the GPU is the most power hungry component in an a video editor PC, and Adobe PC video editor software can really cause some serious overheating. That’s why it’s important for the consumer to have a graphics card that includes a strong cooling system. There aren’t unified specs you can use to determine what cooling system is going to be best, but reviews can tell you a whole lot about how good a cooling system is for keeping your power usage under control.
A video card doesn’t work in a vacuum, and if you don’t have a CPU with enough cores or enough video memory packed into your computer, the best graphics card in the world won’t do you a whole lot of good. Our guide to the best PCs for games in 2020 can help you better understand how the various components of a computer work in conjunction with each other, but as long as you make sure that your graphics card is well matched for your CPU, you don’t need to worry too much about its balance.
The amount of video memory will have an impact on how quickly your card can process videos and games rendering, and it should be one of your higher considerations when shopping for a graphics card. While some graphics cards will offer as little as one gigabyte of memory, we think most serious video editors should use a GeForce or AMD with at least 8 GB of video memory just to be safe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Graphics Card is Better for Video Editing?
There are a whole lot of cards on the market, and it can be hard to recommend a single best graphics card for video editing, but if you want the best performance regardless of the cost, you should look to the second entry on our list. It’s easily the most expensive graphic card we’ve decided to highlight, but it’s also easily the best, and the high power specs and performance on display with this video card will continue to be relevant even years from now.
Is a Good Graphics Card Needed for Video Editing?
A good graphics card can make your life much easier for video editing, but it’s not always a necessity. While we suggest investing in a decently capable video card, our list also makes room for graphics cards that cost less than $100, so you don’t need to break your budget for the sake of a good video card from AMD or NVIDIA. Adobe video editing products generally require a decent amount of performance, but you don’t need to break the bank for the sake of decent rendering.
What Specs Do I Need for Video Editing?
There are two main specs you want to look for when seeking out a graphics card for video editing: the amount of video memory available and the clocking speed. If you get these specifications on point, you’ll get a unit that’s faster at rendering and just about anything else you’ll need to do for video editing. If you’re looking for more detailed information, we cover these performance specs in greater detail above.
Is a 4 GB Graphics Card Enough for Video Editing?
For relatively lightweight projects, a 4 GB graphics card might be enough, but we generally recommend double that for most serious video editing projects. Having too much is usually better than having too little, particularly if you plan to grow in your profession.
Are you looking for the top graphics card for video editing? We have you covered. Any of these can run the basic Adobe suites with ease, but the GPU is just one component of a good computer. If you want to explore further, we’d love for you to check out our guide to the best video editing monitor of 2020.