Best graphics card for video editing

Jon Martindale

Video editing is one of the most strenuous tasks a PC user can take part in. But while the main body of the work needs a powerful CPU, you can use the power of a graphics card to speed up some effects, transitions, and 3D rendering tasks. You don’t need the world’s most powerful graphics card for most tasks, but a decent gaming graphics card can go a long way to improving your video editing experience.

These are the best graphics cards for video editing, no matter your budget or needs.

Note: The following are the best all-around graphics processing units (GPUs) for their specific category and should be great with most editing software. However, some video editing clients work better with certain brands of graphics cards than others. Check your chosen editing suite before buying, to make sure the right GPU for you is going to give you the best results.

Best graphics cards for video editing

Best graphics card for video editing overall: AMD RX 5500 XT

Sapphire 5500 XT

AMD’s new generation Navi graphics cards have proved to be exceptionally competitive with Nvidia’s best alternatives at the entry level and midrange, which makes them a great choice for video editing. The RX 5500 XT is not a monstrously powerful GPU when it comes to gaming, but it’s fairly capable, and most importantly for our use here, it has 8GB of GDDR6 memory. That all but guarantees it will never run out even when editing high-end effects and transitions.

If you’re doing extensive 3D work, then a more powerful card may be warranted, but at around the $180 mark, the RX 5500 XT is great value and easily outperforms everywhere else in its price bracket.

With support for PCI Express 4.0 too, this card allows buyers to reorganize their system’s PCIe lanes to give them more to work with, for additional high-speed storage, networking, or other add-in cards.

If you need a high-powered alternative, the RTX 2060 is a decent choice.

$170 from Newegg

Best budget graphics card for video editing: AMD RX 570

Radeon RX 570 graphics card

AMD’s Polaris graphics cards are long in the tooth in 2020, but still represent fantastic value for money, as prices just keep on falling. Now easily out-performed by the new RX 5000-series, these cards are cheaper than ever, and that makes the RX 570, with its 8GB of memory, a fantastic entry-level video editing card. It has more than enough power for almost all video editing needs, and at around $150 for the 8GB version ($130 for the 4GB alternative, which is less recommendable), it’s a great buy.

You’ll certainly get more performance out of our top choice, and at just $20 and $50 more, you may want to opt for that one instead. But if budget really matters, the RX 570 is an excellent choice. It’s noticeably more powerful than Nvidia’s GTX 1650, despite being cheaper, but it may not be around forever. As stock clears and AMD moves over to its RDNA architecture, these cards may start to sell out. Get one while you can.

$170 from Newegg

Best compact graphics card for video editing: Nvidia GTX 1650 Mini ITX

Zotac GTX 1650 ITX

Compact PCs are fun for gaming in smaller physical spaces, but with less need to show off your components at LAN parties, video editing machines can be built to even smaller sizes. The Nvidia GTX 1650 Mini ITX is a great choice there. It may only sport 4GB of memory, but it doesn’t need any external power cables, is less than 6 inches long, and should be very quiet due to its low thermal and power demands.

This card is more expensive than our budget option and won’t perform as well, but it is absolutely tiny and would fit perfectly in mini-ITX PCs or other ultra-compact builds. Although it falls behind some of its contemporaries on performance, that doesn’t mean this card isn’t capable. If it was cheaper than our budget option, we’d have picked it for that too. It will be more than capable of accelerating basic special effects and 3D transition work, and in a tiny shape and size too.

$170 from Newegg

Best high-end graphics card for video editing: Nvidia Titan RTX

Nvidia Titan RTX

There’s no denying that Nvidia rules the roost when it comes to top-tier performance. That means that for the most powerful of video editing PCs, just as with the most powerful gaming PCs, you want an Nvidia graphics card. The RTX 2080 Ti is an option if you want to keep your budget around $1,000 for the GPU alone, but its 11GB of GDDR6 may be saturated by some of the tasks you’ll face when editing video at super-high resolutions, like 8K, or when handling complex 3D rendering and special effects work.

That’s where the Titan RTX can really make a difference. Along with more than doubling the cost of the 2080 Ti, it more than doubles the memory count, with 24GB of high-speed GDDR6. It also has more CUDA cores and a higher clock speed, for greater all-around performance.

If you’re a die-hard AMD fan and want a powerful editing GPU, the Radeon VII is worth considering too. Its 16GB of HBM2 memory give it 50% more memory bandwidth than even the Titan RTX, but it does have less of it, and its general rendering performance will be significantly worse than the Titan.

If you need even more power than anything we’ve recommended so far and don’t have much in the way of budget limitations, you’ll want to dive into Nvidia’s Quadro RTX cards. The best option is the RTX 6000, which is very expensive, but not excessively so, and does offer a noticeable performance improvement over the Titan RTX in some scenarios. The RTX 8000 is an option too, but its cost is extreme, and multiple Titan RTX cards may be a better choice at that point.

$170 from Newegg