Not so long ago, video and image editing and rendering were not only possible but quite easy with only a CPU. However, as technology progressed, these things became more complex and performance-heavy. Modern editing and rendering software take a lot, which is why regular CPUs — even the best ones — are no longer enough.
Instead, these processes now take advantage of new GPU technologies. Granted, they do a better job, but that only means that graphic cards became crucial for proper editing and rendering. With GPUs taking on a more active role in the process, you simply cannot neglect their importance in the new era of video and image rendering, especially when it comes to top editing software, such as Adobe Premiere Pro CC, or Adobe After Effects CC.
Now, when it comes to choosing a good graphics card, there are plenty of options. You might find that some of them require a hefty budget, while others are cheaper, and still enough to get you by. Today, we will go through some of the options and discuss different choices for you to consider.
1. Gigabyte GeForce GT 1030 OC 2G
The first on our list is GeForce GT 1030, which is considered one of the best budget GPUs from Nvidia. It is a great choice for rendering and editing, and certainly one of the best of the cheapest solutions. Interestingly enough, it offers quite a supreme performance considering its price. You can find it on Amazon for around $89.
The card offers 384 CUDA Cores, and it is based on Nvidia’s Pascal GPU architecture. There are two different variants — a 2GB DDR4 and GDDR5, although they are not that far apart when it comes to power.
Gigabyte GeForce GT 1030 OC 2G is actually an OC version of GT 1030, and it comes with 2GB GDDR5 memory (64-bit). It comes equipped with one 80mm cooling fan, and an aluminum heatsink beneath. Apart from rendering and editing, it is also a good choice for gaming on medium graphics settings at 900p od 1080p.
Its power consumption is also relatively low compared to many others, as it needs no external power connectors. All you need is a 300W power supply, and it will work like a charm.
2. Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 D5 2G
Next, we have a slightly pricier option — Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 D5 2G. This is still considered a budget GPU, and it comes from AMD. RX550 is part of the Polaris GPU lineup, where it acts as an entry-level graphics card.
This option comes with a 512 Stream Processors, as well as a 2GB or 4GB GDDR5 video memory and a 128-bit interface. As you can see, it is quite powerful for a cheap GPU, which can be obtained for about $110. It is also a good choice for gamers, and even slightly faster than GeForce GT 1030. As for editing and rendering — it will be more than adequate.
Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 D5 2G is an OC variant of RX 500; it has a 90mm fan and a dual-slot design. It also has a one-clock overclocking via AORUS Graphics Engine utility. Even though it requires a bit more power than our previous entry (400W), this is still considered to be on the lower side, since it also doesn’t need any type of external power connector from the PSU.
3. MSI GTX 1060 3G OCV1 Video Card
Then, we have MSI GTX 1060 3G OCV1. This is a Pascal-powered graphics card that will give you superior performance, as well as power efficiency. It was created using ultra-fast FinFET, and supporting DirectX 12 features. The end result is fast delivery, smooth performance, and great power-efficiency.
This GPU will make rendering easy, and it is often considered the next step in gaming-supporting technologies. It is virtual reality-ready, it comes with dual fans thermal design, and it contains Military Class 4 components. Also, it uses Afterburner overclocking software. Best of all, you can find it at a superior price of $140.
This is a very advanced solution that can still be obtained for a budget price, and it is definitely recommended that you take this opportunity.
4. ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1050 Mini
Then, there is ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1050 Mini — a compact GTX 1050 card that you can use in small form factor mini-ITX cases. When we say small, we mean really small — the entire card is only 145mm in length, and it can fit in pretty much any computer case.
It features only one 90mm fan, as well as an aluminum heatsink. It is also based on the Pascal GPU architecture, but much stronger than GT 1030. It comes with 640 CUDA cores, 2GB GDDR5 memory, and a 128-bit interface.
As for pricing, it is a budget mid-range option that is great for video editing, rendering, or even 1080p gaming at high settings. You can find it for about $180, which is a bit pricier than the previous ones, but still quite affordable.
It also runs on stock frequencies, but overclocking it further should not be too difficult with good overclocking utilities. Finally, all it needs is 300W PSU, and you will be all set.
5. MSI Radeon RX 560 AERO ITX 4G OC
At the fifth spot, we have another budget solution in the form of MSI Radeon RX 560 AERO ITX 4G OC. It is a compact card which is only 155mm long, and as such — an excellent choice for small form factor builds. It allows you to overclock, tweak, or completely change all kinds of settings via the MSI Afterburner Overclocking Utility. It requires a 400W PSU, and its maximum power consumption is 60W. No need for any PCIe power connectors, though.
It is a great choice for video rendering, although not as powerful as GeForce GTX 1050 Ti. Still, it is cheaper, and the performance is still pretty good. This one is also based on the AMD’s Polaris GPU architecture; it features 1024 Stream Processors, as well as 4GB GDDR5 RAM.
While we are mostly concerned about its rendering and editing capabilities, it should be noted that it is great for gaming on medium to high graphics, including all the latest games.
6. XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition
Next, we have XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition. It is overclocked, and a high-performance version of RX 580 GPU, issued by XFX. This one comes with a heatsink and dual fans, also equipped with copper heat pipes that provide better dissipation of heat. It even has aluminum backplate that keeps it strong.
The price is similar to our previous entry, but we still consider that a budget price, particularly as this is one of the most powerful GPUs based on Polaris GPU architecture. It is also considered to be a direct competitor to GeForce GTX 1060, with a rather similar performance. In fact, it even outmatches it in some areas. Unfortunately, it also consumes slightly more power than GTX 1060, but it makes up for that with 2304 Stream Processors, 8GB GDDR5 memory, and its 256-bit interface.
With this GPU, you won’t have to worry about whether or not you can handle rendering. In fact, you will hardly notice any performance hits at 4K rendering and editing. This solution is even used for cryptocurrency mining, so it is unlikely that there is anything that you can throw at it that it won’t be able to handle with ease.
Of course, that comes at a price, and it requires one 8-pin PCI-E external power connector to work, in addition to 500W PSU. But, since you can get it for a little over $180 (while on discount), it is well worth it. Only, it is advisable that you be swift when acquiring it, discounts tend not to last for very long.
7. ZOTAC GAMING GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB GDDR6
Finally, we have ZOTAC GAMING GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB GDDR6. While ‘gaming’ is in the name, we are confident that it will be just as good a solution for rendering and editing.
This is a mid-range GPU from Nvidia, and it is based on Turing GPU architecture. It is yet another compact solution, being only 173.4mm long. It can fit in any small-form-factor of mini-ITX cases, apart from slim cases. When it comes to cooling, it offers dual fans, a heatsink, and copper heat pipes, which will keep it nice and cool even during heavy work.
It should be noted that this is the first GPU in GTX 16 series and that it comes with 1536 CUDA cores, as well as 6GB GDDR6 memory, and192-bit interface. It is estimated that this one is 1.5x faster than GTX 1060, and with it, you are likely to get similar performance as you would with GTX 1070. Video editing and rendering at 4K will be a breeze, thanks to its advanced tech.
Although, it will require an 8-pin PCI-E power connector. Its power consumption is 120W, and it needs 450W PSU to work.