GPU recommendations for basic video editing

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  • Updated 7 months ago
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I've been reading here about the degree to which Camtasia can take advantage of GPU. Due to finding many posts over a long period of time plus the moving target of various versions of Camtasia, I confess I am still not entirely sure of the state of play today. Here's why I ask (my use case, which will inform my decision).

I use Camtasia 3-4 times a month to edit 1080p videos. I have just built my own machine using a Ryzen 3700x, a x570 motherboard, 32Gb RAM and a Samsung 970 SSD, as the main data drive. For my own needs that should plenty but I still have a VERY old GPU installed (7 years!), pulled from my PC before I upgraded. So that's the last piece of the puzzle for me.

It's not clear to me how well Camtasia can take advantage of a) my CPU cores and b) a new GPU to lower rendition times, which is a focus or me. It seems - from what I have read - that Camtasia really doesn't leverage the GPU much for rending. Is that accurate? With my crappy old GPU I am taking 10-15 mins to render 45 minute videos and I'd like to reduce that.

I am not in the market for a high end GPU, unless the benefits are very clear. For my own use case, I doubt that. 3-4 times per month isn't too burdensome and I don't plan on spending more on my GPU than I spent on either the CPU or the motherboard (about $300 each). So, if I can get a decent upgrade for < $200 I'd be quite pleased.

Is that feasible, while delivering a nice little reduction in rendering times? Also, does Camtasia currently have any affinity with NVIDIA or AMD GPUs? I read a post from about a year ago related to this but I have no idea if this is still the case.

I am running Camtasia 2019 by the way.

Anyway, any pointers would be most appreciated. Thank you.
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Mark Williams

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Posted 7 months ago

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Ed Covney

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Why not experiment? First, if possible use two storage drives, one to host the source files, the 2nd to render to. I'm still using a five yr old system with a Zotac GTX 970 GPU. When I render using it, video isn't "smooth". It drops frames. So I use software rendering for great video although it takes about 8-10% longer.
Render speed depends on frame size (1080p in your case) and also frame rate: 30fps with render ~ twice as fast as 60fps.
Render 1080p at the rate of 15 mins per 45 minutes of video is great. "NVIDIA or AMD"? I have an old friend at nVidia (if he hasn't retired yet, and he's pro Radeon GPU for AMD chips, nVidia for Intel CPUs.
BUT BEFORE you spend a dime, do two identical videos. Both 1080p, one using you GPU, one using software only rendering. Compare the time and the quality of the video.
I recently rendered the middle 30 minutes of Aqua Man (BlueRay rip) and was disappointed with the quality when I used the GPU, missing frames, jumpy, etc. vs software only render which took 4 minutes longer, but smooth as silk render. BTW, fast action videos also take longer than say a Ted Talk.

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David Bookbinder

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I have only one data point, but I can tell you that Camtasia 2018 does not work well with the AMD Radeon 530 GPU built into the laptop I use with it. I had to drop back to the onboard GPU on the Intel-based motherboard or the editing was unusably jumpy.
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Joe Morgan

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Hello Mark Williams,

So lets unpack your questions a bit.

1.       It seems - from what I have read - that Camtasia really doesn't leverage the GPU much for rending. Is that accurate?

A.      That depends entirely on what version of Camtasia you are running.

B.      Coupled with a vast number of variables. Nailing down these variables & accurately discerning the results? Is nearly impossible. I suspect that because you build your own computers, I’m covering information your already familiar with.

One can only jump to conclusions based on others test results.

The odds you’re going to find someone running your CPU, Motherboard, etc. to compare notes/results with. Is probably nearly 100% against you.

C.      Someone else’s test results will vary based on project settings, media used, the fps rate & complexity of the project.

 Virtually no one will be test rendering the same project using Camtasia. Leaving you with a best guess as how results would apply to you.

D.      Back to point A.

I haven’t run any comparison tests on my computer in quite some time. So I ran a few this weekend.

1.1   I trimmed down a 25 fps MP4 music video to 10 minutes duration. It’s a 1920 x 1080 video. The

projects were all rendered at 30fps.At a 60% quality setting “Roughly 5000kbps” and 256kbps audio.

My Specs?

Dell Computer SPECS.      

XPS 8700

Windows 10, 64-bit, English EA - -

 4th Generation Intel Core i7-4770 processor 3.40 GHz (8M Cache, up to 3.9 GHz)

32GB RAM Dual Channel DDR3 1600MHz - 4 DIMMs EA - -

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 1.5GB GDDR5 EA - -    Supporting   4 Displays

Samsung 860 EVO V-NAND 1TB SSD SATA 6Gb/s           3 EACH


        1.2   RENDER SPEEDS

               Camtasia 8 software only              6:40

               Camtasia 8 GPU enabled               6:09


                Camtasia 9 Software render         8:39         Camtasia 9 doesn’t utilize the GPU when

                                                                                             rendering. Yet, Camtasia 8 is much faster.


                Camtasia 2018 Software mode     9:25          Worse yet!

                 Camtasia 2018 GPU render           6:57           Version 8 is still much faster.


                Camtasia 2019 Software mode       8:52          Ouch! Camtasia 9 beats 2018 & 2019.

                 Camtasia 2019 GPU render             6:45           Ouch again.


                 Premiere Pro Software mode         5: 12          Around 30% faster than Camtasia 8

                  Premiere Pro GPU render               5:05          Around 20% faster than Camtasia 8


                  Corel Video Studio 2019                   5:38          Corel doesn’t use GPU acceleration. Faster

                                                                                     than Camtasia 8.



   Hit Film Express                                  15:52?        Double Ouch! My CPU was running around 60%

                                                                                      Hit Film doesn’t incorporate GPU




   DaVinci Resolve  15                           ?:??:??          Only utilized 20% of my CPU. This would have

                                                                                        taken forever. So I stopped the render at 10

                                                                                         minutes. I don’t care what went wrong. I don’t

                                                                                         like node based editors in the first place.


In A NutShell?


Camtasia’s results are all over the map. With 32 bit Camtasia 8 outperforming its counterparts.


I’m can’t explain the low CPU utilization with Hit Film & Resolve. I’ll probably look into this down the road.


Premiere Pro stole the show. As usual.   


I was monitoring my CPU & GPU, system resources during testing. My CPU never got to hot or utilized Thermal Throttling.


What does this prove with regards to AMD CPU’s and Graphics Cards. Absolutely Nothing! These result are what they are.


2.       I am not in the market for a high end GPU, unless the benefits are very clear. For my own use case, I doubt that. 3-4 times per month isn't too burdensome.


A.      Exactly, I would purchase a decent GPU. Mainly because I run multiple monitors. And a strong GPU is never a bad thing. Unless you’re running a laptop on battery power. LOL

               I built my computer primarily for video editing. Well, Dell built it. I chose specifications at the time. Then upgraded from there.

 Premiere Pro only utilizes the GPU for accelerated FX and graphics. That’s why there’s only 6 seconds difference between render times. When I’m running FX filters and special effects. I’d rather have a beast of a card, or even 2.

B.      The difference between Camtasia 2018 & 2019 with regards to GPU acceleration or not? Is quite significant. Based on my tests. A discrete card seems critical for maximum speeds.


C.      If you’re only rendering 3 or 4 videos a month. Is a "20% + or -"  increase in rendering performance really all that important?


D.      I didn’t test timeline playback speeds, looked at dropped frames, or work with a lot of added graphics. Where a properly utilized GPU can make a significant difference. My tests are narrow in scope.


E.       Camtasia has never utilized more than around 60% of my GPU. That only occurs in minor spurts. With the GPU untapped most of the time. I have no reason to believe a stronger card would be beneficial.


I’ve been needing to run some updated tests.Now I have.

For what it’s worth....


Regards, Joe