Which video card? nVidia vs. AMD Radeon

TheLaw wrote on 11/25/2012, 6:42 PM
I don't do gaming at all. I'm mostly editing and using Adobe Photoshop (CS3, maybe an upgrade some day.) I've heard the CUDA is far more effective than OpenCL based cards for video editing but I have no idea of the differences. I'd like to spend around $200-300 on a card and get the most for my money. Right now the cards I'm looking at are the AMD Radeon 7870 and 7970 and the GTX 660 ti and 670. Video editing probably is the largest time investment I will make and will save time on rendering (more than Photoshop) and I'd like to get one that gives me the least trouble and best value.

I have the ability to get a great GTX 660 ti card on sale. I read that the GTX 6xx series is now getting support in Vegas 12. But let's assume that it's there. What card do I want to invest in? I keep hearing that the AMD Radeon 7970 is far more powerful in "pure computing" but others say it's a gaming test and that a GTX 6xx series will blow it away using CUDA. I also hear that Kepler sucks and others say that it's just now seeing support but is a much improved powerful architecture over Fermi, just the software support needs to be updated. There is also the 660 ti question of the RAM bus speed which is supposedly more limited so even having the CUDA cores may not be significant (others say it will only affect gaming, not rendering... and others say the reverse.)

So all this technological terminology aside, which I only know by name, what card do I want to get? Can anyone get right down to the truth of all this instead of all these regurgitated speculation?


videoITguy wrote on 11/25/2012, 8:08 PM
To the OP : There is only one line of your long dissertation that makes a point and it is your last statement of the piece.

The Answer...
Are you ready...?
TheLaw wrote on 11/25/2012, 8:18 PM
Very thought provoking answer for the question of which is a better route to go for Vegas - AMD 7xxx vs. nVidia GTX6xx series. So your answer is NO or is that a "yes"?
ushere wrote on 11/25/2012, 8:38 PM
probably yes AND no....

both cards have some advantages over each other, but equally the same can be said about their disadvantages - yes, i know that's no clearer.

i prefer nvidia after numerous bad experiences with ati drivers. the cards might well have been alright, even superior, but i don't have the time or patience to deal with wonky drivers.
TheLaw wrote on 11/25/2012, 9:04 PM
Thanks - but I've been hearing highly questionable results from using any nVidia 6xx cards right now. It appears that Vegas 12 works with the Radeon 7970 and 7950 cards but is only beginning to work with the nVidia 680 and 670 cards and I'm not even sure about the 660 ti. The latest build supposedly shows some compatibility and most everyone seems to be using the 570 and 580 since the new nVidia cards supposedly focused completely on gaming performance - so that the GTX 6xx series is only marginally better. I've heard the same thing regarding plugins - that they will crash Vegas if not optimized for the 6xx architecture and it could be a long time until that happens.

That said, if the AMD OpenCL based architecture works now and is at least if not faster, then wouldn't that seem the way to go? I'd love to stick with nVidia and the $250 deal I got for the card is great. But if a 7950 or 7970 can be had for just $30-60 more -- and more importantly it works now with Vegas 12 -- then that would be the way to go. Problem is I can't really confirm anything - speed or compatibility when it comes to the GTX 6xx cards.
videoITguy wrote on 11/25/2012, 10:24 PM
Sorry Thelaw, you are totally missing the point - the answer to your concerns is technology, technology, and technology.
570 works because of its technology.

If you can get someone to guarantee in writing that you get a 7970 to work perfectly in your hardware - then I would bet they can spin gold as well. Please review what you are attempting and don't make your questioning rhetorical.
john_dennis wrote on 11/25/2012, 11:25 PM
I have an nVidia bias and a GTS 450 in one system. When I built my last system a couple months ago, I decided to avoid the whole conflict and use the Intel HD4000 adapter in the i7-3770k until we get more clarity on the Keplar.

Quick Sync is working for me and I'm in no hurry to be in your situation. If I was in your situation, and had to buy a video card, I'm pretty sure I'd buy a 5x0 card and forget the whole thing for a while.

Everything I just said is anecdotal and is worth about what you paid for it. But, I've been in the computer business for 36 years and I've seen lots of hardware and software come and go. My timing has been pretty good at times.

My main system:
Motherboard: Asus X99-AII
CPU: Intel i7-6850K
GPU: Sapphire Radeon RX480-8GB
RAM: Corsair Dominator (4 x 4 GB) DDR4 2400
Disk O/S & Programs: Intel SSD 750 (400 GB)
Disk Active Projects: 1TB & 2TB WD BLACK SN750 NVMe Internal PCI Express 3.0 x4 Solid State Drives
Disk Other: WD Ultrastar/Hitachi Hard Drives: WDBBUR0080BNC-WRSN, HGST HUH728080ALE600, 724040ALE640, HDS3020BLA642
Case: LIAN LI PC-90 Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower Case
CPU cooling: Corsair Hydro series H115i
Power supply: SeaSonic SS-750KM3 750W 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Full Modular Active PFC Power Supply
Drive Bay: Kingwin KF-256-BK 2.5" and 3.5" Trayless Hot Swap Rack with USB 3
Sound card: Crystal Sound 3 on motherboard. Recording done on another system.
Primary Monitor: Asus ProArt PA248q (24" 1920 x 1200)
O/S: Windows 10 Pro 22H2, Build 19045.2130

Camera: Sony RX10 Model IV


TheLaw wrote on 11/25/2012, 11:30 PM
No - the 570 doesn't work because of it's technology. It works because the people at Sony made sure that Vegas is compatible with the technology. While it works, it's also a card whose technology came out years ago. The question is, with an eye towards the future, what is compatible with and works best for performance/value with Vegas 12 for a roughly $240-300 budget?

I see right now that the GTX 660 ti and Radeon 7950 both are in that price range. The 7970 was on sale for $319 too. But I can't confirm any of these cards, which have been out for at least 6 months, even work with Vegas 12. Sony's listed compatible video cards is clearly old and as vague as possible. The performance graph is also old. Is anyone using the above cards reliably?
TheLaw wrote on 11/25/2012, 11:37 PM
John -

Thanks for your post. I'm trying to find a cheaper 5xx card now -- I've got an i7-2600 and not the 2600k. As such I'm trying to find a GPU that will make a significant difference for price/performance using Sony Vegas.

The real problem is that the industry has moved towards fooling the customer more than I can ever recall. New issues trying to buy recordable media (DVD BDR) is also a disappointing mess, impossible to know what you're buying any more until after the fact. The research on Kepler took me all day - with many saying that removal of GPGPU that nVidia was pushing cripples the 6xx line for video editing but has better marketing numbers for gaming. Unfortunately the GTX 5x0 cards are still artificially inflated... but thanks for confirming the conclusion that I'm coming too, which is that this mess might not sort out for quite a while.

EDIT: I've just been informed of something that also makes a difference - Photoshop CS 3 (which I use) won't use anything other than CUDA. You're probably right in getting rid of this 660 ti card and seeing if I can get a bargain 570. Supposedly the pure computing power for rendering on the 660 ti is stripped down much more than I had thought for the sake of marketing. How disappointing.
ushere wrote on 11/26/2012, 1:46 AM
i'm still working with a lowly 550ti till there's some DEFINITIVE information about a card that will REALLY give me some oomph (without the nightmares)....
set wrote on 11/26/2012, 3:13 AM
I'm using ATI 5750 right now, and driver catalyst 12.8. Haven't upgrade again to latest 12.11 (if i'm correct) as I got surprising strange color flicker with the latest driver - never encountered like that before (finally restore Win7 system to previous state).


As so far I know for Nvidia, 570 is very compatible and 680 is full of trouble.
warriorking wrote on 11/26/2012, 7:55 AM
Being a owner of the Nvidia GTX 670 I find no issues in Vegas 12 thus far.
All my plugins work perfectly they consist of New blue Video Essentails 1-5, New Blue Stabalizer, Pro Dad products are Vitascene Pro, Mercalli Pro 2...as well as a few Vasst plugins..
All work within Vegas 12 without any crashes...Although I do game from time to time that was not considered in purchasing the 670, I have not regretted my purchase..
ingeborgdot wrote on 11/26/2012, 8:16 AM
I just bought an AMD 7870 for a great price but it has become a bad deal. Neither my Pro 11 or my new 12 will render anything with it. I had to shut down graphics rendering which I have never had to do. It is also causing problems with my computer too I think. I may start a new thread on this instead of hijacking this one. Has sony not made the 7870 compatible with Vegas yet?
TheLaw wrote on 11/26/2012, 10:11 AM
Warriorking - could you give me an idea of your render times? I keep reading more information about how nvidia stripped out much of the computing power of the cores so that the 6xx series of cards perform no better than and sometimes worse than the 5xx series and with questionable compatibility. I would guess if the 670 works for GPU acceleration then the 660 ti should work as well as they are using the same architecture.

This is the one thing I cannot find - what the render time difference is between, e.g. an i7-2600 CPU vs. a GTX 570 GPU, GTX 670 GPU, GTX 660 ti GPU, etc. As of now, it seems that the 570 is compatible to a high degree and provides the best render times (other than the 580 which is much higher in price.)
videoITguy wrote on 11/26/2012, 10:30 AM
IT would be real helpful WarriorKing if you were willing to publish the following:
What format of file source and file ouput with timeline length specified- that you so choose to reveal in a GPU switch on/off test>
Your motherboard
videocard maker and driver version number
any on -board enhancements like raid (type?) source and destination drive
VegasPro version and build number

in other words - reveal your whole enchilada
TheLaw wrote on 11/26/2012, 11:03 AM
I had a very disturbing call with Sony that makes me wonder about Vegas as a whole and why I bothered purchasing Vegas 12. I asked their sales line whether Vegas 12 works with the GTX 600 series of video cards for GPU acceleration. I was told that this was a philosophical question - if they say on their website that Vegas 12 supports GTX 400 and up series cards (which are long outdated) then theoretically it will work with a 6xx series card or you can send in a support request and they'll get to figuring it out eventually. But it was up to me to buy my hardware first and then download a copy of Vegas to test if the GPU is recognized at all.

To me this is mind boggling. They are in the business of creating video editing software but have no desire whatsoever to bother testing their software with video/graphics cards designed for this purpose that have been manufactured in the past 1-2 years? When I told them that Adobe puts out a GPU compatibility chart I was told that they aren't Adobe and they don't bother following what they do. Well... perhaps it might be a good idea for someone to wake up and not develop in a vacuum. This might be a case of the sales person not really knowing what to say as he didn't seem to understand that there is a major difference between the GTX 500 series and the 600 series architecture.

Anyways, it would be very helpful if WarriorKing could provide his setup. Right now this is so discouraging trying to buy a video card that (1) is confirmed to work with Sony Vegas in the GTX 600 series and (2) how it performs relative to both the CPU (no GPU) and compared to a GTX 500 series card, if available or if the owner has experience with having owned a 500 series card and upgrading it.
videoITguy wrote on 11/26/2012, 11:20 AM
TheLaw - as you may or may NOT know - the forum was recently the active recruitment area for people to sign-up and beta test development of VegasPro12. One of the requirements in a beta test is that a large data collection of users is assembled revealing the variety of platforms on which the code is tested.

Those betatesters are bound by a NDA -so they are hushed up. But one can assume that sufficient testing concluded with the published recommends.

SORRY, you received some bad info from a person who knows nothing and wound up on the wrong side of bed today.
warriorking wrote on 11/26/2012, 11:44 AM
I will run several tests after work this week and give you my findings with GPU rendering turned on and off...
My system specs are as follows:

MB- MSI Z77 G41
Proc- Intel i7Core 3.4 2600K
Ram- 16Gig Corsair DDR3
Video- EVGA GTX 670 2Gig 306.97 Drivers
HDs-1-SSD 120Gig, 3-1TB
2-LG Blu-ray Burners
Soundcard- Auzentech Prelude 7.1
850Watt PS
2-24" LCD screens
Windows 8 Pro 64Bit
Vegas 12Pro Latest Build 394
AVCHD Footage from Sony NX5U, Sony AX2000, Canon HG21, Canon HG10
TheLaw wrote on 11/26/2012, 12:05 PM
WarriorKing - many thanks. The information you could provide would be invaluable. Right now I have a 660 ti being delivered and wisdom says to go with the 570 for the same price.

Regarding the information I received from the Sony Sales line - I agree that it wasn't helpful. What irks me is that none of this information is being published that may have been collected from the beta testers of Vegas 12 nor anything now. They are using the GTX 570 as a benchmark to impress - nothing about the 600 architecture, nothing about compatibility or performance. At the very least you'd expect something on compatible video cards that work with your own video software! :)
videoITguy wrote on 11/26/2012, 12:26 PM
Left out videocard driver version number?
VegasPro Build number?
warriorking wrote on 11/26/2012, 12:45 PM
I amended the specs with the drivers..
warriorking wrote on 11/27/2012, 6:30 PM
Ok here are the results.
MB- MSI Z77 G41
Proc- Intel i7Core 3.4 2600K
Ram- 16Gig Corsair DDR3
Video- EVGA GTX 670 2Gig 306.97 Drivers
HDs-1-SSD 120Gig, 3-1TB
2-LG Blu-ray Burners
Soundcard- Auzentech Prelude 7.1
850Watt PS
2-24" LCD screens
Windows 8 Pro 64Bit
Vegas 12Pro Latest Build 394

Footage- AVCHD Sony NX5U
Render template- AVC Blu-ray 1920x1080 16Mbps
Project setting-Best
New Blue Color Fixer Pro
Sony Color Corrector
Render Times:
No color correction:

Multicam Project- 4 AVCHD Cams, NX5U, AX2000, Canon HG21, Canon HG10
Concert Footage Length 1:31:27
RenderTemplate AVC Blu-ray 1920x1080 60i 16Mbps
Project setting: Best
Color Fixer New Blue
Pan Crop
Pro Titler Pro
Render times:
IAM4UK wrote on 11/27/2012, 8:16 PM
Per warriorking's results, if one has such a great CPU as an i7-2600K, then even a very expensive GPU like the 670 is of no real benefit within Vegas 12.
TheLaw wrote on 11/27/2012, 8:20 PM
WarriorKing - THANK YOU!!! Wow, really beyond what I expected - thanks for posting your rendering times with all those variations.

I have an i7-2600 as well and the rendering times are interesting. I wonder what the 570 series would yield and hopefully someone with a 500 series card might be able to also provide a comparison. Regardless, I'm sure you're seeing a tremendous boost in video preview over the built in Intel graphics on the motherboard. That's one of the main reasons I've looked at getting a video card.

Again, can't thank you enough.
warriorking wrote on 11/27/2012, 8:38 PM
Glad I could help, to me the GTX670 was still worth it, even though It did not make a huge difference in my rendering times it still did not break the bank and helped me in many other areas...