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What is a GPU- Do you need it for video editing & graphic design?

What is a GPU- Do you need it for video editing & graphic design?

Let's talk about a GPU. What is it? And how does it relate to graphic designers, video Editors, or just creative professionals as a whole? 

What is a GPU?

Well, it is a graphics processing unit or video card. And really when you think about a GPU you usually think about the big bulky unit that you see most often in desktops. But this is not what the GPU actually is completely made up of. This is the entire package. The actual graphics card is something like this. Now, this is a dedicated graphics card that would be inside of a laptop. This is the mx350. But this entire unit is what makes up the graphics processing unit. But the graphics card is this.

What is a GPU- Do you need it for video editing & graphic design?

So right off the bat that's a distinguisher we want to make.

Here's two types of GPUs

Integrated GPU

Integrated GPU that's a graphics processing unit that is built into a central processing unit a CPU of a laptop or desktop computer. It shares the RAM with the CPU. So it has to share the computer's RAM along with the CPU to get pull its power.

Dedicated GPU

Whereas you have a discrete GPU. And I kind of find that word amusing because there's nothing really discrete about that but a discrete GPU or a dedicated GPU. And this is a separate dedicated component within the computer. It has its own RAM memory VRAM. So it does not have to pull from the computer's Bank of RAM. RAM stands for random access memory.

So VRAM is a graphics processing unit dedicated to RAM. So what this does is allows the computer to save its RAM for other tasks and dedicate the VRAM to graphics processing tasks.

What is in a dedicated GPU?

Well inside a dedicated GPU is its own CPU its own RAM, VRAM a dedicated BIOS chip. And for AMD something called stream processors. And for Nvidia something called CUDA cores. Now you've heard of cores within a CPU 1-core, 2-core. Now we're up to 6-core 8 cores so on and so forth. But this is specifically cores inside of a GPU. And there's way way more cores inside of a GPU than there are a CPU.

What is the GPU do?

Well, it's responsible for rendering graphics. Well, what kind of graphics? As a video editor or graphic designer or motion designer or any other designer that you can think of maybe an architect. What are you using your GPU for?

The GPU supports the CPU by sending the GPU a message to help it render the footage of a video editing project or 3D animation or an architectural rendering or animation so on and so forth. So we can focus on other equally important but less graphical tasks to explain that you have the CPU. So you're working inside of a project and all of a sudden you hit the timeline. You play on the timeline and the timeline starts rolling to show you your footage or show you the animation. So immediately the CPU says Hey graphical task.

So it pushes information. It executes a code that sends the GPU and says Hey I need your help. So what happens is the GPU picks up some of that visual rendering load of the image happening in the timeline and say Premiere Pro or even resolve or after-effects. And it starts to pull power. So that way Let's say 30 % of the rendering and visuals go to the RAM and then it pulls 15 to 20 % of the weight from the CPU.

And then that way you can focus on other tasks and not get pulled down and you can have a better performing computer. It works in the playback and timeline. It works in rendering. So whenever you're in Premiere Pro when you click render so it renders out your project or your animations or if you're doing an entire visual animation click Render. And this is where the GPU takes over.

The GPU speeds up the process of smoothing the three 3D dimensional edges of your footage or animation. The GPU does not take responsibility for exporting. So I know a lot of people say Okay does the GPU help with exporting? It does not. And the GPU is best used for creative professionals in Premier Pro, after effects, DaVinci Resolve, Sony Vegas, Blender CAD so on and so forth. Is GPU Important for 4k Video Editing?

What is the GPU do for graphic design?

Honestly as a whole nothing. GPU is not used for graphic design. I have a lot of people ask me and say Hey you know I'm a graphic designer. I'm working with graphics. Do I need a graphics processing unit? And this is where I think it should really be renamed as visual graphics or video graphics card which people do call a video card sometimes. But really the general term as a whole in the industry is GPU or graphics processing unit. I understand the confusion. I thought that a lot when I was first getting into the industry figuring out what computer I needed.

But as we look at the capabilities of it being more of a render-based product more of something that deals with the timeline and what displays on your screen. So I was having to communicate all that information on your screen and visually decode it. So the CPU is able to handle the rendering of graphics and in design illustrator Photoshop and affinity. So really your CPU is going to take the brunt of the load for graphic design whereas the CPU might call on the GPU to help in some crazy animation you've created in Photoshop. But that is going to be a minimal situation.

So Let's say you create this huge project that has tons of visualization needs a ton of help reimposing that on your screen. You might pull a little bit of power from the GPU but that is a rare case.

Do you need to know more about the GPU other than what we've covered?

Not necessarily. If you're a video editor or if you're a graphic designer you have a lot of the information that you need. Now the question from here comes which GPU is right for you. So before we continue on to this slide and talk through this Let's look at how I think is best to really understand what GPU you should be purchasing.

So the best way to do it is to go to userbenchmark.com. And you compare and you could see the bigger number that sounds like a really great GPU. Sounds like a lot more powerful then compare benchmark to benchmark. So this would be a better more cost-effective solution. So that's one way you can really start to understand which GPU should buy and the choices that you make on make us in a purchasing decision.

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