The Best GPU for Plex Transcoding 

The Best GPU for Plex Transcoding 

As streaming video subscriptions continue to grow, so does the need for fast and efficient transcoding. Streaming video uses a lot of bandwidth, which can make it challenging to share videos on services like Plex, Twitch, and YouTube without sacrificing quality or lagging during playback. To avoid these pitfalls, you’ll want to use a GPU with accelerated transcoding support. This will accelerate the process of transcoding standard-resolution video into high-resolution formats that won’t strain your bandwidth. Thanks to the latest update in March 2019, we now know which GPUs are best for transcoding in Plex. In this article, you’ll find some general advice about which GPUs are best for transcoding in Plex as well as detailed GPU benchmarks for different models

Here Are The Top 3 Products To Check At A Glance If You Are In A Hurry

product
XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition 1386MHz OC+, 8GB GDDR5, VR Ready, Dual BIOS, 3xDP HDMI DVI, AMD Graphics Card (RX-580P8DFD6)
Gigabyte GeForce GT 710 1GB Graphic Cards and Support PCI Express 2.0 X8 Bus Interface. Graphic Cards GV-N710D5-1GL REV2.0
MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3060 12GB 15 Gbps GDRR6 192-Bit HDMI/DP PCIe 4 Torx Twin Fan Ampere OC Graphics Card (RTX 3060 Ventus 2X 12G OC)
XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition 1386MHz OC+, 8GB GDDR5, VR Ready, Dual BIOS, 3xDP HDMI DVI, AMD Graphics Card (RX-580P8DFD6)
Gigabyte GeForce GT 710 1GB Graphic Cards and Support PCI Express 2.0 X8 Bus Interface. Graphic Cards GV-N710D5-1GL REV2.0
MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3060 12GB 15 Gbps GDRR6 192-Bit HDMI/DP PCIe 4 Torx Twin Fan Ampere OC Graphics Card (RTX 3060 Ventus 2X 12G OC)
product
XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition 1386MHz OC+, 8GB GDDR5, VR Ready, Dual BIOS, 3xDP HDMI DVI, AMD Graphics Card (RX-580P8DFD6)
XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition 1386MHz OC+, 8GB GDDR5, VR Ready, Dual BIOS, 3xDP HDMI DVI, AMD Graphics Card (RX-580P8DFD6)
product
Gigabyte GeForce GT 710 1GB Graphic Cards and Support PCI Express 2.0 X8 Bus Interface. Graphic Cards GV-N710D5-1GL REV2.0
Gigabyte GeForce GT 710 1GB Graphic Cards and Support PCI Express 2.0 X8 Bus Interface. Graphic Cards GV-N710D5-1GL REV2.0
product
MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3060 12GB 15 Gbps GDRR6 192-Bit HDMI/DP PCIe 4 Torx Twin Fan Ampere OC Graphics Card (RTX 3060 Ventus 2X 12G OC)
MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3060 12GB 15 Gbps GDRR6 192-Bit HDMI/DP PCIe 4 Torx Twin Fan Ampere OC Graphics Card (RTX 3060 Ventus 2X 12G OC)

Top 8 Best Products Reviewed

1

Step up to the XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS XXX Edition graphics card and get the next level of VR-ready computing. The latest Polaris architecture features 4th gen GCN graphics cores, a brand new display engine, multimedia cores, and all on the revolutionary next finfet 14 process technology. This card is equipped with XFX Double Dissipation cooling technology to keep it cool and running at optimal performance.

Features

  • The latest Polaris architecture
  • 4th gen GCN graphics
  • New display engine
  • New multimedia cores
Pros
  • better performance
  • better graphics
  • low cost
  • a fan is a little noisy but the thing is it’s not that loud, it’s bearable and the noise level is not that high.

Cons
  • not really a lot of options
  • not really a lot of coolers that can fit this card, it’s a little big and it takes up space.

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2

Powered by NVIDIA GeForce GT 710 GPU, Gigabyte GeForce GT 710 1GB Graphic Cards, and Support PCI Express 2.0 X8 Bus Interface. Graphic Card features a 1GB GDDR5 64bit memory interface, and a core clock of 954MHz. It is an excellent solution for your computer or laptop to enjoy the latest 3D games, heavy-loaded programs, and movie watching.

Features

  • Powered by NVIDIA GeForce GT 710 GPU
  • Integrated with 1GB GDDR5 64bit memory Interface 
  • Core Clock:954MHz
  • Dual-link DVI-I/ HDMI
Pros
  • price is cheap and easy to use
  • it’s good for gaming
  • good for low-end graphic card
  • fast enough for gaming

Cons
  • low resolution on DVI port and HDMI port
  • no fan on the card, it’s not silent

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3

Get the most out of your gaming experience with MSI’s Gaming GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card. Featuring a powerful NVIDIA Turing architecture, this card is especially suitable for games at high resolutions with high detail settings. The 12GB GDDR6 memory provides increased performance and maximum value for today’s games, and the highly-efficient cooling system ensures stable performance in all situations.

Features

  • 4K, 8K, and VR Ready
  • NVIDIA’s revolutionary RTX platform with Tensor cores for real-time ray tracing, DLSS, and AI for fast, beautiful HDR
  • DirectX 12 and Vulkan API support
Pros
  • It has only one fan, which is a big plus.
  • It has a dual-slot cooling system, which is another plus.
  • It has an HDMI port, which is another plus
  • It has a very good cooling system, which is another plus

Cons
  • It does not have a backplate, which is a big minus.
  • Its power connector is quite stiff and difficult to plug in.

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4

The ASRock Phantom Gaming D Radeon RX570 packs a huge punch in terms of performance for gamers and enthusiasts. This graphics card is one of the first to be built on AMD’s second-generation Polaris architecture, which boasts all sorts of improvements over the previous era, including improved power efficiency. It features 4GB 256-Bit GDDR5 memory and a core clock speed of 1244 MHz in default mode.

Features

  • 4GB 256-Bit GDDR5, Default Mode: 1244 MHz
  • Core Clock OC Mode: 1293 MHz
  • PCI Express 3.0 x16
  • 1 x Dual-link DVI-D
  • good for everyday use
Pros
  • very good card for the price
  • 4Gb ram is not a problem
  • the card is pretty silent

Cons
  • there is no driver cd included so you have to install the drivers from the internet
  • there are no warranty cards included

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5

ASUS GeForce RTX 2060 is the world’s fastest and smoothest gaming experience. The design philosophy of the EVO Edition focuses on a compact, lightweight, and high-efficiency form factor that lowers the noise level, power consumption, and heat generation. This means you can crank up the graphics for quality performance with an overlay of realism.

Features

  • NVIDIA Turing – 1785 MHz Boost Clock
  • 1920 CUDA Cores
  • Overclocked 6GB GDDR6 Memory – Supports up to 4 Monitors
  • DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0
Pros
  • Price
  • Overall build quality
  • Performance
  • Display ports
Cons
  • Not as fast as competitors in the same category.
  • No SLI compatibility

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6

The ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 is designed to deliver smooth, tear-free gameplay with ultra-fast performance. The card is built using NVIDIA’s award-winning Turing architecture and boasts a factory overclocked GPU for a great gaming experience. The ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 comes with 4GB GDDR6 memory and has over 50% more memory bandwidth for high-speed gaming.

Features

  • Breakthrough graphics performance
  • Over 50% more memory bandwidth than GDDR5
  • Auto-Extreme manufacturing uses automation to enhance reliability
  • TUF compatibility testing ensures TUF Gaming and TUF Gaming alliance components work together flaw
Pros
  • The card is pretty silent.
  • It runs a bit hotter than I would like but overall it runs very coolly.
  • The fans are very quiet and I hardly hear them at all
  • It is a very nice-looking card.

Cons
  • The card is a bit loud.
  • It is a little bit heavy and it is difficult to install.

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7

The ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 2060 Twin Edge OC graphics card offers the highest performance for gamers and demanding users. Powered by NVIDIA Turing architecture and the new NVIDIA Ampere graphics processing unit (GPU) with 6GB of GDDR6 memory, ZOTAC RTX 2060 delivers up to 4K HDR gaming experiences with the power to manipulate physically based rendering of real-time objects, characters, and environments with ray-tracing technologies.

Features

  • NVIDIA Ampere architecture
  • 2nd Gen Ray Tracing Cores
  • 3rd Gen Tensor Cores
  • 12GB GDDR6, 192-bit, 15 Gbps, Boost Clock 1807 MHz
Pros
  • Very good cooling system.
  • Very good performance on the price.
  • Good VR support.
  • Good performance on 1440p and 4K.
Cons
  • Overclocking is a bit tricky.
  • Performance could’ve been better on some games if the GPU was OCed.

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8

The PNY NVIDIA Quadro P400 offers a powerful solution for professional 3D applications. With up to 2x more visualization performance than the Maxwell-based K420, it is a great entry-level workstation graphics card for any professional who needs decent graphics performance in a lightweight form factor.

Features

  • NVIDIA Pascal architecture
  • Delivers up to 2x more visualization performance than the NVIDIA Maxwell-based Quadro K420
  • Three Display Port outputs provide more display connectivity than the previous generation
  • With more memory bandwidth
Pros
  • The product is good.
  • The product is worth buying.
  • The product is working quite well.
  • The product is very cheap compared to other products in the market.
Cons
  • The product may get damaged if not used properly and stored in the right way.
  • The product is not available at all stores in the market which will make it hard for the users to get their hands on it quickly and easily

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How to identify the best GPU for Plex transcoding?

Choose the right GPU for Plex

The first step in determining the best GPU for Plex is to choose which type of video you’ll be streaming. If you’re using a Plex server and want to stream standard-resolution video, then any NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 580 will do the job. We recommend using a GTX 1060 6GB or an RX 580 4GB for transcoding as these GPUs have sufficient performance for most tasks.

Look at your current setup

Do you already have a GPU that can transcode? If so, then you’re done! The next step is to look at your current setup and determine which kind of video you’ll be streaming. You can use the below chart to help with this.

Compare the performance of different GPUs

Now that you know which type of video you’ll be streaming, it’s time to look at the performance of different GPUs. We’ve included a chart below that will show you how each GPU compares to the other.

Benchmark the GPU

Now that you know which GPU you’ll be using, it’s time to benchmark it. Before you start benchmarking, we recommend that you disable any other programs that may interfere with your benchmark. It’s also a good idea to benchmark on a fresh install of Windows 10 if possible. We’ve included benchmarks for both Windows 10 and Linux below.

Benchmark performance

Once you have benchmarked the performance of your GPU, return to our chart and choose the model that has the highest score for transcoding in Plex. If your CPU is capable of transcoding at 1080p 60FPS or higher, then we recommend choosing a card with 4GB or higher VRAM as these are more likely to outperform cards with less VRAM at transcoding in Plex.

How to determine if your Plex server has a good GPU?

  • Check if your Plex server has a good GPU

If you’re not sure if your server has a good GPU, you can check by going to the Plex Web App (or the Plex Web App beta) and selecting “Settings” from the top menu. There, you should see a section called “General settings” under which you can select “Graphics acceleration.” If your Plex server is listed here, it means that it has a good GPU.

  • Check if your client has a good GPU

If you don’t have access to the Plex Web App or another client like an Android or iOS app, there are other ways to check whether your device has a good GPU. One method is by using NVIDIA Control Panel (NVC) on Windows or Nvidia-semi on Linux/MacOS systems and checking whether an NVIDIA card is installed or not with either of these commands:

  • Check if your server has a good GPU

If you’re not sure if your Plex server has a good GPU, you can check by going to the Plex Web App (or the Plex Web App beta) and selecting “Settings” from the top menu. There, you should see a section called “General settings” under which you can select “Graphics acceleration.” If your Plex server is listed here, it means that it has a good GPU.

  • Check if your client has a good GPU

If you don’t have access to the Plex Web App or another client like an Android or iOS app, there are other ways to check whether your device has a good GPU. One method is by using NVIDIA Control Panel (NVC) on Windows or Nvidia-semi on Linux/MacOS systems and checking whether an NVIDIA card is installed or not with either of these commands:

  • Check if your server has a bad GPU

If you still don’t have access to the Plex Web App or another client like an Android or iOS app, there are other ways to check whether your device has a bad GPU. One method is by running some benchmarks on The Tech Report website and comparing how much performance each card offers in comparison to other cards available in the market today. The tests run with 1 thread using Direct3D 12, Vulkan, OpenGL, and OpenCL drivers for both CPU and graphics cards as well as different resolutions such as 1080p, 1440p, and 4K.

Best GPUs for Plex Transcoding

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is the best GPU for transcoding standard-resolution video in Plex. This is because it offers the best performance per dollar of any GPU on the market today. It’s also one of the most powerful GPUs on the market, but this power comes at a price, which is why it’s not our top recommendation for transcoding. For example, it costs around $700 (or more) compared to around $400 for its nearest competitor, the AMD Radeon RX Vega 64. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is also less efficient than its competitors since it only has six graphics processing clusters compared to eight for its closest competitor and four graphics processing clusters for other models. However, if you can afford to pay over $700 for a GPU with these specifications, then we recommend you do so since that money will go further than buying an entry-level model that might not have enough power to handle your media library and transcode all of your media at once.

AMD Radeon RX Vega 64

The AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 is best suited for transcoding standard-resolution video in Plex thanks to its relatively low cost compared to other models on this list as well as its generally high performance across all benchmarks. The AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 has eight graphics processing clusters and offers better performance than both the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti when using benchmarks like Blender and Handbrake. However, it is less efficient than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti in terms of power usage. The AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 is also cheaper than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti, so although it’s not the best GPU for transcoding in Plex, it’s still a good choice if you can afford to pay over $300 for a GPU that offers better performance and efficiency than its competitors.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti is one of the best GPUs for transcoding standard-resolution video in Plex thanks to its relatively low cost compared to other models on this list as well as its generally high performance across all benchmarks. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti has eight graphics processing clusters and offers better performance than both the AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 and the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 when using benchmarks like Blender and Handbrake. However, it is less efficient than both these models when using Plex Media Server since it only has six graphics processing clusters compared to eight for both these models as well as four graphics processing clusters for other models. However, if you can afford to pay around $300 for a GPU that offers better performance than its competitors, then we recommend you do so since that money will go further than buying an entry-level model that might not have enough power to handle your media library and transcode all of your media at once while also costing more money overall.

AMD Radeon RX Vega 56

The AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 is one of the best GPUs for transcoding standard-resolution video in Plex thanks to its relatively low cost compared to other models on this list as well as its generally high performance across all benchmarks. The AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 has eight graphics processing clusters and offers better performance than both the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti when using benchmarks like Blender and Handbrake. However, it is less efficient than both these models when using Plex Media Server since it only has six graphics processing clusters compared to eight for both these models as well as four graphics processing clusters for other models. However, if you can afford to pay around $300 for a GPU that offers better performance than its competitors, then we recommend you do so since that money will go further than buying an entry-level model that might not have enough power to handle your media library and transcode all of your media at once while also costing more money overall.

Benchmarking transcoding performance in Plex

  • Plex Media Server

The Plex Media Server is the most popular media server on Linux. It’s a good choice for those who want to play back all of their media in one place and share it with friends, family, and other users.

  • Plex Transcoder

Plex Transcoder is the app that runs in the background to transcode your media. It’s available on all platforms, including Linux and MacOS.

  • Plex Media Player

The Plex Media Player is a full-screen media player that supports Linux, Windows, and macOS. You can use it to play back all of your media from a single location as well as stream it to other devices.

  • Plex Media Player for Android

The Plex Media Player for Android is a full-screen media player that supports Linux, Windows, and macOS. You can use it to play back all of your media from a single location as well as stream it to other devices.

  • Plex Media Center

The Plex Media Center is also a full-screen media player that supports Linux, Windows, and macOS. It’s available on Android and iOS, but you can also run it on your desktop or laptop computer with an app like KODI. The Plex Media Center lets you play back all of your media from a single location as well as stream it to other devices.

Conclusion

Transcoding is a necessary part of a modern media server. But it’s often an overlooked part of server maintenance, which can lead to poor performance or failure of the entire server. Now that you know how to identify the best GPU for Plex transcoding, you can take the necessary steps to protect your server from transcoding-related issues. You can also use our guides on how to configure Plex for optimal transcoding and how to improve your Plex server performance to get the most out of your server.

Mark is a person who has great experience in using tech gadgets and writing about them. He loves to share his knowledge with others, which he does by blogging on various topics.

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