In October 2010, Sony released Vegas Pro 10, the most advanced video production tool available at the time. Out of the box, Vegas Pro 10 took advantage of NVIDIA's CUDA technology to accelerate AVC encoding in limited formats. By the forth update, a small number of ATI video cards were able to accelerate the same functions via OpenCL GPGPU API.
Before my hand gets smacked by Apple fans, I'll just go ahead and say I prefer Vegas Pro over other video editing software. The reason why is actually quite simple. Most of Sony's professional software links back to Sonic Foundry. Sonic Foundry produced audio production software when I worked in that industry. Vegas is configured like pro audio software, so it's much easier for people coming from audio to jump into video.
Roughly one year after Vegas 10 hit the market, Sony released Vegas Pro 11 with improved GPGPU support for both CUDA and OpenCL. In this release, wider ranges of video cards and accelerated tasks were supported. For the first time, GPGPU accelerated video decoding, effects, playback, compositing, pan/crop, transitions, and motion.
The two versions of Vegas Pro we're using to test today are Vegas Pro 12, released late 2012, and the newest Vegas Pro software, 13, released in April of this year. Both versions brought new features to the series. Of interest to us, Vegas 12 changed the way we worked in 1080p content, while Vegas 13 puts more focus on 4K content.
I shoot video in 1080p at 60 frames per second on a Panasonic handheld video camera at trade shows. Last month, I upgraded to Vegas Pro 13, and just after that, YouTube announced support for 1080p at 60 FPS. The timing couldn't be better, but video like that requires a lot of processing power. At trade shows like Flash Memory Summit, Storage Visions, CES, and Computex, time really is money. I wonder what I could do to reduce the amount of rendering time?
Specifications, Pricing and Availability
Our friends at VisionTek had an easy, drop-in solution to take care of our high video render times. With a core clock speed of 947 MHz and 2560 stream processors, the VisionTek R9 290 boasts 4.9 Teraflops of compute performance at a reasonable cost. Although designed primarily for playing video games on a PC, the crypromining revolution of 2013 proved that gaming video cards are powerful enough to fill roles in other markets.
The VisionTek R9 290 also allows videographers to run multiple screens at the same time. The card has an HDMI port, DisplayPort, and two DVI ports. This allows you to run a full size preview on a second monitor and have a dedicated workflow area.
VisionTek offers several models in the R9 product family, ranging from the $189 R9 270X to the dual GPU equipped R9 295X2 at $1499.99. Today, we're using the midrange R9 290 that lists at Newegg currently for $414.99. It's important to remember when purchasing a video card for Vegas Pro rendering that double the cost does not mean a double reduction in rendering times.
The VisionTek R9 290, along with the other products listed above, ships with a lifetime warranty. That gives us peace of mind when choosing a product for our needs. VisionTek is the only video card maker still offering a lifetime warranty on video cards. The PCIe specification (the slot the card plugs into on your computer) has a long roadmap, so it's possible that you will still use your VisionTek video card ten years from now for rendering video.
Let's take a look at the card and Sony Vegas 2013.
PRICING: You can find the VisionTek R9 290 for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The VisionTek R9 290 retails for $414.00 at Amazon.
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