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The NVIDIA Quadro K5000

Bring Power and Stability to Your Post Production Workflow

By Clint Milby | October 18, 2013

Over the course of the last two years, Adobe Premiere Pro, my NLE of choice, has made it easier than ever to leverage the power of the GPU. Being a PC user, my CPU and amount memory was my primary concern. However, my focus shifted to finding the perfect GPU that would work in harmony with my system and improve the speed and efficiency of my post workflow. 

Initially, GPUs designed for gaming were the most attractive. These GPUs harnessed the power of NVIDIA technology but were made by other manufacturers. Although they were made specifically to handle the complex graphics of gaming, their strength seemed to be handling bursts, such as a brief but complex scene in a game rather than handling a steady flow of activity one might expect from rendering video. The results were system crashes during longer renders. For short projects the gaming GPUs were fine, but for larger projects, the results were less than desirable. When one considers the amount of time lost for restarting and reloading due to system crashes, it becomes a matter of necessity to find a better solution.


It might strike some as odd that a 4GB GPU sports similar specs as a variety of other GPUs on the market which cost a mere fraction of the K5000. The key here is that specs don’t tell the whole story. I had an opportunity to visit with NVIDIA's Technical Marketing Manager Sean Kilbride, who explained further.  According to Kilbride, unlike Quadro boards which are designed and built by NVIDIA, consumer level boards are designed and built by board partners to varying specifications.  This results in a variety of products using NVIDIA technology,and the quality of the components used can vary depending on the manufacturer. In addition, some versions of these gaming GPUs are overclocked by the manufacturer, overclocking is the process of running the GPU at a higher clock rate (more clock cycles per second) than it was designed for. While Overclocking the GPU can increase overall performance it can also lead to system instability which can result in system crashes usually caused by power drains on the system or overheating of the GPU.

Enter the NVIDIA Quadro K5000

The NVIDIA  Quadro not only leverages NVIDIA technology, but it is also designed and manufactured by NVIDIA. According to Kilbride, the fact that NVIDIA actually manufactures the K5000 allows them to insure that all of the components and technology work together to provide smooth and steady performance without overclocking or pushing the hardware beyond its bounds. The end result is unmatched consistent performance. The K5000’s consistency is its power, and for more it meant editing and rendering at a quick pace without any crashes or failures. 

My Experience

Over the course of six months, I’ve used the K5000 replacing my EVGA GeForce GTX 660. Again, this card supported Adobe’s Mercury Playback Engine however, it was prone to crash during long renders. When it crashed, it crashed the entire system.  Initially, my work around would be to export projects in pieces and then reassemble those pieces in another sequence.  Since there were no effects to render and there was no transcoding involved, this worked ok, but it was far from ideal.  If this wasn’t effective, or for rendering sequences heavily laden with effects, I would disengage the Mercury Playback Engine’s hardware accelerator. This would only engage the CPU and memory, which would work but slow down the process considerably. 

Once I started using the NVIDIA Quadro K5000 I noticed a considerable difference for the better. After installation, I had to manually go into Adobe Premiere and alter a text file suffix from .txt to .txt.x. With that Premiere Pro recognized the card. Then I started rendering and exporting files, and I saw change in render and export speed immediately. While the speed change wasn’t dramatic, however from that time moving forward, I did not experience any crashing. I feel very strongly it was due to the K5000's consistency that processed renders quickly but without destabilizing my entire system. 

Of course there is a significant price increase in the K5000 in comparison with other cards with similar specs. However, the stability the K5000 offers is priceless. The end result is more working, less crashing and no troubleshooting the system. For this reason, I highly recommend the NVIDIA Quadro K5000 for anyone looking quick, reliable and stable graphics processing. 

For more information about the NVIDIA Quadro K5000, go to their website at:





Here is more from NVIDIA:

The NVIDIA Quadro K5000 GPU leverages the new NVIDIA Kepler™

architecture to deliver the world’s most compatible and power efficient

solution for accelerating professional applications.

QUAD!DISPLAY SUPPORT All-new display engine drives up to four displays simultaneously and fully supports the next-generation DisplayPort 1.2 standard capable of resolutions up to 3840x2160. This makes it easy to deploy multiple displays across a desktop, build an expansive digital signage wall, or create a sophisticated stereoscopic 3D CAVE environment.

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wsmith: | October, 22, 2013

Hi Mr. Milby, Thanks for this post. Interesting.

Personally, I find 1700 bucks list is a lot to pay for a card. I’m a sucka for quality and can afford the price to get that. But with Adobe opening up Mercury to ATI and AMD via OpenCL, I have to wonder what Nvidia’s competition can do.

I too had a problem with long-form timeline renders and a system rebuild solved that issue, for me. Personally, I’m somewhat skeptical re needing this card to beat that problem. And I’m very resistant to the notion that build quality and quality of components of Nvidia is better than the OEM licensees Quadro. But what do I know.  I did speak to Nvidia a few years ago at length re Cuda, when Mercury was new. I may have spoken to Mr. Kilbride after insisting to have my call elevated to someone who could cogently explain in in the context of Mercury. 

Whomever I spoke to emphasized that the Cuda card chipset was simply “optimized” specifically for this kind of work (and for CAD etc) whereas the OEM licensee were more concerned with optimizing for gamers, etc.

Anyway, we are no longer stuck inside the Nvidia box. Is there anyway we can get some testing done re the competion? Surely there is a sweet spot in terms of best bang for your buck depending on the type of editing one does.

You don’t mention your prior card. One wonders how much better the K5000 is over the 4000, for the type of editing most pro editors do. One wonders at the comparisons between K5000 and NVidia Titan, for example. Or, again, between Nvidia and the best offerings by ATI or AMD. 

Could I get almost the same performance and save considerable money? I really wish someone was doing the same detailed reviews of these various cards - in the specific context of editing - as is done by the gamer sites in that context. 

Anyway, thanks for this post!



Clint Milby: | October, 22, 2013

Thanks for your kind words and for taking the time to comment.  I think the GPU to beat will be the new GPUs in the upcoming Mac Pro - 2x AMD FirePro workstation-class GPUs.  Once those units hit the street, I’ll be interested to see how well NVIDIA GPUs compare.

It’s funny, in the past, the perception of a GPU has been that of a plug-n-play component that you could swap out at will.  I suppose this works fine if your GPU is primarily for gaming.  However, many users who do “upgrade” find they have to upgrade their power supply, and some have even suffered mother board failure as a result. 

One should definitely do the math and make sure their system can handle the additional power requirements and even then proceed with extreme caution.  It’s one thing to miss the debut of a new MMO because your system is down.  It’s an entirely other thing to miss a deadline due to a new GPU that doesn’t play nice with your system. 

Maybe it’s age on my part, but these days I’d rather have a balanced system that runs steady than a PC strapped to a powerful GPU that lacks dependability…no matter how fast it might be…

I’ll keep my eyes peeled for opportunities to review some other GPUs. 

Thanks again for your comments!

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