How to Unlock Adobe Premiere’s exclusive CUDA acceleration for any NVIDIA card

How to Unlock Premiere CS5.5 and use your NVIDIA video card with CUDA acceleration

Although my beloved NLE Vegas has been using R3D native for years now, there have been some incredible leaps made by Adobe as of late. CUDA acceleration within Premiere CS 5.5 allows the software to utilize the GPU processing power from your video card. This means editing 4k/5k material is faster than ever, and doing things like adding effects and grading is applied in realtime – without a hitch. The only thing standing in between you and taking advantage of the acceleration? Adobe has essentially “short-listed” a few higher powered video cards that will take advantage of CUDA GPU. If you don’t own one of them, then you will have to run CUDA in software mode only, which means you will have to take a serious performance hit.

Until now.

Read on for a step by step how to for “hacking” or “unlocking” Premiere, and get the most use out of your video card. Before you decide to Unlock Premiere for CUDA acceleration – a few caveats to be aware of:

  • Will only work for NVIDIA cards
  • Your card should have at least 1GB memory
  • Also must have DDR3 or DDR5 memory (DDR2 clashes with the Mercury Engine)
  • Works better on Intel chipsets
  • You will need to repeat this process each time Adobe patches Premiere

 

There are a ton of video cards out there, these are most of the recent offerings from Nvidia. If you are on the fence about trying to run CUDA acceleration with your current card, check out the list below for some extra insight – created by the guys at Studio One Productions.

The List:

NVIDIA Card Number
of CUDA
Cores
Size of Power Supply ** Memory Type Memory
Interface
Width
Graphic Clock
Speed
Processor Clock
Speed
NOTES
9400 GT 16 300 watt DDR2 or DDR3 128 Bit 550 Mhz 1400 Mhz Not Recommend
9500 GT 32 350 watt DDR2 or DDR3 128 Bit 550 Mhz 1400 Mhz Not Recommend
9600 GT 64 400 watt DDR3 256 Bit 600 Mhz 1500 Mhz Not Recommend – Only has 512 Megs
9800 GT 112 400 watt DDR3 256 Bit 600 Mhz 1500 Mhz
9800 GTX 128 450 watt DDR3 256 Bit 1688 Mhz
9800 GX2 256 580 watt DDR3 512 Bit 600 Mhz 1500 Mhz (128 per GPU) Premiere CS5 at this time only supports 1 GPU
GeForce G100 8 300 watt DDR2 64 Bit 567 Mhz 1400 Mhz OEM Video Card – Not Recommended
GT 120 32 350 watt DDR2 128 Bit 500 Mhz 1400 Mhz OEM Video Card – Not Recommended
GT 130 48 350 watt DDR2 192 Bit 500 Mhz 1250 Mhz OEM Video Card – Not Recommended
GTS 150 128 450 watt DDR3 256 Bit 738 Mhz 1836 Mhz OEM Video Card
GeForce 205 8 300 watt DDR2 64 Bit 589 Mhz 1402 Mhz OEM Video Card – Not Recommended
GeForce 210 16 300 watt DDR2 64 Bit 589 Mhz 1402 Mhz Not Recommended
GT 220 48 300 watt DDR3 128 Bit 625 Mhz 1360 Mhz Okay on  low speed dual core processors, for about $20 more you can get the GT240
GT 240 96 300 watt DDR3 or DDR5 128 Bit 550 Mhz 1340 Mhz I Recommend the DDR5 memory version of this card
GTS 240 OEM 112 450 watt DDR3 128 Bit 675 Mhz 1620 Mhz OEM Video Card – Not Recommended Only has DDR3 memory
GTS 250 128 450 watt DDR3 256 Bit 738 Mhz 1836 Mhz
GTX 260 192 500 watt DDR3 448 Bit 576 Mhz 1242 Mhz
GTX 275 240 550 watt DDR3 448 Bit 633 Mhz 1404 Mhz
GTX 280 240 550 watt DDR3 512 Bit 602 Mhz 1296 Mhz
GTX 285 240 550 watt DDR3 512 Bit 648 Mhz 1476 Mhz End of Life Product
GTX 295 480 680 watt DDR3 896 Bit 576 Mhz 1242 Mhz (240 per GPU) Premiere CS5 at this time only supports 1 GPU
GeForce 310 16 300 watt DDR2 64 Bit 589 Mhz 1402 Mhz OEM Video Card – Not Recommended
GeForce 315 48 300 watt DDR2 64 Bit 475 Mhz 1100 Mhz OEM Video Card – Not Recommended only has 512 Megs memory
GT 320 72 300 watt DDR3 128 Bit 540 Mhz 1302 Mhz OEM Video Card – Not Recommended
GT 330 96 to 112 300 watt DDR2 or DDR3 OEM Video Card – Not Recommended
GT 340 96 300 watt DDR3 128 Bit 550 Mhz 1340 Mhz OEM Video Card – Not Recommended
GeForce 405 16 300 watt DDR3 64 bit 580 Mhz 1402 Mhz OEM Video Card – Not Recommended
GT 420 OEM 48 300 watt DDR3 128 Bit 700 Mhz 1400 Mhz OEM Video Card – Not Recommended
GT 430 96 300 watt DDR3 128 Bit 700 Mhz 1400 Mhz Only available with DDR3 memory at this time.  You are better off with the GT240 card with DDR5 memory.
GT 430 OEM 96 300 watt DDR3 128 Bit 700 Mhz 1400 Mhz Only available with DDR3 memory at this time.  You are better off with the GT240 card with DDR5 memory.
GT 440 96 300 watt DDR3 or DDR5 128 Bit 810 Mhz 1620 Mhz Make sure you get the DDR5 with 1 Gig of memory version.
GT 440 OEM 144 400 watt DDR3 or DDR5 192 Bit 594 Mhz 1189 Mhz OEM Video Card – Has DDR3 or DDR5 memory.
GTS 450 192 400 watt DDR5 128 Bit 783 Mhz 1566 Mhz
GTS 450 OEM 144 400 watt DDR5 192 Bit 790 Mhz 1580 Mhz
GTX 460 336 450 watt DDR5 256 Bit 675 Mhz 1350 Mhz Specs are for 1GB DDR5 version of this card.
GTX 460 SE 228 450 watt DDR5 256 Bit 650 Mhz 1300 Mhz
GTX 465 352 550 watt DDR5 256 Bit 607 Mhz 1215 Mhz
GTX 470 448 550 watt DDR5 320 Bit 607 Mhz 1215 Mhz
GTX 480 480 600 watt DDR5 384 Bit 700 Mhz 1401 Mhz
GT 520 48 300 watt DDR3 64 Bit 810 Mhz 1620 Mhz
GT 530 96 300 watt DDR3 128 Bit 700 Mhz 1400 Mhz OEM Card
GT 545 DDR3 144 350 watt DDR3 192 Bit 720 Mhz 1440 Mhz
GT 545 GDDR5 144 400 watt DDR5 128 Bit 870 Mhz 1740 Mhz
GTX 550 Ti 192 400 watt DDR5 192 Bit 900 Mhz 1800 Mhz
GTX 555 OEM 288 450 watt DDR5 192 Bit 776 Mhz 1553 Mhz OEM Card
GTX 560 OEM 384 450 watt DDR5 320 Bit 552 Mhz 1104 Mhz OEM Card
GTX 560 336 450 watt DDR5 256 Bit 810-950 Mhz 1620-1900 Mhz
GTX 560 Ti 384 500 watt DDR5 256 Bit 822 Mhz 1645 Mhz
GTX 560 TI OEM 352 500 watt DDR5 320 Bit 732 Mhz 1464 Mhz OEM Card
GTX 570 480 550 watt DDR5 320 Bit 732 Mhz 1464 Mhz
GTX 580 512 600 watt DDR5 384 Bit 772 Mhz 1544 Mhz
GTX 590 1024 700 watt DDR5 384 Bit Per GPU 607 Mhz 1215 Mhz Dual GPU – Premiere CS5 at this time only supports 1 GPU.
Quadro FX 370 LP 8 350 watt DDR2 64 Bit Not Recommended – Only has 256 Megs
Quadro FX 370 16 450 watt DDR2 64 Bit Not Recommended – Only has 256 Megs
Quadro FX 380 LP 16 350 watt DDR3 64 Bit Not Recommended – Only has 256 Megs
Quadro FX 380 16 450 watt DDR3 128 Bit Not Recommended – Only has 256 Megs
Quadro FX 570 16 450 watt DDR2 128 Bit Not Recommended – Only has 512 Megs
Quadro FX 580 32 50 watt DDR3 128 Bit Not Recommended – Only has 512 Megs
Quadro FX 1700 32 450 watt DDR2 128 Bit Not Recommended – Only has 512 Megs
Quadro FX 1800 64 450 watt DDR3 192 Bit Not Recommended – Only has 768 Megs
Quadro FX 3700 112 450 watt DDR3 256 Bit Not Recommended – Only has 512 Megs
Quadro FX 3800 192 550 watt DDR3 256 Bit Has 1 Gig Memory
Quadro FX 4600 112 750 watt DDR3 384 Bit Not Recommended – Only has 768 Megs
Quadro FX 4800 192 750 watt DDR3 384 Bit Has 1.5 Gigs Memory
Quadro FX 5600 128 750 watt DDR3 384 Bit Has 1.5 Gigs Memory
Quadro FX 5800 240 750 watt DDR3 512 Bit Has 4 Gigs Memory
Quadro CX 192 750 watt DDR3 384 Bit Has 1.5 Gigs Memory
Quadro 600 96 300 watt DDR3 128 Bit Only available with DDR3 memory at this time.  You are better off with the GT240 card with DDR5 memory
Quadro 2000 192 500 watt DDR5 128 Bit Has 1 Gig of DDR5 Memory – Can vary by manufacturer
Quadro 2000D 192 500 watt DDR5 128 Bit Has 1 Gig of DDR5 Memory – Can vary by manufacturer
Quadro 4000 256 500 watt DDR5 256 Bit Has 2 Gigs of DDR5 Memory – Can vary by manufacturer
Quadro 5000 352 550 watt DDR5 320 Bit Has 2.5 Gigs of DDR5 Memory – Can vary by manufacturer
Quadro 6000 448 750 watt DDR5 384 Bit Has 6 Gigs of DDR5 Memory – Can vary by manufacturer

What kind of performance gains can you expect? Well, the numbers speak for themselves:

Video Card # of Cuda Cores Time Line Rendering
MPE GPU Hardware
           (CUDA)
Minutes & Seconds
Time Line Rendering
MPE Software
       (VANILLA)
Minutes & Seconds
GT-240 96 5:41 40:12
GT-440 96 5:37 40:12
GTX-470 448 5:34 40:12
GTX-545 144 5:37 40:12
GTX-550 Ti 192 5:35 40:12
GTX-570 480 5:29 40:12

 

When we start talking about computing there’s plenty of minutea to mull over – for example, you’ll see bigger gains if you’re using an Intel chipset versus an AMD chipset. That might sound familiar if you’re a gamer, since it’s common knowledge that Nvidia plays much better with Intel. However, the important thing is that regardless of your setup, you will be getting serious performance gains. So let’s move on to actually hacking Premiere.

 

Here are the steps, PLEASE follow them exactly as they are written:

1. Go to All Programs, then Accessories.

2. RIGHT click on Command Prompt and
select Run as Administrator

3. Type cd \ it will give you a C:\> Prompt.

4. Type in cd \Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Premiere Pro CS5
It will give you a C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Premiere Pro>
Prompt

5. Type in  GPUSniffer.exe  Press enter and wait a few seconds

You should see something like this: (Note the lines I have
highlighted in red)

Device: 00000000001D4208 has video RAM(MB): 896
Device: 00000000001D4208 has video RAM(MB): 896
Vendor string: NVIDIA Corporation
Renderer string: GeForce GTX 295/PCI/SSE2 < The card type
Version string: 3.0.0

OpenGL version as determined by Extensionator…
OpenGL Version 2.0
Supports shaders!
Supports BGRA -> BGRA Shader
Supports VUYA Shader -> BGRA
Supports UYVY/YUYV ->BGRA Shader
Supports YUV 4:2:0 -> BGRA Shader
Testing for CUDA support…
Found 2 devices supporting CUDA.
CUDA Device # 0 properties –
CUDA device details:
Name: GeForce GTX 295 Compute capability: 1.3
Total Video Memory: 877MB
CUDA Device # 1 properties –
CUDA device details:
Name: GeForce GTX 295   Compute capability: 1.3  < The Video Card Name I have shown in red
Total Video Memory: 877MB < —- Total video memory
CUDA Device # 0 not chosen because it did not match the named list of cards  <—See Below
Completed shader test!
Internal return value: 7

If you look at the 3 rd from the bottom it says the CUDA device is not chosen because it’s not in the named list of card. That’s fine. Let’s add it.

6. Next, click on the Start icon in the bottom left corner of
Windows 7.

7. Then click on All Programs and then click on the
    Accessories folder.

8. Look in the Accessories folder for Notepad and
RIGHT click Notepad

9. The left click on Run as Administrator

10. Once Notepad opens up, click on File and then Open

11. Navigate to the
      Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 folder

12. Find the file: cuda_supported_cards.txt then click on it to
select the file, then click Open

13. You will see a list of cards

14. Go to the end of the list and add your video card.
For Example, above it listed the video card as:

GeForce GTX 295

15. Now just add the name of the card between the
“Renderer string:” and the forward slash “/” to the
cuda_supported_cards.txt file.

Using the example above, you would add only the 
GeForce GTX 295
 part to the file.  Make sure you enter your
video card correctly.   It is case sensitive.

16. Click on File and click Save.  Then exit Notepad.

17. In the window that has the GPUSniffer program, type in
GPUSniffer.exe again and press enter and wait a few
seconds.

18. Look to see your video card is listed and how much memory
it is showing.

19. If everything is correct, type in Exit at the command prompt.
Otherwise, go back to step 6 and make sure you have the
name of the card entered correctly.

Now startup Adobe Premiere CS5 and open or create a Project.

Then at the top of the screen select Project, then select Project Setting and select General

Look under Rendering and Playback at the bottom of the window, it will say:

Renderer:  Mercury Playback Engine GPU Accelerated

If it says — Renderer: Mercury Playback Engine Software Only.

Simply change it for Mercury Playback Engine GPU Acceleratedand you are done.

NOTE:  If you can not change to the GPU mode, chances are you did not follow steps 6 to 9 or you didn’t type in the name of the video card correctly.

Save this page, because if Adobe comes out with a new update for Premiere CS5 or CS5.5, you will need to do the unlock again.

For more in-depth discussion check out the original guide at Studio One Productions

How much of a performance boost did you glean? Let me know in the comments. 

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