Plex is a popular media server application that transcodes video files, and thus has an ongoing need for a powerful graphics card. A powerful GPU is the heart of any Plex ecosystem and is the key to the best Plex experience.
So, which GPU is the best GPU for Plex transcoding? There are a number of factors to consider when picking a GPU so we’ve created a guide to help you find the best one.
What Is Plex Transcoding?
Plex is a media server and supervisory tool used for accessing the media files from one computer to another suited device.
This media server can be run on Windows, Linux, Mac, or any NAS device. By using Plex, you are letting your system convert videos from an incompatible format to a compatible format so that you can stream the video file to your client device without any hassle.
If Plex is a Media Server, Then What Is Transcoding?
It’s an automated process. When the client-server cannot access the media files from the host, then transcoding is needed. You don’t have to enable anything. The transcoding will automatically start when needed.
The Reason you need a GPU for Plex transcoding
If you use a graphics card while streaming, editing, and even in the case of plex transcoding, the dedicated video encoder will be used and will automatically stop putting heavy pressure on your CPU to let you work across your device.
The video encoder works fast and consumes less power with the help of your GPU while you’re streaming, rendering animation, or even plex transcoding.
So basically, the better GPU you have, the better your encoder gets, and the better experience you get.
8 best GPU for Plex Transcoding 4k
NVIDIA Quadro P4000
Nvidia Quadro P4000 is a very powerful GPU that provides smooth plex transcoding. It comes with an 8GB DDR5 Graphics Ram with a memory clock speed of 3802 MHz.
It can easily transcode six 4k (68MBit) streams simulation to 1080p (8MBit) and 32 720p streams simulation to 480p with a bandwidth speed of 243GB/s.
This Graphics Card is based on Pascal architecture which has incredible horsepower to render photorealistic design concepts, create extremely detailed 3D models, and also heavily optimized for a top-notch VR experience.
ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1070 Ti AMP EDITION
Zotac Geforce GTX 1070 Ti is surely an exceptional choice for Plex transcoding.It comes with an 8GB GDDR5 256-bit gaming graphics ram with a memory clock speed of whooping 8000 MHz.
With that amount of power, it can transcode Six 4k (68MBit) streams simulation to 1080p (8MBit) and 43 720p streams simulation to 480p with a bandwidth speed of 256GB/s.
It has a hardware interface of PCI-E x 16 along with 2 x Dual 6-pin to the 8-pin power cable. This particular model is an AMP edition and it has another variant called super compact 1070 Ti Mini Edition. However, with an amazing rating on amazon, we can say it is a preferable option for those looking for the best GPU for plex transcoding.
ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
Are you looking for something more powerful? Then this RTX 2080 will be the best option because of the 11GB GDDR6 graphics ram along with a memory speed of 14000 MHz made it the best GPU for plex transcoding.
It can transcode Nine 4k (68MBit) streams simulation to 1080p (8MBit) and 59 720p (2Mbit) streams simulation to 480p (1MBit) with a bandwidth speed of 616GB/s.
It has 4352 CUDA cores and a PCI Express 3.0 as a hardware interface and NVIDIA G-SYNC compatible. The card also maintains a very low temperature during extreme use.
It consumes almost 150W power during transcoding. With its amazing speed and other feature, it is still capable of doing other heavy tasks like rendering animation, 3d modeling, and 4k video streaming and Editing.
MSI GeForce RTX 3070 Ventus
MSI Geforce RTX 3070 is a slightly less expensive option than the previous video card. It has an 8GB GDRR6 graphics ram with a boost clock of 1755MHz along with 5888 CUDA cores that support up to the resolution of 7680 x 4320.
It can transcode seven 4k (68MBit) streams simulation to 1080p (8MBit) and 45 720p (2Mbit) streams simulation to 480p (1MBit) with a bandwidth speed of 500GB/s. This is a perfect GPU for plex transcoding.
It has a triple fan design that helps the GPU stay cool even during excessive use. This video card is based on Nvidia’s Ampere 2nd gen RTX architecture, it has new RT Cores, tensor cores, and a very important feature such as the streaming multiprocessors which offers the most realistic ray-traced technology with cutting-edge AI.
ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2080TI
The ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2080TI is a durable and expensive GPU that runs great for Plex transcoding 9 4K streams to 1080p. It’s a great option for 1080p to 720p transcoding because it can easily transcode 38 1080p streams simulations to 720p, at this stage its performance is excellent compared to other cards because it is matching the performance of other graphics cards with 11 GB Memory.
You can choose from four different options that are available on amazon
Packed with 4352 CUDA cores and a memory speed of 1665MHz, it also supports up to 4 monitors with HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1. 4, and a VR headset via USB Type C ports.
The triple Axial Tech RGB fans with max contact technology for increased cooling was an amazing feature. However, like other video card, it was also a great option for Plex transcoding.
ASUS GeForce RTX 2080 Super OC
The RTX 2080 is designed with a dual-fan and 3072 CUDA Cores with an overclocked 8GB GDDR6 256-bit memory. Available in 4 different variants and 4 different price points. As a mid budget CPU, this is a fairly better option for Plex Transcoding and other heavy tasks.
It can transcode six 4k (68MBit) streams simulation to 1080p (8MBit) and 43 720p (2Mbit) streams simulation to 480p (1MBit) with a bandwidth speed of 400GB/s. This GPU performs like other high-end GPUs for Plex Transcoding.
Featuring much better functions like game booster, WTFast, QuantumCloud, and XSplit Gamecaster for monitoring performance and streaming in real-time with ease. Gamers and streamers are choosing this GPU for their day-to-day tasks.
Now its time for two best entry-level GPUs for Plex Transcoding. They are great for new users who don’t want to spend a lot on a GPU but still want to get the job done.
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 Ti OC
The GTX 1050 is an entry-level Graphics card with some capable features like 4GB GDDR5 128 Bit memory, the latest DirectX 12 support, and a memory clock speed of 7008 MHz.
Despite being an entry-level card, it is still capable of transcoding three 4k (68MBit) streams simulation to 1080p (8MBit) and 22 720p (2Mbit) streams simulation to 480p (1MBit) with a bandwidth speed of 100GB/s. In terms of budget and performance, it is a better choice for new users.
This video card is available in nine different boost clock options and two memory variants like 2GB and 4GB that you can choose from amazon.
Its unique dual fan design lets the GPU run very quietly and smoothly and keeps the GPU temperature down with the help of the Windforce 2X cooling system.
ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 Super
The GTX 1660 from Zotac Gaming is the best GPU for plex transcoding under 500 dollars. Features include new turing architecture and the latest 6GB GDDR6 memory to beat almost all the GPU’s available under $500 On amazon.
If you want to use it for plex transcoding then you should know the limit of this GPU. It can transcode five 4k (68MBit) streams simulation to 1080p (8MBit) and 32 720p (2Mbit) streams simulation to 480p (1MBit) with a bandwidth speed of 196GB/s.
It has a boost clock of 1785 MHz and a super compact design that makes it fit perfectly in every device. It uses 3X6MM COPPER heat pipes and a wide array aluminum heatsink to cool down your GPU temperature even during heavy use to maximize your performance. In the end, if you are about to buy a GPU under 500 dollars, I bet no other option will be better for you than this.
Why can’t I transcode from the CPU?
Massive CPU power is used for transcoding various formats of video. A GPU is needed to reduce the load of the processor. A GPU can increase the transcoding speed without using any CPU power.
Does Plex support AMD GPU?
AMD also can do transcoding tasks. Both NVIDIA and AMD are of great use for transcoding. But, NVIDIA gives a better performance than AMD in transcode support.
Can a Plex server use multiple graphics cards at the same time?
Plex servesr can’t work this way. Some people have tried things like two NVidia cards in SLI but then found that Plex would crash.
How much RAM do I need for the Plex server?
There’s no need to concern yourself with RAM for Plex Server. 2GB of RAM is sufficient and some installs can often freely run with even less. Of course, more RAM won’t hurt you and will certainly be helpful if you’re also doing other things on the computer.
Does Plex use GPU for transcoding?
Yes. Plex transcoding uses a lot of power from the CPU. Without using GPU, it’ll be a big load for the CPU. That’s why most of the time GPU is needed for plex transcoding.
What’s the best video format for plex?
All formats like MP4, MKV, MOV, ASF, AVI, HEVC/H.265, H.264 can be played on plex. But, sometimes the quality of the Plex experience is decreased due to the problem of video file incompatibility. The most compatible format across devices and other software is MP4, which is more broadly supported than other video formats.
Plex 4K Transcoding GPU list –
These Graphics Card can transcode 4K to 1080p and be classified by their performance-
1. Titan RTX (24GB) which can support 20 stream
2. Quadro P5000 (16GB) which can support 11 stream
3. Quadro GV100 (16GB) which can support 11 stream
4. Titan V CEO (32GB) which can support 11 stream
5. GeForce Titan X (12GB) which can support 10 stream
6. GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (11GB) which can support 9 stream
7. GeForce GTX 1070, 1070 Ti (8GB) which can support 7 stream
8. Quadro P3000 (6GB) which can support 5 stream
Buying Guide – How to Choose a GPU
Well, there you go, we have reviewed the 8 best GPUs that are suitable for plex transcoding. Since there are a lot of GPUs in the market available for Plex Transcoding it may be difficult for you to choose which one will be the right choice.
So, there are some aspects to consider when purchasing a GPU. We will discuss some criteria to take into account which may help you make your choice during your purchase.
Price – It’s a recommendation to Spend 30% of your entire budget on GPU as it accelerates your work that requires a lot of processing power.
Resolution Support – For plex transcoding, first you need to consider buying a GPU that Supports 4K renderings. You also need to have a 4k Capable Monitor.
Ram and Clock speed – More Ram means More processing power your GPU can Handle, typically people choose 8GB Ram, and it’s enough for any heavy task. Clock speed measure the cycles your CPU executes per second and a clock speed of 3GHz is considered a good clock speed.
CUDA Cores – It means “Compute Unified Device Architecture”. The higher your CUDA cores and the quality of your graphics card architectures, the better your experience gets.
Ports – Lastly you need to consider the Number of Ports. Usually, there are 4 types of ports,
- 2. DisplayPort
- 3. DVI
- 4. USB Type-C
You need to look for which ports and how many of them you need for your Better Connectivity.
These are some factors you must consider while buying a GPU that you will be using for Plex Transcoding.
According to my research, It would be a great decision to choose a GPU for plex transcoding from any of these 8 GPUs we reviewed. They are performing their best according to their price and specifications. You have to keep in mind whether your system will support these GPUs or not.