It is no doubt that a CPU is the most important piece of hardware of a Plex Media Server. Depending on the resolution and size of the video, transcoding consumes a lot of CPU resources.
You can reduce that CPU load and also stream videos to multiple devices smoothly at higher resolutions if you have a dedicated GPU.
In fact, having a proper dedicated GPU can increase the speed at which you can transcode videos without using a big chunk of CPU resources. You can stream multiple videos without affecting their picture quality. You will also not have any buffering issues.
In this article, I reviewed the 5 Best GPUs for Plex Transcoding. I reviewed both Professional and Gaming centric Nvidia GPUs for this purpose. You will find one in every budget.
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Here are our Top 5 GPUs for Plex Transcoding in 2021
List of Best GPUs for Plex Transcoding
Quadro RTX 5000 - Best GPU for Plex Transcoding
- Best in Class
- Huge 16GB VRAM
- Best for Transcoding 4K videos
Theis a workstation GPU by Nvidia. It is based on Turing architecture. It has a massive 16GB VRAM that has a bandwidth of 448GB/s. It contains 3072 cores running at 1620MHz.
Thesupports transcoding up to 13 simultaneous streams of 4K to 1080p and up to 48 simultaneous streams of 1080 to 720p. It offers you buffer-free video streaming without any loss of video quality.
Theis a dual-slot GPU. It has a TDP rating of 230W. It uses a single 6-pin and a single 8-pin power connector.
Theis worth its price tag if you are someone who streams multiple videos at higher resolutions. You can stream them faster and smoother without affecting the performance of your CPU.
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Quadro RTX 4000 - Best Value GPU for Plex Transcoding
- Great Value for Money
- Generous 8GB VRAM
- Good for 4K videos
Theis based on Turing architecture. It has a generous 8GB VRAM that has a bandwidth of 416Gb/s. It has 2304 Cores running at 1005MHz. They can be boosted up to 1545MHz.
Thesupports transcoding 6 simultaneous streams of 4K videos into 1080p resolution. It can also transcode 27 simultaneous streams of 1080p videos into 720p.
Theis a single lot card. It occupies less space and is a great choice for a portable 4K plex server. It has a TDP rating of 160W and has a single 8-pin power connector.
Theis a great choice for those who cannot afford the Quadro RTX 5000. If you are looking for a GPU that offers you excellent performance for a great price, the is the best fit for you.
Quadro P2000 - Best Mid-range GPU for Plex Transcoding
- Affordable Price
- Best For 1080p Transcoding
- HEVC Support
- Single Slot Design
Theis based on Pascal architecture. It has 1024 cores running at 1076Mhz. It also has a 5GB GDDR5 VRAM that has a bandwidth of 140GB/s.
Thesupports the HEVC format. It can simultaneously transcode up to 17 streams of 1080p videos into 720p videos. It can also transcode 4 streams of 4K videos into 1080p. Do keep in mind that
It should be enough for home use but if you have projects that require much power, the above RTX cards are the best bet for you.
Theis a single slot card. It has a TDP rating of 75W. It is a great fit for most Small form factor server builds thanks to its compact size. It comes with four DisplayPorts.
Theis ideal for most users. You will definitely see an improvement over CPU-only transcoding. Its affordable price makes it even more appealing. I would highly recommend it.
GTX 1660 Ti - Best GPU for Plex Transcoding and Gaming
- Affordable Price
- Good for Plex and Gaming
- Generous 6GB VRAM
Theis based on Turing architecture. It is powered by 1536 cores that run at 1500Mhz. It has a generous 6GB VRAM that has a bandwidth of 288GB/s.
Thecan transcode up to 5 4K streams simulations into 1080p videos and up to 20 1080p streams into 720p videos. It also supports the HEVC format.
It can also run the latest games at 1080p resolution without any trace of FPS drops. It offers you the best of both worlds in terms of gaming and transcoding.
Theis a dual-slot card. It has a TDP rating of 120W and uses a single 8-pin power connector. Its cooling system is efficient and doesn’t produce much noise under load.
Overall, Theis a sweet spot for gaming and Transcoding. It also comes at an affordable price and makes it a more appealing graphics card.
NOTE: I wrote the above review keeping in mind gamers who transcode videos. If you are only looking for a graphics card that transcodes videos, Choose the GTX 1660 over GTX 1660 Ti. It offers you the same performance in plex transcoding for a lower price.
GTX 1050 Ti - Best Budget GPU for Plex Transcoding
- Afforbale Price
- Good for 1080p Transcoding
- Powerful than Quadro cards in its price range
- Not for Gaming in 2021
Theis based on Pascal architecture. It has 768 cores that run at 1291MHz. It has a 4GB GDDR5 VRAM that has a bandwidth of 112Gb/s.
It can transcode up to 3 4K streams simultaneously into 1080p videos. It can also transcode up to 14 1080p streams into 720p videos. It is much better than the Quadro GPUs like P400 that offer you fewer transcodes despite having a similar price. The also supports the HEVC video format.
Theis a dual-slot GPU. It has a decent cooling system. It has a TDP rating of 75W and doesn’t use any power connectors.
If you also plan on gaming on it, I would suggest the 1660 Ti mentioned above. Theis not a suitable choice for gamers especially in 2021. You will definitely be disappointed with its gaming performance.
If Plex Transcoding is your only reason to buy this GPU, by all means, go ahead. You will have no issues with it in terms of 1080p transcoding. For its price, I am more than satisfied with its performance.