When Premiere started using GPU acceleration, the process was exclusively done via CUDA which is limited to NVIDIA-based video cards. With Premiere Pro CS6 version 6.0.2 and Premiere Pro CC, Adobe introduced GPU acceleration via OpenCL in addition to CUDA which allows AMD cards to be used. This essentially doubles the number of video card that can be used and is reflected in the Adobe's list of supported cards. Note that even if your GPU is not on this list, one of the major improvements in Premiere Pro CC is the fact that you can now enable GPU acceleration without making any special modifications to Premiere. You simply receive a popup when you enable GPU acceleration saying that your card is not officially supported.
We have looked at GPU acceleration performance in Premiere Pro before in our CS6 GPU Acceleration article, but that article was focused mostly on desktop (or "gaming") video cards. This time, we are going to look almost exclusively at professional workstation cards. And since professionals can often justify larger budgets that home users, we also decided to include dual GPU configurations in our testing.
One thing we want to be clear on before we get into our testing is that for the majority of Premiere Pro CC users, a desktop card is going to give you better performance at a much lower price. The advantage of using a workstation card is largely in how quickly Adobe officially certifies newer workstation cards and drivers. So if you have an issue with Premiere, you are much more likely to get a fix from Adobe if you are using a NVIDIA Quadro K4000 versus a NVIDIA GTX 780 simply because the Quadro card is on the certified hardware list. In fact, in our testing Premiere would crash when we enabled SLI with dual NVIDIA Geforce GTX Titans. Take it out of SLI (which isn't required for full performance anyway), and it works just fine.
So even though a desktop card may give better performance, if you need to operate with as few issues as possible a workstation card is usually a safer choice. There are some advantages to workstation cards such as double precision performance and ECC RAM on the higher-end cards, but for movie encoding those are usually not a very large factor.
Most professionals will likely fall into an area where a NVIDIA Quadro K4000 or AMD FirePro W7000 will give them the best performance without hitting a performance cap. The nice thing is that if in the future you do need more power, our 4k encoding test shows that adding a second GPU scales very well with Premiere Pro CC.
AMD needs to shape up more but it's doing ok. The hex core's 2 extra cores (4 extra threads) seems to do much more than a second GPU.
Edited by AlphaC - 10/10/13 at 7:02pm