Question DAW Graphics Card Selection


Aug 22, 2016
I need help selecting a PC graphics card. I use my PC as a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). I don't do any gaming. My PC specs are at the bottom of the post.

I think I need to replace my existing graphics card with a more powerful one. The question for me is how much more powerful? I understand that video performance is not usually important to DAW performance but it seems to have become important to me and it may be becoming more important to everyone as DAWs and plugins begin relying more on OpenGL for graphics rendering. So, I'm wondering if using a more powerful graphics card would improve audio playback quality while I'm mixing?

I use iZotope's Music Production Suite 2 (includes Tonal Balance and Insight 2 visualization tools) for mixing. And iZotope appears to use OpenGL in rendering it's visualization tools.

Currently audio playback during mixing crackles with ASIO buffers at the maximum 1024 samples anytime I have the visualization tool displays open. When I close Tonal Balance and Insight 2 the crackling goes away and I can often lower the sample buffer size to 64 samples. Even at 64 samples the 12 CPU threads are running at <20% load and the CPU load doesn't increase noticeably with Tonal Balance and Insight 2 open. To me this indicates that the bottleneck is in the GPU, not the CPU processing.

So, I'm hoping that a more powerful graphics card will eliminate the crackling and allow the CPU to work harder as I add tracks and plugins.

Also, I'm wondering what performance specs I should use in comparing graphics cards? I developed the following list trying to focus on hardware capabilities that can't be upgraded with software updates:

PCIE 3.0x16 interface (my graphics slot capacity)
At least two DesplayPort 1.4 ports (future proofing)
At least 4GB of GDDR5 or better memory (processing capacity)
At least 128-bit memory interface (speed)
At least 1300 MHz clock speed (speed)
At least 7000 MHz memory clock speed (speed)
At least 3840/2160 display resolution (4 HD windows)
OpenGL 4.5 (Can't afford 4.6) (Expect software update to 4.6 and later)
DirectX 12 (12.1 not pervassive yet) (Expect software update to 12.1 and later)
Slot width 2 slots (I have 310 mm slot but can't afford 1 slot workstation cards)
Newest GPU I can afford (<US$300) (Favoring AMD because of support I've received on my 2+ year old card.)

Based on these specs, I've put together a Newegg Video Card Short List

I'm leaning toward the $149 RX 570 card. My reasoning is that it's a lot more powerful than my existing card and I'm not doing any gaming or 3D rendering except for a 3D scrolling frequency analysis display in Insight 2. Does this sound reasonable or should I go higher?

I also used tom'sHARDWARE 2019 GPU Performance Hierarchy video card ranking in selecting cards for my short list.

Here are my System Specs: (Built in Fall 2017 with all new components)
CPU: Intel i7-6850K @ 3.60 GHz (40 PCIE lanes)
Motherboard: ASUS X99-DELUXE II
Graphics Card Slot: PCIEx16
RAM: Corsair Vengenance LPX 32 GB (4x8GB) 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM
• System Drive: MyDigitalSSD 240GB (256GB) BP5e 80mm SATA III 6G M.2 2280 NGFF SSD (in MB M2 slot)
• Projects Drive: MyDigitalSSD 240GB (256GB) BP5e 80mm SATA III 6G M.2 2280 NGFF SSD (On PCIe board)
• Alt Boot Drive: Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
• Resource Drive: Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250 GB
GPU: ASUS R7250-2GD5 (AMD Radeon R7 250 2GB GDD5)
PSU: Corsair RM1000i
Chassis: Fractal Define R5
OS: Windows 10 Pro (x64) v1809
Audio Interface: 1st gen Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 with 2nd gen drivers.
Displays: (1) HDMI HD and ((1) VGA (Replacing VGA with DisplayPort QHD display)
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is the RAM running in quad channel mode @2400MHz?

Is Firmware of the SSDs up to date?

How high is the temperature of the CPU, GPU, SSDs?

Is the BIOS version of the motherboard 1902 ?

How high is the GPU usage while crackling? (taskmanager in windows 10)