Best GPU for Plex Transcoding 4k 2023


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Best GPU for Plex Transcoding

If you are like me, who frequently transcodes multiple streams, you know how important it is to leverage a GPU. Since Transcoding videos can be a resource-intensive task requiring a powerful GPU, you need to be mindful of your needs. 

Moreover, choosing the right GPU can let you enjoy multiple streams at a time without any trouble. Besides, if you get a powerful GPU you can do 4k streaming and witha mid range GPU you might only do a few streams. So choose something that meets your needs. 

And also, note that when choosing a GPU, compatibility is essential because some GPUs may not work well with specific hardware or software configurations, so be mindful of that too. 

Plex Transcoding 4k 2023

If you are looking for the best GPU for Plex transcoding, then here is the list followed  by a detailed review:

  • ASUS TUF Gaming Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 OC
  • Zotac GeForce GTX 1660 – Top Mid-Range Transcoding GPU
  • NVIDIA Quadro P2200
  • NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 – High-Quality GPU for 4K Video Transcoding
  • Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 Ti OC

Plex Transcoding GPU Chart

Graphics CardCuda CoresBoost Clock SpeedRamBandwidth
ASUS TUF Gaming Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 OC8704 1740 MHz10 GB GDDR6X760 GB/s
Zotac GeForce GTX 16601408 1785 MHz6 GB GDDR5192 GB/s
NVIDIA Quadro P22001280 1650 MHz5 GB GDDR5X 200 GB/s
NVIDIA Quadro RTX 500030721815 MHz16 GB GDDR6448 GB/s
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 Ti OC768 1341 MHz4 GB GDDR5112 GB/s

Our Picks for Best GPU for Plex Transcoding

Here we discuss some of the best GPUs for plex transcoding in detail. So let’s get to it:

1. ASUS TUF Gaming Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 OC- Best For Multiple Streams

editors picks

Reasons to Consider

If you want to unlock your Plex Transcoding power and enjoy real-time playback, go for the ASUS TUF Gaming Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 OC. At the same time, this GPU allows for 4k gaming in HD settings and lets you enjoy transcoding efficiently. But remember, this GPU asks for more space, power, and money, so if you have them go for it.


  • Ram: 10 GB GDDR6X
  • Video Output: 3 x DisplayPort 1.4a, 2 x HDMI 2.1
  • CUDA: 8704 cores
  • Boost Clock Speed:  Up to 1740 MHz (in Gaming Mode)
  • Base Clock Speed:  1440 MHz
  • Bandwidth:   760 GB/s
  • Memory Interface: 320-bit 

If you want to leverage a powerhouse of a GPU for Plex transcoding, then ASUS TUF Gaming Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 OC is the one to choose. Why? There are several reasons.

First, the RTX 3080 OC boasts 8704 CUDA cores which go head to head with your most transcoding tasks. And when these cores are coupled with their whooping high boost clock speeds (up to 1740 MHz), your PC becomes a monster and can handle multiple simultaneous transcodes efficiently.

The second and most important feature that makes it a real gem for Plex transcoding is its NVENC (Nvidia Encoder) technology. Now what is that? In layman’s terms, it lets the GPU do all the processing and get a burden off the CPU. Result? You will get prompt results without any delay. 

And remember that RTX 3080 will go toe to toe with several video codecs like H.264 (AVC), H.265 (HEVC), and VP9. If you are a Plex enthusiast, you know these are the most popular codecs, and having a GPU that can handle these is a jackpot hit for you. 

And that is not the end, as the RTX 3080 works on top of Nvidia’s Ampere architecture so that you can get beer and faster results without lag. 

While there might be all apples and roses for the transcoding, the RTX 3080 is a real workhorse, and that means extra PSU power and extra PC space. If you have them, it’s all yours. 

2. Zotac GeForce GTX 1660 – Top Mid-Range Transcoding GPU

Mid-Range Card

Reasons to Consider

If you have little to spend on a GPU luxury for transcoding endeavors but still want to ease up your CPU, look no further than Zotac GeForce GTX 1660. Since it can handle 4k video transcoding, it is a good choice for mid-range buyers.


  • Ram: 6 GB GDDR5
  • Video Output: 3 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x HDMI 2.0b, 1 x DVI-D
  • CUDA: 1408 cores
  • Boost Clock Speed: 1785 MHz
  • Base Clock Speed:  1530 MHz
  • Bandwidth:   192 GB/s
  • Memory Interface: 192-bit

The GTX 1660 is a decent pick for Plex transcoding since it can let you run more than videos simultaneously. Since it came with the same NVENC technology as NVIDIA, you can do the transcoding easily.  

Moreover, you can also get AVC and HEVC format support to run different videos. Many users agree that it is far better to use the GTX 1660 than other options like the GTX 1050 Ti since it offers much better performance but at a lower price. 

Although you will not get the same output as you can expect from a high-end GPU like our previous pick, it’s a good one for starters. Its CUDA cores are less, its VRAM is limited to 6 GB, and its bandwidth is meager, but still, you can transcode 4K content (for a single user). However, for multiple users, you have to compromise a bit. 

So, all in all, the GTX 1660 is the middle ground for most Plex transcoding users who need to ease their CPU and run a few videos simultaneously (not at 4k, though).

3. NVIDIA Quadro P2200-Beginner Level GPU

Beginner Level GPU

Reasons to Consider

Quadro P2200 is not much of an impressive GPU for Plex transcoding. But if you want a beginner-level GPU that meets your basic streaming needs, this is the one. Don’t worry; it does not cost much since it does not offer impressive features. 


  • Ram: 5 GB GDDR5X
  • Video Output: 4 x DisplayPort 1.4
  • CUDA: 1280 cores
  • Boost Clock Speed: 1650 MHz
  • Base Clock Speed:  1000 MHz
  • Bandwidth:   200 GB/s
  • Memory Interface: 160-bit

As we said, the NVIDIA Quadro P2200 is a beginner-level GPU for Plex transcoding. This GPU is more inclined to CAD and 3D artists who do rendering a lot

The Quadro 2200 has a 5 GB VRAM and 200 GB/s bandwidth suitable for rendering and gaming, but you cannot do 4k transcoding. In fact, if you want to transcode down from 4k transcoding to 1080p or 720p, you will need more GPU capacity to achive it. Moreover, it might also not do real-time video transcoding as our previous picks. 

But don’t worry if you want basic-level transcoding live streaming in 1080p or 720 p. This card is sound to take the burden off your CPU. While this GPU lacks the luxuries like NVENC of our previous picks, it can provide basic codec formats.

Overall, this GPU can do that if you have a minimum budget and still want a GPU for limited Plex streams. However, for many streams, you can consider other options, like the NVIDIA GTX series.

4. NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000–High-Quality GPU for 4K Video Transcoding

High-Quality GPU

Reasons to Consider

If you are a gaming enthusiast who does the Plex transcoding streams frequently, we recommend buying this NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 GPU. Why? Because you can do both 4k gaming and Plex transcoding with this GPU. 

This GPU has 3072 CUDA and multiple tensors, and RT cores, allowing you to do AI gaming. While these are not great for Plex, you can do multiple 4k streams with this GPU. But remember, you have to be generous about the budget here.


  • Ram: 16 GB GDDR6
  • Video Output: 4 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x VirtualLink (USB Type-C)
  • CUDA: 3072 cores
  • Boost Clock Speed: 1815 MHz
  • Base Clock Speed:  1620 MHz
  • Bandwidth:   448 GB/s
  • Memory Interface: 256-bit 

The best among all GPUs on our list is this one. Since this GPU comes with the 16 GB VRAM and 3071 CuDA cores, you can play both games and Plex streams. One thing that sets this GPU apart from the crowd is that it comes with 1 NVDEC chip and 2x NVENC chip. Result? With this GPU, you can do 22 h.264 Streams and 26 HEVC streams. Now this is the real workhorse for plex transcoding. 

Now these are the figures for 1080p streaming. For 4k streaming, it also has the upper hand as it can decode 13 4K streams to 1080p and simulate 48 1080p streams to 720p. Don’t worry. It will startle or buffer during the operation. 

But remember, there are not all bells and whistles for this GPU. Why? Because if you want to decode to 4k to 1080p or from 1080p to 720p, it might not offer the best performance. But still, it suffices for the price. Compared to that, the Quadro 4000 offers good performance considering its lower price. 

Remember that this card outperforms the gaming zone. Since this GPU has 3072 shading units, 192 texture mapping units, and 64 ROPs, you can enjoy 4k gaming at the best frame rates for most titles. 

But since it is a powerful card, be ready to get a separate PSU to fulfill its large power draw or 230W. 

So, in the end, it’s up to you. You can go for this card if you have budget PSU power and PC space. But this card does suffice for that with everything that it can offer. 

5. Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 Ti OC-Best Budget Friendly

Budget Friendly

Reasons to Consider

If you want a power punch for your transcoding endeavors but within budget, look no further than Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 Ti OC. Its 4Gb RAm can do as much as three 4k streams to 1080 p. So, and it’s a good choice for beginners on a limited budget.


  • Ram: 4 GB GDDR5
  • Video Output:  1 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x HDMI 2.0b, 1 x Dual-Link DVI-D
  • CUDA: 768 cores
  • Boost Clock Speed: 1341 MHz
  • Base Clock Speed:  1455 MHz
  • Bandwidth:   112 GB/s
  • Memory Interface: 128-bit 

The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 Ti OC can go toe to toe with your Plex transcoding, but some limitations. Since this is an entry-level GPU, it can do multiple high-resolution streams, but for 4k to 1080p streams, it can handle 2-3 operations. Since it comes fitted with 1x NVENC and 1x NVDEC, it can go as much as 14 h.264 and HEVC streams of 1080p to 790p. But remember it’s NVEC and NVDEV are not compared to high-end GPUs. Expect simple tasks from it. 

Moreover, it has fewer CUDA cores than you anticipate to process 4k transcodes. 

But one thing that sets this GPU apart is its low power consumption. It merely works on 75-watt power during Plex transcoding and runs quietly. If you have an old computer lying around the corner and want to leverage it for transcoding, then this GPU is the option. But if you are a transcoding enthusiast looking for a real gem, we recommend getting our previous pick.

What Factors to Consider When Choosing a GPU for Plex? 

If you want to achieve optimal results for plex streaming solely, then these are some of the factors:

Number of Streams

Since you are buying a GPU for transcoding, only reconsider your desired number of stream processing and its resolution. For instance, if you rarely transcode 4K video or only do one or two, then any mid-range GPU from the GTX or RTX is good. But if you want to max out this number, then go for a high-end GPU like QuadPro 5000, 6000 or 8000


Since the GPU asks for a hefty investment, you must reconsider your budget too. The GPUs can be both at 100 or 2000 bucks at a time, but what you have in your pocket is what you can buy. So set your budget limit to get the GPU’s best price-to-performance ratio. Remember, it’s not the premium GPU that makes for the best transcoding experience, but it’s the capacity to do it efficiently, which a low-end GPU can also do.

VRAM and CUDA Cores

The VRAM of the GPU also plays a part in its best transcoding performance. For instance, you can achieve better resolution and multiple streams at once if you have a 16 GB VRAM, but for the 4 GB VRAM, this number can be significantly reduced. So look for high VRAM and CUDA core count for multiple HD streams, but the 4 GB can also suffice for basic operations. 


What does Plex transcoding mean? 

For understanding that you need to understand the transcoding first. Sometime you want to stream a video it might show an error of unable to play video. Why does that happen? It is because your device is unable to play the desired video due to incomaitbilty with your device. Now to fix this issue their are mutliple multimedia servers that let you to organize, access, and stream your personal media collection across different devices. And you don’t even encounter the incompatibilty issue. Now the process with which it converts the video setting to your is called transcdoing. And the platfrom that does it is Plex. 

As an example, if you want to watch high definition video on your phone but the video is stored on a Plex media server, the media server will transcode according to your phone’s screen size and compatibility with the file format.

How many streams Does Plex transcode?

Every device and user is different. Some might want to do three streams at a time, while others want to do 30. But this number is hinged on the devices accessing the media and the size of the media files. If you get a powerful GPU, it can transcode as high as 30 streams, but this number can be reduced to two streams for a low-end GPU. But remember, the number of streams depends on your desired encoding or decoding operation and on which resolutions you want to play media.

Will a GPU Help with Faster Plex Transcoding? 

Yes, getting a workhorse of GPU can provide you with a smooth transcoding experience, and you can do multiple streams simultaneously. The cherry on top is that a powerful GPU can make for the best in-game performance. Since the GPU reduces the load on the CPU that it has to do due to media encoding and decoding, you can get faster results. But remember, not all GPUs can handle multiple streams simultaneously, so you must get one that goes toe to toe with your demands. 

Should I get a CPU or GPU for Plex transcoding? 

Since you will be dealing with media files, the GPU is a good option for Plex streaming. But if you have a powerful CPU, you can also leverage that by coupling with a low-end GPU.

What Would I need to run Plex? 

If you want to do the Plex streaming, you will need the following:

• A computer or NAS with a powerful CPU and enough storage space to store your media files. 

• The Plex Media Server application is installed and working on your device. 

• A stable internet connection is also recommended since it has to stream in real time. 


Plex transcoding is a resource-intensive task since it requires hardware acceleration. So you must get a potent GPU for the HD and 4k transcoding. If you want to do multiple streams in 4k, you need a powerful GPU, but you don’t need a high-end GPU for a low number of streams. In this article, we discuss both high-end and low-end GPUs for you. So you can choose one that meets your demands.

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Hello, I'm the blogger and author of this blog. I have been in the industry for more than 10 years. Since I began testing and reviewing graphics cards for custom PC builds, I have tested and reviewed hundreds of them. As a result of my knowledge and experience, I believe I will be able to help you choose the card that really fits your budget and needs.

4 thoughts on “Best GPU for Plex Transcoding 4k 2023”

  1. The p2000 essentially has the same profile for plex transcoding is cheaper and easier to find than the p2200. Also, in Linux servers uiu may not be able to use the card due to lack of driver support and inability to recognize the card. That’s a big deal when people running homelabs use a Linux distro for their plex server.

    • Nvidia recently unlocked all their RTX 30 series and 20 series cards to have unlimited simultaneous streams for transcoding, which could change the list of the best GPUs for Plex transcoding 4K in 2023.


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