Please excuse my computer illiteracy, I am just now starting to look into how I can help my machines out.
I also wanted to ask if there is anything I can do or parts I should look into to help speed up my media encoder exporting high quality footage?
Thanks again for looking at these questions and the recommendations if you have them
Hi. You're so lucky to have the last of the iMacs that CAN have the graphics card upgraded without soldering!
Not sure if you've seen it, but there's a really long thread about that year's iMac on MacRumors.com (and the content near the end is really recent):
Seems the biggest issue is for people to get the faster card's EFI flashed. Perhaps macvidcards.com has the resource to do it for you? Otherwise, these still seem to work (if you can get them), but you lose your boot screen.
Today, I upgraded the GPU on my 2010 MacPro. Tested a bit. After Effects rendering was improved, but you may find that you After Effects uses the graphics card CPU less than you think in previewing - but it did speed my render. Premiere Pro - THERE I saw a difference in preview and render...
Wish you luck on this endeavor!
The GPU is not used for much in After Effects. Unless you are using the (obsolete) ray-traced renderer, the workflow you have described in After Effects would not benefit from a GPU at all.
I'd recommend posting in the respective forums of the other software to see if what you do would benefit from a GPU in them or not. I know Photoshop uses the GPU for some things, but I don't know exactly what.