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Hardware solutions - I'm clueless!

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Rob Nield
Hardware solutions - I'm clueless!
on Sep 28, 2009 at 7:47:44 am

I've just started a new job and I'm starting to feel a little out of my depth with regards to the hardware I've been given. I need some help.

At the moment I'm having a lot of problems with After Effects crashing all the time, and generally being very slow. These problems normally occur when working with Trapcode plugins Particular and Form, and sometimes with Photoshop 3D layers, and sometimes the render takes way too long in general. Not only do I want to solve these issues but I also want to get the best performance possible from the mac.


Model Name: Mac Pro
Model Identifier: MacPro4,1
Processor Name: Quad-Core Intel Xeon
Processor Speed: 2.26 GHz
Number Of Processors: 2
Total Number Of Cores: 8
L2 Cache (per core): 256 KB
L3 Cache (per processor): 8 MB
Memory: 14 GB

I have a Decklink HD Extreme 2 capture card and a NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 graphics card (total VRAM: 512mb).

I'm also using two monitors. One's a Cinema HD screen, the other an LED Cinema Display (could this be an issue?).

I know absolutely nothing, not one iota, about graphics cards and hardware and compatibility with AE (all I know is OpenGL doesn't really work, right?). The boss doesn't have an issue with throwing money around. Any advice would be very much appreciated.

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Fred Jodry
Re: Hardware solutions - I'm clueless!
on Sep 30, 2009 at 2:41:08 pm

One of the ways to improve your machine universally is to drop in an improvement seemingly outside it`s box. Drop in a compatible raid card, scsi or similar, then cable it to a harddrives box on the outside. The improved harddrive or harddrives will improve performance universally and running it`s own power supply and fan. The Mac Pro can use ECC (stands for error correction code, also known as parity), DDR3 memory. Make sure it has it. It`s another "no brains, no adjustments" improvement. Open GL software works if you happen to have people with brains in their heads the size of your desk next to you. I`d be more worried about putting Windows software in a Mac.

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Kristian Lam
Re: Hardware solutions - I'm clueless!
on Sep 30, 2009 at 11:19:39 pm

Hi Rob,

You mentioned that the crashes happen when using those plugins so I would be looking at them first. Possible extract the crash log and send them to the manufacturers so that they can have a look. It may reveal something which points to the crash.


Kristian Lam
Blackmagic Design

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