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Does After Effect perform better with faster processors or more cores? Plus thoughts on upgrading to an iMac Pro.

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Scott Green
Does After Effect perform better with faster processors or more cores? Plus thoughts on upgrading to an iMac Pro.
on Aug 6, 2018 at 11:05:42 am

So, I'm thinking of trading in my 2012 12 Core Mac Pro that I've maxed out with all the Ram I can fit in it and an 11GB Nvidia graphics card because it just isn't fast enough, and now I'm into options for the iMac Pro and different configurations but I'm wondering what other people think would be the best option for primarily running After Effects - 10 cores and faster processors or 18 cores with slower processors?

Am I going to experience a huge increase in speed from either of these options? What do you think?

These are the option that Apple gives for their different processor options:

iMac Pro comes as standard with an 8-core Xeon processor. At 3.2GHz with a Turbo Boost speed of up to 4.2GHz, it gives you the power to tackle everything from game development to video editing and more.

The 10-core Xeon processor delivers more performance than the 8‑core processor, with a higher Turbo Boost speed of 4.5GHz. It’s ideal for running multiple applications simultaneously and handling more demanding workflows.

The 14-core and 18-core Xeon processors are designed to simultaneously run multiple professional applications that take advantage of extreme multithreading. If your workflow includes tasks like CPU rendering, compiling large projects, running multiple virtual machines and CPU-bound computations, one of these processors may be the right choice.

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Michael Szalapski
Re: Does After Effect perform better with faster processors or more cores? Plus thoughts on upgrading to an iMac Pro.
on Aug 6, 2018 at 3:46:03 pm

Unless you're using something like Render Garden, After Effects rarely uses all of your processors. There are some things that are multithreaded (like the grain effects and camera shake deblur effect as well as the C4D renderer [for the 3d geometry it creates]), but a lot of AE still renders on a single thread. So, in general, AE benefits more from fast clock speed vs. many cores.

GPU matters a little bit for AE too. There are a number of effects that render on the GPU now (more and more each release) and some third-party effects (like Element or Red Giant Universe) render exclusively on the GPU, so it is important to have one. But it doesn't affect a whole lot of AE.

Holding onto the Mac OS is...not that advisable these days. You get much more bang for your buck with a PC and Windows is now a really nice operating system. Until Apple gets around to building machines that have the power we need in the form factor we need, it's just not a viable choice. Most motion design people I know that used to have Macs have switched or are switching. Currently, the only thing Macs are worth it for is if you edit in Final Cut. Most anything else is better on a PC for the money. I mean, I still have my 2011 MacBook Pro for when I need to work on the road, but if it ever dies, I'm not getting a Mac to replace it unless Apple has produced and MacBook that actually has the specs I need.

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Dave LaRonde
Re: Does After Effect perform better with faster processors or more cores? Plus thoughts on upgrading to an iMac Pro.
on Aug 7, 2018 at 2:50:04 pm

Michael makes excellent points. Based on the information you have provided, I'd recommend getting Render Garden as a first step. It's fairly cheap, you don't need new hardware and you can test it on one machine.

I also strongly recommend a long, hard look at your future needs. Case in point: 4K file sizes are four times larger than comparable HD files. A lot of implications right there!

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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