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Omar Wanis
New Desktop For After Effects
on Aug 18, 2018 at 10:20:40 am

Hey guys, i'm buying a new Desktop mainly for After Fx but with a little C4D on the side.
I have read that AE doesn't support multi-threading and isn't a great GPU renderer as well.
So this is what i have come to so far, so please help me with my picks:

CPU: Intel Core i7-8700k (3.7 GHz, turbo 4.7 GHz - 6 cores)
GPU: Nvidia 1060 GTX (6GB)
RAM: 32 GB DDR4
Storage: SSD (500 GB) - HDD (2-4 TB)

Does that build suffice? does it have any compatibility issues?
I have also heard that Workstations work better than Manual PC Builds due to the compatibility thing, i don't know how true this is and if so, can you suggest me a Workstation build that would be as powerful as this one?

Thanks!


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Andrew Somers
Re: New Desktop For After Effects
on Aug 18, 2018 at 5:56:18 pm
Last Edited By Andrew Somers on Aug 18, 2018 at 6:01:43 pm

You can multi-thread with "RenderGarden" and it's cheap!

AE used to multithread, it went away only because they are changing the render system and are "supposed" to be bringing multithreading back in a better way........ but apparently not yet.

The AE Ray Tracer WILL take advantage of your CUDA cores, but the ray tracer is of limited use.

Nevertheless, your CUDA cores will go great with OCTANE or REDSHIFT which are physical raytracers that work with C4D, and run amazing on CUDA.


All that said — is this for hobby use? Then your build is fine. But if you are going to be doing actual production wok with deadlines to meet, your rig is about half the power/capabilities you need.

IMO get a dual CPU Xeon system, with 6 or 8 physical cores per CPU. With 8 each that will giver you 32 threads. Here's the thing, you could get a new but older gen XEON setup for about the same money or less than a new i7 rig, and the Xeon rig will outperform the consumer grade i7.

48GB RAM is a minimum, but 64 total is more ideal especially if you get the full 32 thread version. You need the RAM so you can render in the BG with RenderGarden.

You'll want a graphics card with more CUDA cores (for using a real physical raytracer), and more RAM on that card, so the 1080ti is a better choice - 11GB RAM and over 3500 cores (more than twice the 1060 - you WILL notice the difference).

And something you didn't list - you want a RAID. Even if it's just two or three drives striped as Raid 0, the speed difference is very noticeable both in terms of working and in terms of render time.


SO IMO, go Workstation:

1) Dual XEONs with 6 or 8 physical cores each.
2) 48 to 64 GB RAM.
3) nVidea 1080ti with 11GB RAM (getting two would be *ideal* if you're going to do a lot of ray tracing).
4) PCI mounted SSD controller & SSD drive (better speed than SATA).
5) two or three drives striped as Raid 0 — (note than when you are striping as Raid 0 you pretty much *have* to run continuous auto backups like TimeMachine on OS X).
6) A dual Xeon motherboard with at least two 16x PCIe slots (one for the SSD, one for the 1080ti), slots for at least 48GB RAM, 3 or more SATA ports for striping drives together, etc.

And you could build this yourself too.

Edit to add this article from https://www.techspot.com/review/1155-affordable-dual-xeon-pc/


Good luck

Andrew Somers
VFX & Title Supervisor
http://www.GeneralTitles.com


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Omar Wanis
Re: New Desktop For After Effects
on Aug 18, 2018 at 9:25:05 pm

Wow that was a detailed answer, thank you!
A couple of things though:

1- Forgot to mention that my budget is around 2000 $, so i'd have to cut down on some specs, i think starting with the GPU since it's the least important part as far as i know (given i don't do too much Ray-tracing).
2- I see that combining the 32 threads with Render Garden can be effective, but if i don't get Render Garden, i won't be using those threads, plus i have seen all builds recommend the i7-8700k, what do u think?
3- I'm getting this PC for studies and some freelancing because i have a daytime job and i use C4D only so few times, so 32 GB of RAM i think will get me through since RAM prices are sky rocketing.
4- Do i need M2 SSD? or i can go with the normal one?


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Andrew Somers
Re: New Desktop For After Effects
on Aug 19, 2018 at 4:08:39 am
Last Edited By Andrew Somers on Aug 19, 2018 at 5:07:37 am

Got it.

So, all of my machines (except laptops) are Dual Xeons loaded with RAM.

BUT ALSO, I *only* use versions of After Effects that ARE still multithreaded. And I absolutely will not upgrade until Adobe fixes this issue.

Your RAM requirements are directly tied to your number of cores and multi-threading requirements. So if you are going to stick with a consumer grade CPU like the i7, then 32 GB is fine.

However, the higher end graphics card isn't that much more expensive considering it will boost the speed of a LOT of things in your working environment, not just raytracing. Having a really fast graphics card is important for display previews.

As for SSD, do not skimp.

I will only recommend that the SSD boot drive be in a 16x PCIe slot — PCIe not SATA — (And as I mentioned you need a motherboard with TWO 16x PCIe slots, one for the SSD and one for graphics.) The best configurations have multiple M2 SSDs in a RAID 0, and the speed is phenomenal.

Having the fastest SSD makes an enormous difference if you configure the System and After Effects correctly, meaning:
1) Make the SSD the SWAP drive for the OS.
2) Make the SSD the ADOBE CACHE drive (and set the cache big, like 50GB or more).
3) When you have unusually large files, like 20,000 x 20,000 image maps, store them on the SSD (and add that storage location to your files path for C4D or in AE keep the folder structure the same, and just relink one file and the rest will follow)).**
4) Either render TO or source FROM the SSD, so that you are not doing both read and writes from/to the spinning hard drive.
So then:
• An i7 Motherboard with two 16x PCIe slots.
• 32 GB Ram
• PCIe mounted SSD.
• Ideally a 1080ti, but a 1070ti with 8GB is okay. But forget the 1060, the 1070 has twice the cores but isn't much more expensive.
• If you are doing anything "long" or at resolutions higher than HD, then you really need at least two hard drives in RAID 0, and am additional drive (USB 3 is okay) for continuous backup.



Edit to add:
** Footnote: While you're probably going to keep most footage items on the Hard Drive Raid, it IS helpful to temporarily move the "really big" files you might have to deal with to the SSD. Using the search and replace path script can help facilitate this. Also, if your comp has several big files being comped together, you'll definitely improve render time by moving those big files to the SSD and then rendering to the Harddrive Raid (if multi threaded such as with Render Garden — if not multi-threaded then read and write to the SSD is fastest as AE won't be reading and writing at the same time. At least until they fix multithreading.)




Andrew Somers
VFX & Title Supervisor
http://www.GeneralTitles.com


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Omar Wanis
Re: New Desktop For After Effects
on Aug 19, 2018 at 9:29:51 am

Okay i got it, just a last couple of questions:

1- I need 2 M2 SSDs right? one for the OS, the other for the Disk Cache and maybe large files (I think 256 GB each is enough).
2- Do i need a swap drive? Aren't those for helping the RAM when it's out of memory?
3- About the Raid 0 backup thing, i need to continuously copy all my done work to the HDD so i empty more space for the SSDs for later projects, so i think that won't be a problem right?
4- I'm always afraid of compatibility issues, even if i get a motherboard that would fit nice with all the chips i got, I always hear a MAC PC outperforms a Windows PC because of compatibility within its parts, alongside other stuff.
So aren't there parts that would play nicer with other parts? Or that's not the case?

Sorry if i lack some basic knowledge, I'm a beginner.
Thanks a lot!


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Andrew Somers
Re: New Desktop For After Effects
on Aug 20, 2018 at 5:54:44 am
Last Edited By Andrew Somers on Aug 22, 2018 at 10:15:38 am

Hey Omar, Here are some more answers. I understand this can seem complicated at first, but it will all make sense pretty soon.

Your boot drive as a PCIe card may support multiple SSDs, M2 is a form factor that fits well - Mine has two on the card, striped as Raid 0. SSDs are extremely orbust so it 's not "recarius" to use two SSDs in Raid 0. As a result they appear as one drive.

Your SWAP and CACHE will both be on the same boot drive as your system and applications.

No, SWAP is not just for when you're low on memory — SWAP is integral to every modern operating system.

As for doing a Raid 0 with a couple regular hard drives — when I say continuous backups, I mean like Apple's Time Machine, which does HOURLY back ups of only the files that have changed. If you are only using the Raid 0 hard drives for source footage, and you have that footage stored with the same file/folder structure elsewhere (as in on the delivery drive you received) then running time machine style backups isn't needed — if you have a problem just re-load the media.

Myself, I have a Raid 0 with Time Machine, and I use it for more than media, so the consistent backup is a requirement. I do however keep the media files (that are available on other drives inside a subfoler at the root of ally my volumes, called /NOBACKUP

/NOBACKUP is excluded from Time Machine backups - but I'm not concerned as whenever is in the no backup folder is easily replaceable.


So to recap: You SSD(s) will all be joined as Raid 0 for performance, and will appear as a single volume, onto which you will install the OS, Apps, and set for Swap and Caches, and where appropriate source media.

If your SSD(s) aren't big enough for holding your source media, you want that in hard drives striped for Raid 0.

If you strip physical hard drives to Raid 0, to protect against a high chance of a failure, you need to run frequent incremental backups, unless the media/files are easily replaced.

I hope that clears it up.

EDIT TO ADD: In an easier post I indicated needing a 16x PCIe slot for the SSD. That of course is only if you are getting a 16x SSD controller — in retrospect, for your application, even a 4 late PCIe controller should do well.

Andrew Somers
VFX & Title Supervisor
http://www.GeneralTitles.com


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Michael Szalapski
Re: New Desktop For After Effects
on Aug 22, 2018 at 3:54:05 pm

[Andrew Somers] "AE used to multithread, it went away only because they are changing the render system and are "supposed" to be bringing multithreading back in a better way........ but apparently not yet."

I'd like to correct a bit of this.

AE did not "used to multithread". It used to render multiple frames simultaneously which (while it may seem the same) is a totally different thing.

Rendering multiple frames simultaneously (RMFS) would use multiple cores on a machine - each rendering their own frame. This did make some scenes render faster, but it had a number of annoying bugs and "gotchas" that would often cause some fun forum threads. (You needed to seed the random number for wiggle expressions or it would be random between cores and Particular's shading would flicker - for just a couple of examples.) Plus, some effects weren't compatible with it at all and so - even if the effect was only used for a few frames, RMFS would be disabled and you'd be rendering on one core for the whole comp.

As opposed to that, as of CC 2015, After Effects is actually multithreaded in ways we could never have dreamed of in the past. The UI and renderer are now running on separate processing threads. This means that you can keep working in AE even while the comp window is trying to render an image. I've found this makes it much snappier to work with. Also, a number of effects in AE do render multithreaded. The latest update significantly improved the multithreading of the grain effects which are all much faster now (depending on your CPU, of course), the C4D renderer is fully multithreaded (for the 3d geometry it's creating), and the Camera Shake Deblur effect is multithreaded - to name a few.

Does that make sense? AE's building a new architecture that is genuinely multithreaded as opposed to the old hack that worked in a lot of situations, but was buggy.

[Andrew Somers] "The AE Ray Tracer WILL take advantage of your CUDA cores, but the ray tracer is of limited use."

That's true. AE's ray-traced renderer is considered dead by the AE team and isn't receiving any more development or support. (It doesn't work with the latest NVIDIA cards, for example.)

HOWEVER, each version of AE adds more and more GPU-accelerated effects that will make use of CUDA. For example, Fractal Noise (an effect I use in virtually every project) is significantly faster even on my old GPUs in my home rig.

[Andrew Somers] "Nevertheless, your CUDA cores will go great with OCTANE or REDSHIFT which are physical raytracers that work with C4D, and run amazing on CUDA."

Yes. Also in Cycles 4D! (My favorite because it works seamlessly with X-Particles, has the best node-editor of any third-party renderer, and can also render on the CPU [which means you can look-dev on your machine with GPUs and then send it to a render far to CPU render].)

Omar, if you plan to use a third-party GPU renderer with Cinema 4D, then I would not recommend dual Xeon processors at all. Get a single, high clock speed, processor and a really good GPU or two (or four...but not on your budget 😉 ). A lot of stuff in C4D is also single-threaded, so if your renderer in C4D isn't using the CPU, all those cores in a dual Xeon system won't be doing you any good.

[Andrew Somers] "BUT ALSO, I *only* use versions of After Effects that ARE still multithreaded. And I absolutely will not upgrade until Adobe fixes this issue."
I hope my post has helped clear some of this up for you, Andrew. The current versions of AE are significantly more multi-threaded compared to the old version you're using. Yes, certain types of projects will render faster in the older version, but more and more of my projects render faster in the newest release with proper multithreading and GPU-accelerated effects. Plus, with the faster interactivity, I can work much faster in new versions of AE than the old ones too.

Also, some of the new features like Master Properties can save you literally DAYS of work (depending on the kind of work you do). Seriously, Master Properties is a huge game-changer. If you don't see the advantage of it, I'm happy to go into lots of details about Master Properties. I love love love love love this feature.

Similarly, another game-changer is the ability of effects to reference the effects and masks of other layers without precomposing them. (For example, if you're using Fractal Noise to drive a Displacement Map effect, you don't have to precomp the layer with Fractal Noise anymore.) I've saved hours of time on some projects not having to dive in and out of precomps.

You can install the newest version of AE without removing your older version (just make sure when you click update that you twirl down the "advanced options" in the window that comes up and untick the "Remove older versions" option).
I'd highly recommend you try out some of the things I mentioned (Master Properties, GPU-accelerated effects, the ability for effects that reference other layers to get them post-masks and effects, the new Camera Shake Deblur effect, etc.) and maybe some of the other things I didn't mention (the improved puppet tool, new expression error system, etc.) and see how you like them and think about how they could impact your work. It can't hurt and it might really help you! ☺

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Andrew Somers
Re: New Desktop For After Effects
on Aug 23, 2018 at 5:25:22 am

I misspoke I suppose — by "multi-threaded" I meant "Multi Frame Render", I was following along with the OP's question instead of correcting semantics.

Just FYI: All versions of AE are "multi-threaded" since before CS3 (where multiframe render was introduced as a way to improve processor efficiency). CS3 thru CC14 are both multi-threaded and render multiple frames at the same time — I should have been more clear in that I meant multi-frame render, or at least a similar efficiency to CS6's multi-frame render. My understanding is that some day in the future, the "new" multi-threading schema will either be "much more efficient" and/or "do multiple frames". But it ain't there yet.

The latest version I was playing with was 2017, and it was dog slow compared to CC14 or CS6 version with multi-frame render for rendering out long sequences of huge frames, which is what we mostly do.

The CS6 kind of multi-threading did in fact take advantage of multiple processors & multithreading even when set to render only one frame at a time, but unfortunately the efficiency and CPU utilization dropped rapidly as you added processors. With four or more processors the CPUs would never even get half way to max if rendering only a frame at a time. But If you look at processes, you'd see that each of the individual frames were spawning over a hundred threads.

But there were/are a lot of other bottlenecks on the processing of frames that limits CPU maximization.

Michael said ...each version of AE adds more and more GPU-accelerated effects
Are those CUDA specific? Because I thought the trend was to go to Open CL, instead of being tied to nVidia.

As for "Master Properties", it's not that relevant to what we do, though interestingly we've been doing something similar in our workflow for years using scripts and expressions. (Our "template" project is over 20MB empty as it's preset with all the input, output, test/alignment, and working comps needed).

But all of this is academic. I'm sure the newer versions have great features useful for some people. The upshot is that *at present* for what WE do, which involves rendering frames 4K and larger and straight-froward compositing and titles that don't use a bunch of "effects", anything after CC 14 isn't a benefit, it's a problem. We need to be able to render multiple-frames at-a-time during the day.

The ability of newer CC versions to "render in the BG" sounds neat, but I don't like to render until I'm done with the comp, and if I want to render while I'm working on another comp, the first comp just gets sent to the farm. And when it comes to that I'd rather have one farm machine ending multiple frames and sucking 300 watts of power, than six machines each rendering one frame at a time sucking 1200-1800 or so watts of power total (based on real work wattage measurements back when I was trying to figure out how to lower the power bill).

Nevertheless, that feature is not unique to the more recent CCs, as there are plenty of ways to background render even on CS6 with a $35 script.

Andrew Somers
VFX & Title Supervisor
http://www.GeneralTitles.com


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Omar Wanis
Re: New Desktop For After Effects
on Aug 23, 2018 at 10:27:28 am

How's AE multithreaded? Everywhere i see people talk on it being single threaded software. Is it multithreaded in one task like rendering or previewing? Or doing multiple tasks at the same time? And is it effective as multi-threading in 3D softwares like Houdini, or it has many limitations?


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Andrew Somers
Re: New Desktop For After Effects
on Aug 23, 2018 at 11:14:25 am

Hey Omar, "multi-threading" is one of those "catch all" terms that people may use to describe software "behavior", though at its most basic, "multithreading" means that an application/OS/CPU combination are able to process more than one "line" or "piece" of code at a time. Multi-processor means that those multiple threads can be spread over more than one CPU.

Most modern applications are multi threaded and multi-processor aware if for no other reason than the underlying core OS of modern systems are built to be multi-threaded and multi-processor, and applications are really just an extension of the OS's API. That said, applications can go outside the OS in some areas and optimize their multi-T&P for their own app, whereas the OS is probably thread optimized for "general" computing.

Nevertheless the software might not always take full advantage, and this might be exhibited in its behavior as in GUI lockouts. Some apps are simply stuck in the dark ages — BouJou 5.0.2 has been their "latest version" for over 6 years. It's a $10,000 tracking app, and is very obviously single processor. Nevertheless under a modern OS like El Capitan it still spawns 28 threads and peaks the CPU at 106% more because the underlying OS and hardware (i.e. CPU) just conduct business that way.

Nevertheless, I'd more or less call BouJou single threaded.

After Effects hasn't been *that* bad since I think CS1(?) at any rate, it would appear that the multi threading in After Effects is more closely tied to the OS's MP API, at least until CC15. To improve the performance with machine with more than 2 cores, they added "multi frame" rendering which basically just spawned multiple render nodes in the background to fill up more CPU slots. A multithread of multithreads if you will.

I'm not an engineer for Adobe, but I'd venture that they decided to break away into a new schema starting with CC15 that uses more direct hardware calls instead of API calls, but again this is just a guess on my part..


As to GUI lockup - I honestly don't think Adobe had a real "need" to lock the GUI since at least CS3. But there might have been some conflict with class libraries, or maybe it was part of a longer term marketing plan. As in "The GUI will lockup during render UNTIL we release our new multi-thread schema" to provide, as always, the continuous incentive to upgrade.

But to call AE single threaded is (for over a decade) pretty plainly wrong.

Andrew Somers
VFX & Title Supervisor
http://www.GeneralTitles.com


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Walter Soyka
Re: New Desktop For After Effects
on Aug 23, 2018 at 2:17:08 pm

After Effects turned 25 this year. That's a long legacy! Doing something as "simple" as separating the UI from the renderer meant re-writing core functionality -- like the entire preview system -- that has been in place for a long time.

Multithreading lets you do more than one task in parallel -- but everything Ae used to do with respect to project state was done serially. First you update state in the UI, then you render, then you return control. Separating the UI and the renderer introduces the need for flawlessly reliable, high-performance synchronization of project state between the UI and the renderer. With the complicated nature of Ae itself, plus multiple platforms to target, rapid framework churn on the macOS side, and a whole galaxy of third-party plug-ins to support, you can imagine there are any number of things that could go wrong.

Very few people appreciate the difficulty of re-engineering After Effects without breaking compatibility or blowing up the UX -- but Adobe is (slowly) getting it done.

Some of the loudest voices on this forum have spent the last few years slamming the developers, with little understanding of what the development team is actually doing. It's easy for a user to minimize the challenge of modernizing a legacy application like Ae and laying the groundwork for its next 25 years, but this is a little bit like popping the hood and changing out the engine while someone's driving the car on the highway.

Do I want to see higher performance and better resource utilization from After Effects? Absolutely! But seeing some of the work that Adobe is releasing -- extending RAM caches to the global performance cache, building effects that run footage analysis in the background, separating the UI from the renderer, building a vendor-neutral GPU pipeline, turning the world upside-down with Master Properties, getting the CINEMA 4D renderer into Ae, adding "little" polish features that we can use every day -- that keeps me excited for the future!

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Andrew Somers
Re: New Desktop For After Effects
on Aug 24, 2018 at 11:55:48 am

Walter Said:
Doing something as "simple" as separating the UI from the renderer meant re-writing core functionality


Hey Walter, I hope I didn't come across as bashing Adobe, since I am a fan for the most part. I also didn't intend to trivialize any development issues with separating UI from other functions — When I said Adobe didn't "need" to free the GUI anymore, I meant that the capability in the OS and Hardware layers was there to accommodate such a change. Nevertheless I understand that priorities on "what features to develop in a next upgrade" are a complicated process based on available resources, user demands, competing products, etc. etc.

All tools have issues and workarounds — it's just a matter of picking the right set for the tasks at hand.

Adobe Ae/Ps/Ai/Pr + MochaPro + C4D is a pretty comprehensive set of tools that I happen to like, and know the pitfalls and workarounds therein.

Andrew Somers
VFX & Title Supervisor
http://www.GeneralTitles.com


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Walter Soyka
Re: New Desktop For After Effects
on Aug 24, 2018 at 2:06:52 pm

Of course, Andrew! And I don't mean to go to Pollyanna myself. Adobe deserves a good bashing every now and again.

This thread about threads just seemed a good jumping-off point to talk about some of the technical challenges of modernizing a 25-year old application -- there have been a lot of other conversations here that dramatically oversimplified the work necessary.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Michael Szalapski
Re: New Desktop For After Effects
on Aug 23, 2018 at 1:28:41 pm

[Omar Wanis] "How's AE multithreaded? Everywhere i see people talk on it being single threaded software."

That's why I spoke up. There's a lot of misinformation flying around and, while Andrew is aware of the differences, a lot of other people aren't. So, for the sake of future forum viewers, I had to say something.

[Omar Wanis] "Is it multithreaded in one task like rendering or previewing? Or doing multiple tasks at the same time?"

It is multithreaded in everything it does inasmuch as the renderer and UI are on different threads. So...it's always in multiple threads. While rendering and previewing, it is also multithreaded. Some effects are more multithreaded than others. For an example I mentioned earlier, if you compare the rendering of the grain effects in earlier versions to the latest update, there can be a 5x difference in the speed (again, depending on your hardware) because they made the multithreading a lot better. Some tasks, as has been pointed out, are still single-threaded. So...it's not a straightforward answer.
Software like this is complicated. 😃
[Omar Wanis] "And is it effective as multi-threading in 3D softwares like Houdini, or it has many limitations?"

Houdini also has its limitations and things that run on a single thread too. There are only so many things that can run in parallel, some stuff has to happen in sequence.

I grabbed a screenshot last night of my home computer while I was rendering in AE CC 2018, but I forgot to put it somewhere where I could get to it this morning to show you! Anyway, you can see all of the threads spinning up and doing different levels of activity. So, they were all doing different tasks at once and they were all working. Granted, they weren't all hitting 100% - the whole CPU system was hovering around 50% power, but I have a dual Xeon system, so there were a lot of cores going at once.

[Andrew Somers] "Are those CUDA specific? Because I thought the trend was to go to Open CL, instead of being tied to nVidia."

As Walter says, on PC, they can use CUDA (and that's usually the fastest option if you have an NVIDIA card), but they'll also work with OpenCL on NVIDIA or AMD cards and, on Macs, they can do OpenCL or Metal (and with each new version of AE, the Metal implementation is improving).

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Walter Soyka
Re: New Desktop For After Effects
on Aug 23, 2018 at 10:28:33 am

[Andrew Somers] "Michael said ...each version of AE adds more and more GPU-accelerated effects
Are those CUDA specific? Because I thought the trend was to go to Open CL, instead of being tied to nVidia."


Ae allows you to choose Metal, OpenCL or software-only (CPU) on Mac, or CUDA, OpenCL or software-only (CPU) on PC.

This is a project-level setting.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Walter Soyka
Re: New Desktop For After Effects
on Aug 23, 2018 at 1:36:35 pm

While the multithreading conversation is interesting and valuable in its own right, I think it presents an easy trap to fall into: talking about theoretical architecture instead of real-world performance.

Puget Systems has published a lot of good research on After Effects performance. Maybe start here:
https://www.pugetsystems.com/recommended/Recommended-Systems-for-Adobe-Afte...

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Omar Wanis
Re: New Desktop For After Effects
on Aug 24, 2018 at 12:38:04 pm

Yes thank you sir! That's what i have been trying to understand.
I read the whole Puget Systems article and seen other videos/forums on the matter before i posted here, and they all seemed to agree that AE works better on a high frequency lower core counts CPU and everyone is listing the i7-8700k as a DeFacto in almost every build i have seen.

They never explained the multithreading to me like u guys did, thank you for that, but they all plainly said AE is a single-threaded software so don't waste money on more cores that u are not gonna get much use out of (unless u go for Render Garden).

Also they all recommended not going for a very high end GPU (unless i have the money for it), and better save the extra cache for CPU, RAM and even SSDs.
So when i had my build in mind, i wanted to make sure evth was correct, every piece played nicely with the others and if there will be misplaced cach on pieces of hardware that i could have replaced with other better stuff.

Also i was asking about workstations because computer engineers in my country are pretty much dumb, they dun understand half of what u guys said and i won't be able to get any good recommendations out of any of them really so i need a detailed easy thing to build yet worth its money because 2000$ in here is worth 40k of our currency and that's a lot! So i can't tolerate making mistakes in this one really 😃

Thank you guys!


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Andrew Somers
Re: New Desktop For After Effects
on Aug 24, 2018 at 2:13:24 pm

Hi Omar,

Keep in mind that a lot of the render engines for C4D rely on multiple CPU cores, and rendering CGI is one place where more cores really really counts (which is why CUDA/OPENCL renderers are so much the rage now).

That said, your CPU: Intel Core i7-8700k (3.7 GHz, turbo 4.7 GHz - 6 cores) & RAM: 32 GB DDR4 should be more than fine for non-multiframe rendering in AE.

Not sure about prices in your country, but here in the US, prices for the 1070 are pretty close to the 1060, and the 1070 has twice the core count. If you can swing a little more, I highly encourage the 1070 as any process that takes advantage of CUDA or OpenCL will benefit. This many many of the built in AE effects, the ray tracer, and for C4D ProRender which is included, not to mention Octane and Redshift.

In fact, so much of this kind of processing is moving toward the GPU, I'd think that is the best place to put a little extra. both in cores and GPU Ram.

As I think about it. I'd make the better graphics card a higher priority than a PCIe SSD. If you had to get a SATA SSD to be able to get the 1070, then I think you'd be happier with the overall performance and render speeds for everything that is (increasingly so) GPU based.

Andrew Somers
VFX & Title Supervisor
http://www.GeneralTitles.com


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Walter Soyka
Re: New Desktop For After Effects
on Aug 24, 2018 at 2:38:50 pm

I agree with Andrew. I'd prioritize GPU (and RAM!) before PCIe-connected storage.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Omar Wanis
Re: New Desktop For After Effects
on Aug 25, 2018 at 10:40:55 am

I understand, thank you all very much for taking time and explaining all these things to me, very much appreciated!


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Max Haller
Re: New Desktop For After Effects
on Aug 27, 2018 at 7:53:06 pm

If you're just doing it as a hobby and occasional freelancing you don't need a very high end workstation. If you're worried about compatibility, websites like https://pcpartpicker.com/ help you put together a list of compatible parts and also have other people's completed build with reviews about how it's working. I've used that a few times as a guide for buying parts. If you're not doing long, 4k+ work you should have no trouble buying a good machine with your budget.

It's worth checking out the ryzen processors too these days, imho. The 1700 series did very well, it's generally lower ghz but more processors. You might be able to get a better deal as they're usually a bit cheaper than Intel. But if you're not going to be doing anything too crazy the original build you posted should be fine. You can always upgrade down the road.


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Omar Wanis
Re: New Desktop For After Effects
on Sep 15, 2018 at 11:18:46 am

Hey guys, thanks to you, i have assembled a fine build.

I just have 1 last question regarding the Processor, i was originally aiming for the i7-8700k as it has a good base frequency 3.7 GHz and turbo 4.7 GHz.
But i might not find it here, and i can't wait to get it online, so as a replacement, i had 2 options, either i7-8700 (3.2 GHz up to 4.6 GHz) and i7-7700k (4.2 GHz up to 4.5 GHz)

I like the base frequency of the i7-7700k a lot, but it has only 4 cores, and other memory and cache limitations i think.
While the i7-8700 is at 3.2 GHz, the turbo will do just fine getting it up to 4.6 GHz.

My question is, when do i usually benefit from those turbo boosts? I know that the CPU takes away some power from other cores and powers 1 core to get enhanced single-threaded performance, but when does it happen? If I open After Effects, Photoshop, Premiere and C4D for example, does that mean the PC is obliged to use more cores to empower all of these and can't sacrifice those powers and i'll get down to 3.2 GHz performance for After Effects? Do i need to just open After Effects alone to gain that enhanced performance?

Basically i know that the microprocessors these days function in multi-core fashion by nature even in smaller scales like u guys explained, but where does it draw the line between the 3.2 GHz and the 4.6 GHz because the difference is huge.

Thank you guys!


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Andrew Somers
Re: New Desktop For After Effects
on Sep 15, 2018 at 6:09:54 pm
Last Edited By Andrew Somers on Sep 15, 2018 at 6:19:22 pm

Hey Omar,

The 8700 absolutely stomps on the 7700— get the 8700 it beats the 7700 in every area and benchmark.

While the 8700 has a base clock of 3.2 GHz it has an all core boost of 4.3 GHz and a single core boost of 4.6 GHz. The 7700 has a base of 3.6 GHz (not 4.2 — the 7700 in max turbo tops out at 4.2 Ghz, less than the all-core-max for the 8700).

Plus that 8700 has 50% bigger cache at 12 MB instead of 8Mb, and the 8700 uses much faster RAM (DDR4 2666) than the 7700.


Plus the 8700 has six cores instead of four — that's huge. Seriously dude I don't care what others might be telling you regarding multi-threading/multi-frame render, because YOU NEED CORES more than Mars Needs Women. And lots of them. It's not just for After Effects, it's your entire working environment. With more cores you can run more apps at the same time, which is important for workflow reasons.

I'll typically have Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, Premiere/Avid/FCP, Mocha, a couple dozen browser windows, a hex editor, BB, Pandora, QT Player, Screen sharing of the servers, and a Filemaker database. When something is going to take a minute (like a save or export) in one workspace, I'll Ctrl-Slide to another workspace and work on that bit rather than waiting.

Oh yea, on Mac OS we have "spaces" where you have multiple complete desktops. I set each major app in its own space so I can quickly toggle over. I think Windows 10 finally has something like that (I believe they call it Virtual Desktops).

What you need to have this kind of workflow/Env is a LOT of RAM and a LOT of CORES.

ALSO: Outside of After Effects, multi cores are important. Cinema 4D will fill your CPUs to the top. having 12 total vcores on the 8700 will make a big difference in apps like C4D instead of the 8 on the 7700.

As for your question of who/when will the app or system take advantage? I don't know Windows as well as Linux/OSX so I can't really say, but that kind of things is part of the Operating System Abstraction Layer, and the app may be optimized to take advantage of this. Regardless, the OS also spreads "single threads" across multiple processors. Windows 10 also allows you to assign cores to specific apps.

The one thing you want to do to make sure you can use and work in TURBO mode is to make sure you have EXCELLENT COOLING. If the CPUs overheat, they will drop down to base . The "standard cooling" is not enough. Liquid cooling is best. Also, properly applying a high quality silver heat sink grease to the CPU is critically important for stable operation.

In short: The 8700 at about the same price as the 7700, and the 8700 is a better chip in terms of performance, TDP per core, and usability in what you are going to find is a CPU intensive environment. I SWAMP my 24 cores on a regular basis to the point hte fans roar and I trip the breaker on the UPS...

EDIT TO ADD: Also, what brand mother board are you getting? On a Gigabit in particular, but others as well, you can run Mac OS X and dual boot, that's something useful to think about as well.



Cheers!

Andrew Somers
VFX & Title Supervisor
https://www.GeneralTitles.com


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Omar Wanis
Re: New Desktop For After Effects
on Sep 15, 2018 at 7:08:34 pm

Thanks!
About the 7700k, i stated that it has 4.2 GHz frequency because it says so on the Intel website.

My Complete Build goes like this:
- Motherboard: Z H370 Gaming 3 Wifi
- CPU: Intel Core i7-8700
- RAM: 16GB x 2 Crucial 2400
- GPU: GTX 1070 Ti 8GB
- Storage: AData Sii 480 GB M.2 SSD && 1 TB Seagate 7200 HDD
- Cooler: Hyper 212 Turbo
- Power Supply: BitFenix 650W Gold
- Case: Cooler HAF 912
- Screen: Asus 27'' 1PS
- OS: Windows 10 64-bit

I know there might be better options, but i hit the top of my budget and i can't go further so i need to compromise a bit, and again my main focus is mainly After Effects, a bit of C4D, a bit of Photoshop and Premiere Pro.

Note: I asked the shop if there are any drawbacks to this build, compatibility issues, stuff that won't fit in or something like that, they told me it's completely fine and the Motherboard is still usable if i need to add more RAM or upgrade CPU or GPU. Hope They are right and I'm not screwed 😃


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Andrew Somers
Re: New Desktop For After Effects
on Sep 17, 2018 at 2:50:38 am

Hi Omar,

That looks like a solid machine for what you are doing. Glad to see you got the better graphics card and CPU, I think you'll be pleased with performance.

As to the CPU - my bad, I thought you originally said 7700, not 7700k. Still, I still think the 8700 you are getting is a better chip. Among other things tghe TDP is 50% better than the 7700k, and that means it can run in turbo longer before a thermal issue causes it to slow down.

Best of luck!!

Andrew Somers
VFX & Title Supervisor
https://www.GeneralTitles.com


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