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Render Farm vs. SLI/Crossfire?

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Norman GreenwoodRender Farm vs. SLI/Crossfire?
by on Nov 25, 2011 at 3:31:03 pm

Would it be more beneficial to have two cards in SLI/Crossfire for AE, or to have 2 computers in a render farm?

For that matter, how about 3 or 4 cards?

Just curious. Thanks.

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Michael SzalapskiRe: Render Farm vs. SLI/Crossfire?
by on Nov 25, 2011 at 6:20:45 pm

Unless you're using a 3rd-party effect that uses the GPU, the graphics card does not matter for rendering in After Effects (and even if your 3rd-party effect uses the GPU, it only helps render that one effect and has nothing to do with the rest of it).

More processing power and more RAM make the difference.

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

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Todd KoprivaRe: Render Farm vs. SLI/Crossfire?
by on Nov 25, 2011 at 8:53:56 pm

Ignore the graphics card for After Effects. It matters very little. Focus on RAM, disks, and CPUs, as Michael said.

See this video for details of how After Effects uses (and doesn't use) the GPU:

See this page for resources about making After Effects work faster:

Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Technical Support for professional video software
After Effects Help & Support
Premiere Pro Help & Support

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Walter SoykaRe: Render Farm vs. SLI/Crossfire?
by on Nov 26, 2011 at 2:19:23 am

[Norman Greenwood] "Would it be more beneficial to have two cards in SLI/Crossfire for AE, or to have 2 computers in a render farm?"

I'll echo everyone else's suggestions about disregarding the graphics card.

I'll add that there's a lot of disk and workflow overhead in a watch-folder AE network render, and that if you're considering a network of only 2 nodes, it may not be worth the hassle. You'd be better off focusing on one single balanced, high-performance workstation.

If you already have the two machines, you might check out Aharon Rabinowitz's tutorial on multi-machine rendering (using the full version of AE instead of render engines):

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
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RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
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Bill ThompsonRe: Render Farm vs. SLI/Crossfire?
by on Oct 11, 2012 at 7:48:27 pm

Just in case anyone happens on this thread, all of this changed in May of 2012 - After Effects CS6 uses the Quadro GPUs (and Tesla Compute Engines) to speed ray-tracing and many other compute-intensive functions, and PNY/NVIDIA start shipping the K5000 (4GB GDDR5, 1536 CUDA cores) in October, 2012. There's Mac version of this card upcoming, to join the current Quadro 4000 for Mac and liberate pokey AE comps on Xeon and i7 workstations running Win 7 or 10.7.x. hoorah!

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