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Getting the most out of my Mac Pro & Ram

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Spencer Tycksen
Getting the most out of my Mac Pro & Ram
on Jan 27, 2012 at 3:21:08 pm

Hey all,

I've just got my first big editing gig after teaching myself AE through the VCP tutorials. The project was big enough to justify an upgrade from my MacBook Pro to a new Mac Pro. I got the 2 x 2.4 GHz quad -core, and have 18 GB of ram installed.

I want to make sure that I am getting the most out of my CPU and RAM when using after effects. I'm wondering how I should set my memory and multiprocessing settings, and if I need to change anything in the secret prefs (which I still haven't quite figured out how to access). I'm running CS4.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


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Walter Soyka
Re: Getting the most out of my Mac Pro & Ram
on Jan 27, 2012 at 4:34:55 pm

[Spencer Tycksen] "I want to make sure that I am getting the most out of my CPU and RAM when using after effects. I'm wondering how I should set my memory and multiprocessing settings, and if I need to change anything in the secret prefs (which I still haven't quite figured out how to access). I'm running CS4. "

You should only touch the secret preferences in case of dire emergency. Adjusting them will help you avoid specific render failures, but would cost you render speed. That said, hold the Shift key while clicking After Effects > Preferences > General. Don't let go until you're in the preference window, and now the Secret preferences should be available.

You should consider upgrading to AE CS5.5. CS4 was 32-bit, which meant that each multiprocessing instance could only use up to a maximum of a little under 4 GB. CS5 and higher are 64-bit, which means that RAM limitation no longer exists. You will have to upgrade all your plugins, though, so you will want to factor those costs in.

Once you've enabled multiprocessing, you should choose to leave a couple CPUs for other applications, and you should set the minimum memory allocation per CPU to at least 1 GB. With 18 GB of RAM and 6 CPUs, you should be able to push the minimum allocation to 2 GB.

There are no perfect settings, and different comps may render better with different settings. You could try a couple test renders of a typical project with different settings to compare the results.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
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