I'm using After Effects CS5 to design and animate a title sequence. It's a fairly straight forward HD project. I'm using the camera and working within a 3D space with images that I've created in illustrator and photoshop, as well as some video footage for textures from stock libraries. It's not jam packed with complex commands however it's taking a long time to render any new actions. I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions on how I can speed up my system? Are there any preferences that I should consider which could slow my machine down? These are the specs of my machine:
Model Name: Mac Pro
Model Identifier: MacPro1,1
Processor Name: Dual-Core Intel Xeon
Processor Speed: 2.66 GHz
Number Of Processors: 2
Total Number Of Cores: 4
L2 Cache (per processor): 4 MB
Memory: 7 GB
Bus Speed: 1.33 GHz
Boot ROM Version: MP11.005C.B08
SMC Version (system): 1.7f10
[Michael Freedman]"Memory settings are:
Installed RAM: 7gb
RAM reserved for other apps: 1.5 gb
RAM available for AE: 5.5 GB
MP settings are:
Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously - ticked
Installed CPUS: 4
CPU's reserved for other apps: 0
Ram allocation per background CPU: 0.75 GB
Actual CPU's that will be used : 4"
I think your memory/MP settings are way too aggressive, and that you are experiencing poor performance because you are starving the render processes of RAM.
Multiprocessing really balances CPU, RAM, and disk utilization. It's more important to maximize render speed than it is to maximize CPU utilization, because the CPU may be bottlenecked by RAM.
In other words, you may get faster renders using only two or three CPU cores with good memory/MP settings than using all four cores with these aggressive memory/MP settings.
The Adobe recommendations for multi-processing with 8 GB of RAM installed is 2 GB for other apps and 1.5 GB minimum allocation per CPU.
[Michael Freedman]"How much more RAM do I realistically need to get it moving faster?"
I recommend a minimum 4 GB per core: some for system overhead, and 3 GB for each core for rendering. For a quad-core system, I'd be shooting for 16-24 GB of RAM. It should be pretty cheap to upgrade the RAM for 2006 Mac Pro, and it will give you a very noticeable boost in performance.
[Michael Freedman]"Does my graphics card have anything to do with it?"
Nope. There are some new GPU-related features in CS6, but none of them relate to your issue here.
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Along with the suggestions from Roland and Walter you may want try launching Activity Monitor to see what else is going on in the background. I don't know what OS you have but I do know there is a bug with Snow Leopard where a process called Quick Look Helper sometimes steals a large bunch of your Ram. You can just use the Quit Process button if that is the case. I know When AE gets REALLY sluggish for me that's usually the culprit.