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Graphics card for AE 5.5

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James McCavana
Graphics card for AE 5.5
on Nov 15, 2012 at 9:42:28 am

Hello Creative Cows,

I'm in need of valuable opinions and knowledge.

At work we're starting a very After Effects intensive project that will last for many weeks, and our computers seem really slow.

I've always been under the impression that the Mercury Engine in AE 5.5 uses the GPU on the graphics card, so boost performance, so the better the graphics card the faster AE will run.

Our tech guy seems to think otherwise, and simply won't put a case forward for us investing in better cards for our 2 Final Cut / AE work stations.

I'd really appreciate it if somebody could advise, and if possible, provide a short list of cards that would get things flying.

My work station is:

ATI Radeon HD 5770

OS X 10.6.8

2 x 2.4 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon

12 GB 1066 MHz DDR3

The second work station is:

NVIDEA GeForce 120

OS X 10.6.8

2 x 3 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon

8 GB 667 MHz DDR2 FB-DIMM

Also, is there any info I can get that will tell me how to optimise AE (cache, RAM preview renders, memory allocation etc) ?

Thank you very much for any help and info. I really appreciate it.

Regards,

James.

Senior Editor
ichi london


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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: Graphics card for AE 5.5
on Nov 15, 2012 at 10:05:21 am

AE CS5.5 does not make use of Cuda- Premiere does. However, CS6 and up, it's a different issue. Having an Nvidia card will benefit AE.
So if you plan to upgrade soon to CS6, then it's worth upgrading, if not, get more RAM, that's what makes AE faster.
As far as optimizing:
http://forums.adobe.com/thread/543440

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Paul Roper
Re: Graphics card for AE 5.5
on Nov 15, 2012 at 3:36:45 pm

As Tudor Ted pointed out, more RAM! Whether you're planning on upgrading to CS6 or not, you really want as much of the stuff as your machine can handle. I've got 64GB in my machine, but if I want to allocate the maximum 3GB RAM per processor for multi-processor rendering, 64GB just isn't enough - it wants at least 72GB (plus RAM for other applications).


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James McCavana
Re: Graphics card for AE 5.5
on Nov 16, 2012 at 9:29:58 am

Hi Ted,

Thanks for that. Would even a mid-range Nvidea card work better than a 'performace' Radeon card, simply because of the core architecture?

James.

Senior Editor
ichi london


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Walter Soyka
Re: Graphics card for AE 5.5
on Nov 16, 2012 at 2:45:10 pm

[James McCavana] "Would even a mid-range Nvidea card work better than a 'performace' Radeon card, simply because of the core architecture?"

If you upgrade to CS6, you should also upgrade to an NVIDIA card. Ae CS6 uses CUDA (an NVIDIA-specific GPU technology) to accelerate its new 3D ray-tracing renderer. Without this acceleration (CPU only), the ray-tracing renderer is pretty slow. No Radeon of any level will accelerate it.

If you are committed to CS5.5 or prior, there is no need to go for an NVIDIA at this time.

It's worth noting that while AE CS5.5 doesn't push the GPU, a few third-party plugins are accelerated by using OpenGL and benefit from nice graphics cards of any make. They include Video Copilot's Optical Flares and Element 3D, Red Giant Software's Magic Bullet Looks and Trapcode Mir, and Mettle's FreeForm Pro and ShapeShifter. GenArts Sapphire and NeatImage's Neat Video both benefit from CUDA acceleration (NVIDIA only).

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Walter Soyka
Re: Graphics card for AE 5.5
on Nov 15, 2012 at 5:57:38 pm

If you want to improve your Ae performance experience, I'd suggest upgrading to CS6 and buying an internal SSD to use for the cache. Ae CS6 has a great new set of features collectively called the Global Performance Cache. Here's a great video on the global performance cache by Todd Kopriva [link] that you can watch to get a sense of how it might help you.

Of course, as Tudor and Paul pointed out, getting more RAM for your systems will enable to you to use your eight-core systems more efficiently. I recently explained the relationship between RAM and multiprocessing [link], but to summarize, unless you have at least between 2-4 GB of RAM per CPU core, you will never be able to maximize your computer's processing power and fully minimize your render times.

Finally, I'd point to some workflow tips: see Adobe's excellent Improve performance page [link] for some great tips.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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James McCavana
Re: Graphics card for AE 5.5
on Nov 16, 2012 at 9:24:52 am

Thanks Walter,

I was quite blown away by Paul's post saying he has 64GB of RAM. I definitely need to get that sorted out.

I'll check out the links provided and get AE optimised on our workstations.

Regards,

James.

Senior Editor
ichi london


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