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How to make my computer more powerful

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Nick Montgomery
How to make my computer more powerful
on Oct 5, 2013 at 9:40:38 am

I have upgraded my computer twice in the last year. And after each time, I have never felt like it was powerful enough to do the kind of work that I needed to do. It's really frustrating to never quite know why my computer isn't up to snuff. Most of the work I do I use Adobe After Effects or Adobe Premiere (both CC), and am trying to step into other programs like Cinema 4D & Nuke. But on the projects I currently work on, my computer fails to keep up when I'm trying to edit and color correct RAW footage. Case in point, I just set a 30 minute short film that was shot on red, some light visual effects were added and I color corrected it, and the total render time says it will take up to if not more than 50 hours.

My computer specs are:
- Mac Pro 8-core 2009 model
- 2.93 GHz with Turboboost
- Nvidia Gtx 580 graphics card
- 32 GB RAM
- SSD 128GB boot drive, 3 other drives for all media and project files
- Blackmagic Decklink SDI outputting to a broadcast monitor

I have constantly taken care to optimize program preferences and memory settings, keeping my computer files neat and tidy. So what else could I be missing?

It's a fairly general question, I know. But honestly, I could use anyone's speculation at this point.

Nick Montgomery
DP/Editor/Compositor
http://www.merc-media.com


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EricBowen
Re: How to make my computer more powerful
on Oct 5, 2013 at 4:59:45 pm

You have pretty much maxed out the configuration available for that system. The Red codec is extremely CPU intensive if you don't have the red rocket card. Add on that the ram space AE requires to handle that media with AE's render engine and that system is just not built to handle that ideally. You have to keep in mind that Red at 4K or higher can push any system out to date even a 48 Thread IVY-E Dual Xeon depending on the complexity of the Comp. I would suggest looking at a Rocket or a new system if Red workflows are common and you don't like the current performance.

Eric-ADK
Tech Manager
support@adkvideoediting.com


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: How to make my computer more powerful
on Oct 5, 2013 at 5:31:07 pm

[Nick Montgomery] "I have constantly taken care to optimize program preferences and memory settings, keeping my computer files neat and tidy. So what else could I be missing?"

In general I agree with Eric: CPUs are probably the limiting factor in your configuration yet it's never a bad idea to try and zero in on the potential bottlenecks.

AE can be especially sensitive to memory-to-core ratio, resolution, memory and CPU utilization, cache settings, codecs, plugins used.

Start rendering, open activity monitor, take a few screenshots a few minutes into it, and then maybe 20 or 30 minutes into it (just in case it's different). What I want to see is individual CPU core utilization, memory utilization, disk activity. These may vary depending where on the timeline you are and what exactly is happening there, so it'd help to monitor rendering and take notes.

If you work with a good techie (e.g. who sold you the system) who understands AE (Walter Soyka comes to mind), he/she may be able help even more to see if anything in the system can be tweaked to make it faster.

Alex Gerulaitis
Systems Engineer
DV411 - Los Angeles, CA


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Angelo Lorenzo
Re: How to make my computer more powerful
on Oct 5, 2013 at 9:18:02 pm

http://lesterbanks.com/2013/08/understanding-single-and-multi-threaded-effe...

As others have stated, don't particularly hope for great performance with full debayer quality RED footage without a RED Rocket. It may make more sense to conform to DPX when working in AE and in color correction to avoid the "render tax" each time you export. You can always return to the RAW if you need to dig additional detail out of a color grade from a poorly exposed clip or something of the like, but a neutral, well exposed, REDLog export to DPX should be fine in most instances.

--------------------
Angelo Lorenzo

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Todd Kopriva
Re: How to make my computer more powerful
on Oct 5, 2013 at 11:21:33 pm

Keep in mind that it's not just about hardware. Workflow and smart use of the right settings at the right time matter at least as much.

See this page for resources about making After Effects work faster: http://adobe.ly/eV2zE7

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
After Effects quality engineering
After Effects team blog
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Nick Montgomery
Re: How to make my computer more powerful
on Oct 7, 2013 at 12:47:53 am

Thanks for the helpful responses, folks.

I am always trying new configurations to optimize the machine and software performance.

It's also been suggested to me to cluster another Mac Pro with my current one. Good idea to consider?

The RED Rocket is something I've considered getting, however it's not always RED footage that I'm having trouble with.

Nick Montgomery
DP/Editor/Compositor
http://www.merc-media.com


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EricBowen
Re: How to make my computer more powerful
on Oct 7, 2013 at 2:21:27 pm

http://cineform.com/products/gopro-studio-premium

Download the trial of this and convert some of the clips in question. See how the performance difference is with Cineform.

Eric-ADK
Tech Manager
support@adkvideoediting.com


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