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Updating a Build for Video Editing & (Mostly) 2D Animation

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jack lykinsUpdating a Build for Video Editing & (Mostly) 2D Animation
by on Oct 29, 2013 at 11:01:45 pm


I know this might not be the right forum for this post, but after posting elsewhere with no responses I figure I'll give this a try.

I'm considering some upgrades for a build I put together approximately four and a half years ago. This computer is used professionally for motion graphics, animation, compositing and visual effects; HD video editing, color correction and design.

I mostly do 2D animation, but occasionally 3D is involved. I render constantly, but rarely do I render scenes from 3D software. The video I work with is HD footage from a Canon DSLR, though I sometimes work with higher-end cameras, such as the RED and ARRI, with higher resolution (up to 5K). These are often in large, feature length projects containing hundreds of clips. I also spend a significant amount of time transferring large files to and from internal, and backup hard drives.

The programs I use most are Adobe After Effects CS6, Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 and Adobe Illustrator CS6. I also spend considerable time in Cinema 4D, Davinci Resolve and, lately, Adobe SpeedGrade CS6. The rest of the CS6 Suite is used here and there.

Before I go any further, the current build:

MB: Asus P6T Deluxe V2
CPU: Intel i7 920, 2.66GHz LGA 1366
GPU: PNY Quadro FX 580
RAM: Corsair 12GB (6x2GB) DDR3 1333
HDD: 3x500GB (2 in a RAID 0), 1x1.5TB WD - all are WD Caviar Black
PSU: 750W Corsair
OS: Vista 64 (yeah, I know..)

All stuffed in a crappy case with less-than-desirable cooling.

I had expected the current build to perform pretty well under this load, but over the past year or so I've noticed more hang-ups as I work, frequent 80-100% usage of the CPU and memory, and occasional heating issues. I hope any upgrades will keep me going for a few more years without having to start from scratch. My biggest worry is that the current motherboard has some limitations, namely, a 24GB maximum for RAM, SATA II, and no USB 3.0. Future-proofing is great, and obviously, the less I need to spend the better.

I'd love for some experts out there to chime in, as I'm not confident about the hardware needs of each program. I need this upgrade to allow for utilization of the Mercury Playback Engine in Premiere Pro. I also need to see improved performance while working in After Effects, Premiere and SpeedGrade at the same time, and all-around improvement in color correction software like Davinci Resolve and SpeedGrade. I'm not sure of the best hard drive configuration for this type of work, though I imagine an SSD for the OS and possibly a RAID setup would be best. Also, a 3 monitor option would be nice.

It's possible there's a much simpler solution that doesn't involve upgrading too much hardware. If so, I'd love to know about it. Would a simple upgrade to Windows 7 bring on any dramatic improvements in performance?

Thanks for reading this long-winded post, and thanks in advance for all your help.

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Todd KoprivaRe: Updating a Build for Video Editing & (Mostly) 2D Animation
by on Oct 30, 2013 at 3:25:42 am

See this page for information about hardware for Premiere Pro and After Effects:

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

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Antony MonteiroRe: Updating a Build for Video Editing & (Mostly) 2D Animation
by on Oct 30, 2013 at 12:41:26 pm

u can go for a better normal gaming card. there's no use for quadro or workstation cards unless u r simulating something or physix kinda stuff.. I'm no master but i use a amd 7750. after effects, 3ds max, maya and nuke work like charm. save up the gpu money and go for a better intel i7 maybe a 3rd gen 3770 or higher along with a supported mobo as most of the rendering(Adobe After Effects CS6, Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 and Adobe Illustrator CS6) is processor based. more the ram is always better.

if u wanna upgrade with the present build without major changes; increase the RAM(if possible) and windows 8 will be better upgrade( its alryt to run vista, i still run xp on one of ma system and linux mint on couple others).a cooler master 212 evo must take care of the heating problem. as per 100% usage check if some unwanted programmes are running in background. u might also look at SSD for more stable and no-hang workflow.

hope you like it.

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EricBowenRe: Updating a Build for Video Editing & (Mostly) 2D Animation
by on Oct 30, 2013 at 11:05:53 pm

You really want a Ivy-E board, CPU, and Ram for that type of work. I would suggest looking at the 4930K and 32 to 64GB of ram. Definitely time to get off of Vista with Windows 8 being so trim. Next after that would be the GPU but that can be done after the core system upgrade.

Tech Manager

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