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Ultimate After Effects CPU?

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David GruwierUltimate After Effects CPU?
by on Jul 21, 2015 at 1:22:03 pm

What would be the best CPU possible for After Effects rendering, if you have the budget?

Currently my workstation has a 2.6ghz 12 core Intel Xeon CPU, which was used for 3D rendering. The 3D has moved to a render farm, so now I'm exploring options for speeding up AE.

Considering AE only renders with one core, would a faster CPU with less cores work better for AE? Like, 4ghz on 4 cores instead of 2.6ghz on 12 cores?

We do have reasonably powerful graphics cards, but I'm considering upgrading those as well. I'm unsure of which tasks are more CPU vs GPU heavy, and how much of a difference a bigger card would make compared to a faster CPU.

Lastly, does the new preview engine make a difference to hardware preferences?

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Dave LaRondeRe: Ultimate After Effects CPU?
by on Jul 21, 2015 at 2:13:11 pm
Last Edited By Dave LaRonde on Jul 21, 2015 at 3:52:09 pm

Wow, that's a tough one to answer. At the moment -- and I stress "at the moment" -- the response would be to have fast processors and not necessarily a lot of them.

The AE development team's re-writing the basic code to make it faster. It's an EXTREMELY tough job. I suspect it's why they released CC 2015 with just the new previewing feature in place, and some other existing features disabled. They probably couldn't hit the deadline to get it all done, and 2015 was released with a boatload of bugs. It's a work in progress disguised as a new version.

So has Adobe told users about the hardware they'll want when all is said and done? I haven't heard anything. Cripes, Adobe may not even know yet!

By the time Adobe's satisfied they have what they want, the current hardware will probably changed a lot, anyway.

I hope someone has a better crystal ball than I do...

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA

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Chris WrightRe: Ultimate After Effects CPU?
by on Jul 21, 2015 at 5:14:24 pm

"The Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously feature has been superseded by the new architecture in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5). The new architecture will allow a future version of After Effects to utilize processor threads and RAM more efficiently"

although, as of right now, the older cc 2014 renders 30% faster . that's pretty ironic.

has anyone done a test against a 6ghz single core?

also for kicks, cs6 exports 30% faster than cc AME.

seems like upgrades downgrades my render speeds. oh well, back to 2014!

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Michael SzalapskiRe: Ultimate After Effects CPU?
by on Jul 21, 2015 at 7:45:12 pm

[Chris Wright] "as of right now, the older cc 2014 renders 30% faster . that's pretty ironic."

It's not ironic at all. In fact, it's expected. They specifically state in the page you quoted that the new architecture will allow a future version to render faster, but that this version will likely be slower. They actually recommend working in CC 2015 (to take advantage of the improved expression handling, snappier interface, etc.) and then to open that project file in CC 2014 to render with multiprocessing.

And, to the original poster, as Dave says, for right now, faster clock speed is the most important thing. Even if you're using CC 2014 and earlier to take advantage of multiprocessing, there are tons of ways that that system could be broken (certain expressions and effects will just kill it and you'll be back to one core), so I've always suggested to get the fastest clock speed you can and worry about the number of cores later.

But this is likely to change.

As Dave said, I don't know if Adobe even knows yet as they're still working on the architecture for the next version, but I suspect the number of cores will start to matter a bit more! CC 2015 already has the UI and render threads separated, which makes the interface seem much snappier!

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

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