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Upgrade advice for a low-end system

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Fredrik Viklund
Upgrade advice for a low-end system
on Mar 23, 2011 at 12:33:10 pm

I've just started taking a course to learn more about After Effects CS5. I'm working in modest resolutions.
I want to upgrade my system but I have a very limited budget, around USD 200-300.

Current system:
CPU - Athlon X2 4850e @ 2.5GHz
RAM - 4 GB DDR2 (2+2), 800 MHz
Motherboard - Asus M3N78-EM, AM2+, nVidia 8300 chipset
Graphics - motherboard nVidia 8300, using system RAM
Disk: 750 GB system & apps + 1 TB for user files

So it's not very impressive :-)

I am choosing between:
Alt 1. Upgrade CPU and RAM
- Upgrade CPU to Phenom X4 940 @ 3 GHz
- Add 4GB RAM to a total of 8 GB (motherboard maximum)

Alt 2. Upgrade GPU
- Get a GeForce card and use the hack to enable GPU acceleration

Unfortunately I can't afford to do both at this time

* What's the preferred upgrade route?
* What kind of performance increase can I expect?
* What graphics card would give me the most bang for the buck?

Many thanks,


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Michael Szalapski
Re: Upgrade advice for a low-end system
on Mar 23, 2011 at 1:13:53 pm

There will be no performance increase for AE with a graphics card upgrade unless you're using a plugin that takes advantage of it. (There aren't many that do.)
Definitely max out your RAM. AE will want as much of that as you can give it and a faster processor wouldn't hurt.
It's hard to give any sort of predictions for speed increases since there are so many variables at play.
This thread [link] on the Adobe forums should give you an idea of what settings you should do for your RAM usage and whether you should use multiprocessing.

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

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.

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Fredrik Viklund
Re: Upgrade advice for a low-end system
on Mar 24, 2011 at 12:04:31 pm

OK, thanks for a quick and useful reply. I'm going to get the RAM and the Phenom is a bargain so I'll have that too.



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