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Upgrading My GPU for After Effects

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Jackson CamaratoUpgrading My GPU for After Effects
by on Oct 8, 2016 at 3:27:50 pm

Hello. This is the first time I've ever used this site, and I'm not quite the best with computer terms, so forgive me if I'm not exactly clear about what I'm talking about.

I've been using AE CC 2015 for about a year now, and I absolutely love it. Lately however, I've been starting to experience some issues. I've been working on more and more complicated projects lately, (Lots of effects, 3D plugins like Element 3D, lots of lights and cameras, multiple Pre-comps, etc...) and my computer is starting to take a toll. Render times have skyrocketed (about 1 frame per minute), previews take ages to load, and I'm pretty sure that my graphics card is responsible. Also, whenever I try to render anything in a high resolution, or if I set the preview to full quality, AE crashes and I get this message:

"The NVIDIA OpenGL driver lost connection with the display driver due to exceeding the Windows Time-Out limit and is unable to continue. The application must close."

Now, I've seen that there are ways to work around this, but I'm working with very short, animated clips here. I looked over ways to lessen the stress of my workload, but ultimately, any fix I make will probably be a temporary one. I'm wanting to purchase a new, reliable GPU for After Effects, and I've been wanting to see what's the best I can get. I'm also buying an additional hard drive for my pc, as I know that can also speed up render times.

My budget is around $200 for a new GPU. I might be able to spend more, depending on the quality of the product. I'm looking for suggestions cause I'm not too familiar with the GPUs out there.

I'm putting my system specs here... They always seem to be important on this website.

Intel Core i7-5820k CPU @ 3.30 GHz
Windows 8.1 64-bit
8 GB Ram
1 TB Hard drive
Motherboard: X99S SLI Plus (MS-7885)
Current GPU: NVIDIA Geforce GT 730

Again, I am completely new to this website. I'm wanting to buy a new GPU, but if there's some sort of jarring detail that I'm missing, feel free to point it out.

This is the type of stuff I'm working with. This took ~12 hours to render.

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Walter SoykaRe: Upgrading My GPU for After Effects
by on Oct 9, 2016 at 10:20:52 am

Ae only does a handful of things on the GPU, so it's quite possible that your problem is something else. You might be getting the GPU timeout error simply because Ae is taking so long to render your frames. Try turning off Preferences > Display > Hardware Accelerate Composition, Layer, and Footage Panels; let me know if that helps.

8 GB is not a lot of RAM for Ae. I would look to upgrade your RAM before upgrading your GPU.

That said, a ~12 hour render time for that video strikes me as absurdly long. Are you using the ray-tracing renderer? If yes, try using Classic 3D instead. I didn't see anything in your video that required ray-tracing, and its misuse is a common cause of very long renders.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]

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Jackson CamaratoRe: Upgrading My GPU for After Effects
by on Oct 9, 2016 at 3:40:24 pm

I appreciate the response, Walter!

I've always been planning on buying a new GPU, however, if I can continue to use the one I have without any issues, then I'll wait and hold off my purchase for a later time. That being said, I looked into some of the suggestions you offered.

I went to my preferences and saw that the"Hardware Acceleration Composition..." box was already unchecked. I decided to render it as it was, and after about 20 min, I got the same TDR error message. I restarted AE and decided to check the "Hardware Acceleration..." box, and after another attempted render, I got the same message...

However, I unchecked the box again, and to my total surprise, the clip rendered without a problem.

I'm not completely sure what's causing the errors to occur. They seem to pop up at random points in the rendering process. I went ahead and increased the TDR length to 36 seconds instead of 2, which could possibly help me avoid timing out, but I'm still not totally sure if the errors have been taken care of.

Also, I looked into using Ray-Traced, and yes, I foolishly kept it on for the grueling 12 hour render. I guess I thought I'd be having the window reflect the characters' back sides when I first started... Hmmm. Oh well. Good news is that turning it off decreased the time significantly, so thank you for pointing that out.

Now, I'm not too knowledgable when it comes to ram usage. I'm aware that I can designate a certain amount of it to After Effects, but that's about it. My task manager says that I'm using only 30-40% of it while I'm rendering stuff. What about the other 60-70%? Can I use more of my 8GB, or am I limited to >40%? It's probably a stupid question to ask, but again, I'm pretty new to this stuff, and I'm also fairly curious about it. My motherboard's manual says I can get more of it, which I can definitely look into.

The new clip I made was a 5 second long animation. It took around 50 min to render. I'm wanting to speed up the process, and I think that getting another hard drive (and now) additional ram will help me. I'm pretty sure you're right though, the new GPU might have to wait. For now at least.

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Dave LaRondeRe: Upgrading My GPU for After Effects
by on Oct 9, 2016 at 6:08:46 pm

On my home machine, I too run AE CS 5.5 and Win 7 Service Pack 1 -- not Win 8, which came out after your AE version, and which I'm told was never anything to write home about.
BUT -- I have 24 GB of RAM and use multiprocessing. A pretty complicated 3D render with multiple lights might take about 45 minutes for 30 seconds at 1280x720, 59.94 fps.

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

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Jackson CamaratoRe: Upgrading My GPU for After Effects
by on Oct 9, 2016 at 7:40:33 pm

Interesting, Dave. I'm currently rendering a 10-second, 1280x720 clip at 24 fps. According to the ETA, it should take just over an hour to render the entire thing. If I were to get more RAM (say 24 GB like yours), and maybe an additional hard drive, how significantly would this process speed up? Or are there other factors that come into play, like the GPU?

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Dave LaRondeRe: Upgrading My GPU for After Effects
by on Oct 9, 2016 at 11:33:26 pm

The GPU is virtually insignificant. In your version of AE -- and mine -- multiprocessing is far more helpful. RAM is good. 16 gigs will help a lot. Reserve 25% of your memory and processor cores -- ignore virtual cores & think onlly of physical cores -- to run the OS and a limited amount of open applications.

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

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