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How important is RAM to today's After Effects?

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Matthew Woods
How important is RAM to today's After Effects?
on Jan 21, 2020 at 7:18:11 pm

It used to be that having as much RAM as possible was critical to After Effect's performance. In these days of SSDs and graphics card rendering, I am less sure it is as important. I currently have an iMac Pro with 64Gigs of Ram and I rarely see more than 60% of it used (25% memory pressure) despite heavy After Effects and Premiere usage. (VRAM on the other hand seems to always be always maxed out.)

I am looking at purchasing a 16" MacBook Pro for on location use, and I am wondering how much memory I should invest in. Is it worth the extra $400 to upgrade from 16GB to 32GB on my travel machine?

Thanks,

-Matt

Check out my plugins for AE, Premiere, Motion and FCP.

http://monadnock.org/plugins/


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Eric Santiago
Re: How important is RAM to today's After Effects?
on Jan 21, 2020 at 8:05:03 pm

I was told that CPU is the push you need for AE.
Currently running Mac Pro 2013 D700 with 65GB RAM and 1TB.
However, our assets (day job) reside on a Synology NAS server.
For what we do it's fine.
I can't wait to try this on the new Mac Pro.


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Matthew Woods
Re: How important is RAM to today's After Effects?
on Jan 21, 2020 at 9:16:55 pm

Thanks,

From what I have read, CPU clock speed is important, but AE can't make use of multiple processor cores anymore, so fewer cores with a faster clock speed are better. A new 3.7Ghz Core i5 iMac may actually run AE faster/comparable to a 3.5GHz Xeon Mac Pro.

Unfortunately the mac lineup is geared towards multicore, and Adobe no longer codes AE to take advantage of that...

I'm not sure where the best bang for the buck is in an Apple machine for Premiere/After Effects these days, but I notice on my iMac pro that my 16GB of VRAM is always fully used, and I never come close to maxing my 64GB of RAM.

-Matt

Check out my plugins for AE, Premiere, Motion and FCP.

http://monadnock.org/plugins/


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Walter Soyka
Re: How important is RAM to today's After Effects?
on Jan 22, 2020 at 1:36:41 am

[Matthew Woods] "From what I have read, CPU clock speed is important, but AE can't make use of multiple processor cores anymore, so fewer cores with a faster clock speed are better."

Though this is the prevailing wisdom online, the truth is more complicated than that. Some things in Ae use multiple cores very well, some things use multiple cores very poorly, and more and more is moving onto the GPU.

With Ae CC 2014 and earlier, more RAM helped with "multiprocessing" -- a feature that silently launched multiple copies of the Ae renderer in the background to work on multiple frames at the same time. Each copy of the renderer required its own space in RAM (with its own separate layer caches), so lots of RAM was required. Starting with Ae CC 2015, Adobe has been trying to modernize Ae's internals without completely blowing up compatibility or UX. This was a step back in some regards, but a step forward in others and hopefully a good base for continued improvements.

We use Render Garden from Mekajiki a lot to emulate that old workflow with the current release of Ae (and with all the high RAM requirements it implies):
https://www.mekajiki.com/rendergarden/

With vanilla Ae today, RAM is mostly used by the cache, so your RAM usage will be driven by a combination of factors: the size of your raster, the bit depth you're working in, the number of layers in your comp, and the duration of your comp.

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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