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After Effects CS4 on Mac Pro 2.26 Nehalem horribly slow

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Jens Schneider
After Effects CS4 on Mac Pro 2.26 Nehalem horribly slow
on Nov 18, 2009 at 5:58:29 pm

Hey guys!

Just curious to see if anyone has the same problems (and maybe a solution):

AE CS4 on my Mac Pro 2009 8-core 2.26GHz (12GB Ram) runs terribly slow compared to a 2009 8-core 2.66GHz (8GB Ram).
And I mean REALLY painfully slow. Render times differ vastly, way beyond what common sense might imply by the faster processor speed.
Plus I get super weird behaviour with my Kona LHi and before that the IO HD. Realtime RAM preview would sometimes work, other times it would just stutter horribly giving me 3-4 fps with the exact same settings. Someone from Adobe wrote me a couple of months ago that this kind of behaviour seems to appear on just a handful of machines and that they are working on it but I haven't heard back since.

Anyone else experiencing this kind of weirdness?


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Dave LaRonde
Re: After Effects CS4 on Mac Pro 2.26 Nehalem horribly slow
on Nov 18, 2009 at 6:27:43 pm

A couple of common things that can really slow down AE come to mind:

• If you're trying to use Open GL for rendering, don't. It does more harm than good.

• Second, what kind of footage are you trying to use in AE? Read On....


Dave's Stock Answer #1:

If the footage you imported into AE is any kind of the following -- footage in an HDV acquisition codec, MPEG1, MPEG2, mp4, m2t, H.261 or H.264 -- you need to convert it to a different codec.

These kinds of footage use temporal, or interframe compression. They have keyframes at regular intervals, containing complete frame information. However, the frames in between do NOT have complete information. Interframe codecs toss out duplicated information.

In order to maintain peak rendering efficiency, AE needs complete information for each and every frame. But because these kinds of footage contain only partial information, AE freaks out, resulting in a wide variety of problems.


Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Jens Schneider
Re: After Effects CS4 on Mac Pro 2.26 Nehalem horribly slow
on Nov 19, 2009 at 8:31:49 am

Hi Dave,

thank you for the response.
Both machines were crunching through the exact same project . All of the footage is in Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) at 1920x1080, 30fps. We really had a 1:1 comparison so to speak and the 2.66 smoked my 2.26. We are talking about 2 to 3 times faster.

I'll definitely try disabling Open GL as I suspect this to be the origin of another problem my box seems to have.
When I linearize my workspace I sometimes get extreme banding on RAM previews that make it impossible to judge the outcome. When I pause however and let it redraw the quality is fine.

I'm running hardware test this very second as I suspect something might be wrong with my box causing the unacceptable performance.

We just finished a rather complex project and in retrospect we probably could have been done about a day or two earlier considering the insane render times the 2.26 had. If this doesn't prove to be a hardware issue then I really don't know what. I have my fingers crossed though.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: After Effects CS4 on Mac Pro 2.26 Nehalem horribly slow
on Nov 19, 2009 at 11:08:52 pm

You might be interested in reading this post that came across today, plus the thread that it's part of. Apparently, AE on a Mac reeds a whole lot of RAM before it can really work effectively:

http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/2/968083




Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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