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New computer - what should I get? (PC)

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Anders CarlssonNew computer - what should I get? (PC)
by on Dec 13, 2009 at 11:59:59 am

Hi all,

I'm just about to buy a new computer for my After Effects work. As I'm not really that good at computer, I turn to you for advice.

I can get the basics, but I have trouble choosing;

- Motherboard
- Graphic card - how much memory?
- CPU - is 4-core enough? Intel or AMD?
- RAM - how much should I get?

Everything is going to be build to work as good possible with CS5 64-bit and Windows7 64. I work mostly in HD or larger.

I would really appriciate if someone could help me a bit, or point me in the right direction.

Thank you.


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Walter SoykaRe: New computer - what should I get? (PC)
by on Dec 14, 2009 at 2:51:53 pm

A couple general guidelines for how AE uses your hardware:

The graphics card doesn't matter much to AE. Your money is better spent elsewhere for an AE machine. (Ignore this piece of advice if you are also running software that DOES benefit from a workstation-class graphics card, like 3ds Max or Maya).

RAM is critical for multiprocessing; get 2-4 GB of RAM per core. If you get a 4-core machine, you want 8-16 GB of RAM.

You haven't mentioned storage -- don't overlook your hard drives! Depending on your workflow, your hard drive could become a bottleneck. A fast RAID, or at least multiple disks, might be beneficial for you working with HD.


Now for a couple items that are my personal opinion:

4 cores is not enough. I've got an 8-core workstation with 32 GB of RAM, and it has been well worth the additional money, especially when deadlines loom. I'd also go Intel, as they currently outperform AMD by a significant margin.

Finally, you might consider buying your system from an integrator instead of building it from scratch yourself. If something goes wrong when you are on a deadline, having customer support who will stand behind the system is invaluable.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Michael SzalapskiRe: New computer - what should I get? (PC)
by on Dec 14, 2009 at 2:58:02 pm

There are several threads about this on this forum.
They all say the same thing:
At least two gigs of RAM for every core of your processor. Four would be better.
Get the most processing power you can afford. (I have 8 cores)
Graphics cards don't matter a whole lot. Open GL in AE is a joke.

That is the basic gist of the threads.

- 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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Michael SzalapskiRe: New computer - what should I get? (PC)
by on Dec 14, 2009 at 2:59:23 pm

Dangit, that's what I get for stopping in the middle of a post to do work. Nice post Walter.

- 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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