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Benefit of extra Graphics Memory (Frame Buffer)

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Rik Mahieu
Benefit of extra Graphics Memory (Frame Buffer)
on Dec 17, 2009 at 9:18:31 am

I've been looking around for an answer to the following question, but could only find partial answers:

"What's the benefit of having more graphics memory (frame buffer) in relation to OpenGL performance?"

I would like to know what the real performance gain is when you have let's say:

Nvidia GTX275 w/ 896MB or
Nvidia GTX275 w/ 1792MB

Could someone explain me in which way frame buffer plays a role in OpenGL performance?





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Michael Szalapski
Re: Benefit of extra Graphics Memory (Frame Buffer)
on Dec 17, 2009 at 2:15:23 pm

I can't explain in which way frame buffer plays a role in OpenGL performance, but I can tell you that most of us have Open GL turned off in AE. In nearly every case, AE runs much smoother and better without it.

- 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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Todd Kopriva
Re: Benefit of extra Graphics Memory (Frame Buffer)
on Dec 17, 2009 at 4:09:51 pm

I actually have OpenGL rendering turned on for the OpenGL-Interactive preview mode. That helps for faster updates (with a transient tradeoff in visual fidelity) when I'm interacting with a layer property---like moving a layer.

But, other than that, Michael is right. Beyond making sure that you have a supported OpenGL card, there's no point in spiffing up your graphics card just for After Effects.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
putting the 'T' back in 'RTFM' : After Effects Help on the Web
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If a page of After Effects Help answers your question, please consider rating it. If you have a tip, technique, or link to share---or if there is something that you'd like to see added or improved---please leave a comment.


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Rik Mahieu
Re: Benefit of extra Graphics Memory (Frame Buffer)
on Dec 17, 2009 at 7:31:43 pm

Thanks for your answers so far! The reason I'm asking:

I recently upgraded my system and I would like to figure out if I should replace my old 7900GTX (which is OpenGL compatible) for a newer model (like a GTX275 or a more expensive GTX295) or wait for the new GTX300 series which are supposed to be released in 2010 as well as Adobe CS5 which has some promising statements regarding OpenGL, CUDA and GPU based encoding..

http://forums.adobe.com/thread/511974?tstart=-1
http://aeportal.blogspot.com/2009/09/adobe-demos-nvidia-cuda-acceleration.h...
http://blogs.adobe.com/davtechtable/2009/10/its_official_the_future_of_ado....

The bottom line is, I (like everyone) just want a more efficient workflow and I'm just curious about what parts of a video card really boost performance in software like Adobe CS4/CS5, because I've read a lot about CUDA, OpenGL/OpenCL, GPU encoding and Nvidia's gain over ATi with plugins like Red Giant Looks etc. There has to be some performance gain, but in which way, I just can't find clear answers...














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Dave LaRonde
Re: Benefit of extra Graphics Memory (Frame Buffer)
on Dec 17, 2009 at 7:52:40 pm

[Rik Mahieu] "I would like to figure out if I should replace my old 7900GTX... or wait "

My advice: wait. You might have read some promising things about Open GL, but until it is etched in stone by Adobe and confirmed independently by users, I wouldn't even go there.

Adobe doesn't exactly have a stellar record for true, no-fine-print-needed, 100% support of items it claims it supports. Consider the following items claimed by Adobe to be supported:
  • Open GL: you can preview with it, but don't bother rendering with it.
  • HDV: you can import it into AE, but don't try rendering out your work.
  • Other temporally-compressed video: same thing as HDV.
  • AC3, MP3, and other compressed audio: okay to use as a reference, but WILL NOT render or export properly. MP3 has been that way since I began using AE version 3. That's darned near ten years!

Now, you may have some cash burning a hole in your pocket. You may run other applications where Open GL is a godsend. Those are both excellent reasons for getting a new Open GL card.

But if speeding up AE is your sole reason for getting it, save your hard-earned dough until Open GL support is fact instead of tantalizing fiction.

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


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Todd Kopriva
Re: Benefit of extra Graphics Memory (Frame Buffer)
on Dec 17, 2009 at 8:13:09 pm

> Adobe doesn't exactly have a stellar record for true, no-fine-print-needed, 100% support of items it claims it supports.


We try to make the limitations, caveats, and tradeoffs clear. Really. For example, I have this near the top of the "Render with OpenGL" section:

"Important: Because not all features of a composition can be rendered with OpenGL—and because some features that can be rendered with OpenGL are rendered with different results—you may only want to use OpenGL rendering to accelerate previews and to provide faster rendering for non-final results."

If you think that there are some areas that could use some additional details, warnings, or tips, please add a comment to the relevant page of After Effects Help on the Web so that everyone who sees those pages will know what you think.

For example, I wouldn't mind seeing Dave's stock answer about MPEG codecs on this page:

"Supported import formats"




---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
putting the 'T' back in 'RTFM' : After Effects Help on the Web
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If a page of After Effects Help answers your question, please consider rating it. If you have a tip, technique, or link to share---or if there is something that you'd like to see added or improved---please leave a comment.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Benefit of extra Graphics Memory (Frame Buffer)
on Dec 17, 2009 at 8:49:13 pm

I'm sure you understand I'm not jumping on you personally, Todd.

But it does seem that AE Help in certain instances read like a legal document: lots of clauses and sub-clauses. I personally think it's done out of necessity.

I suspect part of your job is to function like the guy with the wheeled trash can who follows the elephants and horses in a parade.... and Adobe's Marketing Department plays the role of the elephants and horses.


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


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Todd Kopriva
Re: Benefit of extra Graphics Memory (Frame Buffer)
on Dec 17, 2009 at 9:00:06 pm

[*raises a shovel toward Dave in noncommittal salute*]

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
putting the 'T' back in 'RTFM' : After Effects Help on the Web
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If a page of After Effects Help answers your question, please consider rating it. If you have a tip, technique, or link to share---or if there is something that you'd like to see added or improved---please leave a comment.


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Steve Roberts
Re: Benefit of extra Graphics Memory (Frame Buffer)
on Dec 17, 2009 at 9:54:03 pm

"Lucille, God gave me a gift. I shovel well. I shovel very well." - The Shoveler



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Steve Roberts
Re: Benefit of extra Graphics Memory (Frame Buffer)
on Dec 17, 2009 at 8:42:28 pm

OpenGL is relevant for 3D apps such as MAX, Maya, C4D, Lightwave and so on. Gives you better previewing capabilities.

It's also important for apps that lean heavily on a graphics card, such as Apple's Motion or Color. If you were on Mac.

But for AE ... not so much. Spend the extra money on RAM, faster processors, plugins, a big monitor or a really nice chair. I'm serious on the chair thing.



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Michael Szalapski
Re: Benefit of extra Graphics Memory (Frame Buffer)
on Dec 17, 2009 at 10:33:27 pm

The chair! An oft overlooked item in one's arsenal. I didn't realize the importance of a chair until my current job. God bless military contracts! We have amazingly expensive nice and comfortable chairs and my body no longer feels worn out at the end of a day. They're not cushy; they're supportive.

I had no idea life could be this good!

Sorry, I'll stop with with the infomercial. But seriously, Steve's right; consider the chair.

- 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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Rik Mahieu
Re: Benefit of extra Graphics Memory (Frame Buffer)
on Dec 17, 2009 at 11:58:29 pm

I defenitely agree on the chair, luckily I have a good one :) Must not get too comfortable, as I might not want to work anymore at all..

But about the video card, I use Premiere and Photoshop as well, but regarding to AE I just want faster Interactive previews, image quality doesn't matter too much until final render, just for motion tweaking etc. But it just has to be faster than my old 7900GTX..

So if graphics memory size (frame buffer) doesn't make much difference, I'll just save some money for now and use it for a nice monitor indeed (Dell U2410 or Apple's 24" Cinema), any comments about those monitors are welcome as well, but that's probably a different topic.



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Dumeyni Arnaud
Re: Benefit of extra Graphics Memory (Frame Buffer)
on Dec 18, 2009 at 9:52:54 am

Hello,
I always had OpenGL turned off but I used it recently for rendering a heavy RAM-eating composition.
So when playing with the Multiprocessing, with the RAM settings and caches isn't enough it might be interesting, but I won't buy a expensive card just for this.



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Dave LaRonde
Re: Benefit of extra Graphics Memory (Frame Buffer)
on Dec 18, 2009 at 4:38:16 pm

.[Dumeyni Arnaud] "...I used it recently for rendering a heavy RAM-eating composition.
So when playing with the Multiprocessing, with the RAM settings and caches isn't enough it might be interesting..."


If you want to give it a go, I say, "Do it!"

But you should know this: the guys at Adobe have pretty much given up on using Open GL when rendering. That's not exactly a ringing endorsement of Open GL's utility in AE

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


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