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Taliesn JonesIs AfterFX CS4 optimized for OSX/Inetl i7 yet?
by on Jan 31, 2010 at 3:46:32 pm

Have been hitting the performance ceiling on my less than 10 month old 24" iMac ( Core2 Duo 3.0.6 GHz_8 GB RAM/GeForce 130 ) using both AfterFX and Motion. where even Motion is choking on my work *while I'm working*. Sometimes an FX command makes it stop cold while it "thinks about it" and then responds within anywhere from 30 secs to perhaps 180 secs.( and this is with other heavy FX ladden layers turned off ). Make no mistake the beast rendcers like a houjse afire . So much so I've dispensed with doing RAM previews in AfterFX altogehter in favor of gong straight to render out as QT. It's far faster by a factor of 3X to 4X and thus far better.

Thus I'm almost convinced myself to sell this ( at the just-release time I bought it ) top-of-the-line iMac and put that money towards the new 27" i7 Quad Core Nehalim. The problem is one professional friend is discouraging me from upgrading because he says the performance boost won't be worth the price. Another is saying go for it.

Thus i'm consulting the iNet for plain English , matter-of-fact, and to-the-point confirmation that Adobe CS4 Production Suite does , in fact , make use of the hyper-threading on the OSX side now that OSX 10.6+ drives the Nehalem.


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Todd KoprivaRe: Is AfterFX CS4 optimized for OSX/Inetl i7 yet?
by on Jan 31, 2010 at 4:28:45 pm

You don't have enough RAM to feed even the four physical cores in your computer, so the question of whether hyperthreading works is moot in your case. You need 2GB per process, plus some left over for the operating system.

Read this post for recommendations about how to get the best performance out of your computer by optimally allocating RAM.

The Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously multiprocessing features uses physical cores, not virtual cores.

You also didn't mention whether you applied the After Effects CS4 (9.0.2) update. That update was created largely to make After Effects CS4 work well on Snow Leopard (Mac OSX 10.6). See "After Effects CS4 and Snow Leopard"



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Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
putting the 'T' back in 'RTFM' : After Effects Help on the Web
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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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cow
Taliesn JonesRe: Is AfterFX CS4 optimized for OSX/Inetl i7 yet?
by on Jan 31, 2010 at 7:07:18 pm

"You don't have enough RAM to feed even the four physical cores in your computer, so the question of whether hyperthreading works is moot in your case. You need 2GB per process, plus some left over for the operating system."


I thought I had clearly laid out , right out of the gate , that i was using a "24" iMac ( Core2 Duo 3.0.6 GHz_8 GB RAM/GeForce 130 ) ...sooooo that's clearly 4GBs per Core , no?
Was I really being too cryptic ?

That said ,ya know this entire response was the type of *quasi-answer* I was hoping I could avoid and rather get a clear , hands-on, from the trenches response telling me Yes or no and then the " this is why" links which you have offered.

I'm thankful for the links , but an actual response saying "Yah or Nah and here's why" would been even more liberatingly succinct.
I thought I had clearly laid out , right out of the gate , that i was using a "24" iMac ( Core2 Duo 3.0.6 GHz_8 GB RAM/GeForce 130 ) ...sooooo that's clearly 4GBs per Core , no?
Was I really being too cryptic ?
However , you are right , I did *not* mention that I have *indeed* applied AfterFX CS4 9.0.2 ).
I would of course gone directly to the Prefs_Render Multiple Frames Simul" just out of sheer desperation having used AE since 6.5 version. This is what originally pushed me to invest in *Motion*. Well , that and *Motion's* far further advanced *animated brush engine*. I always had imagined that AE would one day become this Photoshop with a timeline , but here it 2010 for crying out load........


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Taliesn JonesRe: I'll Rephrase the Question
by on Jan 31, 2010 at 9:06:13 pm


What I was looking for were OSX/AE folks who have themselves or can provide links to OSX/AE folks who have upgraded to the Nehalem MP from the Core2Duo's with all the prerequisites ( ie: AE 9.0.2 , the FULL compliment of RAM their Mac can hold , the correct AE prefs set allocating all the RAM usable by AE CS4, etc. ) In my case I'm currently running on Leopard OSX 10.5.8 because of all of the warnings of higher end apps like AE CS4 having "issues" playing well with the Snow Cat.
With Core2 Duo settings of :
Mem & Multiproc settings: 2 processor cores/Installed RAM 8 ( the most a Core2Duo can harbor /Total AE mem usage 7.06/Min allocation per CPU_2GB( last stop is 2.09 )/ Longer RAM Preview-Faster Rednering slider dead center ( Perhaps I should dispense with RAM Previews altogwther and go for the QT render all the way every time?/Foreground Mem Use 1.1GB/Background Mem Use_5.97_2.98 per CPU_CPU's to leave for other apps "0". I have been turning all other apps "off" which kind of defeats the usefulness of Bridge app.

All AE settings being equal as inset for optimum usage on a Quad Core i5 ( 2.66GHz) or i7 ( 2.8GHz ) 27" pre-loaded with Snow Cat 10.6.whatever , with a *full* rack o' RAM.
With all of those stops pulled I'm asking those who use AE CS4 OSX 9.0.2 running the latest Snow Cat if the performance difference is that much more substantial on a Quad Core i7 ,yada ,yada ,yadas as opposed to what I've got as to warrant the upgrade investment.

Hated to get that anal about such a basic question one would simply ask a friend who had just done same , but judging by Todd's answer I was obviously not specific enough. Getting a straight & sans equivocated answer is sure like handling Mercury



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Jason AllenRe: I'll Rephrase the Question
by on Feb 1, 2010 at 5:53:02 am

Just a point but you might have put off others from answering through the obnoxious attitude. Just something to bear in mind when seeking help in the future.



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Taliesn JonesRe:Still No Straight Answer. Amazing
by on Feb 1, 2010 at 11:02:53 am

I'm sorry , but when the resident moderator of this list , apparently a professional representing Adobe ,
informs me that "You don't have enough RAM to feed even the 4 physical cores in your computer.."
when I clearly stated up front that I had a Core2 Duo with 8 GB of RAM , "...so the question of whether hyperthreading works in your case is moot.", I was simply reacting to a rather condescending arrogance in his not even bothering to read/comprehend my rather up-front & earnest question.

Instead he reinforced how sensitive Adobe is to this question apparently inn that he assumed I hadn't upgraded to AE CS4 9.0.2 or hadn't adjusted the "Render Multiple Frames Simul Multiproc" setting instead of offering a simple & straight-forward answer of whether it's worth upgrading to a Quad Core i7 iMac w/ pre-loaded Snow Leopard & with the full compliment of *16 Gb Rack o' RAM enhanced by these proper *Pref* settings would definitely give one the substantial performance they seek...or not.

I ask you is that too much to ask of this list. Instead I'm still left hanging with no straight answer either way as if how dare I even ask what's wrong with Adobe AE CS4's performance at all. I dutifully read all of the links he offered me and i still have no clear confirmation as to whether AE CS4 performance is worth the upgrade.

Instead of all of this hyper-sensitivity I was honestly expecting someone whom had indeed faced my my decision , went for it , and was glad to offer their direct hands on experience either way. I would've been more than thankful and complimentary , but I've been a working professional with Adobe AE since version 6.5 and joined the Cow atleast 6 years. I guess I expected a better repsonse. I can;t beleive that out of all of the working AE CS$ OSX professionals on this list not a one stepped up to the plate to offer a basic *real world* response. Oh well. Times change I s'pose.



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Walter SoykaRe: Re:Still No Straight Answer. Amazing
by on Feb 1, 2010 at 12:28:53 pm

Todd is an invaluable contributor to this forum, and he always gives great advice. His recommendations cover the first troubleshooting steps for AE on 10.6.

He may have misread your original post, but he did actually give you a direct answer to your question, which you might have missed. I quote from the thread above:

[Taliesn Jones] "Thus i'm consulting the iNet for plain English , matter-of-fact, and to-the-point confirmation that Adobe CS4 Production Suite does , in fact , make use of the hyper-threading on the OSX side now that OSX 10.6+ drives the Nehalem"

[Todd Kopriva] "The Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously multiprocessing features uses physical cores, not virtual cores."

So the answer is no, AE will not use hyper-threading. If you get a quad-core machine, it will use four physical cores with multiprocessing, not eight virtual ones.


[Taliesn Jones] "I can;t beleive that out of all of the working AE CS$ OSX professionals on this list not a one stepped up to the plate to offer a basic *real world* response. Oh well. Times change I s'pose."

In my opinion, an iMac isn't well-suited for professional motion media work. It's not expandable, so you can't add a video card (like AJA or Blackmagic Design, not graphics cards like ATI or NVIDIA) to monitor your work on a broadcast monitor. You can't add a RAID card for working with uncompressed HD footage. You'll have to daisy-chain multiple external hard drives and maybe a Blu-ray burner off a single FW800 bus. An eight-core Mac Pro is a much more substantial machine, and far better suited for motion media work.

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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Taliesn JonesRe: Finally , Thank You
by on Feb 1, 2010 at 4:31:15 pm


I am sure Todd is a great resource to this list , but what got as a response from him was simply inadequate and apparently too cryptic for me because it took *you* to put what is apparently *the answer* into *other words*.
"[Todd Kopriva] "The Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously multiprocessing features uses physical cores, not virtual cores."

[ Walter Soyka] " So the answer is no, AE will not use hyper-threading."

Now that's the kind of matter of fact , plain English answer he *could've* given ,right,right?
Why was this so difficult for him to say as plainly as you have?
However , his stating about the differentiation that AE CS4's architecture makes between *virtual cores?* as opposed to *physical cores* that means that AE CS4 on an 8 Core MacPro only gets AE CS4's performance benefit by virtue of the fact that those 8 cores are distributed between 2 Quad Core Nehalem's ( ie i7's.)

So obviously this translates into the fact that Adobe is lagging behind the ability to use of Intel's 21st century ability to harbor 4 individual cores on a single physical chip. From the reading I've been able to find describing the concept & design of Intel's Core Duo2 evolving into the Nehalem informs me tiny little mind that there's nothing *virtual* about the cores. It's touted as a distinct *improvement* insofar as the *on die* cores gain access to each other and RAM far faster expressly *because* they share the same die. My source was the 12 page on line article form Ars Technica:
Re:Nahalem by the Numbers: the Ars Review. ( Someone should inform Adobe perhaps )
http://arstechnica.com/hardware/reviews/2008/11/nehalem-launch-review.ars/1...

Which now brings me to where your answer went off the rails a tad.
[Walter Soyka] "...If you get a quad-core machine, it will use four physical cores with multiprocessing, not eight virtual ones."

You know you really had me one your side until you added this precious little info-nugget. I was under *no* illusion that if I was purchasing a Quad Core iMac that I was getting anything more than 4 cores that apparently Adobe CS 4 can't deal with efficiently via Hyper-threading.

Knowing this your misexplainantion of what I'm missing here is quite the overreach on your part. FYI a *Quad Core* Nehalem/i7 are *4 cores* acting in concert that share a *single* physical chip. So with that fact your explanation is totally non-sequitur.

Now we get to your *opinion* which I respect because it obviously comes from a total video production mindset , which is fine , but *not* what I do with it.....*professionally*.

[Walter Soyka] "
" In my opinion, an iMac isn't well-suited for professional motion media work. It's not expandable, so you can't add a video card .....An eight-core Mac Pro is a much more substantial machine, and far better suited for motion media work."

OK , first of all , yes an 8-core ( on 2 physical Nehalem 4 Core chips ) *would* most definitely be far better suited for the*Live Performance of Animated Grafx* that I'm paid well to do and with my next paying gig with the classical symphony orchestra here that's exactly where I'm going to go. I've found that lugging around those cinder blocks carved out of aluminum G5 form-factors to be not for the faint of heart.

In the meantime I was tired of waiting for Adobe to finally release a version of AfterFX that would have , among other things , a more advanced animated brush engine. It was then , early April 2009 , that someone heard my complaint and turned me onto *Motion's* animated brush engine and I never looked back.

Thus when I read that the 3.0.6 Core2 Duo with an 8 GB rack-o'-RAM in the just released iMac would literally dance around my Dual 2.5 Gb G5 I was there and let me tell you the portability factor was a dream and around $1k cheaper than the laptop solution with 24" screen in the bargain.

The contract paid for the then top-o-the-line iMac which was mandatory to run Motion and the entire FinalCut Studio 2 with enough left over to then go on to use my AE 6.5 license to take advantage of the upgrade to the full Adobe Production Premium CS4 Suite.

Which brings us to today. My next *Fantasia-style* live performance production piece for the symphony orchestra will be cherry-picking the *best* of what both Motion & AE CS4 each have as their signature features which the other program doesn't ( along with a suite of 3rd party plug-ins
another friend and digital colleague just turned me onto )

Therefore , seeing as how the recently released Quad Core iMac has the very same Quad Core Nehalem as the 8 Core MacPro , and the ability to harbor 16 GBs of the same 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM as the MacPro , I figured I would sell-off my Core2 Duo privately and put that towards the new Quad Core iMac and then buy the 8 core MacPro as my main in-studio production box with the iMac as the on-site live performance Mac which plugs directly into their stage-size digital projection screen. seeing as how I've already road-tested and am satisfied with the iMac for these live performances.

It is within this context that i sought out real world results of whether the up-grade to the Quad-core iMac made it worth the expense.



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Walter SoykaRe: Finally , Thank You
by on Feb 1, 2010 at 5:15:23 pm

Respectfully, we are trying to help you and answer your questions, but your tone is coming across as very argumentative.

[Taliesn Jones] "You know you really had me one your side until you added this precious little info-nugget. I was under *no* illusion that if I was purchasing a Quad Core iMac that I was getting anything more than 4 cores that apparently Adobe CS 4 can't deal with efficiently via Hyper-threading."

I think part of the disconnect here is that you are using the term "hyper-threading" inaccurately. Hyper-threading refers to running two threads simultaneously on a single core, essentially creating two virtual cores on one physical core. This is why Todd and I answered with distinctions between physical cores and virtual cores.

[Taliesn Jones] "Knowing this your misexplainantion of what I'm missing here is quite the overreach on your part. FYI a *Quad Core* Nehalem/i7 are *4 cores* acting in concert that share a *single* physical chip. So with that fact your explanation is totally non-sequitur."

After Effects uses multiprocessing in order to render multiple frames simultaneously and reduce render times. If you read the linked livedoc, you'll see that it does this by launching one render process per core.

AE's renderer is frame-based; it is not a scanline or bucket renderer. After Effects does NOT hand a frame over the CPU and ask the CPU to split it among its four cores; it hands each core one frame at a time to render.

It's still using all the processing power available, but the internal architecture of the i7 chip really has nothing to do with it. Neither AE nor Motion are currently tuned specifically for Nehalem to my knowledge.

[Taliesn Jones] "Thus when I read that the 3.0.6 Core2 Duo with an 8 GB rack-o'-RAM in the just released iMac would literally dance around my Dual 2.5 Gb G5 I was there and let me tell you the portability factor was a dream and around $1k cheaper than the laptop solution with 24" screen in the bargain."

Agreed that the iMac is a huge leap up over a G5. I've still got an old G5 in the office, and my iMac runs circles around it. That said, my Mac Pro runs circles around my iMac.

When you get your Mac Pro for your studio, go for an upgraded ATI video card, and you'll see a big boost in Motion performance, too.

[Taliesn Jones] "It is within this context that i sought out real world results of whether the up-grade to the Quad-core iMac made it worth the expense."

If your renders are slowing down, then yes, the two additional cores in a quad iMac will give you a noticeable speed boost over your existing Core 2 Duo.

As for on-site playback of live content, I find it's far less about the processor power, and far more about the speed and latency of the disk subsystem.

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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Taliesn JonesRe Best Thoughtful Answer! Sincere Thanks
by on Feb 1, 2010 at 7:04:47 pm


Well I *am* as sorry for my tone i this exchange as I am that it took these many give & takes to get to what was the answer you've given here.

[ Walter Soyka] "I think part of the disconnect here is that you are using the term "hyper-threading" inaccurately. Hyper-threading refers to running two threads simultaneously on a single core, essentially creating two virtual cores on one physical core. This is why Todd and I answered with distinctions between physical cores and virtual cores."

Point well taken. My confusion concerned *Multithreading* was the means by which a 64-bit enabled OS
appropriately optimized accessed just the 4 individual cores *as* just 4 individual cores, not this artificial doubling. This is what I meant by my not being under any illusion of a Quad Core being 8 Cores; 4 Cores , 4 GB's of RAM per core knowing that a certain fraction is taken out of the equation for the OS.

[ Walter Soyka ] "After Effects uses multiprocessing in order to render multiple frames simultaneously and reduce render times. If you read the linked livedoc, you'll see that it does this by launching one render process per core."....

..."AE's renderer is frame-based; it is not a scanline or bucket renderer. After Effects does NOT hand a frame over the CPU and ask the CPU to split it among its four cores; it hands each core one frame at a time to render. "....

"..Neither AE nor Motion are currently tuned specifically for Nehalem to my knowledge."

"....If your renders are slowing down, then yes, the two additional cores in a quad iMac will give you a noticeable speed boost over your existing Core 2 Duo. "


Ya know all of this back & forth would've been avoided had Todd put it that way right from beginning.
*This* is the kind of thoughtful answer I was searching for and i *do* thank you.
This distinction tells me right away that , yes , these 4 :"non-virtual"cores ( with the maximum compliment of 16GB Rack oRAM ) indeed perform far better than the Core2 Duo's 2 cores "enough" to make the upgrade investment worth the expense.
That's all I needed to read.

[ Walter Soyka ] " When you get your Mac Pro for your studio, go for an upgraded ATI video card, and you'll see a big boost in Motion performance, too. "

Yet another reason for the upgrade because , at the time of last year's iMac purchase the ATI was *not yet shipping* and since I was on a hard deadline I had to take the then stock 512MB GeForce 130 that it came with.
Again, Thank you Walter for your thoughtful answers and my apologies for rustling some feathers, but with the added influence of a full moon things can , as they say , get my Irish up. Like I said i *wish* you answer was the one I had received from the get-go. Now that I have confirmation that AE CS4 9.0.2. can be recommended to play well with Snow Cat OSX 6.whatever I'm good to go.
Be well.
Taliesyn



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Jason AllenRe: Re Best Thoughtful Answer! Sincere Thanks
by on Feb 2, 2010 at 5:52:57 am

I'm going to try and hold myself back, but even in getting the answer you wanted you can't help being a rude and arrogant.

If anything was unclear throughout this series of posts it was your incomplete sentences and sometimes unclear thoughts, don't go getting snippy at others just because you're not able to understand their answers (through fault of your own, not theirs).

If you don't like the answers you get (which were easily decipherable right from the beginning by the way) then feel free to go elsewhere and pay someone to help you find what you can't find yourself. The cow doesn't need attitudes the likes of yours.

Smarten up.
Jason



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Taliesn JonesRe:Best Thoughtful Answer! Sincere Thanks
by on Feb 2, 2010 at 1:05:56 pm

[ Jason Allen ] "I'm going to try and hold myself back, but even in getting the answer you wanted you can't help being *a* rude and arrogant."

My ,my, my , looks like you mercifully caught yourself about to call someone a bad name ( or the "a" serves no purpose ). We are relieved. ;-)
Look , mate , at times of hard deadlines with a large project , in *this hyper-competitive* economy BTW, and needing time for more experimentation with a new Trapecode Suite of plug-ins ( the new more advanced *particular* in particular ) and originally being from New Yawk as an advertising design & commercial artist during the decade of the 1980's ( yeah the *Decade of Greed ) , one can get impatient. ( So ,Yeah , I can be a temperamental artistic type when under pressure and in this marketplace. No sympathies here, I do just fine, thank you )
I knew that the Core2 Duo has only 2 cores w/ 8 GBs rack o RAM and i was asking about moving up to a 4 Core with 16 GB's rack o' RAM , then right out of the gate I get:
" You don't have enough RAM to feed even the four physical cores in your computer, so the question of whether hyperthreading works is moot in your case. "

Where did he get " the 4 cores in my computer" from? Please explain? What am I supposed to take from that? Don't bother with an upgrade I hadn't bought yet? Simply saying that hyper-threading capability was not in AE CS4 yet , but multiproc performance will be substantial , or not. Why would this have been so difficult to say?

That aside , no , I didn't immediately "get it" about why even a full compliment of the maximum rack o' RAM would be moot so far as hyper-threading is concerned. I just needed to know if investing in the quad core Nehalem would be worth the performance. AE CS4 had clear warnings of being problematic with OSX 6.Obviously that was a sensitive question for an Adobe rep. To then assume that I hadn't even thought of upping my pref settings was not only wrong , but rather presumptive & , yes , condescending regardless of how many times he's been made to *suffer* though such blatantly ignorant questions from we great unwashed masses & digital aborigines

So right off the bat I was made to think I was getting short shrift of an answer and that I was now in for another one of these long dialogues to get at what could've been a one post response to which I *always* give glad thanks.

Walter Soyka understood what I was seeking. He *bothered* to explain about AE CS4 being about multiprocessors and not hyper=threading. This was a clear answer. What was so difficult?
That I commented that this could've been resolved from response one is a matter of fact and excuse me for daring to bring that to the attention of the 1st responder who's a professional. It's also not as if I've not encountered sensitivity about the short-comings of AE from Adobe representatives before during Q & A of live demoes here in the Wash.D.C. market.
I dunno , but where i come from to have one's honest inquiry addressed as suchwith a wave of the responder's hand while assuming I needed the fundamental checks I felt was rude. It cuts both ways , mate. So his response rubbed me the wrong way and , yeah , it got my Irish up and I over-reacted.

Walter Soyka understood what I was seeking. He got it and I was genuinely grateful for it.
This should be "end of story".

Which brings me to your response.
"I'm going to try and hold myself back"?
What is this , "Oprah"?
Your 2ยข worth has been duly noted.
Feel better now?
Let's move on now shall we.


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Pat BrayRe: Re:Best Thoughtful Answer! Sincere Thanks
by on Apr 26, 2010 at 12:57:36 pm

Plus point to this thread: There's some good pointers and info regarding hardware upgrading for AE

Minus point to this thread: Taliesn Jones - must be a f**king nightmare to work with...


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