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System Config for AE CS3/4

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Andy JosephSystem Config for AE CS3/4
by on Mar 31, 2010 at 11:00:43 am

Hi Guys, I'm motion graphics designer & usually work in After Effects CS3. Currently i have system with C2D 2.6ghz, 2GB RAM, 500GB seagate 7200rpm, intel basic inbuilt graphic card. And i'm sick n tired of this ultra slow machine.

Now i'm buying a new system & have a budget of $1700-$2000max. How do you guys suggest me to spend my money wisely so that i get the fastest Gfx machine possible in given budget.


Thnx
Andy


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Walter SoykaRe: System Config for AE CS3/4
by on Mar 31, 2010 at 12:29:34 pm

After Effects loves RAM. If you've got between 2-4 GB of RAM per processor core, you can enable multiprocessing to see a big performance improvement. If you have less than 2-4 GB per core, you run the risk of memory starvation and huge slowdowns.

In other words, if AE is your primary application, prioritize RAM in your purchase. I'd rather have a 4-core machine with 16 GB of RAM than an 8-core machine with 8 GB of RAM.

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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Andy JosephRe: System Config for AE CS3/4
by on Mar 31, 2010 at 2:10:46 pm

I'm planning to buy XEON x2. But i've read on many forums that in terms of speed theres not much difference between XEON & C2D except that we can get two processors on one Mother board if we choose to go with XEON, which may not be possible with i7 or C2D. What do you have to say on this & what do you recommend ?


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Walter SoykaRe: System Config for AE CS3/4
by on Mar 31, 2010 at 2:36:59 pm

I think that your budget is pretty tight for two Xeons and enough RAM to keep them busy. I don't think there's any sense right now in buying 8 cores for AE unless you can also buy 16-32 GB of RAM, or 4 cores unless you can also buy 8-16 GB of RAM.

I would actually postpone the purchase of a new workstation for After Effects for at least a couple weeks -- Adobe is announcing AE CS5 on April 12 (though they will not release it for some time after that) -- and I'll be curious to see what the system requirements and recommendations are.

At a minimum, remember that CS5 will be 64-bit only.

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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Andy JosephRe: System Config for AE CS3/4
by on Apr 2, 2010 at 10:15:54 pm

Hi Walter, Thanks for your suggestions & news update about CS5. I'll keep things in mind while making a purchase.


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Andy JosephRe: System Config for AE CS3/4
by on Apr 5, 2010 at 3:05:52 pm

Hi Again,

After putting all my efforts i've been able to find these prices for the following configuration.

Intel® Workstation Board S5520SC : $455
2x Intel Xeon E5520 Nehalem 2.26GHz : $768 (384x2)
RAM 16GB : $440 (55x8)
Solid State Drive 80 GB 2.5" : $262
Geforce 285 : $250
Display : $200
Heat Sink + Cabinet : $75

TOTAL : $2,450

Gadgets I already have:
- External Hard Drive 750 GB
- 500GB Seagate Barracuda Internal


Now i want your opinion guys. Do you think its an optimum configuration for a system meant for motion graphics & video editing.? Please suggest me if it could be made better by replacing few components here & there.

Regards
Andy


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Walter SoykaRe: System Config for AE CS3/4
by on Apr 5, 2010 at 6:52:08 pm

I prefer to buy my workstations from an integrator or VAR, because I think even a single support incident will make up the difference in price.

A couple thoughts on the specs you've put together:

You've specified 8 x 2GB RAM DIMMs; the motherboard you're looking at is 6-channel (really 2 x 3-channel), so I think you'd be better off adjusting that to either 6 x 4GB or 12 x 2GB. In other words, dual channel RAM performs best installed in pairs, but triple channel RAM performs best installed in sets of three.

If you have specified the GeForce GTX 285 for use with the Mercury Playback Engine, you should be aware that it apparently only accelerates the first 3 layers in a Premiere project; you need a Quadro to accelerate the entire project.

I'd personally also consider a RAID, a video I/O card like an AJA or a Blackmagic and a broadcast monitor to be critical items for most motion graphics/video editing workflows.

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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Andy JosephRe: System Config for AE CS3/4
by on Apr 10, 2010 at 4:09:09 pm

Ok after getting the prices, initially i'll go with 16GB RAM. All I've to decide is about processor. I'm stuck between these two: Single XEON E5520 (2.26 Ghz) & i7 930.(2.8 Ghz).

I'm bit partial towards XEON because if i'm not satisfied with the performance or need to upgrade later, i'll just have to buy & add another XEON & some RAM into motherboard.

Also can u please clarify whether 'After Effects' is capable of using all 8 cores or not?

Thanks
Andy


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Walter SoykaRe: System Config for AE CS3/4
by on Apr 10, 2010 at 6:35:25 pm

[Andy Joseph] "Also can u please clarify whether 'After Effects' is capable of using all 8 cores or not?"

Yes, AE can use all 8 cores. AE can render a single frame on each core at the same time through its multiprocessing feature.

It will not use multiple cores to collaborate on a single frame like a scanline or bucket renderer could.

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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Andy JosephRe: System Config for AE CS3/4
by on Apr 15, 2010 at 9:09:22 pm

Hi Walter,

Finally CS5 is launched, did you find it good enough?

Also i have to ask you, holding on to my budget should i compromise on CPU or Graphic card such as Quadro. ? Which is more important for AE ?


Thnx
Andy


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Walter SoykaRe: System Config for AE CS3/4
by on Apr 17, 2010 at 4:14:23 pm

[Andy Joseph] "Finally CS5 is launched, did you find it good enough?"

CS5 has been announced, but it's not shipping yet -- it should ship within the next month.

I am planning to upgrade as soon as it ships, because I will really benefit from the improved memory handling. You should note that 32-bit plugins are not supported on AE CS5, and you will have to upgrade all your plugins. Different developers have different release schedules and upgrade pricing, so be sure to check in with the developers of any plugins that you rely on.

[Andy Joseph] "Also i have to ask you, holding on to my budget should i compromise on CPU or Graphic card such as Quadro. ? Which is more important for AE "

AE doesn't benefit from an advanced graphics card, so for AE, I'd go for RAM and CPU.

Some plugins and many other apps (including Adobe Premiere) can take advantage of advanced graphics cards like the NVIDIA Quadro line, so you may consider it anyway if it will give you a big benefit outside of AE.

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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Andy JosephRe: System Config for AE CS3/4
by on Apr 18, 2010 at 11:08:52 pm

Hey Walter, Thank you so much. You really helped me on improving my knowledge base.

I've pushed my budget keeping in mind that i cannot upgrade to DUAL XEON if i require them later, so i chose to go with workstation motherboard and decided to go for SINGLE X5650 instead of i7-920 or rather Xtreme i7-980X.



Intel® Core™ i7-980X Extreme Edition - 6 Cores
(12M Cache, 3.33 GHz, 6.40 GT/s - Benchmark Score 10,148


Intel® Xeon® Processor X5650 - 6 Cores
- (12M Cache, 2.66 GHz, 6.40 GT/s) - Benchmark Score ??


- Do you think X5650 having 670 Mhz lesser clock speed will make lot of difference in rendering & scrubbing previews.?

What do you think of this config:
M/BO: S5520SC + Intel Chassis
Processor: SINGLE X5650 2.66Ghz (6 Cores), 12M Cache, 6.4GT/s QPI
RAM: ECC DDR3 1333 - 12GB (2GB per core)
HDD: Intel X-25 Xtreme SDD, 32GB
HDD 2: Barracuda 7200 RPM
Graphics: Confused between Quadro FX 1800 ELEM & Quadro Fx 3800. Note: Quadro1800 doesn't support 'Adobe Mercury Playback Engine'
19" Display


- Do you recommend Quadro FX1800 or should i use this money to buy more 4 GB RAM & get some cheaper Geforece card ?


Thanks again for all your valuable time.
Regards
Andy


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Walter SoykaRe: System Config for AE CS3/4
by on Apr 20, 2010 at 1:54:27 am

[Andy Joseph] "Do you think X5650 having 670 Mhz lesser clock speed will make lot of difference in rendering & scrubbing previews.? "

Personally, I'd rather have the Xeon and the option of installing a second processor than the Core i7 with the higher clock speed. Either processor will be a huge improvement over your current Core 2 Duo.

[Andy Joseph] "HDD: Intel X-25 Xtreme SDD, 32GB"

I see that you're looking for a speedy boot disk, but will 32 GB be enough for your system and apps? Maybe it will, but I'd recommend you take a quick inventory on your system now to make sure you'll have enough space.

[Andy Joseph] "Do you recommend Quadro FX1800 or should i use this money to buy more 4 GB RAM & get some cheaper Geforece card ?"

Depends what else you need to do with this workstation. If it's mainly AE, I'd go for the GTX 285 and more RAM, but perhaps you have other needs outside of AE that would benefit from a Quadro.

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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Andy JosephRe: System Config for AE CS3/4
by on Apr 20, 2010 at 5:39:06 am

Thank you so much 'Walter Soyka' for all you support & time. You really helped me in deciding the paraphernalia thats worth my money.

Thanks
Andy


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