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new computer for CS4

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Daniel Unkenholz
new computer for CS4
on Jun 23, 2010 at 9:27:43 pm

Ok, im about to but the new alienware area 51 gaming question is the gfx cards that come with it are dual nvidia gtx 480.
will this be able to run premiere and after effects as well as my workstation computer at work that has a workstation gfx card with OpenGL? i have heard that the bios is different for gaming gfx cards and workstation gfx cards and that would give the edge to workstation gfx cards for such programs as 3D max "that i wont be using".

so i guess im trying figure out if I should spend 5 grand on a gaming rig "alienware" or find a workstation.

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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: new computer for CS4
on Jun 23, 2010 at 10:36:27 pm

Daniel -

I believe the gaming systems are specced out so as to display the maximum number of polygons, which is why they are so good for 3D software, which is really just a real-time 3D system of sorts, as I understand it.

I'm currently running CS4 successfully with Vista 64-bit on a sixteen hundred dollar Intel Quad Core system. Here are the specs:

Intel Motherboard - DP45SG - this has an ESATA connector for a RAID array if necessary
Quad Core2 Q9550, 2.83GHz, 1333MHz, L2 12M
8GB of PC3-10600 CL9 DDR3 240p DIMM RAM
GEForce GTX 260 - EVGA graphics card
2 - 500GB Seagate SATA2 7200rpm hard disks - one for OS, one for Applications
2 - 750GB 7200rpm 32mb SATA2 hard drives - for media files - this is NOT striped - at some point I will probably add a RAID array for doing HD
600watt silent fan power supply - this thing is really quiet - I can probably do audio recording in the same room with this running.
Case - X-Cruiser Black system chassis - this is a gamer case with plenty of room for expansion.

Thus far I've done a 1 minute animated motion graphics technical illustration with well over 30 layers in After Effects in 1080P - no problems - could use more RAM. I've done several 3 to 4 minute tutorials in 1080P in Premiere (all CS4 by the way - waiting for the first bug fixes to pull the trigger on CS5), and am having no troubles at all. I recently had to upgrade the NVIDIA drivers; I was having a crash now and then - drivers seemed to do the trick. I'm also working with 3D Studio Max 2010, and Terragen 2 on this system with no problems at all.

I think a pimped-out gaming machine may be overkill. Read a bit more on this site - there's been loads of discussion on CS4 machines. I would have liked to go with the high-end NVIDIA card, but since it's mostly realtime for Premiere, I could live without it for now. Also read up on CUDA technology if you have the time - it's going to change the face of editing and graphics production.

Joe Bourke
Creative Director / Multimedia Specialist
B&S Exhibits and Multimedia

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Jon Bagge
Re: new computer for CS4
on Jun 23, 2010 at 11:21:31 pm

After effects practically doesn't use the graphics card at all, so no reason to worry about that. Premier does, but you'll need CS5 to take advantage of CUDA. Also multiple card aren't supported, so you'll have to disable one of your cards anyway.
I haven't heard of any professional application yet that can use more than 1 card.

What you should aim for is lots and lots of memory and a fast CPU. And some fast hard drives.

You gaming rig may be ok, but I believe many gaming rigs don't have enough memory slots. You'll want 6 slots at the very least. That way you can get 24Gb using 4Gb memory cards which aren't too expensive. Or 12Gb with the option of expanding.

Jon Bagge
Editor - London, UK
Avid - FCP - After Effects

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Todd Kopriva
Re: new computer for CS4
on Jun 24, 2010 at 1:12:36 am

Here's what I'd do:

Spend my budget on RAM, multiple fast local disk drives, and a 4-core or 8-core processor. Get a large monitor. If I had anything left over, consider what graphics card to get.

Actually that's what I _did_ do when I bought a new computer in March for the specific purpose of running After Effects CS5.

Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
putting the 'T' back in 'RTFM' : After Effects Help on the Web
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