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CS5 multiprocessing on a 12-core Mac Pro

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Steven Nichols
CS5 multiprocessing on a 12-core Mac Pro
on Oct 1, 2010 at 12:34:43 pm

Hi have a 12-core Mac Pro and After Effects CS5. Since my Qio is not yet 64-bit compatible I had to boot in 32-bit. Then I unplugged the Qio and restarted in 64-bit. But since then I don't see any difference when the multiprocessor option is checked in AE prefs. Even more: it is faster when it is not checked!
What is going on ??


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Walter Soyka
Re: CS5 multiprocessing on a 12-core Mac Pro
on Oct 1, 2010 at 1:20:24 pm

[Steven Nichols] "Hi have a 12-core Mac Pro and After Effects CS5. Since my Qio is not yet 64-bit compatible I had to boot in 32-bit. Then I unplugged the Qio and restarted in 64-bit."

AE CS5 requires a 64-bit operating system (which gives it access to RAM above 4 GB), but it doesn't require the kernel to be running in 64-bit mode.

[Steven Nichols] "But since then I don't see any difference when the multiprocessor option is checked in AE prefs. Even more: it is faster when it is not checked!"

How much RAM do you have? What effects are you trying to render?

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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Steven Nichols
Re: CS5 multiprocessing on a 12-core Mac Pro
on Oct 1, 2010 at 2:38:30 pm

AE CS5 requires a 64-bit operating system (which gives it access to RAM above 4 GB), but it doesn't require the kernel to be running in 64-bit mode.
Well that's good news! So that's why I don't see any difference with a 32-bit and 64-bit kernel.

How much RAM do you have? What effects are you trying to render?
48 GB.
I rendered a bunch a projects (Brian Maffit's bench, some particular, some basic text and blur...)
I don't get it: why is MP rendering slower ?


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Walter Soyka
Re: CS5 multiprocessing on a 12-core Mac Pro
on Oct 1, 2010 at 2:51:14 pm

[Steven Nichols] "I don't get it: why is MP rendering slower?""

It shouldn't be. You've got plenty of RAM, so that's not the issue. What preferences have you set under Memory & Multiprocessing?

Some specific effects temporarily disable multiprocessing, so if you're using one of them, you should expect to see a performance hit.

OpenGL rendering also disables multiprocessing; if you've got that turned on, you should turn it off.

You should install the 10.0.1 update if you haven't already.

If nothing else works, perhaps you might also try restoring the default preferences. It's like trashing the prefs in FCP; just hold down Cmd-Opt-Shift while launching AE and it will reset them for you.

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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Steven Nichols
Re: CS5 multiprocessing on a 12-core Mac Pro
on Oct 1, 2010 at 5:57:25 pm

I tried all of those but none worked.
I did a 20 sec test comp with just a moving text with a animated gaussian blur.
Rendering times are:
- 1min14sec with MP enabled (actual CPU: 20- RAM per CPU: 2 GB) The render bar seems to slow down every 10 sec or so, then goes again, ect.
- 34 secs without MP enabled
It does not make any sense!


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Steven Nichols
Re: CS5 multiprocessing on a 12-core Mac Pro
on Oct 1, 2010 at 6:02:37 pm

Do you set MP in the Memory & Multiprocessing prefs only... or is there anything else ? Besides what are the best settings ?


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Dave LaRonde
Re: CS5 multiprocessing on a 12-core Mac Pro
on Oct 1, 2010 at 6:05:30 pm

I'd leave 2 cores and at least 2GB available for the OS and any open applications... and more than 2GB if you like a lot of applications left open.

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


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Walter Soyka
Re: CS5 multiprocessing on a 12-core Mac Pro
on Oct 1, 2010 at 6:03:20 pm

Are you leaving any processors available for other applications?

From Memory (RAM) usage in 64-bit After Effects:
In many cases, performance is improved by using fewer than the maximum number of processors for Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously multiprocessing, even when you have enough RAM for all of the processors. After Effects is a multithreaded application that can also use other forms of multiprocessing beyond just Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously multiprocessing, and it is possible for the processors to become “overscheduled” if these threads are competing for the same resources as the background processes used for rendering with Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously multiprocessing. Therefore, the best approach is to begin by using a small number of processors for Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously multiprocessing; and then increase the number of processors used until you find the optimum number for your computer system and compositions.


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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Steven Nichols
Re: CS5 multiprocessing on a 12-core Mac Pro
on Oct 1, 2010 at 6:09:32 pm

OK I'll try that. But could you explain me why I see 24 installed CPUs when I only have a 12-core machine ?


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Walter Soyka
Re: CS5 multiprocessing on a 12-core Mac Pro
on Oct 1, 2010 at 6:11:59 pm

[Steven Nichols] "OK I'll try that. But could you explain me why I see 24 installed CPUs when I only have a 12-core machine ?"

Intel has a technology called hyperthreading which allows each physical core to present itself to the system as two virtual cores.

If you've got AE set to use all 24 cores, try backing it down to 20.

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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Matthew Woods
Re: CS5 multiprocessing on a 12-core Mac Pro
on Oct 1, 2010 at 7:32:25 pm

I find the Multiprocessing Prefs misleading. The caption "Actual CPUs that will be used" should instead read "Number of AE rendering instances"

When using the Multiprocessing settings, AE spawns multiple copies of itself in the background to render. These background render copies can themselves use multiprocessing. If you spawn too many of these, and they are all trying to use more than one processor, they can step on each other's toes and slow things down.

I have an 8 core hyper-threaded mac pro.
I find it generally works best when I set the maximum ram allocation per CPU,
and restrict it to using no more than the number of real (not virtual) cores - 2.
In my case 6, in your case 10.

Even with these settings, I regularly see it maxing all CPUs when rendering.
Sometimes I only see 6 maxed, it depends on what I'm rendering.

I also use a really handy utility called iStat Menus:
http://bjango.com/apps/istatmenus/

It puts my processor usage bars up in the menu bar.

You should see a steady use of processors when rendering.
If you see your processor use is oscillating between full and zero,
your background processes are stepping on each other's toes, and
you should reduce the number of processors you are telling AE to use.

Need a quick break from motion graphics?
Try my game Constellation at:
http://www.paperdragongames.com


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Steven Nichols
Re: CS5 multiprocessing on a 12-core Mac Pro
on Oct 1, 2010 at 8:33:34 pm

I have an 8 core hyper-threaded mac pro.
I find it generally works best when I set the maximum ram allocation per CPU,
and restrict it to using no more than the number of real (not virtual) cores - 2.
In my case 6, in your case 10.

I tried that and I don't see any difference with or without MP!!


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Steven Nichols
Re: CS5 multiprocessing on a 12-core Mac Pro
on Oct 1, 2010 at 8:37:23 pm

Some comps render as twice as fast without MP. This is ridiculous :( I am wondering if I really need a 12-core!!


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Dave LaRonde
Re: CS5 multiprocessing on a 12-core Mac Pro
on Oct 1, 2010 at 8:59:23 pm

[Steven Nichols] " I am wondering if I really need a 12-core!!"

Wait until you get some 4k footage or a really complex comp with big 3D layers and multiple light sources.... or both. You'll be kissin' that box of yours.

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


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Walter Soyka
Re: CS5 multiprocessing on a 12-core Mac Pro
on Oct 1, 2010 at 11:32:46 pm

[Steven Nichols] "Some comps render as twice as fast without MP."

What happens with your computer while you're rendering? Have you downloaded iStats as Matthew suggested? (MenuMeters is another option.)

I'd be curious to hear about RAM usage, CPU usage, and paging activity during your render, with and without multiprocessing.

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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Dave LaRonde
Re: CS5 multiprocessing on a 12-core Mac Pro
on Oct 1, 2010 at 6:22:36 pm

[Steven Nichols] "...could you explain me why I see 24 installed CPUs when I only have a 12-core machine ?"

You have hyperthreading enabled. You could turn it off, and then AE would only see 12 cores.

Since AE's multiprocessing mode can use up to 4 GB per core if set to its maximum, you could be trying to use 96 GB RAM! That's a bunch of trouble.

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


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Walter Soyka
Re: CS5 multiprocessing on a 12-core Mac Pro
on Oct 1, 2010 at 6:40:04 pm

[Dave LaRonde] "Since AE's multiprocessing mode can use up to 4 GB per core if set to its maximum, you could be trying to use 96 GB RAM! That's a bunch of trouble."

The 4GB limit is the old 32-bit memory address limit. With 64-bit addressing, the theoretical limit is absurdly high (I'll regret this quote in 20 years) -- 16 billion GB of RAM.

Technically, any one instance of After Effects would be able to access all the RAM in your system.

Practically speaking, I'd still target 2-4 GB per core.

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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Dave LaRonde
Re: CS5 multiprocessing on a 12-core Mac Pro
on Oct 1, 2010 at 6:49:41 pm

[Walter Soyka] "the theoretical limit is absurdly high (I'll regret this quote in 20 years) -- 16 billion GB of RAM. "

Now you're making me feel bad that my new machine will have a mere 24GB. Well, it IS for home use, and my employer looks down on freelancing.

Never mind I could learn and use far more sophisticated AE techniques than I currently use... which I could then apply at work.

What's the word for that? Myopia?

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


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Walter Soyka
Re: CS5 multiprocessing on a 12-core Mac Pro
on Oct 1, 2010 at 7:20:47 pm

[Dave LaRonde] "Now you're making me feel bad that my new machine will have a mere 24GB."

When I bought my current workstation a couple years ago, I loaded it up with 32GB of RAM, and the memory cost more than the rest of the computer.

What computer are you getting for home?

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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Dave LaRonde
Re: CS5 multiprocessing on a 12-core Mac Pro
on Oct 1, 2010 at 7:32:20 pm

Probably a base-model HP Workstation, one which will allow expansion, on which will Production Premiere CS4, plus AE 10. No fancy video card necessary at this point.

I don't do any editing at home... and if I need to upgrade to Production Premiere CS5, I'll cross that bridge later.

How to handle DVCPro HD and ProRes from work? Get the readers, and render to image sequences in AE.

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


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Steven Nichols
Re: CS5 multiprocessing on a 12-core Mac Pro
on Oct 9, 2010 at 2:30:40 pm

I tried iStat. Very interesting: when "Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously" is not enabled, I can see that all the cores are working! After Effects uses as much as 800%. What does this mean ?
When"Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously" is enabled, the machine is sometimes unresponsive and stuck... Very weird.


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Steven Nichols
Re: CS5 multiprocessing on a 12-core Mac Pro
on Oct 26, 2010 at 5:21:48 pm

I think I figured it out. For some compatibility issues with my Sonnet Qio, the Mac was running in 32-bit mode-hence the random behavior (it was like sleeping during rendering).
I restarted the Mac in 64-bit and everything is fine now.


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Elin grome
Re: CS5 multiprocessing on a 12-core Mac Pro
on Oct 19, 2010 at 3:42:50 pm

I like the logic - I shall store this for future use :)

It's all the those pesky details :p


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Oskar Ziemba
Re: CS5 multiprocessing on a 12-core Mac Pro
on Jan 2, 2011 at 3:24:47 pm

Hello,

my 2 cents on this topic would be to open the Activity Monitor and watch the swap-value. I fiddled around until swap wasn't used.Because at first rendering is ok and then the renderrate plummets, thats when the Swap goes up.

I have a new Mac Pro 12-core, 32 GB of Ram and i write to a Raid0 disk.
So for now my settings are as follows:

- 16 GB(!!) of Ram for other Applications
- 2 cores for other applications
- 6 cores at 2 GB usage

It gave me the quickest Results (roundabout 4-5 Hours) for rendering a 60 Minute 1920*1080 HD comp with keylight,lots of masks, color-management to a tiff-sequence.

i found the comment by Will Lockwood in the Adobe Forums extremely helpful: http://forums.adobe.com/thread/734343

hope it helps!
Oskar


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