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After Effects CS5 rendering with 48 cores and 96 GB of RAM

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Joshua RustAfter Effects CS5 rendering with 48 cores and 96 GB of RAM
by on Jan 13, 2011 at 8:14:41 pm

My company is trying to put together some new machines for our render farm. Currently we are considering building a system with 4 12-core CPUs and 96 GB of RAM. Theoretically this would mean that After Effects could render 48 frames simultaneously, but I've never heard of anyone running AE on this many cores. Does anyone have any insight on whether or not this would work well?

TYAN S8812WGM3NR Quad Socket Motherboard, G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 1333 (x 24), AMD Opteron 6172 Magny-Cours 2.1GHz 12-Core Processor (x 4), Adobe Creative Suite 5

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Todd KoprivaRe: After Effects CS5 rendering with 48 cores and 96 GB of RAM
by on Jan 13, 2011 at 10:06:09 pm


Would you do everyone a favor and cross-post the answers that you're getting in other places? Cross-posting questions (especially meaty ones like this) runs the risk of a fragmented conversation unless the poster helps out.

Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Technical Support for professional video software
After Effects Help & Support
Premiere Pro Help & Support

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Joshua RustRe: After Effects CS5 rendering with 48 cores and 96 GB of RAM
by on Jan 13, 2011 at 10:32:04 pm

This is the answer I got on the Adobe Forums:

"Running over 8 background processes does not show a significant gain based on testing a while ago on [our beastly machine]. In some cases it was a bit slower with >8 background CPUs for Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously multiprocessing. Given the small frame sizes they are rendering and the performance degradation running too many cores, I would think their proposal would be overkill unless they are also using other memory hungry apps on it.

I think they'd get better performance for their dollar with a 24 or 32GB 8-12 core machine, setting the background CPU allocation to 3GB. Spend the extra bucks on processor speed + bus speed with fast drives."

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Pierre JasminRe: After Effects CS5 rendering with 48 cores and 96 GB of RAM
by on Mar 6, 2011 at 9:33:35 pm

Just arrived here via an unrelated search... some corrections here:

One reason is the version of aerender you are using is probably not implementing properly -MP flag (aerender works like MP off for me in render queue in CS5.0, bug filed).

If you send N aerender each working on a segment (e.g. frame 1-100 for first, 101-200 for second...), you should see about the same render timing as MultiProcessing in render queue. On 12 CPU to give you an example sending 12 aerenders at once is 3-4 times faster then one. That is each frame renders 3-4 slower but you have 12 times less frames per render instances.

Since compositing by definition implies a lot of images in, the main issue with multi-processing is you become quickly IO bounded - that is most of the time is spent waiting for images (as you now have 24 processes instead of 1 reading from the same disk, the bottleneck is not necessarily processing power). You sort of need to scale the hard disk bandwidth (e.g. TBs raid) to match all that CPU. Also it quickly gets worse if all these renders at once move the data over the network.

That said, I would say if a machine is also used interactively then always go for less but faster CPU. For a render-only monster, some attention required at the IO level for this to scale properly. The ideal scenario for a multi-user setup could be (and AE might not be totally there yet) to have the app cache frames requested to an SSD when in the interactive app and maintain the media assets on a big/fast RAID attached to the render monster.


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