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Just got a new Mac... time to optimize AE

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Micah McDowellJust got a new Mac... time to optimize AE
by on Jan 17, 2011 at 3:57:46 pm

Hello all, after pleading at work for years, we just received two new Mac Pro editing systems (2.4GHz Dual Quad, 12GB RAM, internal 1TB system drive plus three 2TB drives in RAID 5). Now, I'm playing with CS5 settings to get things going to their full potential.

If it helps, my usual comps in AE contain quite a bit of DSLR video keyed with Keylight. Sometimes an HD destination, more often NTSC DV. Usually under 5 minute duration. Here's my questions:

1. How would you recommend configuring memory and multiprocessing for the greatest efficiency? I'd ideally have a bit more RAM, but that's not a possibility at the moment. I've tried some trial and error tests, but some guidance would be greatly appreciated.
2. I've heard that I might be better off with hyperthreading disabled. Is this true? If so, how do I do it?
3. Should I keep project files on the system drive or the RAID? Never had a computer fast enough for the little things to make a difference before (this could apply for Premiere CS5 too).


Thanks much for any tips!


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Kevin CampRe: Just got a new Mac... time to optimize AE
by on Jan 17, 2011 at 4:18:30 pm

you might start here:

http://forums.adobe.com/thread/543440

in particular the link to 'try recommended memory settings...'

also, as you make changes, you can (and should) view the cpu activity with something like activity monitor (applications>utilities) while you render.

as far as hyperthreading, i'm not sure how to disable that in osx (or if you would need to), in ae, you can choose not to use multi-processing, however many effects and processes in ae are natively multi-threaded and that setting won't effect those. i always use multi-processing unless i'm getting an error or some other anomaly that i can't explain, which is very rare.

i typically keep my project files with my media and on my raid and use the main drive primarily for os and applications, but there shouldn't be any difference in performance if you keep the project files on the main drive.

if you enable disk caching in ae, you should keep that on the main drive, this helps to split load on the drive bus with cached data on the internal bus, and media data on the external bus.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Micah McDowellRe: Just got a new Mac... time to optimize AE
by on Jan 17, 2011 at 4:23:57 pm

Thanks for the information: that Adobe doc seems to reinforce my opinion that those big processors need more RAM to stretch their legs, but I'm not complaining; it's still rendering approximately 10x faster than my previous system (no exaggeration).

The disk cache was something else I was going to ask about but forgot, so thanks for the tip. I have it on the RAID right now, so I'll move it around and experiment.


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Kevin CampRe: Just got a new Mac... time to optimize AE
by on Jan 17, 2011 at 5:10:02 pm

more ram can never hurt and cs5 can use more ram than you can fit in your system...

i have 16gb in a 8-core mac pro (ae sees 16 cores with hyperthreading) so that's only 1gb per core if i ever tried to give everything to ae...

however, as i watch cpu levels (and view them all the time using a utility called menumeters) i consistently get high cpu levels for most renders. so ae can work quite efficiently with relatively small amounts of ram per cpu.

i currently set 6gb of ram and 8 cpus for other apps, and despite leaving 8 cpus for other apps, ae will almost always use those 8 cores to render and i can usually see nearly all the ram being actively used, particularly for longer renders, so i know i'm using all my mac's resources quite well.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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