Premiere Issues after a big upgrade
I'm usually over in other forums (Business/Marketing, Cinematography, etc.), and rarely venture in here because, well, I just never have any Premiere issues. But now I do.
I'll have to preface this with saying I'm not a computer guy at all (I'm an old film guy), and don't necessarily know what details are important. If anyone has any bright ideas, I'm happy to provide whatever other specs might be needed.
Here's the issue...
We have two identical edit suites that until recently had two identical computers. They are both custom-built PCs running Windows 7, both are equipped with all the Matrox MX02 guts and associated voodoo, both editing with Premiere in CS6. Each has a solid state system drive and a RAID for video. The computers were built for us about three years ago.
Lately they have been getting a little squirrely, and due to that and the fact that they really seem to choke on 4K video (which we are beginning to use more of), we took one of them in to the original builders for a checkup and upgrade. We basically told them that without buying a new system we wanted them to do anything and everything they could to it to make it as fast and powerful as possible with this existing machine.
So here's what they did:
1) Updated all the drivers (which they told us was sorely needed)
2) Replaced the almost-full solid state system dive with a bigger one (going from a 200GB Intel SSD to a 1TB Samsung SSD).
3) Increased the RAM from 32GB to 64GB
4) Put in a new video card (replaced the Nvidia Quadro with Invidia Quadro M4000)
5) Added an additional processor (Intel Zeon E5-2620 3.0GHz, 2.5GHz Turbo Boost)
This was about $2K+ of work for what we hoped would be a screamin' fast editing system.
When we got it back and reinstalled, our first test was trying 4K video, which did indeed work much better, it was finally playable and scrubbable in Premiere without the system complaining nearly as much.
Everything else, though, seems much much worse. Projects crash. Scrubbing is slow. Effects are slow to apply (if they work at all), weird things need rendering that should play in realtime with no problem (for example, plain black video requires rendering), stacking things on timelines causes problems, and bunches of other issues like that.
We're efforting to go back to the tech people to see if we can get some relief, but they are NOT video guys, rather just "general computer guys." They are good at what they do (we previously thought), but have little to no specific knowledge about specifically configuring systems for broadcast video.
If anyone should care to point me in the right direction, I'd surely be indebted.
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
Did they replace the motherboards??? That would seem like a must after all these upgrades, and it's really not the most expensive part. That's gonna be a bottleneck.
As for your sudden crash issues, did your computer guy reconfigure the BIOS to match your new hardware? Did they do a clean install on all machines? That's a much after this. What OS do they have you running?
Now for the rest: I'll be honest, even the latest builds I've worked on can choke on 4K, especially once you start grading, depending on the compression scheme. Sony compression (XAVC) seems to be the worst offender I've met so far.
I know you probably don't want to go the way of rental software, but Premiere CC 2016 and up is just so much more efficient when it comes to 4K. You also get really easy proxy editing if you have problematic footage. If anything, get a trial version and give it a shot to see if you see any improvement, keep CS6 then rent CC when you really need it.
Indigo Live | Kaptis Media
San Francisco Bay Area
Thanks for the observations. I'll reiterate that I am not a computer guy in even the slightest sense, but I can say what I know in re your questions and comments.
They definitely did not replace the motherboard. It wasn't even suggested, so I'm assuming that was not a concern of theirs. I have no idea about reconfiguring the BIOS. That's Greek to me. There was not a clean install, the old SSD system drive was just cloned over to the new one. At least I'm assuming that's the case, once booted up the upgraded system looked/contained everything exactly as before, we did not have to restore any files or reinstall any of the various software, plug-ins, or anything that had been added to the machine. As stated in the original post, the machine runs Windows 7.
I understand even the most robust computers may struggle with 4K a bit. That's not a huge concern nor the primary reason we upgraded it. We're just shooting a bit of 4K now and it would be nice. Working with proxy files is fine by me, but before the upgrade our machines struggled to even make those. All said, 4K is going to be a very minor issue, not overly concerned with getting a machine that can handle that flawlessly.
What we are concerned with is that plain ol' everday 1080 editing is much more problematic than before. Previously, it wasn't really an issue, our suites handle 1080 just fine and pretty much in real time, it's just that the systems seemed to gradually be getting a tiny bit more buggy which led to the upgrade... if you can call it that. It's simply not working nearly as well as before, it was definitely a giant step backward.
These machines are aging a little and I realize some would consider them already to be dinosaurs in the computer world... but we plopped down about $30K for both of them three years ago and would love to get a little more life out of them.
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
Updating the Bios on those boards, updating drivers and a fresh install of Win 10 is great advice, especially after installing major components. Updating to CC is even better advice. Cloning drives almost always caused problems for me. I try to do a fresh OS install every year. Always a pain, but everything seems to work so much better afterwards. Of course, do it between big projects... Good luck!
CS6 is really dated. I know a lot of people don't like the CC subscription model, which can get interesting at times, but 4K really would be a good reason to look into it.
Bonus - you can upgrade both seats of Premiere (and Photoshop/Audition/After Effects/whatever else...) for the one subscription.
The old boxes and CS6 are sunk costs. I'm guessing they've paid for themselves multiple times over at this point. HP Z-series workstations with RAID setups would be a nice upgrade path if you're seriously considering such things.
And refurbs of some of the Z-series an iteration older than current can be got for good price points. They're extremely robust and will run just about forever. You can get them fairly bare-bones and kit them out with a lot of the components (new Quadro, etc.) from your current, older machines by some careful cannibalization.
But do look at the CC option. CS6 is really not built for 4K material. That first, and I'd recommend the 2015.x version rather than the new 2017, which seems to still have a few issues.
Just an update, in case anyone was interested....
A tech with the computer company that built this machine was in today, prodding and poking around for a long time, checking drivers, trying this and that, all to no avail for quite a while.
It was then finally determined that of all the various things they did to upgrade the computer, that the video card (replacing the Nvidia Quadro with Invidia Quadro M4000) might be the culprit.... and that the new card wasn't happy with Premiere, Matrox, nor was allowing GPU Acceleration with the Mercury Playback Engine. The new card was removed, the old card was put back in, and voilà, the system now works as it should.
At least so far there have been no crashes, the windows are now working right with none of the weirdness that we experienced earlier, renders are now fast again, and basically all that we hoped the upgrade would bring.
Since apparently this system didn't need a new video card (and in fact suffered greatly from it), I asked the tech guy why then was that suggested, right off the bat. I could see him searching for an answer for a moment, and then said "I think this is one of those times when our past experience failed us," and admitted that the new card was expected to improve performance, and that no one there had suspected that it would be incompatible. He also admitted that while the system was "fully checked" when on the bench in their shop, that basically consisted of just launching programs... no one had actually tried to use it as we would.
Thanks to all for the suggestions.
Hopefully the good times will keep rollin'...
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.