Upgrading a new PC for PPro and AE

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Upgrading a new PC for PPro and AE

Postby Spacebacon on 02/8/2012, 10:18 am

Hi everyone:

Sorry to bring this up again. I've gone through the forum and every thread about this seems to differ based on the PC. I'm hoping to do some improvements on my work PC, and in the process, give my boss a bit of insight as to why this PC needs it.

Background:

I work for a sports/entertainment facility that hosts a variety of sports teams and the occasional concert. The bulk of my work is editing highlight packages in Premiere CS5.5, conducting interviews on a green screen, and making motion headshots for sports teams.

While I don't do a LOT of stuff in AE, there is the odd time that I need it for short promo sequences, lower thirds, or logo stings. My employer ordered a PC and told the store I would be doing a lot of video work. They came back with a HP Pro 3130 MicroTower PC with:

-Intel Core i5 650 @3.20 GHz
-64-bit
-4GB RAM
-300 GB hard drive
-"Intel HD Graphics" card

I asked them to come back and put more RAM in, which took them four return trips to get it up to 14GB. ||-<

While that definitely seemed to help, I'm still experiencing:

-long render and preview times in AE and PPro
-glitches and single-frame "static" in some AE project renders
-extremely sluggish playback of HD videos


When my boss discovered that this new "powerhouse" PC wasn't blazingly fast, the store said I might want to upgrade the video card to a Radeon HD 6350. I asked my local computer store what they thought, and they laughed, recommending at LEAST a Quadro 600.

I've also been told that I need to buy a Workstation, or upgrade the RAM to 96GB and buy a $2000 graphics card to bring this computer up to date. I'm pretty sure both of those last two options are out of the question.

As I said, I will be doing the bulk of my work in Premiere, but I'd like to have the foundation for a good rig so I CAN speed up my workflow in both Premiere and AE. I've read differing opinions on just how much a graphics card really improves AE performance, so any suggestions on how I can upgrade this system would be greatly appreciated.

I'd also like to add another hard drive, as I'm working with massive amounts of replay footage.

I'm pretty sure I'm limited to a $500 budget for both hard drive and video card, but there could be some flexibility there I can prove that these upgrades will increase my production. Maybe $1000 tops.
Spacebacon
 
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Re: Upgrading a new PC for PPro and AE

Postby Spacebacon on 02/8/2012, 10:38 am

My boss just emailed me and said they're looking into the Workstation option, but would still like to know what it would take to bring my existing PC up to speed.
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Re: Upgrading a new PC for PPro and AE

Postby Michael_Szalapski on 02/8/2012, 12:34 pm

DON'T GET A RADEON!
Also, don't get a Quadro. Getting a Quadro is overkill.

The store you bought that from doesn't know what they're doing at all... A microtower? REALLY?

This page lists cards that will work very well with Premiere. You want the Mercury Playback Engine. Trust me; you want it. So make sure you get one of the cards on the list.
AE doesn't use the graphics card very much at all except for certain, few third party plugins. Any of the cards that work for Premiere, will be perfectly fine for AE.
The GeForce GTX 580, for example, would be a great choice.

For speed in After Effects you want as many fast processors as you can get. My current work machine has dual six-core Xeon processors and it's pretty good.

You want about 4 GB of RAM per core of processor for working in AE.

Also, considering the amount of video you work with, you're going to want a lot more hard drive space.
You want one hard drive to run your OS and programs and another one (or two or more) for storing your video and project files.
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Re: Upgrading a new PC for PPro and AE

Postby Michael_Szalapski on 02/8/2012, 12:36 pm

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Re: Upgrading a new PC for PPro and AE

Postby Spacebacon on 02/8/2012, 12:59 pm

Thanks, Michael. The guys who sold us the Microtower have since admitted that they don't know much about video, so I'm on my own here.

My replay footage is stored on hot-swap drives (from a TriCaster). I have a BlacX Duet drive bay with USB 2 and eSATA for transferring the replay footage, but the PC doesn't have eSATA, and I'm not sure if I can install an eSATA card on this system. I am also using several external USB 2.0 drives to store each team's content.


A friend who recommended the Workstation has suggested the HP z800 or Lenovo D20 might be a good system. If a Workstation is indeed a possibility, should I just abandon the Microtower upgrades? It sounds like I would need to do a lot of piecemeal upgrades to make it ideal.
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Re: Upgrading a new PC for PPro and AE

Postby Vilandra on 02/8/2012, 2:46 pm

Spacebacon wrote:My employer ordered a PC and told the store I would be doing a lot of video work. They came back with a HP Pro 3130 MicroTower PC with:

-Intel Core i5 650 @3.20 GHz
-64-bit
-4GB RAM
-300 GB hard drive
-"Intel HD Graphics" card


Yikes!! Only 4GB's of RAM, and not even a real GPU, but rather integrated graphics?? Thats not a very good system at all. That CPU isnt even one that I would recommend. Its a dual core CPU with hyperthreading, which will give you 4 threads. It will work, but I wouldnt recommend it.

Spacebacon wrote:While that definitely seemed to help, I'm still experiencing:

-long render and preview times in AE and PPro
-glitches and single-frame "static" in some AE project renders
-extremely sluggish playback of HD videos


long preview times would be due to not having a GPU, but rather integrated graphics.
Long render times would be due to not enough RAM, slower CPU, and incorrect memory settings.
Sluggish playback would be the lack of GPU, slower CPU, not enough RAM, etc


Spacebacon wrote:When my boss discovered that this new "powerhouse" PC wasn't blazingly fast, the store said I might want to upgrade the video card to a Radeon HD 6350. I asked my local computer store what they thought, and they laughed, recommending at LEAST a Quadro 600.


That machine is nowhere near a "powerhouse". Its lacking A LOT!! If you're working with Adobe, stay away from Radeon cards. Nvidia works best with Adobe. Also, do not buy a Quadro 600. It is the baseline Quadro card and it has no benefit whatsoever. You would be better off getting a GTX card (560, 570, or 580) The GTX cards will work with Mercury Playback Engine (hardware acceleration) in Premiere.

Spacebacon wrote:I've also been told that I need to buy a Workstation, or upgrade the RAM to 96GB and buy a $2000 graphics card to bring this computer up to date. I'm pretty sure both of those last two options are out of the question.


Upgrading to 96GB's is absolutely ridiculous. Ive never known anyone that needs that much. Complete waste of money.

Spacebacon wrote:As I said, I will be doing the bulk of my work in Premiere, but I'd like to have the foundation for a good rig so I CAN speed up my workflow in both Premiere and AE. I've read differing opinions on just how much a graphics card really improves AE performance, so any suggestions on how I can upgrade this system would be greatly appreciated.


AE mainly benefits from a lot of RAM, a good CPU, and correct memory settings. The GPU does very little right now with AE. It does allow you to preview, but most AE users I know do not use that feature (OpenGL) too often.

Spacebacon wrote:I'd also like to add another hard drive, as I'm working with massive amounts of replay footage.

I'm pretty sure I'm limited to a $500 budget for both hard drive and video card, but there could be some flexibility there I can prove that these upgrades will increase my production. Maybe $1000 tops.


You want at least 2 drives. One will be the main drive with the OS and software, and the 2nd drive will be for storage, (reading and writing for the footage). Usually people will have a RAID set up for the footage drives, and an SSD for the main drive.

In conclusion, I would opt for a new machine, and if you're looking at a workstation, then there are only two companies that make reputable workstations that I know of that work great with Adobe stuff. HP and BOXX.
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Re: Upgrading a new PC for PPro and AE

Postby Spacebacon on 02/8/2012, 4:37 pm

Solid advice. Thank you!!
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Re: Upgrading a new PC for PPro and AE

Postby Michael_Szalapski on 02/10/2012, 10:56 am

Spacebacon wrote:A friend who recommended the Workstation has suggested the HP z800 or Lenovo D20 might be a good system.

Most of our video machines are HP workstations and they are great machines. My new machine is a Lenovo D20 and I like it so far. There's one little twiddly, weird issue with Encore that's very easy to fix when it happens, but I'm not sure where the issue is occuring so I don't want to blame it on the Lenovo. Other than that, everything has been great.
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