18 Replies Latest reply on May 6, 2013 12:59 PM by Lukabrazzi

    Must ... Go ... Faster ...

    Lukabrazzi Level 1

      Hi, all.  I realize this section of the forum isn't geared toward this, but I'm not sure where else to pose this question.  I figured I'd start here, but if you can recommend a better resource I'd be happy to take my problem there.

       

      The issue, in a nutshell, is that I just got a monster workstation which I expected to perform much faster than it is.  I need help either understanding how best to configure my system or help managing my expectations.  The machine is a brand new Dell T7600 workstation and I just put in an Nvidia Quadro K5000 graphics card into it, upgraded from a Quadro 4000.  My understanding is that the K5000 has twice the muscle of the 4000 and I expected to immediately see significant reductions in my render times from all applications, including AE, Premier, and Cararra (3D software).  So far, the results have been a little underwhelming and a test render from AE seems to take about the same amount of time as it did with the previous card, a Quadro 4000.

       

      Most of the configuration options listed in the control panel seem to relate to 3D rendering and/or gaming, but I didn't notice any radical improvement in render times from Carrara either.  Can't seem to find much advice on how to set up this card.  Am I missing something?  The Nvidia site explains the great benefits of the K5000, but gives little info beyond that.  Any advice or a referral to someplace with detailed info would be welcome.

       

      Thanks!

        • 1. Re: Must ... Go ... Faster ...
          Todd_Kopriva Level 8

          The only thing in After Effects that benefits from the jump from a Quadro 4000 to the K5000 is the ray-traced 3D renderer... and this card isn't even supported for that use in the current version of After Effects (though it is in the next version).

           

          See this page for details of how the GPU is used in After Effects:

          http://blogs.adobe.com/aftereffects/2012/05/gpu-cuda-opengl-features-in-after-effects-cs6. html

          • 2. Re: Must ... Go ... Faster ...
            Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            In many cases the difference in render times from GFX software like AE or 3D apps is negligible with more expensive and powerful GPU cards. You can quickly reach the limit of data throughput because the CPU, memory buss and the data path to the hard drive is part of the rendering process. It's too late now for you but I always try and find a comparison chart or spreadsheet that lists the performance of various cards. Comparing performance with cost is an important part of my business process. I seldom buy the latest and greatest because the price point is higher than the advantage.

            • 3. Re: Must ... Go ... Faster ...
              Lukabrazzi Level 1

              Thanks for the info, guys.  This is disappointing news, considering we just laid out about $10,000 for two "high-end" workstations for what appears to be not much payoff.  At this point, it seems like the only way to shave my render times at all would be to upgrade my hard drive to a faster, flash-based drive.  Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), based on this experience so far I'm not inclined to invest any more cash to chase faster renders.  Is it just a fact that any shop without a render farm is looking at days to render ten seconds of a complex 3D animation?  I can't figure out how small shops or independent animators are getting anything done.

              • 4. Re: Must ... Go ... Faster ...
                Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                For After Effects, our recommendations have always been to focus on RAM, CPUs, and disks before worrying about getting a more powerful GPU.

                 

                See this page for information about hardware for Premiere Pro, Photoshop, and After Effects: http://adobe.ly/pRYOuk

                • 5. Re: Must ... Go ... Faster ...
                  ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                  Can you list the specs of the System including the CPU model and amount of ram. The often misconception is more processing cores/threads equals increased speed or render times in the media content world. That is often not the case. More often than not more cores or threads allows for a greater performance ceiling before the system performance drops than increased speed. That is because once you meet the processing requirements as far as cores/threads then the actual load to the system starts to diminish. At that point GHz decides the speed performance of a system. This means you can work with a far greater load on a Dual Xeon system than a single chip workstation but that does not mean the speed will increase as well. The GHz of the CPU's and the ram bandwidth will decide the speed increase especially with GPU acceleration. GPU acceleration is a pipeline for data rather than all centralized processing where the load remains on CPU and ram. If the Speed at any point in the pipeline is lower then the GPU utilization will be less at any point in time. A system can have the Geforce Titan card in it but if the CPU's are not fast enough to push the video card, the significant extra power of the Titan card wont help you at all. That power will sit idle.

                   

                  Eric

                  ADK

                  • 6. Re: Must ... Go ... Faster ...
                    Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                    Have you tuned the OS and gotten rid of Dell bloatware that can be stealing CPU cycles?  A Dell T7600 workstation. does not really tell us what your $10k configuration is, what you are processing and what you are outputting.  If you what to test your configuration and see how it really performs with Premiere go to our Premiere Pro BenchMark (PPBM7) web site and run the benchmark and compare results to Harm's monster.  It is a single processor (i7), well tuned, balanced design system which I would bet that it will run rings around your system

                    • 7. Re: Must ... Go ... Faster ...
                      Lukabrazzi Level 1

                      I haven't really tuned anything yet.  The machines are brand new and this thread is step one in my effort to figure out how to make these things run as fast as possible.  The basic specs:

                       

                      Dell Precision T7600

                      Windows 7, 64 bit OS

                      Dual Four Core XEON (E5-2603, 1,8GHz, 10M, 6.4 GT/s

                      32 GB DDR3 RAM

                      2TB, 7200 RPM 3.5" SATA 6Gb/s HD

                      Nvidia Quadro K5000 Graphics Card

                       

                      Basd on what I'm learning here, I'm beginning to suspect the HD is an issue.

                      • 8. Re: Must ... Go ... Faster ...
                        Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant

                        Very slow CPU's not enough RAM and only one disk drive

                        • 9. Re: Must ... Go ... Faster ...
                          ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                          1.8GHz Xeons are really low speed for GPU acceleration. You would have been far better with a Single 6 Core in the 3.2 +GHz range than 2x 1.8GHz Quads. I would suggest you look at alt options at Dell while you have a return option.


                          Eric

                          ADK

                          • 10. Re: Must ... Go ... Faster ...
                            Lukabrazzi Level 1

                            Well, I think the ship has sailed on the processors at this point, but I'm sure adding more drives and RAM would not be an issue.  We probably have some in house.  Is it worth my time to partition the C: drive, or do I need to actually mount more physical drives?

                             

                            Another possible issue - our source footage has been stored on a network server (I work for a Government agency and share a netwrok with a few thousand employees) and we've been rendering to the same saerver.  Will I see more efficient processing if I'm reading and writing to my HD instead?  Seeing it in writing, that seems like maybe it's a dumb question!

                             

                            By the way, I really appreciate everyone's input.  This is all extremely helpful.

                            • 11. Re: Must ... Go ... Faster ...
                              ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                              Partitioning a drive will not help performance. You would need a separate physical drive. The Network bandwidth decides the performance when working from shared storage. The amount of concurrent clients sharing the bandwidth will also effect that. The local drives would not be effected by others so moving the material over to the system would be the ideal workflow. A single Gigabit channel gives 120MB/s of speed which is the equivalent speed of a single mechanical drive. However the latency would be higher over a network than a local drive.

                               

                              Eric

                              ADK

                              • 12. Re: Must ... Go ... Faster ...
                                Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                                I recommend getting an SSD to use for caches (including the After Effects disk cache). That is a huge performance booster. You can run your applications from the same SSD without any problem (though I advise against having your footage read from or written to the same disk).

                                • 13. Re: Must ... Go ... Faster ...
                                  Lukabrazzi Level 1

                                  For those of you keeping score at home, I did a little test.  We rendered a simple 2 minute video with our normal drive setup and got a render time of 3:32.  I then plugged in an external 300GB USB HD and made a new Cache folder on it (200GB).  I then brought over all of our source footage from the network to my local drive and relinked the footage in AE.  When I rendered again at the same export settings, the render time dropped to 2:00 - more than a 30% reduction.  I don't expect that improvement for every render, but that has to mean something.

                                   

                                  Okay, I'm on the right track.  I just managed to grab another HD for each machine, which I can mount inside and skip the USB cable.  I'm looking at the resources you guys have so generously posted and seeing if a third drive in each machine will help our cause.

                                   

                                  Looks like DDR3 RAM isn't quite as cheap as I'd like.  I may have to sit on that idea for a little while, but I'm sure I can also upgrade the RAM in the not so distant future.  Hopefully, this'll all make a noticable difference.  Again, my continued thanks for all of this great advice.  Shoulda come here first.  Lesson learned.

                                  • 14. Re: Must ... Go ... Faster ...
                                    JEShort01 Level 4

                                    Lukabrazzi,

                                     

                                    Your new T7600 may have been expensive, but I will share with "tough love" it is really quite weak in the CPU area.

                                     

                                    Each e5-2603 has 4 cores, clocks at 1.8 HGz, and has no Turbo (speeds up past base speed when load and thermal envelope are OK) and no Hyperthreading (HT doubles the effective "cores" and is included with may of Intel's current CPU lineup). The e5-2603 is the lowest CPU on Intel's x5-26xx lineup of 14 CPU models.

                                     

                                    So, with dual Xeon's your T7600 currently has:

                                    8 total cores, max. speed of 1.8 GHz [engine = 8 x 1.8, or 14.4] (OEM cpu cost = $392)

                                     

                                    "Hot" editing rigs today are often choosing the i7-3930k cpu which is readily overclockable and provides:

                                    12 total cores, approx. max. speed of 4.2GHz [engine = 12 x 4.2, or 50.4] (OEM cpu only cost = $600)

                                     

                                    A "topped out" T7600 would use dual e5-2687w Xeons which provides:

                                    32 total cores, max. speed of 3.4 GHz (all cores in use) [engine = 32 x 3.4, or 108.8] (OEM cpu only cost = $3800)

                                     

                                    I suspect that with your current cpus, adding more RAM would be unwise.

                                     

                                    Instead, I would suggest buying a single but much faster CPU and also adding more drives:

                                    Xeon e5-2667 (6-core or 12 effective cores w/ HT, 3.3GHz w/ all cores running) - approx. $1500

                                    or

                                    Xeon e5-2680 (8-core or 16 effective cores w/ HT, 3.1 GHz w/ all cores running) - $1726 at Newegg or $1300 on eBay

                                     

                                    This would not void your Dell warranty.

                                     

                                    Regards,

                                     

                                    Jim

                                    • 15. Re: Must ... Go ... Faster ...
                                      Alex - DV411 Level 2

                                      Instead, I would suggest buying a single but much faster CPU and also adding more drives:

                                      Xeon e5-2667 (6-core or 12 effective cores w/ HT, 3.3GHz w/ all cores running) - approx. $1500

                                      or

                                      Xeon e5-2680 (8-core or 16 effective cores w/ HT, 3.1 GHz w/ all cores running) - $1726 at Newegg or $1300 on eBay

                                       

                                      This would not void your Dell warranty.

                                      Usually it does (void the warranty): have to get Dell CPU upgrades, and even then, qualify them first for the existing configuration.  Memory, GPUs, add-on cards, discs - no problem.  Replacing / installing core components (mobo, CPUs, PSUs, etc.) - usually off limits.

                                       

                                      That said, the CPUs are definitely weak and the config shouldn't have cost $10K - $4K at most.

                                       

                                      Unlike Jim, I wouldn't recommend an i7 system when you already have a T7600 in place. For one, it tops out at 32GB RAM which can be a severe limiting factor in AE rendering and other memory intensive scenarios (dynamic linking).  I would recommend checking in with your IT and really pressing CPU upgrades. Maybe not E5-2687W (a bit expensive) but 2650 or 2670 - current sweet spots for Xeons.  Unlike Pr CS6 or earlier, AE really can use the physical cores (not as much i7's virtual cores Jim mentioned) and the memory afforded by T7600.

                                       

                                      With all that - congrats on spotting the bottlenecks (network I/O). You may also benefit from watching your system utilization (memory, CPU, disk and network I/O) in Windows Resource Monitor.

                                      • 16. Re: Must ... Go ... Faster ...
                                        JEShort01 Level 4

                                        Alex,

                                         

                                        I recommended two different e5-26xx Xeon options for Lukabrazzi, not an i7 system; I thought that I made that pretty clear, but I'm sorry if I did not.

                                         

                                        Regarding where you buy your CPU to put in a Dell, you are indeed correct. I just called Dell and you do need to buy it from them to be completely covered. If you do however swap out a cpu that you purchase from say Newegg, the technical support guy on the phone suggested keeping the original parts on hand so that if you were to have a motherboard failure you can put the original cpu back in to have the system serviced. Of course the CPU itself would be covered by Intel's warranty and not Dell's quick, on-site warranty service.

                                         

                                        Regards,

                                         

                                        Jim

                                        • 17. Re: Must ... Go ... Faster ...
                                          Alex - DV411 Level 2

                                          I recommended two different e5-26xx Xeon options for Lukabrazzi, not an i7 system; I thought that I made that pretty clear, but I'm sorry if I did not.

                                          Misinterpreted your post - sorry Jim.

                                          If you do however swap out a cpu that you purchase from say Newegg, the technical support guy on the phone suggested keeping the original parts on hand so that if you were to have a motherboard failure you can put the original cpu back in to have the system serviced.

                                          The advice is sound for the purpose of warranty service - and may be disastrous in other respects: high power CPUs may require different heat sinks and fan assemblies, higher power PSU to run properly.  I know, it's very tempting to get an OEM part for half the $$, yet there can be consequences.

                                          • 18. Re: Must ... Go ... Faster ...
                                            Lukabrazzi Level 1

                                            This is all good - you live, you learn.  The (slightly below) $10,000 price tag was for two rigs, so the hosing isn't as cruel as it may first appear.  I can certainly upgrade the processors at a future date, but these will have to do for now (I have to spread my shots a little).  There's a second heat sink with nothing under it, so I could possibly add a second chip to the existing configuration at some point.

                                             

                                            In the meantime, I've added a third HD and ported all my source footage to the main (2TB) drive.  I'm using the 2nd (300GB) drive as a 250GB cache and I plan to render to the third.  If I'm understanding everything I'm reading here, this should get the read and write processes out of each other's way.  I ran my test render again (see my last post) and adding the third drive seems to have brought my render time down to 1:39.  That's a little under half the time it took with my original setup and probably about as good as I can expect without faster drives (all three are 7200rpm SATA) and more/faster processors.

                                             

                                            My continued thanks for all of the great advice.  I've definitely learned a few things and there's no doubt this thread has significantly speeded up my renders.  I'm guessing you'll all enjoy a 10% bump in your positive karma this week.  Enjoy!