8 Replies Latest reply on Nov 26, 2014 4:09 PM by The Noble Robot

    What is the best New Mac Pro Setup for After Effects?

    Jacques Broquard

      We'd like to get new Mac Pros for our After Effects artists, and would like to spec out the best system/best value for purely After Effects usage. We sometimes use Cinema4D, but really this would be for After Effects stations.

       

      I'm not sure if After Effects can make positive use of dual video cards, pci flash based storage, etc.

       

      We do not store our files locally, but rather work off of a server.

       

      My thoughts are to max out cores/ram and omit the second video card. Use PCI flash based storage as a video cache.

       

      Thanks!

        • 1. Re: What is the best New Mac Pro Setup for After Effects?
          Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          The same applies to the new Mac Pros as any other computer. There are tons of threads on what hardware works best with AE on this forum. A little searching should provide you with all the details you might want.

           

          Some broad, sweeping tips:

           

          • A solid state hard drive is beneficial for After Effects if you use it for AE's cache.
          • Get the fastest clock speed processor you can as some things in AE aren't multicore or multithreaded, so having fast single core speed is useful.
          • Get at least 2 GB of RAM per core of your processor because when AE does run multicore, it needs penty of RAM to do so.
          • Unless you're planning to use the 3d ray-traced renderer in AE, the graphics card doesn't matter much at all. Like, for real. A few third-party plugins (like Video Copilot's Element - which renders much more quickly than the ray-tracing anyway) do use the graphics card, so consider which plugins you're going to purchase and spec your machine out accordingly.
          • 2. Re: What is the best New Mac Pro Setup for After Effects?
            Jacques Broquard Level 1

            Thanks for the thoughts. Appreciated. I think we're thinking similar things.

             

            Maxing out clock speed is another thing to consider, indeed. Apple's website specs out:

            • 3.5Ghz 6-Core
            • 2.7Ghz 12-Core for an additional $3,000.

             

            Which is better value/more future proofed? My initial thought is that it is better to get twice as many cores than to get 0.8 more Ghz per core. We render out final/prerenders sequences on a render farm, but for local RAM previewing, and local rendering (for Element 3D) do cores win out over Clock Speed?

             

            Element Specificaly ustilizes the Video Card, so would upgrading video cards from the default Dual AMD FirePro D500 GPUs with 3GB of GDDR5 VRAM setup to the Dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM be worth the extra $600?

            • 3. Re: What is the best New Mac Pro Setup for After Effects?
              Todd_Kopriva Level 8

              No, I would not spend the money on the beefier GPU. Spend your money on RAM, CPUs, and SSDs.

               

              For some things, more cores are better; for some, faster clock is better. For current After Effects, I'd go with the faster clock; for a year from now, I'd go with more cores. (That's a hint about the future, by the way, in case you missed it.)

               

              See this page for information about hardware for After Effects: http://adobe.ly/pRYOuk

              • 4. Re: What is the best New Mac Pro Setup for After Effects?
                Jacques Broquard Level 1

                Thanks a bunch, Todd. I'm checking out the thread/link you mentioned now.

                • 5. Re: What is the best New Mac Pro Setup for After Effects?
                  Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  CPU is the heart, buy the most powerful you can afford.. In the case of the Mac Pro these are new generation CPU's so there's not much data on performance yet but if the past is any indicator, they will be very quick.

                   

                  For me and my shop, we are going all in. The first Intel iMac I purchased was at Mac World when they were released. It's still working perfectly and sits in a client's office churning out projects every day. Not very fast by today's standards, but if I get half the life out of a new Mac Pro that my iMac has delivered with no maintenance except cleaning and hard drive replacement every 3 years I'll be a very happy camper.

                  • 6. Re: What is the best New Mac Pro Setup for After Effects?
                    pacey-j Level 1

                    Hi Todd,

                     

                    I stumbled across this post today. And found your quote: "For current After Effects, I'd go with the faster clock; for a year from now, I'd go with more cores. (That's a hint about the future, by the way, in case you missed it.)"

                     

                    Now we are nearly 10 months along from your original post. Do you still believe that more cores is the way forward very soon or even now? Or would you say that faster clock is still looking like its here to stay? I'm building a machine and have to decide between an overclockable i7 hexa and and e5 deca.

                     

                    Thanks

                    • 7. Re: What is the best New Mac Pro Setup for After Effects?
                      Andrew Yoole MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                      I do work for several facilities using new Mac Pros, and all of them have expressed disappointment with the hardware when used exclusively for After Effects.  The machines scream when rendering, but during the design phase, when you're only using one CPU core, they are potentially slower than a high specced iMac.  Remember that the GPUs in Mac Pros have no bearing on After Effects performance right now, if ever.  There are tantalising hints from Adobe that rendering processes will be enhanced in a coming AE version, but based on today's AE -

                       

                       

                      Reasons to buy a new Mac Pro:

                       

                      You work with VERY complex After Effects projects with very long render times

                      You also use the machine for 3D work (like C4D) and need render grunt

                      You use a lot of GPU dependent plugins, like VCP Element 3D

                      You need a high-end machine that is quite portable

                      You need a machine with more Thunderbolt and/or Ethernet connectivity than an iMac provides

                       

                       

                      Reasons NOT to buy a Mac Pro

                       

                      Money is tight.  Remember, you can buy 2 or 3 fully specced iMacs for the same dollar value as one well-specced Mac Pro.  And you'll get 5K screens, keyboards and mice included with the iMacs.

                      Mac Pro price is inefficient for users who only use After Effects.  A large component of the price is GPUs, which After Effects barely uses.

                       

                       

                      Personally, in my own facility, we've held off on Mac Pros for the time being and bought fully specced iMacs instead.  If AE and Mac Pros begin to play better, we'll move forward in 12-24 months.

                      • 8. Re: What is the best New Mac Pro Setup for After Effects?
                        The Noble Robot Level 1

                        "Now we are nearly 10 months along from your original post. Do you still believe that more cores is the way forward very soon or even now? Or would you say that faster clock is still looking like its here to stay?"

                         

                        I heard some hint-hint-wink-winking about this direction at Adobe MAX last month, but I'd be very thankful for an actual update on this topic as well.

                         

                        I'm pricing out a new machine and deciding between a pair of 10-core 2.3Ghz Xeons or spending a chunk more on a pair of 6-core 3.4Ghz Xeons. The raw numbers actually say the 10-core is better (not to mention cheaper), but AE performance is the only thing that matters to me, and with more, slower cores (and with hyperthreading, it's a lot more), I'd need to put more RAM in to properly feed them, which would wipe out the cost savings, and I'd still be stuck with much lower single-thread performance.

                         

                        What I'd love is for AE to be able to divide the work between sets of multiple cores, rather than every logical core getting it's own frame to digest, but the wink-winking I heard seemed to imply that the next AE would automate multiprocessing on-the-fly, using cores and RAM as efficiently as possible, rather than have users crudely configure it themselves. It seems I may get what I'm asking for, but I might be reading into it, and I don't know for sure

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