8 Replies Latest reply on Jan 4, 2016 12:59 AM by cc_merchant

    More Cores vs. Faster Processors

    Arivl Level 1

      Hey folks, I'm finally pulling the trigger on a new desktop, and getting a "trashcan mac" aka the new mac pro, and have a reasonable budget to build an AE-specific speed demon.   Some decisions are easy (max out the ram, graphics cards, and internal HDD), but some are not so easy.  The main one that has me stumped is the question of whether to sacrifice clock speed for more cores.


      Currently I can choose between a 3.5ghz 6-core processor, a 3.0ghz 8-core, a 2.7ghz 12-core.   This seems like a really tough call, and I'm trying to get a handle on what kinds of AE work would prefer a faster processor, and what kinds of work would prefer more cores.  Put another way, which processes in AE can be done in parallel, and which have to be done in sequence?



      A bit about the kind of work that i do:

      I do both motion graphics and VFX.  Increasingly, I make use of 4k+ footage (usually RED).

      The motion graphics work makes use of many layers and high-resolution images, and sometimes involves Trapcode's Particular and Form plug-ins (which in my experience handle multiprocessing on my 6-year old Mac Pro 2,1 VERY poorly*)

      The VFX work is usually compositing (using several instances of keylight among other things) and can involve many instances of high resolution footage.  It frequently involves Red Giant's Key Correct suite.


      I ram preview frequently, and the additional wait time when multiprocessing is turned on on my current computer sometimes problematic enough that I have to turn it off.


      Plug-ins i use often:


      Element 3D/Optical Flares



      Camera Lens Blur/Box Blur


      Add Grain

      3D Camera Tracker



      As a bonus question (if I haven't bored you to death yet), I'm trying to sort out the Thunderbolt 2 RAID situation.   I'm looking at G-Tech, OWC, Promise, and Areca, and can't really get my head around the differences between the units (except that the G-Tech uses 6TB drives, which I like.  Upgrading the drive size later is expensive.).  I also haven't been able to find any good comparisons yet.


      Thanks so much for your help!  Any advice you can give me in helping sort through this will be much appreciated.





      *That said, on the most memorable occasion I was creating an animated crowd by feeding Form several hundred 1000x1000px frames.... presumably buffering that much data is not really possible.

        • 1. Re: More Cores vs. Faster Processors
          Todd_Kopriva Level 8

          Currently, only a few things in After Effects are effectively multi-threaded, so the greater benefit comes from a faster processor clock speed.

          • 2. Re: More Cores vs. Faster Processors
            ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

            Red Multithreads extremely well and more threads are greater than clock speed. To give you an example, a single 12 Core Xeon E5 V2 PC system can outperform a 6 core at 4.5GHz PC system. Now the 3rd party effects such as Trapcode do not thread as well and will limit the threading often. So your workflow will decide how effective the cores are used. AE though with Multiprocessing enabled ie multiframe processing will use what ever threads you can provide as long as the effects on the layers don't limit the multithreading. This is where workflow can considerably change the user experience. 4K and red though as a general rule requires more threads than clock speed. That is what you want to build off of. A 10Core E5 V2 chip though would probably be the ideal choice based on what you listed so far. You definitely need 64GB of ram and the GPU will not effect your AE performance much at all. Keep in mind Ray tracer is Nvidia only and will accelerate certain processes. Most of the time you likely wont use them. If you get the nMPro you definitely wont use it. AE centric workstations especially in the 4K + realm are ideal on PC and not Mac right now because of the dual CPU options versus dual GPU's that don't help the processing load at all. Also the expandability options are better especially if the storage req's are high due to uncompressed type 4K+ workflows. TB2 will give you around 1.6GB/s 2GB/s total for the entire channel. That is enough for 4K storage but that is it on that chain.


            I would definitely suggest the Areca TB2 storage at this point especially this unit due to the LSI SAS controllers Areca uses.

            Areca ARC-8050T2 8 Bay Thunderbolt 2 RAID Storage


            That would be the storage to look at for the nMPro setup.


            Keep in mind though you can get a single 12 Core Xeon on an X79 with dual Titan Black edition GPU's along with SSD raid storage for the price of the nMPro or even some dual Xeon configs. If you have work in Premiere with Red that will far outperform the nMPro with the dual D700's.



            • 3. Re: More Cores vs. Faster Processors
              cc_merchant Level 4

              If all applications, AE, PR, PS and all plug-ins were perfectly multi-threading - which they aren't - more cores would make sense, but at a price.

              A single hexa core i7-4930K at 4.5 Ghz (€ 500) would be outperformed by a single 12 core E5-2697 v2 Xeon at 2.7 GHz (€ 3500) by around 15 - 20%, but at 7 times the price. That does not make much sense money-wise.

              • 4. Re: More Cores vs. Faster Processors
                ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                True this is where time savings in workflow ie more time ram previewing/render queue or rendering the timeline for playback must be weighed versus performance to price ratio. Everyone is different here with different time frames. Only the editor knows how workflow, complexity, and time frames effect their business.




                • 5. Re: More Cores vs. Faster Processors
                  Arivl Level 1

                  Todd, thanks for the reply!  Of the plug-ins I listed that I use frequently (aside from the trapcode ones), which of those are not "effectively multi-threaded"?  And does that mean that they will limit multi-threading of other operations like the trapcode plug-ins?  It sounds like the specific combination of operations really makes a dramatic effect on whether more cores is better or worse (which has been my anecdotal experience) so this is going to be a tough call.


                  ECBowen, wow, this is great information!  Thanks so much for the detail (incidentally, I see you can even shove 128GB of ram in the nMP courtesy of MacMall.  Does that work?  Can AE effectively address it?  Even if not, I'd consider using it as a RAMDisk.)


                  CC_Merchant, the sense it makes money-wise is really down to the amount of time you save vs. what that time is worth.  So hypothetically, if the time spent waiting for renders is worth $100/hr, then the $3000 price difference is acceptable if that 15% difference will save you 30 hours.  In the particular case of the project I'm purchasing this computer, this will happen in the very first outing, so the price difference between the processors is much less important than the actual time savings in a real-world environment.

                  • 6. Re: More Cores vs. Faster Processors
                    ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                    I would not suggest the 32GB Reg Dimm's right now. The latency is higher and I suspect the compatibility wont be the best since that density is so untested at this point. 16GB Reg Dimms give you 64 GB on the Mac Pro and work fine. That would be enough for the 10 or 12 core CPU.




                    • 7. Re: More Cores vs. Faster Processors

                      So Arivl


                      What did you end up getting and are you happy with your choice?

                      I am now where you where with the same question.