11 Replies Latest reply on May 8, 2015 7:59 AM by ECBowen

    Help! Graphics Card Clarity?


      Hi I just ordered a refurbished version of an HP z620 at an HP clearance price (can't pass up those good deals!). It doesn't come with a graphics card, so I get to choose the best one for my needs. Problem is all the conflicting information out there eventually is maddening!


      First off: I have no need of gaming.


      My primary use will be with Adobe CC 2014. Mostly Premiere and After Effects, but also Photoshop, and Illustrator.


      Nvidia says "Quadro!". Users online seem to say "GeForce GTX!", though some say 7xx series and some say 9xx series (which others say won't work at all!).


      So... what's the answer for today's moment and today's Adobe CC 2014 world?


      Here are the specs for the specific new z620 (copied straight from Amazon):

      Brand Name: HP

      Product Series: Z620

      Number of Processors Installed: 2

      Processor Manufacturer: Intel

      Processor Type: Xeon

      Processor Model: E5-2620 v2

      Processor Core: Hexa-core (6 Core)

      Processor Speed: 2.10 GHz

      Hyper-Threading: Yes

      Chipset Manufacturer: Intel

      Chipset Model: C602

      Standard Memory: 16 GB

      Maximum Memory: 96 GB

      Memory Technology: DDR3 SDRAM

      Memory Standard: DDR3-1866/PC3-14900

      Number of Total Memory Slots: 12


      Total Hard Drive Capacity: 1 TB

      Optical Drive Type: DVD-Writer

      Optical Media Supported: DVD-RAM/±R/±RW

      Dual-Layer Media Supported: Yes


      Controller Type: Serial ATA/600

      RAID Supported: Yes

      I/O Expansions


      Number of Total Expansion Bays: 5

      Number of Total Expansion Slots: 6

      Network & Communication


      Ethernet Technology: Gigabit Ethernet



      FireWire/i.LINK: Yes

      Total Number of USB Ports: 15



      Operating System: Windows 7 Professional Upgradable to Windows 8.1 Pro

      Operating System Architecture: 64-bit



      A second question is will this be a good system for After Effects use? I tend to go heavy on the effects. I know that the speed of this processor is on the low side at 2.1 Ghz... but I'm hoping that since there are two of them it'll work okay. Any thoughts?

        • 1. Re: Help! Graphics Card Clarity?
          dcretser Level 1

          And I'll add that I am understanding the Balanced System idea (Tweakers Page - Balanced System) and do plan to address the other components of the system one by one... but for right now my concern is the graphics card.


          Of course, any knowledgable suggestions for other components would be happily heard too.

          • 2. Re: Help! Graphics Card Clarity?
            ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

            Any CPU below 2.6Ghz has to high processing latency to handle realtime playback well especially GPU acceleration. AE is not realtime with the ram preview so that is less of an impact there but it will have a huge impact in editors such as Premiere. I would really not suggest those CPU's. 2x slow CPU's doesn't make up for the time it takes to get the data through the CPU pipeline and into ram buffers. It just means those CPU's can handle more threads at once. The time it takes for each thread to finish is decided by GHz and that is important for any realtime app.




            • 3. Re: Help! Graphics Card Clarity?
              dcretser Level 1

              Hey thanks for the info. Though it's kind of a bummer to hear since I already placed the order. I'm starting to think that maybe I should have done a bit more research before jumping onto a good deal.

              • 4. Re: Help! Graphics Card Clarity?
                dcretser Level 1

                So you're saying that 4 physical cores at 4.1 Ghz (i7 4790) will work better than 12 physical cores at 2.1 Ghz (Xeon 2620 v2 (x2))?

                If so, I find that confusing.

                • 5. Re: Help! Graphics Card Clarity?
                  ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                  Not all codecs will thread out or even require more than 4 to 8 threads. The ones that do such as R3D will make use of the 12 cores. However the ones that don't such as AVC/H264 wont. Once you have the amount of cores required to ideally decode then GHz decides how fast the data is decoded and pushed into the ram buffers for GPU acceleration. The player splitting those frames into further threads wont speed that process up much. GHz does. That is why the 4 core/8 thread quad cores systems often render faster than the Dual Xeons with Premiere and other GPU acceleration applications. FX can also limit the threading. The processing time for data to be ready for further processing is decided by the clock speed as well. All of this translates into the codecs you use for raw media and what you transcode to have a very significant impact on the ideal system specs along with the workflow ie FX/plugins and applications used. Media content creation applications are not your standard non realtime applications that process a large amount of small data chunks. Media content applications process very large data chunks which often cannot thread nearly as well because of prediction required for the codecs.





                  • 6. Re: Help! Graphics Card Clarity?
                    dcretser Level 1

                    That's great! Thanks for the detail. If you answer these questions just out of the kindness of your heart... you're an awfully kind person. It's appreciated.


                    When you say "often render faster" are you talking just the final render that is exported as a completed video file, or does the processor speed also greatly effect the time it takes to "render" a preview in the working project? At this point after years of working on this SLOW laptop I just desperately want something that works smoothly. I'm kind of done with waiting on an almost frozen-up computer.


                    Thanks again.

                    • 7. Re: Help! Graphics Card Clarity?
                      ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                      The render reference above is Export and rendering the timeline for preview. Realtime Playback often threads far better in Adobe than rendering because they use their Mpeg Iframe codec for preview and the Adobe media player is very efficient. So if realtime playback is the focus and your using many difference codecs of media then you want more than 4 cores because that will use far greater threads. However you can't sacrifice GHz below 2.6Ghz on the CPU or the processing latency is to long to maintain the realtime playback with GPU acceleration. This is why the 8 core i7 that is also high clock speed is the ideal chip out for both playback and render along with GPU acceleration. 8 Cores/ 16 Threads is the ideal point for most codecs out or more than and the clock speed can be set to 4GHz+ which makes it ideal for GPU acceleration and rendering. I hope that helps.




                      • 8. Re: Help! Graphics Card Clarity?
                        dcretser Level 1

                        Very much so. THANKS. The detailed and specific explanation really helps.

                        • 9. Re: Help! Graphics Card Clarity?

                          You have two routes to choose from when it comes to GeForce vs Quadro.


                          GeForce will give you a massive amount of CUDA cores at a reasonable price. Equivalent numbers of CUDA cores on Quadro will be extremely expensive. But the Quadro route offers 30-bit color. GeForce can only deliver 30-bit (10 bit per channel) in games through Direct X. Adobe software uses OpenGL to draw previews and are only supported by Quadro today. There are however speculations that coming generations of GeForce Titan will support 30-bit in Adobe software.


                          So if you need rendering power = GeForce

                          If you need color precision = Quadro


                          Nvidia figures Adobe offers tools for high precision color work like Photoshop and Speedgrade. That's why they say go Quadro.

                          • 10. Re: Help! Graphics Card Clarity?
                            dcretser Level 1

                            So what do you think... if price is the same which would be better for NLE/After Effects purposes:


                            HP z620 with one xeon e5-1660 V2 (3.7 Ghz, 20MB cache) - Benefits: high quality (?) of the workstation components, longer warranty, stability and longevity of the Xeon processor (if I'm understanding correctly), fast (3.7 Ghz), 6 cores, larger cache.    Detriments: this Xeon is an older model, 6 core is good but misses that "sweet spot" of the fast processor with 8 cores, is listed as a "server" processor (is that significant, or just marketing?).



                            A DIY build using the i7 4790K (4.1 Ghz, 8MB cache) which everyone seems to love - Benefits: Speed! At 4.1 Ghz+ its the fastest thing around, current model.   Detriments: only 4 cores, smaller cache, no real warranty and not so much of carefully calibrated system components for the DIY system.




                            A DIY build using the i7 4930K (3.4 Ghz) - Benefits: Fast (but not as fast), current model 6 cores.   Detriments: Not as fast as the 4790K, no real warranty and not so much of carefully calibrated system components for the DIY system, 6 core is good but misses that "sweet spot" of the fast processor with 8 cores.

                            • 11. Re: Help! Graphics Card Clarity?
                              ECBowen Most Valuable Participant

                              The Xeon chips are literally the same physical die builds as the Workstation chips. The only difference is the firmware and chip components used ie ram controller inside. The reliability is the same whether you get Xeon or I7. That is why they all have a 3 year warranty regardless of Xeon , I7, or mobile. Stability has to do with components selected ie ram and configuration. HP's vanilla configuration takes some of the guess work out for compatibility but beyond that doesn't mean any more stability. Server CPU's have firmware specific to server environments which are mainly around security. None of those effect performance workstation use. So you gain nothing there. In other words you are looking at the raw specs of the CPU regardless of the platform.  Nothing else contributes to the performance with editing.


                              The 5930K system is what you want instead of the 4930K if you don't have the budget for the 8 core. That is the X99 platform with DDR4. DDR4 has a very large impact on GPU acceleration performance because DDR3 was the major bottleneck point in all previous systems for GPU acceleration. All of the systems you list above are DDr3. The X99 and Server C612 chipset ie V3 Xeons are the only systems with DDR4. If you want the best performance with Adobe for Realtime playback and render then you want a DDR4 system. The question is simply what overall specs you get with the budget you have. I suggest you overlook the ones above and start over there.