17 Replies Latest reply on Sep 30, 2015 5:31 AM by cc_merchant

    Ideal Specs/Machine for running AfterEffects CS6/CC

    Squirreldinho7

      I am currently running AfterEffects CS6 on a desktop PC (Intel I5-2400 3.10GHz, 8GB RAM, 64-bit) and also a laptop (Intel I7-4500U, 1.8GHz, 16GB RAM, 64-bit), but am finding both of these machines don't have the necessary processing power for me to use the software in a productive and timely fashion.

       

      I was wondering if some of the more experienced AfterEffects users on this forum could recommend some recommended/optimum specs for a desktop PC, or point me in the direction of any online resources that would be of use, that should be more than sufficient for running AfterEffects (most likely the latest CC version, as I have a subscription for this and am only running CS6 still because of a specific plugin). I already have a decent monitor and other peripherals so don't need to worry about these.

       

      Ideally I need to know what sort of processor, how much RAM, and what sort of 3D graphics card would be required, and maybe even just a rough ball-park figure of what this would all cost, but obviously if I just have the specs, I can price it up myself. I know many people prefer using Macs for Adobe products, but ideally I would rather stick to PC if possible, but am willing to consider a Mac too if people really think it makes more sense. I have an iMac at home that has less (8GB) RAM than my laptop (16GB), but seems to run AfterEffects better, so am certainly not ruling it out.

       

      Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

       

      Tom

        • 1. Re: Ideal Specs/Machine for running AfterEffects CS6/CC
          Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          PC makes more sense for AE work recently.

          AE's architecture is changing. They are tossing out the old, buggy multiprocessing and replacing it with a new renderer. So, this advice might change a bit in the future, but right now, single core processing speed is the biggest thing to look at. You want the highest clock speed you can afford, (but you do want it in as many cores as you can get). If the options are between more cores with significantly lower clock speed vs. fast clock speed but a couple fewer cores, the faster clock speed would be the better choice.

           

          You want 4 GB of RAM per core.

           

          You want an SSD for AE's cache that is separate from the hard drive you use for your footage/assets and your renders.

           

          GPU is fairly irrelevant for AE unless you use third-party plugins that are GPU-accelerated (Element, 3d Invigorator, ShapeShifter, etc.) or if you use the obsolete ray-traced renderer. See this: GPU (CUDA, OpenGL) features in After Effects and this: http://motionworks.net/after-effects-3d-future/

          • 2. Re: Ideal Specs/Machine for running AfterEffects CS6/CC
            Squirreldinho7 Level 1

            Thanks for this Szalam, I will check out those 2 links shortly that you've recommended.

             

            In terms of plugins, I'm not really using anything currently, other than the third-party one for mass-producing personalised videos (that I mentioned in my opening post), though I am currently interested in the Trapcode Particular plugin, which is useful for a particular project I'm currently working on. Other than that, it's hard to predict which plugins I would be using in the future, it would all depend on the type of work.

             

            How many cores would you recommend, in an ideal world, and if I went with that many, what sort of clock-speed should I be looking for? I have no specific budget in mind, but would be looking to spend £3-5K.

             

            Sorry if these are very basic questions, I've not really used AfterEffects a great deal, but am aiming to in the coming months/years, and am trying to 'future-proof' myself to a certain degree.

            • 3. Re: Ideal Specs/Machine for running AfterEffects CS6/CC
              Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Squirreldinho7 wrote:

               

               

              How many cores would you recommend, in an ideal world, and if I went with that many, what sort of clock-speed should I be looking for? I have no specific budget in mind, but would be looking to spend £3-5K.

               

              I can't suggest anything specific other than "the most you can get".

               

              As far as GPU for plugins goes, you don't need a Quadro or anything ridiculous like that. A GTX 970 would be just fine for Element or any of the other plugins I mentioned.

              • 4. Re: Ideal Specs/Machine for running AfterEffects CS6/CC
                cc_merchant Level 4

                In an ideal world, you have unlimited resources, so get:

                 

                • Dual Xeon E5-2697v3 14-core CPU's @ 2.6 GHz
                • 128 GB DDR4 memory
                • Samsung 950 Pro m2 SSD 512 GB for cache
                • Samsung 850 Pro SSD 256 GB for OS & programs
                • Samsung 850 Pro SSD 1.92 TB for media
                • a good backup scheme with good disks
                • any video card from nVidia, but if you plan on using PR as well or video card hungry applications, go for a GTX 980Ti

                 

                That will get you started.

                • 5. Re: Ideal Specs/Machine for running AfterEffects CS6/CC
                  Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  I would argue for a clock speed greater than 3 GHz, but the rest of that looks good.

                  • 6. Re: Ideal Specs/Machine for running AfterEffects CS6/CC
                    cc_merchant Level 4

                    Find me a 14 core or better 16 core Xeon v3 with that clock speed. Only the 10-core E5-2687Wv3 comes with a clock speed of 3.1 GHz, but then you lose too many cores.

                    If AE is perfectly multi-threaded, the 14-core is almost 20% faster than the 10-core, despite the lower clock speed.

                    • 7. Re: Ideal Specs/Machine for running AfterEffects CS6/CC
                      Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      cc_merchant wrote:

                       

                      If AE is perfectly multi-threaded, the 14-core is almost 20% faster than the 10-core, despite the lower clock speed.

                      And that's the problem. "If". And the answer is that it isn't. At all.

                      The current version of AE doesn't even have multiprocessing. If you work in AE CC 2015 and then render that project file with AE CC 2014, you can use multiprocessing, but the wrong effect or the wrong expression can kill it and you're back to (essentially) rendering on one core. Plus, up until you go to render, you're still using only one core. Until the new version comes out in the next couple of years, AE's still very much a single-core app for the majority of what it does. It wasn't until CC 2015 that the UI and renderer even ran on separate cores!

                      In the future, if all goes well, AE will be perfectly multi-threaded, but it's not there yet. Not by a long shot.

                       

                      In AE's current state, I'd be fine with dropping some cores in favor of higher clock speed. In a couple of years, my answer will likely be different.

                      • 8. Re: Ideal Specs/Machine for running AfterEffects CS6/CC
                        cc_merchant Level 4

                        In that case, the much more affordable alternative is the i7-5960X 8-core and overclocked to 4.4 - 4.5 GHz, which will outperform all dual CPU Xeons, with the lousy multi-threading you describe.

                        That also saves a lot of money, since 64 GB DDR4-2666 is the practical maximum for this i7 now and the DDR4-2666 memory is significantly faster than the memory on dual Xeon boards..

                         

                        Also have a look at Tweakers Page - Single or Dual CPU

                        • 9. Re: Ideal Specs/Machine for running AfterEffects CS6/CC
                          Squirreldinho7 Level 1

                          And what sort of price range would I be looking at for all of that?

                           

                          Thanks for all your help (and Szalam too).

                          • 10. Re: Ideal Specs/Machine for running AfterEffects CS6/CC
                            cc_merchant Level 4

                            Roughly:

                            • i7-5960X - € 1070
                            • Asus X99E-WS  - € 490
                            • G.Skill Ripjaws 4 F4-2666/ 64GB - € 500
                            • Samsung 850 Pro 256 GB - € 140
                            • Samsung 950 Pro 512 GB - € 340
                            • Samsung 850 Pro 2 TB - € 910
                            • nVidia GTX 980 Ti - € 730

                             

                            Sum total € 4180

                            • 11. Re: Ideal Specs/Machine for running AfterEffects CS6/CC
                              Squirreldinho7 Level 1

                              Thanks for this, that's great.

                               

                              Is this your recommended spec after the subsequent discussion between yourself and Szalam regarding multi-threading?

                               

                              And Szalam, would you agree with this kind of setup? As you both seem to be very knowledgeable on the subject...

                              • 12. Re: Ideal Specs/Machine for running AfterEffects CS6/CC
                                cc_merchant Level 4

                                Yes it is. Keep in mind that the Xeon E5-2697v3 14-core is € 2825 apiece, so you are talking about a completely different ball park.

                                • 13. Re: Ideal Specs/Machine for running AfterEffects CS6/CC
                                  Squirreldinho7 Level 1

                                  Thanks, that's great. I was hoping for something around the £3000 price-bracket, and considering the exchange rate, the spec you've suggested is approximately £3100, so ideal really.

                                  • 14. Re: Ideal Specs/Machine for running AfterEffects CS6/CC
                                    Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                    Squirreldinho7 wrote:

                                     

                                    And Szalam, would you agree with this kind of setup? As you both seem to be very knowledgeable on the subject...

                                     

                                    I'd like a setup like that at home!

                                    There's only one thing I would consider changing. I don't see the need for your media to be on a solid state drive. OS and cache? Definitely yes! But it isn't as crucial for your media to be on one. You could probably get the same storage (or more) for a lower price on a regular hard drive. Then use the money you saved on that for a good backup system (like a Drobo) and/or a backup service (like Carbonite), People too often neglect to think about a proper backup solution until it's too late. Best to think about it now! (And don't forget AE's handy increment and save feature too!)

                                     

                                    But yes, it looks pretty good to me.

                                    • 15. Re: Ideal Specs/Machine for running AfterEffects CS6/CC
                                      Squirreldinho7 Level 1

                                      This machine will be connected to my work network, so there is already a daily system backup in place.

                                       

                                      However, I will likely be working locally (assets/media will also be held on the network, but I will likely hold these on this specific machine too), so would you recommend doing a separate back-up for this? And would this affect the need for a solid state drive for the media?

                                       

                                      Thanks.

                                      • 16. Re: Ideal Specs/Machine for running AfterEffects CS6/CC
                                        Squirreldinho7 Level 1

                                        Also, one of the earlier suggestions mentioned 128GB of RAM but then the final spec mentions 64GB of RAM, will the latter be enough?

                                        • 17. Re: Ideal Specs/Machine for running AfterEffects CS6/CC
                                          cc_merchant Level 4

                                          The X99 motherboards have maximum 8 DIMM slots, so practically the maximum is 8 x 8 GB. For dual 14 cores, making it 28 physical cores, you need 128 GB, but those dual mobo's have 16 DIMM slots.