7 Replies Latest reply on Oct 28, 2016 3:16 AM by Tom10

    After Effects workstation build advice (i7 vs Dual Xeon)

    Rich Hinchcliffe Level 1

      Hi everyone.


      There's a few old topics on this that I can find but no recent ones with any feedback from Adobe that I can find - if there is, just point me in their direction!


      I'm looking to build a new rig with a budget of £4000 (ish) but having difficulty deciding whether I'd benefit from the extra cores (20 vs 8) a Dual Xeon setup would provide, vs a high powdered i7 build. Something like...


      Dual Xeon E5-2630 v4 (£1230, 20 cores total)  vs  Core i7 6900K (£950, 8 cores total)


      The primary objective of a new build is to speed up render times in After Effects. I do 3D work as well so a boost in rendering speed in that will be really useful too, but I primarily use After Effects for my work.


      Now, I know in the past (CC2014 and prior) After Effects could only really make use of all those lovely cores if there was enough memory for each one, so buying loads of RAM used to make sense. If this was CC2014, for a 20 core system (40 if you count hyper-threading), I'd need at least 128Gb RAM (3Gb/core, or preferably 256Gb to allow 6Gb/core) to make it really worthwhile for speeding up renders in After Effects.


      BUT, since CC2015, the rendering engine has changed a lot and I can't find any solid information on whether each core needs so much RAM anymore, or whether After Effects actually benefits from loads of cores that the Xeon's would provide in abundance, or the relative higher clock-speeds per core that the 6900K blasts out.


      I do know (at least I think I do!) the dual Xeon workstation will be significantly faster for 3D rendering in C4D (and Max, and Houdini etc.) than an i7 6900K will be, but that's not my main concern, especially as I intend to stick at least two nVidia GTX cards in there (1070's or 1080's) as I use Octane to render when I can anyway, which is a GPU based render and once it's optimised for CUDA8, two GTX 1080's should provide a pretty decent/fast 3D rendering solution for my needs.


      Any advice folks? Anyone happen to have used both those CPU options, or are able to provide benchmarks for similar setups?


      I'm happy to put together a few AE project files for someone to benchmark if you're up for it!?

        • 1. Re: After Effects workstation build advice (i7 vs Dual Xeon)
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

          Nothing has changed. AE may have a new primary comp renderer, but the same bottlenecks still exist elsewhere and AE simply doesn't do much in the way of multithreaded or parallel out-of-order processing. In fact it's probably safe to say that it will continue to do so for the foreseeable time and I'm afraid the current trend of GPU accelerating a bunch of effects clearly indicates that there is no plan for a deeper overahaul but rather put on a shim by always rendering the working composition as fast as possible and pretend things are just fine.



          • 2. Re: After Effects workstation build advice (i7 vs Dual Xeon)
            Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            If the clock speed multiplied by the number of cores is significantly faster, than rendering in C4D will be significantly faster. C4D will use every bit of processing power you have.


            AE doesn't. Not yet.

            • 3. Re: After Effects workstation build advice (i7 vs Dual Xeon)
              Rich Hinchcliffe Level 1

              From these answers and some more digging around online, it sounds like the i7 6900k is deffinitely the preferred choice for After Effects, where as of the current build fewer cores seems to yield better rendering speed! One article even recommended the 6800k over the 6900k.


              Shame. The appeal of 20 Xeon cores running at 3.1GHz in Cinema 4D does still appeal, but it looks like it would be a detriment to my current After Effects heavy workflow.


              I'll let you know what I decide

              • 4. Re: After Effects workstation build advice (i7 vs Dual Xeon)
                Tom10 Level 1

                Hello Rich,


                have you made a decision? I was referring kind of similar question during the chat with a support, but the guy in the end of a line had only PERSONAL GUESSES and while I was copying all comparison characteristics... He just went away and closed the chat. Very professional support.


                Accordingly, I am looking for some answers in the forums.



                • 5. Re: After Effects workstation build advice (i7 vs Dual Xeon)
                  Rich Hinchcliffe Level 1

                  Hi Tom.


                  I've not bought a new PC yet - I'm not in a particular rush.


                  After looking around for more into though since I asked my question, the conclusion I've come to is that for significantly better After Effects performance (at least with the current builds) you're better off with a high powered Core i7 chip.


                  That's not so say a Xeon setup would be bad at all, and a dual CPU Xeon system would see significant rendering advantages in most 3D rendering applications.


                  If you do lots of 3D and lots of After Effects work, it's a case of deciding which one you're prepared to wait for longer rendering times with.


                  For me, as cheap cloud based render farms are easier to find for 3D rendering, I'd probably go for a hefty Core i7 setup to benefit my After Effects work, then farm out any 3D rendering if I really need to save time there.


                  Hope that helps!



                  • 6. Re: After Effects workstation build advice (i7 vs Dual Xeon)
                    Rich Hinchcliffe Level 1

                    In addition to my last reply, here's a link to an excellent article I found benchmarking Dual Xeon's against Core i7's in After Effects 2015.3... https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Adobe-After-Effects-CC-2015-3-Multi-Core-Perfor mance-843/

                    • 7. Re: After Effects workstation build advice (i7 vs Dual Xeon)
                      Tom10 Level 1

                      Hello Rich,


                      thanks a lot for your reply. In fact, I been looking for various articles on Puget Systems and they all refer the same thing - at least for now, CC won't benefit out of the Xeon in any means. While I am more related to AE rather than 3D, this might be the clear case. However, I am still not sure about that after all and quite rely on the fact that 3D is the future:))


                      Other than that, thanks a lot for your response - I am also not in a big rush, but an upgrade need to the current system is not far away from now. Its always better to look up front, instead of picking on an urge.