Well, generally speaking there is no magic recipe. You will have to tune those settings for each render process. There's too many factors. On your machine, if you fiddle with MP, as a start set it to just use 2 or 3 cores at most. Your main controller instance of AE will always use the maximum 4GB if required, so there's another 2 GB per core for the background instances in this scenario. Of course not having subtracted what the OS or other programs need, in practice it will be lower. If your project is processing intense (many effects), but only at lower resolutions, using all four cores may be possible since it will not need so much RAM. On the other hand, if you work on large res images that use lots of memory even without effects, using 2 cores might already considerably burden your system. Also do not forget, that just as much as the processing performance and memory I/O, the disk I/O is critical. Many programs accessing the same files can choke the system just as much, both when accessing the source footage and writing rendered frames to disk. Again, this depends on how large the frames are, what format you use for saving, whether it's stills or movie clips etc.. Specific to effects, it depends how "temporal" they are. Some things like particle systems will require calculations for particle positions, and even if that is possible with MP, each core may need to go through it over and over again, so some performance goes away there. otehr effects will never render with MP (laid out in the docs)... So as you see, you will have to rethink your strategy every time. Just do some reading on the Memory & Multiprocessing help pages for more tips.
So, based on my specs what do people recommend I change these to? Or should I leave them alone and change something in Vista itself to help speed the program up?
You probablty don't want to change anything, unless there's a reason. Seriously
Regarding the OS, you already did the most important thing - picking a 64-bit flavor.
The default settings should work very well for most cases. One exception would be, for example, if you didn't have enough RAM to feed all four cores (8 GB is fine for that). Just make sure that when you enable "Render Multiple Frame Simultaneously", AE informs it will use all 4 cores (there's a summary at the bottom of the Memory and Multiprocessing preferences).
You could move the slider that says "Longer RAM previews/Faster Rendering" a bit more towards "Longer RAM previews" but there are probably more general workflow recommendations that would help in getting more out of your RAM.
I imagine that you're working at HD resolutions, right? That does take a lot of memory when building RAM previews (as much as 150-250 Megabytes per SECOND, depending on resolution and frame rate!). If you set the resolution to "Half" AND you also set the zoom maginification to 50 per cent, you would be looking at something that looks quite nice and takes half as much memory (note the resolution menu has an "auto" setting that takes care of automatically keeping it in sync with the zoom factor). If you want to use 32 bpc processing, enable it when it's critical and keep the project depth at 8 bpc while it's not.
Jumping in on this thread because you say 8 gig of RAM is good for feeding the all 4 cores (of a Quad Core), that's interesting. Never heard of that.
I have 4 gigs of RAM with a 64 bit quad core, would there be a significant difference using 8 gigs of RAM in performance? and does the difference apply to all programs (photoshop, gaming etc...) or just certain programs, in this case AFX?
thanks in advance
I have 4 gigs of RAM with a 64 bit quad core, would there be a significant difference using 8 gigs of RAM in performance?
In After Effects, and when enabling the Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously feature, absolutely.
In fact, 4GB of RAM is really inadequate if you want to to take advantage of your quad core processor in AE. In that case, you may want to set the Memory and Multiprocessing preferences to leave 2 CPUs free with that amount of RAM.
So, a given amount of RAM can be a lot or very little depending on the number of cores you have. It's not an absolute figure, it's all about context. Remember: when you enable Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously, AE launches a headless version of itself for every core, unless you ask to leave some cores free for other tasks.
People who buy octo-core (dual xeon) machines frequently think: "You know what, let's go crazy with RAM. I'll stick in 12 GB". And it turns out, 12 GB is not that much when you run 8 rendering instances of AE at the same.
Ideally, you want 2 GB per core.
and does the difference apply to all programs (photoshop, gaming etc...) or just certain programs, in this case AFX?
It depends on a million factors.
With the 64-bit version of Photoshop, you would get much better performance when working with large to very large files. With small files, you may notice little or no difference.
With the 32 or 64 bit version of PS, you would get much better performance when running multiple applications at the same time.
I don't know much about gaming, except that I rule in Pro Evolution Soccer/Winning Eleven!
Thank you so much for your time, your informative response, and consideration!
It is truly appreciated. I just purchased a new comp 64 bit quad core as well as a PS CS4. I do photo retouching at least as part of myincome, so you answered a question that I didn't ask but I could most certainly benefit from. So thank you for that too!! SincerelyJon