4 Replies Latest reply on Mar 12, 2011 1:22 PM by SuperCrawler Branched to a new discussion.

    Now that CS5 has arrived, what does it mean for your system setup?

    Harm Millaard Level 7

      Apart from nice added features, improved stability and increased  speed, there are two major factors that impact on your system setup:


      1.  64 bit


      2. Mercury Playback Engine


      64 Bit  only


      This means a couple of things:

       

      You need a  64 bit OS, you need 64 bit plug-ins and you can use much more memory  than the 4 GB limitation that applied to 32 bit OS'es (with effective  memory in the 2 - 3 GB range, depending on the Boot.ini switch).


      In  practice, to benefit from the move from 32 bit to 64 bit, the  recommended memory needs to be around 8 or 12 GB, depending on your mobo  and chipset and the number of DIMM slots available. With current prices  (May 2010) it is not yet economical to opt for 4 GB sticks.


      If  you have a dual socket board with 12 or more DIMM slots, 24 GB is  optimal.


      Mercury Playback Engine


      This  is where it gets interesting.


      In the past, up to and  including CS4 4.2.1, performance was largely impacted by:


      1.  CPU


      2. Memory


      3. Disk setup


      4. OS &  Tuning


      5. ...


      and finally by the video card. It did  not really matter what video card you had installed. There never was any  discernable performance gain from expensive video cards.


      The  tables have turned.


      With CS5, installing a CUDA  enabled video card has a large impact on performance and lessens the  burden on the CPU. The GPU does a lot of the work.


      However,  since the CPU gets a lot more breathing space, the CPU will no longer be  the primary bottelneck, as was often the case in the past.  And since  all DIMM slots in the average machine will be occupied, it is a costly  exercise to exchange the DIMM sticks with larger capacity ones. People  who have only 3 slots in use on a X58 motherboard can directly benefit  from adding three more sticks, but this does not happen very often.


      So  with the CPU running with a relatively low load and memory more or less  a given, the only thing that may be a bottleneck to be improved upon is  the disk setup. This can be seen easily by scrubbing fast through the  time line with the popular AVCHD material. Due to the MPEG nature, while  scrubbing one needs to look backwards and forwards to create the image  under the CTI and that means a lot of disk activity. CPU is not a  bottleneck, memory is not a bottleneck and the GPU is not the  bottleneck, it is the disk setup.


      Do not be fooled by the  claims that SATA2 or SATA3 have enough bandwidth to support the data  rate of AVCHD or other MPEG streams. Tests have shown that significant  performance gains can be achieved by using a large number of disks,  preferably in a raid. This is especially true when one has multiple  tracks.


      SSD's are not yet an economical alternative for  conventional hard disks, with prices that are a factor 30 - 50 higher  per gigabyte than conventional disks.


      Conclusion


      To  fully benefit from the performance gains that CS5 allows, it may be  that using a MPE supported card will lead to the disk setup being the  new bottleneck. Be aware of that fact.