Best After Effects Workstation, cost not an issue

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by 5050, Apr 21, 2013.

  1. 5050 macrumors regular

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    May 28, 2009
    #1
    What Mac Pro hardware setup (from CPU, graphics card(s), memory, storage, etc) would you put together for the ultimate performing After Effects workstation, cost not an issue?

    The only three "limitations" I would kindly request is:

    1) It be a Mac Pro (although "modified" hardware compatible in a Mac Pro like macvidcards' GPUs are cool) :rolleyes:
    2) only using the "internal PCIe" setup (i.e. no external PCIe slot expansion systems like Cubix's Xpander Desktop Series II)
    3) limiting power modifications to the "default" setup of the Mac Pro (i.e. no external power supplies).

    Thanks all!

    Jonathan
     
  2. wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

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    Location:
    Oregon
    #2
    Your first rule of it being a Mac Pro only blocked my first thought, which was to build a PC. :p

    I mostly run Premiere and After Effects, but use plenty of other programs, and my system handles it well, but if I were to have unlimited money for a single Mac system today:

    • Mac Pro 12-core, using 2x3.46GHz CPUs
    • 96GB RAM in 6x16GB sticks
    • Areca or Atto RAID card to a 16-disk box
    • Twenty Crucial M500 960GB SSDs - 16 in the RAID box, 4 in the Mac
    • GTX 680 for Mac GPU, I guess

    Give or take a mod or two, that should be nice for After Effects.
     
  3. 5050 thread starter macrumors regular

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    May 28, 2009
    #3
    Haha, I knew the "buy a PC" argument would be made so I had to throw in that caveat. ;)

    I have to say, I'm a hardcore Mac user (going back to 1997 if that doesn't date me), but the lack of Apple's Pro support has really made me reconsider a PC workstation, particularly because performance is key to our line of work and the Mac just hasn't been able to keep pace with the broader industry.

    Anyways, also found these articles, albeit a bit dated, but interesting reads related to optimizing After Effects performance:

    http://macperformanceguide.com/Optimizing-AfterEffects.html
    http://macperformanceguide.com/Optimizing-AfterEffects.html
     
  4. wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

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    #4
    AE sees my 6-core as 12 cores, so yes, I allow AE to only use 8 'cores' to allow the remaining 4 to run the OS and other programs. It doesn't crash that way.

    I allow 26 of my 32GB of RAM to be used by Adobe CS6, saving the remaining for the OS and other programs. I allocate 2GB per thread to AE. I tested every combination, and that one gave me the fastest renders.

    If I had unlimited money, I could swap my single CPU tray for a dual one, and have 2x3.46GHz 6-cores, but for now, I'm doing great with a single hex. I don't know from personal experience if 16 SSDs will work in a RAID 6, but again, if money is as common as toilet paper, I'd try it out. It would be cool to see how close to 8000MB/second you could get, or 2000MB/second on the internal SSDs in a RAID there. I guess I should have said 21 of those SSDs, using the last one as the boot SSD in the optical bay, under the Blu-Ray burner you'd install.
     
  5. 5050 thread starter macrumors regular

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    May 28, 2009
    #5
    Speaking of RAIDs . . . one question I've been trying to get answered is where is it more important (for After Effects performance) to allocate storage bandwidth? To the system/apps disk or media/scratch disk? I have a SSD RAID 0 setup coming in this week, and I was originally advised to prioritize the SSD RAID 0 for the system/apps disk (plan to eventually set up another RAID 0 configuration, but easing into my upgrades).
     
  6. MyMac1976 macrumors 6502

    MyMac1976

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    Apr 14, 2013
    #6
    It doesn't, nor does it make you by any means long term or old..

    Why would you not use a PC for premiere? If you'd said FCP I could understand but it just seems foolish to 5K + on a Mac right now unless this job pays for the computer plus your time to resell when/if a new one debut's
     
  7. wonderspark macrumors 68030

    wonderspark

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    #7
    Media and scratch all the way. I have a single SSD boot disk on the internal SATA II bus, and it's plenty fast enough. The OS/programs only need to be loaded up when you open the program, and after that, speed isn't a big deal. The media and scratch should be as fast as possible, since that's what is being read/written constantly.
     
  8. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    Japan
    #8
    Yup! That looks good!

    For the 16 SSDs tho, let's scale it down to 12 so we can use a dedicated SATA III connection for each drive. :)
     
  9. 5050 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #9
  10. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    Aug 5, 2010
    #10
    that may change in a future update. The 680 Mac edition did not exist when CS6 came out.
     
  11. echoout, Apr 21, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013

    echoout macrumors 6502a

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    Austin, Texas
    #11
    I sold off my 2012 12-core with 48GB RAM, GTX 570, SSD system drive and RAID0 SSD media cache because, as I've stated before, it didn't feel like a dramatically faster machine than the other cheaper/older ones I use day to day.

    That being said, the SSD media cache RAID and GTX 570 helped with Raytracing and RAM previewing in AE. Other things, not so much.

    As for your video card, there are no plans to add more than just the K5000 to the official video card list for CS7 or whatever they're calling it according to the just released list of features. Just put in the line of code with the 680 and enjoy the CUDA cores, it was nice on the 570.

    I'm scheduled to pick up a loaded up Boxx workstation in early June for a one month test drive. Thought I'd never say that in 14 years of being a motion designer but I'm curious and excited.
     
  12. RoastingPig macrumors 68000

    RoastingPig

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    #12
    that's ballin
     
  13. 5050 thread starter macrumors regular

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    May 28, 2009
    #13
    Perhaps, but how Adobe has chosen to respond below seems to suggest that a "CS6" incremental update for the GTX 680 Mac is unlikely. Maybe "CS7?"

    http://forums.adobe.com/message/5244789?tstart=0
     
  14. 5050 thread starter macrumors regular

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    May 28, 2009
    #14
    Your previous system sounds pretty well equipped and still couldn't outperform other lower end systems? What do you feel was the bottleneck? And what specifically do you feel the BOXX system will offer that your previous Mac Pro didn't?
     
  15. echoout macrumors 6502a

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    Austin, Texas
    #15
    You know, I think it's a combination of clock speeds, hard drive speed, RAM speed and probably the in/efficiency of the code behind the software.

    With the Boxx configurations I'm looking at, all of those are greatly improved. We'll see though. I'm not a huge fan of benchmarking. I just need to load up some of my known, problematic projects and see how they behave in AE and C4D.

    Thinking a Titan and much higher clock speeds should really help the most.
     
  16. 5050 thread starter macrumors regular

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    May 28, 2009
    #16
    I agree regarding the benchmarking. The plan here is to also load up a few AE projects that gave me issues in the past and see how they hold up with the new hardware upgrades . . .
     
  17. echoout, Apr 22, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2013

    echoout macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    If I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really had to stay in the Apple world (and had to buy a new Mac Pro NOW) I would do the chip swap on a 12-core that some here have done for the fastest clock speed.
     
  18. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    Aug 5, 2010
    #18
    Aww. If it came out a bit earlier, it may have been rolled into a prior update. I guess that isn't happening now. It's annoying as that card is one of the best candidates.
     
  19. echoout macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Why would you not just use it anyway? I'm confused.
     
  20. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    Aug 5, 2010
    #20
    What I've read is that unlike the other cards, it won't work by simply editing the loading script.
     
  21. jasonvp macrumors 6502a

    jasonvp

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    Jun 29, 2007
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    Northern VA
    #21
    Works just fine on the Windows side. No reason to believe it won't work on the Mac side.

    jas
     
  22. echoout macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    You just edit the list by adding the name of the card. Been running that on all my computers for a year in AE and Premiere. One of my students is running the 680.
     
  23. 5050 thread starter macrumors regular

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    May 28, 2009
    #23
    Sorry, what list?

    ----------

    raytracer_supported_cards.txt?
     
  24. echoout macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 15, 2007
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    #24
    Not much to it. Just a couple commands in Terminal.

    You'll know it's working when AE takes a bit longer to fire up the first time.
     
  25. 5050 thread starter macrumors regular

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    May 28, 2009
    #25
    Yup, I think you just have to RMC the AE CS6 app icon and go into the Package Contents to modify the file. Thanks!
     

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