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Old April 19th, 2011, 01:29 PM   #1
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CS5 DSLR Editing: Bigger RAM or upgrade Video Card?

Hello!

I know my video card is on the bottom end of support for CS5, but wanted to know if I'd get a much faster response out of upgrading my video card to a GTX 480 or if I should up my RAM to 24gb instead of the 12gb I have? I shoot DSLR and edit on After Effects and Premiere Pro. Definitely use filters such as Magic Bullet and other motion graphic animation regularly. I specifically named RAM specs and Video card choice due to budget. OR would getting another GTX 260 and SLI linking them be better?

Here's my setup:

Windows 7 Ult. 64-bit
Intel i7 920 Quad Core
Asus P6T Deluxe
OCZ Vertex Turbo SSD for my OS
12 Gb Corsair Dominator DDR3 Triple channel memory
Nvidia GTX 260 OC

Thanks very much for any advice!
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Old April 19th, 2011, 03:32 PM   #2
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Re: CS5 DSLR Editing: Bigger RAM or upgrade Video Card?

Mercury CUDA support doesn't use SLI so it won't help, and I don't think replacing the video card with a slightly faster gamer card is worth the bother, either. You only mentioned your OS drive; if you don't have at least three independent drives including a fast RAID subsystem, that's the next place I'd spend money. Not sure I'd drop much money on CPU or RAM upgrades from what you already have; maybe when the next Sandy Bridge stuff comes out later this year it'll be worth doing some computer brain surgery.
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Old April 19th, 2011, 04:13 PM   #3
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Re: CS5 DSLR Editing: Bigger RAM or upgrade Video Card?

As Pete Bauer noted, without knowing your PC's work (media, projects, media cache, previews and output) disk subsystem I can't determine which needs more of an upgrade. If you have only one physical hard drive in your PC (used for everything - OS, programs, pagefile, media, projects, media cache, previews and output), you'd be better off adding at least one additional internal hard drive (two or more additional drives of the same brand and model as one another are better than one additional drive). Or, if you are using only one secondary hard disk for everything outside of the OS and programs, consider adding a third hard drive. If on the other hand you already have at least one RAID array outside of the OS/programs disk, then I would add more RAM before upgrading the graphics card.
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Old April 19th, 2011, 04:29 PM   #4
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Re: CS5 DSLR Editing: Bigger RAM or upgrade Video Card?

Sorry about that.

My OS is a single SSD and then my drives I have my work on are single independent drives. So it sounds like I should run a RAID 0 and get a couple identical SATA drives and that should dramatically boost my workflow? Maybe x2 Raid 0 SSD drives as my OS? Never done that before in SSD.

Any particular drive recommendations? I know people aren't nuts about Seagate even though i've done just fine with them, but I lean more toward WD.

And yeah I don't run the hardware MPE because it seems the software one works better anyway.
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Old April 19th, 2011, 05:12 PM   #5
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Re: CS5 DSLR Editing: Bigger RAM or upgrade Video Card?

In this case, I would upgrade the graphics card first since the GTX 260 is very slow compared to newer GPUs (specifically, that card has only 192 or 216 CUDA cores and only DDR3 memory while newer GPUs that cost the same amount of money have more cores and DDR5 memory). However, I would not go all the way to a GTX 480 or 580 with that i7-920 system unless you overclock the CPU. With only a stock-speed i7-920, I'd compromise and go for a GTX 560 Ti. With the budget that would otherwise have been spent on a GTX 480 or 580, you could get both a GTX 560 Ti and six 4GB DIMMs (for a total of 24GB). Plus, your existing 12GB might have been achieved using six 2GB DIMMs, which would have required total replacement if you were to upgrade to 24GB.
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Old April 19th, 2011, 05:33 PM   #6
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Re: CS5 DSLR Editing: Bigger RAM or upgrade Video Card?

Randall-

You'd be correct that I have 6 dimms filling all RAM slots of 2GB chips. I'd be okay with replacing them all and then selling my other DIMMs used. I don't know many people who even have 24GB, but i'm sure that would help for what I do, but you believe that the other GTX model you said would yield a significant decrease in preview render time and over all faster viewing of footage with transition filters?
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Old April 19th, 2011, 05:42 PM   #7
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Re: CS5 DSLR Editing: Bigger RAM or upgrade Video Card?

Premiere Pro CS5 does run at its best with just over 12GB, especially in encodes to MPEG-2 SD DVD. And at this point almost anything GeForce in the $200 USD price point is better than your current GTX 260 (which is old and outdated for this purpose).
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Old April 19th, 2011, 06:41 PM   #8
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Re: CS5 DSLR Editing: Bigger RAM or upgrade Video Card?

Oops, I was about to disagree with Randall until I re-read that your card is a 260, not a 460. That means you haven't run CUDA acceleration on that computer, and I think you'd hear a chorus of us disagreeing that software-only MPE is as good or better. The acceleration of effects and blends is just awesome.

For the hard drives, NO need to RAID your OS drive, especially if it is an SSD (you can, but it won't help with editing); at the least you want separate drives for OS+Programs, scratch disk, and media. If you're generally only doing one or maybe two streams at a time, you probably don't need to RAID your media drive; more streams at once than that and it probably is worth doing RAID. For the scratch disks (where temp files like renders go) the faster the disk access and the faster the throughput, the better. (FWIW, something I want to try when I can is to do a RAID0 of two SATA3 SSDs for my scratch drive to see how that compares against a larger HDD array).

With those two exceptions, your system is actually in pretty good shape for everyday editing. Personally, I wouldn't do much to upgrade your system at this point except get a relatively inexpensive nVidia card that will run Mercury's CUDA and maybe re-do your drive setup.

However, if you do need more speed...I'd recommend a new system. That's because the upgrade of your current system's CPU would cost you a couple hundred bucks for incremental performance; then same for RAM. Then the other stuff you're already needing to do with the old system (new graphics and change drive setup). You start approaching the point at which you could just as well get new Sandy Bridge "guts" (CPU, mobo, and RAM) for not that much more, and have better performance for that extra price. That said, I'd wait for the new chipsets coming out in the next month or two.

But back to the main point, to spiff up the current system get a CUDA capable card, consider re-doing your drives and see if it does the trick for you.
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Old April 19th, 2011, 07:05 PM   #9
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Re: CS5 DSLR Editing: Bigger RAM or upgrade Video Card?

As long as you use Premiere's effects and blending modes MPE is great, but when adding Magic Bullet like the OP wants to do...
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Old April 20th, 2011, 12:30 AM   #10
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Re: CS5 DSLR Editing: Bigger RAM or upgrade Video Card?

Pete-

Thx for taking the time to post! The GTX 260 actually is a CUDA card. I just have a feeling it's the absolute bare minimum and makes things hiccup pretty poorly. I'm pretty sure you're right on the card though in that getting one of the nicer DDR5 ones will help a bunch.

I do also plan on getting a couple identical drives to run a Raid 0 for my files and drives are pretty dirt cheap these days.
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Old April 20th, 2011, 05:44 AM   #11
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Re: CS5 DSLR Editing: Bigger RAM or upgrade Video Card?

Yeah, you're right Randy...I just looked it up and the base VRAM config in the GTX260 is 896MB, which should be enough to run GPU acceleration with the text file hack. If you're having troubles with it working -- albeit not as fast as a newer card -- I'm not sure. And as Ann alluded to, third party plug-ins may be a factor.
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Old April 20th, 2011, 08:51 AM   #12
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Re: CS5 DSLR Editing: Bigger RAM or upgrade Video Card?

I ordered a 560 ti card last night and will be here this week. Look forward to seeing the results!

Thx for the help here, everyone. Will post how it's running. :)
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Old April 25th, 2011, 01:57 AM   #13
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Re: CS5 DSLR Editing: Bigger RAM or upgrade Video Card?

Well I got the card up and running and it's definitely a lot better for general cuts and doing dissolve transitions and notice that big performance boost.

Still extremely disappointed that Red Giant Software's programming of the CS5 plugin Magic Bullet Looks utterly fails with the Mercury Playback Engine. Rendering previews for DSLR using Magic Bullet Looks is still atrocious. Would be nice if their 64-bit architecture upgrade to the plug-in actually had Adobe's MPE in mind.

Are the color correction tools within premiere comparable to Magic Bullet aside from the lens effects and such Magic Bullet does?
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Old April 25th, 2011, 03:17 AM   #14
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Re: CS5 DSLR Editing: Bigger RAM or upgrade Video Card?

The problem with getting Magic Bullet to use hardware MPE is that either RedGiant must give Adobe their source code or the other way around and neither is likely to do that.

MBL is not hardware accelerated and while the 560 is a very good improvement over the 260, your best improvements would come from upgrading your disk setup, more so than from the relatively costly exchange of your memory sticks for 6 x 4 GB sticks.

There is no need to look for a SSD disk setup, because it offers no performance gains over conventional disks yet and are way too expensive. SSD's as a boot disk do not offer a performance gain over a conventional disk, they only cost way more, but if you forfeit the SSD you lose bragging rights to your neighbors.

For data storage they again do not offer performance gains. Tests with 8 SSD's in raid0 show no performance difference versus 8 conventional disks in raid0.

Personally, I'd rather have an Areca controller with 8 x 1 TB Samsung F3 disks in raid3 for around 1,500 than 3 Intel 510 250 GB SSD's for about the same amount. Ten times the storage space and way faster than SSD's.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 10:24 AM   #15
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Re: CS5 DSLR Editing: Bigger RAM or upgrade Video Card?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harm Millaard View Post
There is no need to look for a SSD disk setup, because it offers no performance gains over conventional disks yet and are way too expensive.
expensive - yes, no performance gains - well, I just upgraded to two revo drives with internal raid 0, 100Gb for system drive and 240Gb as a scratch plus 2x2Tb WD 7200rpm raid 0 for storage, and it's at least two times faster compare to 4x7200rpm raid 0 SATA disks setup that I had before
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harm Millaard View Post
Personally, I'd rather have an Areca controller with 8 x 1 TB Samsung F3 disks in raid3 for around 1,500 than 3 Intel 510 250 GB SSD's for about the same amount. Ten times the storage space and way faster than SSD's.
way faster? what SSDs you refer to? plus RAID 3 is not the ideal setup for read and definitely not the best for write operations, and I wouldn't care about storage space too much, today it is becoming really inexpensive
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