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Old December 14th, 2004, 08:53 AM   #1
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Bah, Performance Issues in Avid Xpress Pro... what to upgrade?

Hey all. Well the tutorial files seemed to work smoothly on my system. They were simply MOS files and a voiceover with music on one audio track so it was a total of one vid, two audio. Now that I've started working with some of my DVX footage and AE files at 24p, the program stutters the video and audio for a few seconds before "catching up" and then playing the material correctly.This is with only one Vid track of an AE project which is 30 seconds long and a clip from a song (I've tried using both WAV and MP3 with no luck). It's very frustrating! I have the DV out or green light turned off and don't have any effects or color correction on my timeline. Changing my video quality setting doesn't really help me either. So here are my 2 year old Dell (purchased Jan 03') specs:

Dell 2.4 Gigahertz P4
1 gig RDram
ATI Radeon 9700 Pro (128 meg card w/ dual monitor support)
DV only HD at 240 gigs

Listed on the AVID site is that a pc running Avid REQUIRES atleast 1 gig or ram but they rec. 1.5 gigs. I thought it was rumored around here that past 1 gig isn't really useful for real performance gains. Is this what I should be looking into updating? Maybe max out my RAM? Getting a new PC is really not in the cards, not for another year or so and this is the only program I've run into performance issues with (well the Doom3 demo slaughterd my pc as well). The only thing I noticed strange was when I import 24p files, instead of just having the Vid + Aud + TC1 tracks that usually show up standard with 30i projects, it has all these plus the following track names:

24
24p
25
30D
30ND
EC1

And yes, I made sure I didn't choose that it was film stock. These extra tracks run the length of my project with purple bars and contain numbers and such. So, sorry for the long post, I really hope some Avid savvy person out there can give me some advice!
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Old December 14th, 2004, 09:06 AM   #2
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Personally I doubt you could upgrade anything (hardware wise)
to increase speed. Sounds like a find PC, and the difference
between 1.0 and 1.5 GB should not include things like you mention.

Are you running some other device on your IDE channel with
your harddisk?
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Old December 14th, 2004, 09:09 AM   #3
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My ATA controller card is only running the 240 gig while my internal IDE strip has my 30 gig, the 120 gig system drive and my DVD burner.
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Old December 14th, 2004, 09:12 AM   #4
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Bryan,

What version of Pro are you running? Also, what version of Windows XP are you running with which service pack?
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Old December 14th, 2004, 09:25 AM   #5
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I assume that your internal harddisk are on one IDE channel and
another channel the DVD burner?
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Old December 14th, 2004, 10:50 AM   #6
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Richard - I'm running Avid Xpress Pro 4.5.1 and Windows XP Home version 2002 with Service Pack 2 installed- I see there is a 4.6 for Avid, I'll download it.

Rob - hmmm, I might be a bit ignorant in this category. I have multiple ribbon strips or IDE running in my PC, one has a few plugs along its strip and then the other is the ide ribbon from the controller card. The factory ribbon which has multiple plug spots is on my two HD's (30 gig and 120 gig system drive) and then the standalone ATA controller card ribbon is going only to the 240gig. Does that sound correct? If I were having a detrimental performance issue due to an incorrect IDE or HD setup, wouldn't I notice the performance problems in other NLE's such as vegas or is Avid just very picky?
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Old December 14th, 2004, 11:15 AM   #7
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Bryan,

Home version of XP not supported, this could be part of the problem.

Minimum PC System Specifications for Avid Xpress Pro
Processors: Dual or Single 2.4 GHz Xeon processor OR Pentium 4 1.6 GHz processor OR Pentium M 1.8 GHz processor (mobile configurations). Note: The boot drive should be IDE, SCSI, or SATA 7200 RPM. Do not use internal SCSI as a boot device if you also plan on adding external SCSI drives (in that case use IDE or SATA).
Operating system: Windows XP Professional w/Service Pack 1, 1a or 2.0
System Memory: 1.0 GB minimum, 1.5 GB recommended
Increased memory size will improve high stream count play performance.
Open GL graphics cards : NVidia QuadroFX 1300 PCI Express, Nvidia QuadroFX 1100 AGP 8x, NVidia QuadroFX 500 AGP 8X, or NVidia Quadro4 980 XGL AGP 8X
Add-in IEEE-1394 PCI card (required if no built-in 1394). Note: The add-in PCI card must be a universal PCI card with the T.I chip set. Current qualified /supported cards include:
ADS Pyro PCI 64, part #API-311
SIIG 1394 3-Port PCI i/e, part #NN-400012
Internal disk drive: IDE or SATA boot drive
CD or DVD-ROM drive
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Old December 14th, 2004, 12:29 PM   #8
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Richard - the update to 4.6 solved my issues. Bah, Avid, you reduced me to new lows, not even checking the updates and having two rudamentary recent posts in a row but one day i will be on your level, one day.
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Old December 14th, 2004, 12:33 PM   #9
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Bryan,
Great, glad you got it ironed out. I am still running 4.31, as I am in the middle of a documentary, and hesitate to change horses in the middle of the stream. Looking forward to V 5 when it's released, might just wait till then, as my system is rock solid now.
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Old December 14th, 2004, 01:10 PM   #10
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I don't blame you. Any rumors regarding major changes in v5? I always hear people say they wish there was a way to switch between a FCP style interface and the traditional one in Avid and with all the seemingly reactionary moves by Avid in the past year or so to capture more of the lower end professional segment back from the gains of FCP, would this be a possibility? I'd guess it'll just be to update for newer formats (HD etc.) and greater compatibility though...
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Old December 14th, 2004, 01:41 PM   #11
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HD is the big development in the next upgrade. More than one HD codec will be supported. Also, eliminating the "green dot" "blue dot" preview... apparently rt preview will simply be standard default if I read correctly. A new version of multicam support, some other bells and whistles. It's all on the board at www.avid.com. Of course, if you're running a mojo, there are more benefits, etc. etc.

Funny you should mention FCP interface. After the last FCP upgrade, my boss was howling and complaining that "nothing works the way it's supposed to". He sat behind me at his FCP suite in our studio, while I sat at my XpressPro suite. I turned around and said "What's wrong" he started complaing about all the new features and the way things were different, and I said... "Huh, that's the way it's done in Avid..." Shortly thereafter one of the Mags did a review, and the reviewer commented on how it was more "Avid like".

I guess it all depends on where you start from...
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Old December 14th, 2004, 09:31 PM   #12
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Crap - the problem is still there. I guess it was working fine when I first tried because I had just done a computer restart so my cpu and memory was "fresh" but now that it's been running all day, I just jumped back in the program and it's back to stuttering, not nearly as bad as before, but still stuttering some. Is my next plan of action to check my IDE connections or do you guys think that XP professional could really be different enough from XP Home that it'd run properly with just a simple OS upgrade? What could I check with my IDE cable setup just to make sure before I give Microsoft any money? Thanks again guys, as always...
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Old December 15th, 2004, 05:27 AM   #13
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I can't see how the difference between Pro and Home could cause
such a thing. Either it is a hardware problem somewhere or Avid
is just doing a crappy job (I have to say this is most likely).

Get a demo of Sony Vegas from http://mediasoftware.sonypictures.com
and see how it handles it. That might give you a clue as to what
is to blame here.

Anyway, just make sure that on ONE IDE cable are not mixed
devices like a harddisk and a CD/DVD drive.

Do you know how to check if DMA is enabled for your drives in XP?
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Old December 15th, 2004, 09:20 AM   #14
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Rob - no i don't know how to check DMA. And I'm a Vegas user (4 and 5) and Vegas handles everything like a charm. Before that I used Premiere 6.5 which worked great with my system but the jump to Pro made things a bit laggy but nothing like this with Avid. Today's a very hectic day so I won't be able to check my cables until tommorow but, if one cord is going to both HD and DVD rom devices, what is my solution to get seperate cables so I can still have a functioning DVD drive along with 3 HDs?
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Old December 15th, 2004, 03:17 PM   #15
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I've personally wanted to switch to AVID but I was turned around when I heard that you have to basically dedicate your PC to the whole program and even then you may not be trouble free! So I've decided that if I ever needed a SUPER POWERED NLE that leaps bounds over Adobe Premiere Pro, I'd go with Apple (which I'm familiar with too <--- PC/MAC Computer King here).

To me, it sounds like your PC just isn't well equipped for AVID. If you're using RDRAM (which they've discontinued), then you're probably using a socket 463 Pentium 4 (which they've also discontinued). You don't have the benefit of Hyper Threading (BIG help for overall performance) and you're working on a much smaller FSB (front side bus). Socket 463 Pentium 4's run on a 400mhz bus while newer socket 478 Pentium 4's run on an 800mhz FSB or on next generation 1066mhz FSB (if you go with socket LGA775 P4's with PCI Express motherboards that is). You don't have dual channel memory (2x sticks of DDRSDRAM memory working in sync) which boosts performance by as much as 20%. Also, RDRAM is MUCH slower than current DDRSDRAM.

Now the hard drives are a different story. Not a whole lot of difference between Serial ATA and regular IDE connections, but I'm wondering whic hard drive do you have AVID installed on and how fast is that 30gb hard drive you mentioned? It's all good if it's a regular 7200RPM hard drive (though a Western Digital 120gb 8mb cache or more hard drive replacement would be better). Sounds like your wiring is ok, CD/DVD/CDRW/DVDRW/ect. drive on one channel and the hard drives on the other.

If you were to upgrade your computer and not go by minimum or recommended specs (which never are accurate) then here's your ideal PC:

3ghz Pentium 4 (minimum)
Radeon 9700 Pro (carried over unless going PCI Express)
1-2gb PC3200 DDRSDRAM
Current CD/DVD/CDRW/DVDRW/ect. drive
Current Hard Drives
Socket 478 or LGA775 motherboard

There, that should run AVID a LOT better! Otherwise I think you'll have to deal with AVID's sluggishness.
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