More on the Mercury Engine…
In my last post, I made one statement that isn’t completely true – I said that EVERYONE will benefit from the Mercury Engine, and for the most part, that IS a true statement. However, you need the hardware to run the Engine, and although Adobe hasn’t mentioned when the Mercury Engine will be widely available, you should start planning for the future now. If you are running on an older, single-core CPU, with a 32-bit OS, an older video card and 2 GB of RAM, you probably will not see much improvement from the Mercury Engine. However, if you are planning a new purchase (possibly around Windows 7,) here are some things to keep in mind:
1. The Mercury Engine is 64-bit only, and that’s not likely to change. Any new system you get should be 64-bit ready, running a 64-bit OS (Windows 7 64-bit or Mac OS X.5 or X.6 are great.)
2. Multiple cores are good. Really good. I don’t have firm numbers on this, but I would probably go for cores over CPU speed when things are close. The Mercury Engine is fully multi-threaded and optimized for multi-core systems. A quad-core 2.4 GHz will probably win out over a dual-core 2.8 GHz processor in a competition.
3. CUDA is the icing on the cake. The GPU acceleration is powered by the Nvidia architecture, and requires an Nvidia card to run. Currently, there’s a limited list of supported cards that Mercury is supporting. I would expect more cards to be added to the list at some point in the future, but you can’t go wrong today with one of the supported cards.