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Digital Video & Audio

October 6, 2010 /Region of Interest /

Please try recommended memory settings for After Effects CS5 and give feedback.

[Please, do not give feedback in the comments on this blog post. Give feedback on this forum thread.]

A lot of folks ask what the recommended memory and multiprocessing settings are for optimum performance. Because projects, compositions, footage items, and computer hardware setups vary greatly, there’s no one best set of numbers that we can give.

However, our quality engineers (testers) have been doing a lot of performance tests lately, and they’ve come a step closer by providing a set of memory settings that should give a better starting point than our current default settings.

Our default settings in After Effects CS5 were created with the goal of providing long RAM previews and holding a lot of information in the foreground application’s RAM cache to prevent frames from being re-rendered unnecessarily. Unfortunately, this skew toward leaving memory for the foreground application took memory away from the background rendering processes. Also, our default settings for the minimum allocation per background rendering process were a bit on the low side for the sorts of compositions and footage that people are working with these days.

We’re now recommending much higher settings for the RAM To Leave For Other Applications and Minimum Allocation Per CPU preferences. If you start with these numbers both quite high, you will avoid the problems of swapping memory to the hard disk (which is a real performance killer) and starving the background rendering processes such that they shut down and don’t do anything.

You may find that you’re not using all of your CPUs for Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously in a machine with a lot of processor cores, but that’s fine; the goal is to make things go fast, not necessarily to use all of your CPUs. Also, keep in mind that After Effects is a multithreaded application, so even when you only have one rendering process, that process can spawn threads on other CPUs to help with rendering. In other words, you will still be using parts of other CPUs, even if they don’t have their very own rendering process. In fact, if you try to force After Effects to use all CPUs for background processes, you can end up overscheduling your processors and damaging performance.

Please start with the settings suggested below and run tests of your own, on real projects. Then, try moving the values up and down and doing additional tests. Let us know on this forum thread what settings work best for you and what kind of footage, compositions, and hardware setup you’re using. This sort of feedback can really help us to make smarter, more realistic settings for the next version of After Effects.

  installed RAM / GB      RAM To Leave For Other Applications / GB      Minimum Allocation Per CPU / GB   
2 0.75 0.75
4 1.5 1.5
8 2 1.5
12 4 2
16 6 3
24 8 3
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