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Recommended PC Workstation configurations for Adobe After Effects
Adobe After Effects is a digital visual effect, motion graphics, and compositing application developed by Adobe Systems and used in the post-production process of film making and television production.
Mercury Playback Engine
Premiere Pro and After Effects benefit from both CPU and GPU power. Adobe’s Mercury Playback Engine allows many effects such as dissolves, colour replacement and warp stabilization to utilize the graphics card CUDA cores (in combination with the CPU cores), providing enhanced performance.
Video Editing, 2D Animation, Motion Tracking, Warp Stabilize, Rendering Previews
According to benchmarks, these tasks adequately utilize 6 to 10 cores at most.
Exporting video is a multi-threaded process, meaning it takes advantage of many processor cores. If your workflow involves both video editing and exporting on the same machine, we recommend processors that are both high in core-count and clock speed.
In general, 3-6GB of RAM per CPU core is recommended. For example, if you select a single 12-core processor, 32GB will suffice for basic tasks or 64GB for more demanding workloads.
With video editing, the amount of RAM required generally depends on the resolution of the video and the complexity of your timeline. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend 24GB/32GB/48GB if you work with 1080p footage, 48GB/64GB/96GB for 4K footage, 96GB/128GB/196GB for 6K footage, and 196GB/256/384GB if you work with 8K footage.
We recommend having two drives which provide the best performance:
1. Primary Drive: SSD for the operating system and software
2. Secondary Drive: another SSD, or for better performance, an NVMe Flash Storage Drive (the “HP Z Turbo Drive”) for active project files
If you need additional storage for large, infrequently accessed files, we also recommend one or more 4TB, 6TB or 8TB+ hard drives. Hard drives also work well for storing export files as the export/rendering process is generally not writing intensive.
The Z Turbo Drive Quad Pro yields the absolute maximum in performance – remarkable drive speeds combined with massive flash storage capacity. Supporting up to four m.2 NVMe flash storage drives on one PCIe slot, each reaching 1750MB/s write and 2500MB/s read speeds, the Z Turbo Drive Quad Pro is the ultimate footage drive. We recommend the Quad Pro in these two configurations:
1. One drive in the Quad Pro as primary – dedicated for the operating system and applications. Three drives in RAID configuration as an editing/footage partition – dedicated for storage of the project, source media, media cache and scratch files. A 3-drive RAID 0 configuration in the Quad Pro achieves speeds of 6GB/s, which is perfect for a 6K or 8K workflow. The benefit of this route is conserving a PCIe slot – the primary and editing partitions both on one PCIe slot opening a secondary PCIe slot for a speciality or port-expansion card.
2. All four drives in the Quad Pro in RAID 0 configuration dedicated as the editing/footage partition. Drive speeds reaching 9GB/s and up to 8TB capacity. Select a separate SATA 3 solid-state drive (SSD) or m.2 NVMe drive (HP Z Turbo Drive) for the operating system and applications. The benefit of this route is unparalleled performance.
RAID 0 configurations are optimized for performance. Also known as disk striping, RAID 0 spreads the data across multiple physical drives, allowing multiple disks to access the contents of a file, thus writes and reads will be completed quicker. The drawback to RAID 0 is that if a drive failed, all data would be lost. Thus, we recommend back up of data on a RAID 0 using a standard spindle 7,200rpm hard drive.
For post-production video editing, we recommend NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics cards as they provide high performance at a great value compared to Quadro cards.
For lower budget systems, we recommend a single NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080.
For higher budget systems, we recommend a single NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080Ti.
If your application scales well with multiple graphics cards, we recommend two RTX 2080Ti. If your application takes advantage of only one graphics card or does not scale well, we recommend going with the single RTX Titan 24GB.
The HP Z8 G4 Workstation is recommended if you would like dual processors and/or multiple high-performance graphics cards.
The HP Z6 G4 Workstation is recommended if you would like to start with a single high-end processor and a single high-performance graphics card with the potential of upgrading in the future. With the Z6 G4, you can add a second matching processor and double the memory using the optional second processor riser. The power supply will also support two mid-range graphics cards.
The HP Z4 G4 Workstation is recommended for the majority of workflows. Since Intel now produces single Core i9 and Xeon processors with up to 18-cores and high clock speed, there is no need for dual processors unless you will have heavy CPU rendering or intensive tasks demanding more than 18-cores. Also, the HP Z4 G4 has an optional 1000W power supply that will support the most powerful graphics cards including the GeForce RTX 2080Ti and Quadro RTX 6000.