Case Study - Corridor Digital
"Puget Systems was able to build me a machine specifically tailored to my working needs. They made the process easy and streamlined so that I could remain focused on the creating side instead of stressing about the tools I needed to do the job."
- Wren at Corridor Digital
After Effects Workstation FAQ
Q: I'm thinking of moving from Mac to PC. Can you help?
A: Absolutely! Over the years we have helped quite a few of our customer make the move from Mac to PC. In fact, it is a large enough number that we have a dedicated Moving from Mac to PC? FAQ page to answer some of the more common questions we receive.
Q: Do any of your systems support Thunderbolt?
A: Yes! Our Standard Workstation natively supports Thunderbolt 3 which is currently the latest and fastest version of Thunderbolt. Unfortunately, our Compact Workstation does not yet have Thunderbolt support - but we are working on it!
Q: Does having more CPU cores improve After Effects performance? Should I get a dual Xeon system?
A: After Effects used to make great use of high core count systems (including dual Xeon), but starting with AE CC 2015 it no longer benefits from having a high number of CPU cores. This is largely due to the fact that Adobe removed the "render multiple frames simultaneously" feature - likely in part due to the fact that they are starting to integrate GPU acceleration. While it used to be that more cores = faster, since higher core count CPUs run at a lower speed a CPU with around 6-8 cores will be faster than a higher core count CPU or even a dual CPU setup.
Q: You only list Core i7 CPUs, don't I need a Xeon CPU?
A: In the past, Xeon CPUs were more robust than their Core i5/i7 counterparts. Today, however, there is very little functional difference between the two Intel product families for workstations. In addition, Xeon CPUs are almost always clocked slightly lower than the Core i7 CPUs which means that you will be giving up a small amount of performance to gain a set of features that are typically only useful for servers.
Q: Do I need a GPU? Is GeForce OK or should i use Quadro?
A: GPU acceleration is fairly new to After Effects and only a limited number of effects are supported (a list can be found on our AE Hardware Recommendations page). However, utilizing the GPU is something Adobe has recently been focusing on so we anticipate that many more effects will be accelerated in the future. Between GeForce and Quadro, either type of card should work great but for most users a GeForce card is the better option. They are much more affordable are able to match performance of the Quadro cards for fraction of the cost. However, there are two main benefits to using a Quadro video card - they support 10-bit displays and we have found them to be a bit more reliable long-term.
Q: How much system RAM do I need?
A: Depending on the length, resolution, and complexity of your projects, After Effects can often benefit from having very large amounts of RAM available. Larger amounts of RAM allows AE to store more previews in RAM rather than on a cache disk which can result in smoother playback. Using a fast SSD as your cache drive can mitigate some of the performance loses, but no hard drive or SSD is as fast as RAM. In general, we recommend 64GB of RAM as a starting point for moderate After Effects usage or those just learning to use After Effects. If you work with very complex projects, however, you may need 128GB or even more RAM.
Q: Should I use an SSD for my disk cache?
A: Yes! SSDs are much faster than traditional hard drives and in many cases can be noticeably faster than the older style drives. Using a dedicated SSD for your disk cache can significantly improve performance when playing and scrubbing through compositions and upgrading to an even faster NVMe drive can give some performance gains - most notably allowing the disk cache to be written on average around 20% faster. [Click Here] for more information on disk cache performance.
Why Choose Puget Systems?
We do not add a part to our product line unless we feel we can stand behind it. You can feel confident that any selection you make on our website is a quality product.
By keeping inventory of our most popular parts, and maintaining a short supply line to parts we need, we are able to offer an industry leading ship time of 7-10 business days on nearly all our system orders.
We make sure our representatives are as accessible as possible, by phone and email. At Puget Systems, you can actually talk to a real person!
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