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Hardware for faster video rendering

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June 17, 2013 7:53:51 PM

Hey folks,

I have a Asus K45VM notebook for editing (it had to be a notebook, not a desktop, unfortunately). I suppose the specs are quite good, it's an i7, 8GB RAM, 500GB HD Nvidia GT 360M 2GB...full details can be checked here.

Well, recently I started to work on heavier projects, and so I'm experiencing frequent slowness. As example, I can mention a 1280x720 six minutes length project in After Effects CS6. I'm using a uncompressed footage (21GB) as imported source, and some video as overlays as well as a couple of text layers and color correction plugins (Magic Bullet and BCC). After Effects takes from 6 to 10 hours to render the output file, and I'm starting to think that my computer is underachieving.

Well, where is the bottleneck? A SSD would greatly improve my performance? I also considered buying a 1TB External HD to free up some memory from my internal HD. Well, what's the best way to improve my notebook performance?

Thanks in advance!
June 18, 2013 11:57:30 AM

X79 said:
Perhaps a CPU with Intel QuickSync:

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/architecture-and...

Wouldn't be a bad idea with that external HDD either.


Thanks X79, I appreciate your attention.

Well, changing the CPU is more complex, isn't? I have no idea about that, but I suppose it's way more expensive too.

Between the SSD (128GB) and the external HD (1TB), wich one would be the most appropriate for my case? My notebook doesn't have neither eSata nor Firewire connections. Using a USB 3.0 conection for the external HD to store source files would create a bad gap, am I right?

I read somewhere that replacing the DVD drive by a SSD is a nice way to improve the computer speed and keep the original internal storage without dealing with the slow down that would happen if it were outside the computer (as a external) connected by an USB port.
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a b G Storage
June 18, 2013 12:16:32 PM

No problem.

Changing a CPU is easy; on a desktop. I cannot recommend doing such things on laptops.

Then I'd sooner recommend getting a desktop; as it would be easier to do things, get better parts,

service and upgrade altogether. If it was possible for you, then a desktop would be much more ideal.

I can understand if it's not possible though. An SSD would be very lovely, but it's expensive. If you do

decide to get one, a Samsung 840 series one is worth recommending. Also yes you're right it's most likely

a bad deal to store files on an external like that. The GPU can also have a say when dealing with programs like

PhotoShop. I'm not sure if it'll help with rendering specifically, but with OpenCL programs like the aforementioned

can be sped up thanks to the GPU helping the CPU. An Nvidia GPU also has its own proprietary CUDA architecture to rely on; moreso

than AMD Radeon GPUs. So perhaps a GPU upgrade is something to look for; it's just a hassle when it's a notebook.

The GPU in that notebook is quite a bit dated by the looks of it and so an upgrade to a 6 or 700M series Nvidia GPU might

be the thing to do.
June 18, 2013 2:54:29 PM

X79 said:
No problem.

Changing a CPU is easy; on a desktop. I cannot recommend doing such things on laptops.

Then I'd sooner recommend getting a desktop; as it would be easier to do things, get better parts,

service and upgrade altogether. If it was possible for you, then a desktop would be much more ideal.

I can understand if it's not possible though. An SSD would be very lovely, but it's expensive. If you do

decide to get one, a Samsung 840 series one is worth recommending. Also yes you're right it's most likely

a bad deal to store files on an external like that. The GPU can also have a say when dealing with programs like

PhotoShop. I'm not sure if it'll help with rendering specifically, but with OpenCL programs like the aforementioned

can be sped up thanks to the GPU helping the CPU. An Nvidia GPU also has its own proprietary CUDA architecture to rely on; moreso

than AMD Radeon GPUs. So perhaps a GPU upgrade is something to look for; it's just a hassle when it's a notebook.

The GPU in that notebook is quite a bit dated by the looks of it and so an upgrade to a 6 or 700M series Nvidia GPU might

be the thing to do.


Hey X79! Thanks for the advices.

Despite the lack of upgrade options, I need a notebook to take with me wherever I go. A desktop would be far better indeed, but I cant afford both, so I'm sticking with the notebook for now.

But speaking of the specs: my graphic card supports CUDA, isn't good enough for dealing with 720p videos?

Also, if I buy an external HD just to store my personal files, movies, music, etc, freeing up all my internal HD space, and then use a 300GB (or more) partition of the internal to store cache, scratch disks and maybe source files, would I get an improved performance?
a b D Laptop
a c 748 G Storage
June 18, 2013 3:19:56 PM

You typo'd your GPU in the orignal post. Asus says you have a 630m not a 360.

Since you cant change your cpu or gpu your only option to pursue is storage and as you suspected a single hard drive is not ideal for editing. Replace the optical drive with a caddy and an SSD if you can afford it. Having 1 drive trying to read, write, run the OS, act as virtual ram and scratch disk simply slows you down esp since you have a 5400 rpm drive. If you have the funds, replace the 5400 rpm drive with a 7200 rpm drive that has a high platter density for the best performance. Like the WD Black WD5000BPKT.

last it does not seem that you have any backup plan since you don't already have external storage. All hard drives fail, please plan for this eventuality. Your important data needs to be stored in multiple locations. Another partition on the same hard drive is NOT another location (same goes for putting the source files and scratch disk there)
a b G Storage
June 18, 2013 4:12:57 PM

^

He's a storage Authority.

Best solution

June 18, 2013 9:46:53 PM
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Oh yeah, sorry for my disattention. In fact, it's a GT 630m.

I'm gonna try to buy a better HD as soon as possible. A SSD for SO and softwares would really help with the rendering time? There's some people that argues that SSD's do not worth the little improvement it provides on some tasks. As a begginer in the area, I really have no idea.

Anyway, with an 1TB external and a 500GB internal HD, what's the best setup? Where should I keep the scratch disks, source files and other stuff? For now, I'll have to deal with that, it's all I have. In the end of the year I'm gonna seek for better upgrades.

Also, thank you guys for your support, it really helped me to elucidate some points.

PS: The slow rendering was caused in part by my cache. I erased it and then After Effects took only 40 minutes to render a 6 minutes video, instead of 10 hours. The other problem was the Dynamic Link active in my composition because of the imported Premiere project file. I replaced the .pproj with its own already rendered video file, and it also helped to make the AE rendering works faster.
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