More important for video rendering? RAM or video card?

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More important for video rendering? RAM or video card?

Postby TheLuminaireShow » Mon Jul 23, 2012 5:23 pm

Not being a computer wizard or nothing I have some general questions in regards to working with video and rendering. First off, here's what I currently have:

HP Pavilion Elite HPE-580t
i7 quad core 3.2 Ghz
12 GB RAM
GeForce GT 440 (Cores: 144; Clock: 594Mhz; Memory: 3072MB)
IPMTB-TK (Truckee) Motherboard

What I surmise is, that having a better graphics card, with memory being the key aspect, helps with display and how fast you can get previews while editing, and that overall RAM helps with general processing speed and rendering of the final product. My current RAM is pretty good overall, however, it's only $130 roughly to DOUBLE that capacity to 24 GB, which is likely to be a pretty big help when working with HD footage. However, it's the graphics card I am not really well versed with and could use input on. Disregarding gaming, which I don't really do or care about, what cards out there excel in the video editing department and how do I find out what my computer can handle? What aspect is the important one for video or, is the RAM overall more important? It'd be nice to upgrade the card to something with DVI and HDMI since my current card only has VGA/HDMI.

Gracias.
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Re: More important for video rendering? RAM or video card?

Postby Otohiko » Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:27 pm

RAM.

For video editing as such, you're going to get very little benefit from your video card, and most consumer-level video cards aren't even geared to be used for things like rendering in 3D modeling software. So you'd be better-served by more RAM and a faster processor.
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Re: More important for video rendering? RAM or video card?

Postby Pwolf » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:28 pm

RAM

Some editing programs are optimized to use video cards (mostly Nvidia because of CUDA) but they are really only useful if the source is formatted to a specific specification. So using DVDs, frameservers, downloaded h264s, or lossless formats, as we ask people to use, wont benefit much, if at all, from these optimizations.

That said, at 12gb, you really don't need any more RAM unless you plan on doing extensive work in After Effects at HD (and higher) resolutions. You're better of putting that money towards fast/reliable storage. At HD resolutions, using UTVideo, Adobe Premiere will work nice and smooth with your current specs.
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Re: More important for video rendering? RAM or video card?

Postby Zanzaben » Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:00 am

Well first off you really can't get a much better graphics card because your motherboard doesn't have any PCIe 3.0 slots, so that means you couldn't get a GTX card and all of the GT cards aren't that big of an upgrade. Besides that what Pwolf said about storage is also very important especially when it comes to the number of disks that you have. This all has to do with Adobe products but I assume that other video editing works in a similar way, if it doesn't than someone please correct me. It is super important that you have multiple drives in your computer so that you will never be reading and writing data to the same place at the same time. You want at least 3 disks so if you currently have you entire computer stored on your C: drive then definitely go out and by 2 more drives so that you can have a D: and E: instead of more ram. I will refer to this thread a disk set up and if you don't use adobe then I would say look on your software's forums for a similar thread, http://forums.adobe.com/thread/662972. If however you already have a decent disk setup then by all means buy more ram because, at least in my mind, you can never have to much ram.
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Re: More important for video rendering? RAM or video card?

Postby JudgeHolden » Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:57 am

Zanzaben wrote:Well first off you really can't get a much better graphics card because your motherboard doesn't have any PCIe 3.0 slots, so that means you couldn't get a GTX card and all of the GT cards aren't that big of an upgrade. Besides that what Pwolf said about storage is also very important especially when it comes to the number of disks that you have. This all has to do with Adobe products but I assume that other video editing works in a similar way, if it doesn't than someone please correct me. It is super important that you have multiple drives in your computer so that you will never be reading and writing data to the same place at the same time. You want at least 3 disks so if you currently have you entire computer stored on your C: drive then definitely go out and by 2 more drives so that you can have a D: and E: instead of more ram. I will refer to this thread a disk set up and if you don't use adobe then I would say look on your software's forums for a similar thread, http://forums.adobe.com/thread/662972. If however you already have a decent disk setup then by all means buy more ram because, at least in my mind, you can never have to much ram.


PCI 3 cards are backwards compatible with PCI 2 ... :awesome:
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Re: More important for video rendering? RAM or video card?

Postby Zanzaben » Tue Jul 24, 2012 10:10 am

JudgeHolden wrote:PCI 3 cards are backwards compatible with PCI 2 ... :awesome:


:up: Indeed it is, I feel silly for forgetting that. However it doesn't change my suggestion though, I would prioritize the disk setup, and then depending on if you do work with a lot of layers of HD footage in After Effects then get the extra RAM, if you don't do that then the a video card would probably be better also because of the dvi out-ports that you want.
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Re: More important for video rendering? RAM or video card?

Postby ZephyrStar » Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:06 am

RAM.

Even with 3d programs, your card is kinda useless for rendering. Might not be that way in the future, but currently I would invest in the extra memory.

(I maxed out my own machine to 32gb :awesome: )
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Re: More important for video rendering? RAM or video card?

Postby TheLuminaireShow » Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:20 pm

Zanzaben wrote:Well first off you really can't get a much better graphics card because your motherboard doesn't have any PCIe 3.0 slots, so that means you couldn't get a GTX card and all of the GT cards aren't that big of an upgrade. Besides that what Pwolf said about storage is also very important especially when it comes to the number of disks that you have. This all has to do with Adobe products but I assume that other video editing works in a similar way, if it doesn't than someone please correct me. It is super important that you have multiple drives in your computer so that you will never be reading and writing data to the same place at the same time. You want at least 3 disks so if you currently have you entire computer stored on your C: drive then definitely go out and by 2 more drives so that you can have a D: and E: instead of more ram. I will refer to this thread a disk set up and if you don't use adobe then I would say look on your software's forums for a similar thread, http://forums.adobe.com/thread/662972. If however you already have a decent disk setup then by all means buy more ram because, at least in my mind, you can never have to much ram.


This was something I had not even considered regarding multiple drives. I only have my 2 TB HDD and an external 500 GB one. So you are saying it's more efficient to put all your source material on one drive and have it render to a separate one? Although having looked at that guide, which is very helpful, a third HDD for cache and export would seem optimal and not excessive.

The thing about the RAM was that it's so cheap for such a substantial increase I see little reason not to, you know? I'm new to After Effects but I can potentially see myself getting layer intensive with hi-res footage, so again, little reason not to. I see it's of more importance than the graphics card but at the same time if I can both double my RAM and upgrade my card to something with better outputs with the same or better graphics capability for less than $300 for both than that is something I would be very interested in. I just have no idea what cards my motherboard supports.

And yes I have the Adobe production suite, so I use Premiere, AE and PS.
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Re: More important for video rendering? RAM or video card?

Postby BasharOfTheAges » Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:32 pm

To be completely honest, even a simple OS (software level) RAID 0 set-up of a few HDDs will be fast enough for throughput unless you normally work with huge frame sizes (i.e. in excess of standard 1080p HD). I would recommend running your OS and software on a separate drive than your storage though - an SSD is even better for this.
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Re: More important for video rendering? RAM or video card?

Postby TheLuminaireShow » Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:16 pm

So, both RAID 0 and SSD are new to me. An SSD is apparently just a much faster and more efficient drive that would be more useful for information you access constantly, like the OS and your programs, correct? What size would be sufficient then for Windows 7 64-bit and the Adobe suite + ? Then which of the HDDs would be better for storage and the other for cache? Does a RAID 0 setup require hardware, software or both?
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Re: More important for video rendering? RAM or video card?

Postby Kariudo » Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:17 pm

JudgeHolden wrote:
Zanzaben wrote:Well first off you really can't get a much better graphics card because your motherboard doesn't have any PCIe 3.0 slots, so that means you couldn't get a GTX card and all of the GT cards aren't that big of an upgrade. Besides that what Pwolf said about storage is also very important especially when it comes to the number of disks that you have. This all has to do with Adobe products but I assume that other video editing works in a similar way, if it doesn't than someone please correct me. It is super important that you have multiple drives in your computer so that you will never be reading and writing data to the same place at the same time. You want at least 3 disks so if you currently have you entire computer stored on your C: drive then definitely go out and by 2 more drives so that you can have a D: and E: instead of more ram. I will refer to this thread a disk set up and if you don't use adobe then I would say look on your software's forums for a similar thread, http://forums.adobe.com/thread/662972. If however you already have a decent disk setup then by all means buy more ram because, at least in my mind, you can never have to much ram.


PCI 3 cards are backwards compatible with PCI 2 ... :awesome:


And on top of that, pci-e 3.0 doesn't do anything for the current generation of graphics cards. It's like getting an HDD with SATA 6Gbps (as opposed to an SSD). Yeah, there's more bandwidth, but an HDD just can't pull data fast enough to ever go over SATA 3.0Gbps speeds, and even the fastest non-enterprise class drives barely go over the theoretical limit for first-generation SATA.

I may be wrong, but I really doubt that getting multiple disks solely for the sake of spreading out disk load is going to help you much (if at all). Getting a second disk so you can have your media and previews on separate disks might help a little...but I'll repeat what almost everyone else has said.

RAM is the key, followed by disk transfer rates.

As for getting a new graphics card for different outputs, can your display(s) accept dvi as input? What other inputs does your monitor have?
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Re: More important for video rendering? RAM or video card?

Postby TheLuminaireShow » Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:35 pm

I might consider an SSD with enough space for the OS and programs because that actually sounds pretty efficient, if it isn't terribly expensive. I see no reason NOT to upgrade my RAM considering it's still pretty cheap for the biggest increase in performance. I may forgo the video card though. My monitor has only VGA and HDMI. The HDMI goes into my TV for movies and watching videos with a group of friends, but it isn't convenient for working on videos because of the distance and I have to turn my head so much, so a second monitor would be far more useful when it comes to actually editing. I would have preferred not having to use VGA if I could help it but I'm only now realizing how superfluous a lot of this is.
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Re: More important for video rendering? RAM or video card?

Postby Zanzaben » Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:45 pm

Since you currently have everything stored on one HDD I am almost certain that your disk setup is your biggest bottle neck and adding more ram or a new graphics card wouldn't seem faster since that would let adobe work with the footage really fast but it won't be able to load it into and out of it nearly as fast as your ram is letting you. Even using your external drive over a USB 2.0 connection would be better than just using one drive. As Bashar pointed out SSD's are awesome and indeed they are, however one word of warning about that is that it is important that you just put your OS and the adobe products on it and don't put any of the media, or previews, or anything else video related on it because video editing does so many more reads and writes to a disk then most other things that SSD's will often just die from being way overworked.

Regarding the video card it seems to me that you really want the additional out-puts and that will be by far the biggest factor in deciding that you want a new video card, because it will have a marginal difference on that actual video editing of your system so it depends on how much you want to be able to use DVI cables. Also keep in mind the price of the monitors that you would buy to use your new DVI connections, unless of course you have some monitors sitting around that you currently can't use in which case I would really want a new graphics card so that I could use them. I would look through the entire nivida GTX line to see which graphics card has the ports you want and any of those will be better than what you have now.

In terms of Ram it is never pointless to get more ram, even if you aren't dealing with a lot of layers of HD footage it will still be used because the way adobe works is that if there is any extra ram then it will just make more instances of it self to render more frames at once, adobe can use hundreds of gigs of ram if you had a computer that could give that much to it however your 12 GB you currently have will most likely be fine for what you are currently doing, so I would say hold off on it for now and wait until you start getting layer intensive and then by the ram then when you might need it, and instead buy another HDD or a graphics card.
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Re: More important for video rendering? RAM or video card?

Postby BasharOfTheAges » Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:53 pm

This SSD is $90 ($60 after Mail-in rebate) Reviews are high but there aren't that many of them.
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Re: More important for video rendering? RAM or video card?

Postby Kariudo » Tue Jul 24, 2012 5:23 pm

Zanzaben wrote:Since you currently have everything stored on one HDD I am almost certain that your disk setup is your biggest bottle neck and adding more ram or a new graphics card wouldn't seem faster since that would let adobe work with the footage really fast but it won't be able to load it into and out of it nearly as fast as your ram is letting you.
Again, I really doubt that the disk transfer rate is a problem that needs resolving. The background access of the OS isn't that much...so unless the OP is trying to do some i/o intensive task at the same time as previewing, this should be a non-issue.

Even using your external drive over a USB 2.0 connection would be better than just using one drive. As Bashar pointed out SSD's are awesome and indeed they are, however one word of warning about that is that it is important that you just put your OS and the adobe products on it and don't put any of the media, or previews, or anything else video related on it because video editing does so many more reads and writes to a disk then most other things that SSD's will often just die from being way overworked.
Throughput on USB 2 is around 45 MBps. Putting the media on it is sure to have much more of a negative impact than just leaving it on the internal HDD.

If transfer rates are really that much of an issue, RAID is what is needed, not just additional disks to split up the load that premiere places on i/o

Regarding the video card it seems to me that you really want the additional out-puts and that will be by far the biggest factor in deciding that you want a new video card, because it will have a marginal difference on that actual video editing of your system so it depends on how much you want to be able to use DVI cables. Also keep in mind the price of the monitors that you would buy to use your new DVI connections, unless of course you have some monitors sitting around that you currently can't use in which case I would really want a new graphics card so that I could use them. I would look through the entire nivida GTX line to see which graphics card has the ports you want and any of those will be better than what you have now.

Keep in mind that this is a pre-built pc we're talking about. The specs from HP say it's a 460W psu...but I doubt it has enough juice for almost everything that requires a 6-pin pci-e connector (or a 6-pin pci-e connector for that matter...)

Specs from HP suggest it's capable of handling a GTX 460.

Given what the OP has said, I'd just hold off on getting a graphics card. It makes little sense to get another graphics card with DVI if your display doesn't have a DVI input (and if you aren't using it for gaming.)
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