By Dhira Web Khewsubtrakool, James Yuh, Joshua Gong, Anno Chang
The Central Processing Unit (CPU)
This is the brain of your computer. Computers may have one or more CPU chips, and each chip may have multiple “cores” or processing units embedded in a physical chip. Generally, more physical cores means more processing power, which means the software runs faster. Alongside physical cores is “Hyper -Threading”, which allows a single physical processor core to appear as two virtual cores to the operating system, this allows for “multi-threading”. Thus allowing software to take advantage of more cores even though they may appear to be virtual.
A less direct measure of computer power is the speed that the processing unit runs at. A higher “clock-rate” allows for faster computation. However, new generation processors often can perform more work at the same speed, meaning a new chip with a lower clock rate might still run software faster than older ones with a higher clock rate. Overall, the more cores you have on your computer or your laptop is usually directly proportional to the performance you will receive when multi tasking with multiple programs. However be careful, with more CPU power you must complement such power with more RAM in order to take full advantage of the CPU.
There are two ways in finding out more about your CPU. By right clicking on the taskbar of Windows and choosing Task Manager> Performance. You will be able to count how many cores (boxes) there are in your system. To know the clock rates of such systems you could go into My Computers Click> Properties
For Mac , click the Apple icon and press, About this Mac.
All Adobe applications especially Adobe Premiere Pro utilizes as many cores as available in media encoding. Usually for normal workflows we recommend an i5 processor and definite any i7 will be great for other tasks.
The Random Access Memory (RAM)
To put it bluntly, more RAM is always useful. Simply put, RAM allows you to run more applications simultaneously. Programs require a certain amount of memory to run; having multiple programs running at the same time requires more memory. When one’s computer overloads the memory, the computer will begin to respond oddly to mouse clicks and typing. RAM helps alleviate these problems. The benefits of RAM (in more simple terms) are as follows: RAM, compared to other options to boost computer performance, is incredibly cheap. Upgrading from 4GB RAM to 8GB RAM should only cost around $40-$50 and to 16GB should be double such amounts. Anything more than those prices, means you’re being scammed!
In today’s technological age, you’re bound to be running more programs. When you’re low on memory your computer will start to freeze up and display “low memory” messages frequently. Adding RAM will alleviate this problem. Multiple programs ranging from games to video editing require a great deal of memory. If you handle large graphic files, video editing, spreadsheets and you’re experiencing either lag or speed issues, more RAM will help. RAM, in summary, is one of the easiest ways to boost your computer’s performance. If you want to run large games or run programs such as the Adobe Creative Suite, having 4-8GB of RAM would be recommended. In fact, today, 4GB of RAM is often seen as the bare minimum; you’ll do much better with 8GB of RAM. If you cannot install more RAM due to a lack of space on your motherboard (within your computer), and you’re still unsatisfied with the amount of RAM you have, you should get a new computer.
The Graphic Acceleration (GPU)
Today’s video cards and display systems contain their own specialized processing units, capable of rapidly executing a specific set of commands for manipulating and displaying images. GPUs often have hundreds of cores built for parallel processing ,instead of 4 to 6 cores in CPUs. With hundreds of cores they are truly exploited for the use to maximize performance in games, manipulation and of Large Images, and HD resolution movie editing, at some times higher than 1080p , such that of 4K resolution. Another important thing consider when selecting the Graphic Cards selection is to be aware of the amount of VRAM it contains. The larger the images, for example 20 mega pixels, editing can be done faster than the norm. Moreover there are also different speeds of VRAM, the faster it is the better .
The Apple and Microsoft and Apple in Graphic Processing, are NVIDIA and AMD. However when working with Adobe, NVIDIA will produce the best editing experience. This is the result of the strong partnership between NVIDIA and Adobe has a strong partnership to developed optimized solutions to take full advantage of the numerous cores within the GPU. On AMD side, with no optimizations only your CPU is used, and making your system less responsive. Nevertheless, to take full advantage of NVIDIA’s optimizations, you must regularly Update your Computer, Adobe Applications and Graphic Drivers when possible.
There are two parameters to think about when considering disk drives and other storage devices: size, and speed. Size—stated in gigabytes (GB) or terabytes (a thousand gigabytes, abbreviated as TB). The more storage you have, the more data you can keep. Some media types are small and you can keep large hours of data onto a relatively modest-sized drive. However, as you start to move into Higher resolution such that of 1080p+, 4K and more camera, you will need correspondingly larger drives. For internal storage connections, most computers use a variation of the SATA standard, which is very fast. Once you start connecting to external drives, you need to worry more about the speed of the connection you’re using, with fiber channel being the fastest, followed by Thunderbolt, USB 3, FireWire 800, then USB 2 (please don't use the last one).
There are several components that affect a drive’s transfer speed. One, whether they are SSDs or Spindle Hard Drives. For normal usage in Photoshop and audio editing, hard disks are perfect for the job. However if you begin to work with larger file sizes, like Videos and High Resolution Images. SSD’s are better for faster load time
Specific Optimization for Specific Programs
Adobe Premiere Pro
An important feature in Adobe Premier Pro that can enhance the playback processing (how smoothly your videos play) is the Mercury Playback Engine (MPE). What the engine does is that it utilizes all of the advantages of the CPU such as multi-threading, multiple cores, and virtual cores then optimizes the best uses for them whilst having live video playbacks. The speed change in optimization really depends on how efficient your CPU is and the amount of RAM. This is a built-in engine within the software so there is no need to manually turn it on.
To check whether your computer is capable of using the Mercury Playback Engine go into project settings and look under the Video Rendering and Playback section.
An additional setting in Premier Pro, providing that you have the necessary graphic cards, is the Mercury Playback Engine with GPU acceleration. If you have an NVIDIA graphics card that support CUDA, this can accelerate your rendering speed up to eight times, enabling the software to add more effects and transitions in real-time renders or previews. To select this setting, simply go to Project Settings, and then change the Renderer (Under Video Rendering and Playback) to Mercury Playback Engine GPU Acceleration (CUDA).
This setting, combined with the speed of your storage unit, can greatly vary the rendering speed of your video playbacks. The program is heavily dependent on your storage unit, so in order to increase the frame rate as well as the play back speed, you need a fast hard drive with high rotation speeds. The adobe website suggests a combination of four 7200RPM drives. A more expensive alternative is to depend entirely on Solid State Drives.
Adobe After Effects
Like Premier Pro, After Effects takes advantage of the CPU power available on the computer. Unlike Premier Pro, you can choose specific settings for your computing needs under preferences. You can change the number of cores the program will use and the number of cores reserved for other background programs, and even allocate a certain amount of RAM for the program to exclusively use and work with. After effects takes account of all cores, (Virtual, and Real) including hyper-threading technology, utilizing all CPU processes possible.
If you want to increase the rendering speed, both real time and production, you could upgrade your RAM capacity to a higher one, such as from 8 GB of DDR3 to either 16 GB or 32 GB where possible. Another consideration is the capacity of VRAM, as the more VRAM you have will increase the capacity of 3D images and video the program can work with.
Just like Premier Pro, CUDA- enabled graphics card can enhance the performance and the rendering speeds of After Effects. All GeForce cards supports this option. However, if you consider using Quadro Cards, more acceleration can be gained by using them. This is because both Adobe and NVIDIA spends millions of dollars and years of research to fine tune these cards in every details possible to gain the most from them. However, if your computer does not have such cards, it will simply work with only the CPU cores and the RAM that the user has allocated. Thus your computer may often face overload when working with large file sizes.
Like all other programs stated above, Adobe Photoshop also makes extensive use of the CPU. All Photoshop features are faster on a multi-processor system. Some features, such as Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) processing, Lens Blur Filers, Radial Blur Filters, and other types of filters gains advantage while running on multiprocessor systems, resulting in a smoother editing experience. Most of the effects and editing tools require multiple cores, due to the intricate nature of their algorithms.
Like After Effects, Photoshop also uses the Mercury Graphics engine, which can be enhanced by faster GPUs and higher RAM capacity. This can be further enhanced through the use of Open-GL graphic cards, which can accelerate the processing speeds when you are making edits on Photoshop.
Photoshop uses RAM to process all the images. When there is an inadequate amount of RAM to work with during edits or processing the images, the program uses the hard drive or the designated device the program is connected to in order to process the images. It is recommended that you use a higher RAM capacity, or use fast drives such as SSD or thunderbolt drives when working with bigger images and more elaborate effects, to maximize the run speed.