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CPU and System upgrade for Premiere Pro CC question
  • In a month or two, I'm in a good position to upgrade my computer system. Right now, I'm using Premiere Pro CS5, and running on an AMD Phenom II CPU. I can edit video, but hi-def stuff makes it chug.

    I was planning on upgrading my CPU and Mobo around the Interl 4790k chip. That'd cost me about $500, and it'd set me up well with hi-def video. (Especially with multicamera editing.) And Tom's Hardware reports the 4790k as the best for PP in the Cloud. But my gut feeling is that, as we start to work with 4K, the 4790k may not be enough.

    I've looked at the stats on Xeon chips, and the speed increase just doesn't seem to justify the added costs (esp. when adding in the costs of the mobo and new memory).

    So I'd like to know if there's a configuration that'd really future-proof me, i.e., being able to to edit multicamera 4K streams, preview After Effects shots, etc.

  • 49 Replies sorted by
  • Don't skimp out on the video card! 7 or 9 series nvidia with at least 4gb ram for 4k, or titan x if you really want to future proof. You could also go the sli route.

  • Do you already have a decent GPU with your Phenom processor? If not, buying a decent nvidia GPU (I'm not sure if it supports AMD these days, if so, they're nice too) might be a better bang for your buck than going to a Xeon. It depends entirely on whether the plugins you're using are GPU optimized or not. In general, though, you should look to maximize your price:performance ratio. The performance boost of going to an i7 vs an i5 isn't enormous, even in apps that can load up all 8 threads on the i7. Maybe consider a 4590k instead of a 4790k and put the extra $100 into a nice GPU.

  • Xeon not worth it. 4790k + a GPU card with serious bandwidth (GTX 770 or better) will serve you better. Cutting multicam 4k will be more a function of I/O (all your data should be on SSD) than anything else.

    If you can't get realtime then transcode (Consolidate Project in PP CC2014.1 or greater) to Cineform and select 1/4 res preview (it's wavelet so it actually does that). It will tax the system as for multicam HD. This is how I edit HD on a 2009 system (Core2 Q6600); this system can barely playback other HD codecs, but cuts fluidly in Cineform.

  • Currently using an Nvidia 670 with a heap of CUDA cores. Cheap, but damn, it works well.

    So the consensus seems to be that the XEON won't be appreciably faster than the 4790k, and the only thing that would be faster enough to make it worthwhile would besome as-yet-unissued ultrafast CPU: so, it's best to get the 4790k, a great graphics card, and an SSD drive for my current projects. Editing multicam 4K footage would require editing a lower-res proxy. Is that about right?

  • Personally, I would have nothing to do with any quad core processor. Get yourself a Haswell E 6-core at a minimum. A 5820K is reasonably priced and you can easily overclock it to 4 GHz (and well beyond). Spend some extra $ now and you'll have a faster machine that will be useful farther into the future. In the long run, it will be cheaper since you won't have to replace it so soon.

  • Alex_K's idea seems pretty good, assuming that DDR4 memory's not that expensive, and I can upgrade the CPU to a faster chip later on. I'm still on the fence, tho. Has anyone edited 4K video under the 4790k chip?

  • Is the i7-5960x Haswell 8-core worth the premium?

  • SuperSet: That's part of what we're discussing here, and I think it's still open for debate. Right now, I can upgrade my CPU and Mobo to an Intel 4790k configuration for about five hundred dollars, and get a huge improvement over what I have now (AMD Phenom II 955). And it's likely that the new system could edit 4K video.

    The new Haswell chips, like the 5960x, offer more cores and such, but they don't seem to offer a huge increase in speed over the 4790k chips. Some benchmarks report that they handle 2K and 4K video with a huge advantage over the 4790k chips. Also, to use those chips, one would also have to buy a new motherboard and DDR4 memory, both of which could become very expensive.

    If I'm correct in what I wrote above, then the 5960s may not be worth the premium. If I'm wrong, someone please correct me.

    BUT... well, I've also been hearing that Adobe CC will be upgraded soon to take advantage of the Haswell chips' multiple cores. Personally, my requirement is the ability to edit multiple streams of 4K video. If this is true, then the newer chips and the other added expenses will really be worth it.

  • @Brian_Siano not all codecs generate the same decoding load. The multicam requirement is a function of I/O bandwidth not CPU. Find the CPU that plays back/cuts fluidly your 4k recording (native) codec and work from there, beefing up the I/O (invest in SSDs not in mega number of cores).

    Even with the latest Adobe CC, higher Ghz trumps multicores (4core/HT x 4GHz > 8core/3GHz for most tasks); multithreading scales well for only a subset of tasks (rendering/encoding, which should be mostly on the GPU anyway). Get used to watching the CPU load in the Task manager while you edit/export and you'll get a feel for this. Just upgrade to the latest CC suite on your current machine and see for yourself, sometimes not even 4 cores are used, even if the task at hand is not I/O bound. Don't spend money for hypothetical future gains that almost always don't pan out, instead optimize the current pain points. I would get multiple SSDs at the best cost/size ratio currently available (probably 256 GB) and fast but reasonably priced DDR3 memory (CAS9) if I were you.

  • Get the basic 6 core with ht for 12 cores and overclock it to 4k, add a cuda card with some serious cuda cores and you are ready to roll.

  • Premiere has decent threading so I would echo support for the newer 6-core Haswell-E. When I spec'd it out performance was pretty close to the Xeon Mac Pro (trashcan) we also have in the office. It's what I've got on my desk at work now with a 780 Ti which offers stellar bang-for-buck. Not as good as the Mac Pro but a healthy percentage of its sticker comes down to that dual-GPU.

    You have to spend a lot more to get significantly better Nvidia GPU performance from a single card. I'd rather have an AMD board boasting much higher OpenCL performance (3-5x) for the same money but I don't have a lot of faith in their drivers right now.

    Key to the success of the 6K Gone Girl editorial done in Premiere was their SSD setup.

  • @BurnetRhoades: I forgot about the Gone Girl editorial video. I shoulda checked that.

    Okay, I checked that. Although the original footage was 5K, they worked offline with 2k video files, so that's gotta help the speed issue a lot. Also, "The post-production team used both 2011 Mac Pros and HPZ820 workstations with NVIDIA Quadro GPUs (including the new K5200) for offline and conform, to allow for multiple streams of 6K playback and real time downconversion from 6K to 4K. Shared storage was provided by Open Drives, with the offline system containing 36TB of SSDs (and 60TB of hard drives) connected via 10Gbe ports. For reference, a single stream of 24fps 6K from the Dragon requires 1.8GBps of bandwidth."


  • Hey man...back in the day when editing DV footage on my crusty old PC tower i took a leap and bought a MATROX RTX100 Extreme card that simply turbo charged my PC as the Matrox card did all the hard work! The only thing i had to upgrade was my Graphics Card! so instead of just getting realtime playback of just 1 DV clip in premiere i could get: 1xDV clip with color correction 3x titles/text, multiple transitions + Matrox own effects playing ALL IN REAL TIME! ok it did drop 1 or 2 frames here and there but transformed my PC big time. Not sure what they currently have at the mo, as i do all my editing on my Sony laptop but i know they have realtime HD H264 cards that drop into a PC slot and do all the work with help from your graphics card, i did spot a NEW 4k card, not sure if thats an accelerator (turbo charger for editing) or JUST a Encoder, Transcoder ? hope this helps, stu. Just make sure your PC fits to their requirements, that is vital for the card to work to its maximum !

  • So, for hex core, would this be a good choice?

    For the video card, I have a GeForce GTX 770 2G now. Is it worth upgrading?

  • WOW that is a beast of a graphics card! and a i7 with Premiere cc utilizing both of those....i think your covered. Just make sure your Motherboard can handle the extra work load...I shot my self in the foot many times by getting a beefy graphics card and my motherboard would HANG up / Bottle Neck because it could not keep up with the graphic cards and CPU requests.

  • What graphics card are you responding to @stucameraman1? Not the 770 I hope.

  • @BurnetRhoades So the GTX 770 no good?

  • The GTX 770 is decent enough, but two generations old - I'm not sure you could rightly call it a "beast" these days.

  • @eatstoomuchjam Can you make a recommendation on what would be a great upgrade from my current 770?

  • The 780 Ti is one of the best values while providing ~50% or more enhancement. Loads more CUDA cores. As of a few months ago you'd have to spend close to a grand or more to get something as powerful again over the 780 as it is to the 770, generally speaking, if you're sticking to CUDA power and not going OpenCL.

  • @SuperSet There's nothing wrong with your 770. It's just weird to call it a beast. Otherwise, as Burnet suggested, the 780 ti is faster. Otherwise, a GTX 980 will be faster, will have 4GB of video RAM (vs 2 on the 770), and should be a lot faster.

    Note - if you're going to need all 4GB of the video memory, avoid the GTX 970 since the last 512MB of video memory is really slow.

  • I'm coming back to this thread because I'm probably going to make my upgrade choice Real Soon Now: had a small windfall this week. I've boiled this down to the following.

    If I upgrade to a 4790k system, then all it'll cost me is roughly $600 for CPU ($200), mobo ($200), and cooling system ($150). I can use the rest of my existing system.

    If I upgrade to a 5960x system, that'll require a CPU, mobo (bundle $1200-1400), plus the cooler and DDR4 memory (32 gig, maybe $400 or so). That's closing in on $2000... which means that buying a new system entirely wouldn't be too much extra.

    So the real question is whether the 5960x is more future-proof than the 4790k path. Right now, the speed and power isn't that different. But are we expecting Adobe to really exploit the 5960's features in future releases, where the added expense would be rewarded with greater power?