Join Todd Kopriva for an in-depth discussion in this video Overview of system requirements, part of After Effects and Premiere Pro: Optimizing Performance (2011).
Now, let's talk about the hardware and operating system requirements for After Effects CS5.5, and Premiere Pro CS5.5. These requirements are much the same as for After Effects CS5 and Premiere Pro CS5. So if you're still using those, this will still be useful to you. And I'll point out the specific differences. First, you'll notice that a specific class of processor is required. The minimum system requirements don't specify how many processor cores you should have. You can make do with only a dual-core processor, and you'll find that you'll get better performance, and just in general be happier with the performance. The more cores you have.
So, whether you have a four core, a six core, an eight core, in general, more CPUs is better. Now, notice this says 64-bit support required. This is true for CS5 and CS5.5. Premiere Pro and After Effects CS5 and later are 64-bit applications and require 64-bit processors and 64-bit operating systems. This allows these programs to make use of much greater amounts of memory than predecessors, which increases performance and increases stability.
Similarly, a 64-bit operating system is required. Since Mac OS 10.5 versions of Mac OS have been able to run 64-bit applications. So, we don't really need to think that much about which version of Mac OS to get to run a 64-bit application. However, with Windows, you do have to be especially careful to make sure that you are using a 64-bit version of Windows. You can choose from Windows Vista or Windows 7. In choosing a Windows operating system, make sure to look for a maximum amount of RAM that each of the operating systems can use.
For example, Windows Vista Home can only make use of 16 gigabytes of memory. Whereas Windows Vista Ultimate and Enterprise have essentially unlimited amounts of RAM that they can take advantage of. Regarding RAM, the minimum system requirements say that 2 gigabytes of RAM are required. This is a very small amount of RAM, yes. After Effects CS5.5 or Premiere Pro CS5.5 will run with 2 gigabytes of RAM. However, you will struggle to run both applications at the same time.
And in fact, even running only one of these applications at a time is 2 gigabytes of RAM, you'll notice significant slowness. You also can't really use digital cinema size footage for the only 2 gigabytes of RAM. So, if you're doing professional work, you want to have more than 2 gigabytes of RAM. A practical minimum for serious work is 8 gigabytes of RAM. 12 gigabytes of RAM will give you enough so that you'll be able to work smoothly without any serious problems regarding having enough RAM. For optimum performance, 24 gigabytes or even more is recommended because After Effects can start multiple instances of itself to render multiple frame simultaneously in the background. Since each of these instances can make us of 4 gigabytes, or even more of RAM each. If you have an 8 core computer, with hyper threading, giving you effectively 16 processor cores, and you're using 12 of those cores for After Effects. At 4 gigabytes each, that alone is 48 gigabytes of RAM. So really, the more RAM, the better.
Also, it specifies 3 gigabytes of available hard disk space plus 2 gigabytes of space for optional content. Really, you like to have more head room than this even, because as hard disks get full, they get considerably slower. So, just make sure you're working from some large disks with plenty of free space, the 1280 by 800 display requirement is a serious requirement. If you attempt to use After Effects on a display with, say only 720 pixels vertically, you'll find that some dialog boxes don't fit, and you'll have a difficult time clicking the buttons at the bottom of them.
So, take this particular requirement seriously. You'll find that a larger monitor is useful for both After Effects and Premiere Pro. There are many panels full of controls, and you want to have as much room as possible for them. Also, you want to be able to see your movie as large as possible. After Effects requires an open GL 2.0 or greater compatible graphics card. This is only relevant to the features of After Effects that use the GPU. After Effects doesn't use the GPU nearly extensively as Premiere Pro. We will look at the Premiere Pro requirements.
After effects relies on QuickTime to import .mov files as well as to export .mov files. So, if you'll working with QuickTime movies, you need to make sure you have QuickTime installed on your computer. And you'll certainly want to make sure that you have an Internet connection, at least some of the time, so that you can download content such as the Help documentation. Now, let's look at the Premiere Pro system requirements. You'll notice that the requirements for Premiere Pro are quite similar to the requirements for After Effects. CPU and RAM requirements are very similar.
Afeter Effects does take advantage of larger amounts of RAM than Premiere Pro does, largely because of After Effects render multiple frames simultaneously multiprocessing feature. But Premiere Pro definitely does like to have quite a lot of RAM as well. So, just as I said that for After Effects, 8 gigabytes was a practical minimum, 12 gigabytes would give you smooth operation, and 24 gigabytes or more was really ideal. The same applies to Premiere Pro. You'll notice that the biggest difference in the Premiere Pro system requirements is more detail regarding hard disks.
One of the bottlenecks that people run in to with any non-linear editting software, including Premiere Pro, is that the disk is not spinning fast enough to serve the data that is needed. It doesn't matter how fast your processors are. It doesn't matter how much RAM you have, if your disks can spin fast enough to serve the video data that your program requires, you'll get sluggish performance. So, it's specified that a 7200 RPM drive is recommended. In fact, RAID 0 is recommended if you're working with uncompressed footage.
RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks, which is a system that allows you to have multiple disks that all work together to look to the computer as if they're one disk. This means that you can have 2 or 3 or 4 or however many hard disks that are all working together to serve data. RAID types, RAID 0, RAID 1 and so on refer to how much redundancy, how much data safety is involved. RAID 0 is a type of raid that uses multiple discs but doesn't actually have any redundancy.
So, if you have two discs and a RAID 0 configuration, they're both spinning at the same time to serve data, but none of the data is repeated on the two disks. So, RAID 0 is all about speed, and doesn't have any additional data safety. Another difference between the After Effects and Premiere Pro system requirements, Premiere Pro takes advantage of CUDA processing on the GPU. CUDA is a technology provided on NVIDIA GPUs. It is used by Premiere Pro to accelerate many features. For now, the important thing is to see at the bottom of the page, this list of supported and videographics cards for GPU acceleration.
This refers specifically to the cards that provide the additional CUDA features. You do not need one of these cards to use Premiere Pro. You only need one of these cards provide the additional CUDA processing features. Note that our Mac OS, you need Mac OS X version 10.6.3 or higher to use the CUDA processing features. If you're not using the CUDA processing features, then you can be using Mac OS X version 10.58 or later. If you want some additional help making decisions what hardware to buy for Premiere Pro CS5.5, go to PPBM5.com. PPBM5 stands for Premiere Pro Benchmark for CS5. It's also applicable to CS5.5.
This website provides extensive information about hardware for Premiere Pro CS5 and CS5.5, as well as providing a test that you can run on your computer that will tell you how your computer performs, and how it can perform better. You can look at other people's results by going to the Benchmark Results page. You can see a chart that shows how different peoples' computers perform with different hardware. If you're trying to decide between one kind of graphics card or another, then you can simply look on this chart to see what graphics card other people are using, and how that correlates with their speed.
So, even if you don't run the PPBM5, test yourself. You can still read this information and make some decisions on your own.
- Planning your work, updating, and auto-saving
- Learning and customizing keyboard shortcuts
- Optimizing hard disks and CPUs
- GPU: CUDA and OpenGL
- Using "Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously" multiprocessing
- Pre-rendering and proxies in After Effects
- Lowering resolution for previews