Adobe CS5: Debunking Mercury Myths

Adobe Blog by Karl Soule

Now that the word is out - April 12th is the big day when ALL of CS5 will be announced, I'm seeing a lot of misinformation on Twitter over what's necessary to take advantage of Premiere Pro CS5 and the Mercury Playback Engine:

1. It won't run on laptops. FALSE
I'm running it today on my MacBook Pro, and taking full advantage of 64-bit goodness and multicore optimization. Even though there's not a supported GPU in my MacBook, the performance gains over CS4 and CS3 are very significant. In my own, unofficial testing, I would say that Mercury is 25%-30% faster in all day-to-day activities. Your mileage may vary, of course, depending on the format you edit.

2. I can only get real-time effects with an expensive graphics card. FALSE Your performance will vary depending on the CPU and amount of RAM in your system, but Premiere Pro will always try to play effects in real time on the timeline. Now, it IS true that the correct Nvidia graphics card will accelerate a LOT of effects, but to say that you absolutely need a graphics card to use effects in the timeline is a myth. In CPU-only, or software mode, Premiere Pro CS5 is taking much better advantage of RAM and multicore CPU's, and you'll definitely be able to play back more effects than CS4 in real-time.

3. I need to change my Operating System to run Premiere Pro CS5 POSSIBLY TRUE
Premiere Pro CS5 is a native 64-bit application, and needs a 64-bit OS in order to run. On Windows, this means running Vista or Windows 7, 64-bit edition. Mac users will need to run Leopard for most functions, and to take advantage of GPU acceleration you'll need Snow Leopard.

4. My Mac Pro Tower can't use an Nvidia Quadro FX4800 card. POSSIBLY TRUE Most Mac Pro Towers can upgrade to an Nvidia GeForce GTX285 or Quadro FX 4800. Sadly, however, there are some very early Mac Pro towers that are not compatible with the Nvidia cards. Go to About this Mac, click on More Info, and check your Model Identifier number. If you have 3,1 or 4,1, or higher numbers, you're fine. If you have 1,1, you can't upgrade your video card.

If you have any specific questions on Mercury, the latest hardware information is found here: and I will be answering any questions in the comments as I get them.

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