Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 Six Months Later by Pete Bauer

My, how time flies! Can it really be six months since CS5 was released? Shortly prior to the official release, I was offered the opportunity to briefly test-drive a beta version of the Master Collection CS5 suite (see that article here). It sure looked tantalizing. But being a beta and available to me for only a limited time, it left many questions. Having by now done many HD projects in CS5 and closely followed the lively discussions on our CS5 users on our Adobe Creative Suite forum, it’s high time for an update.

We see a lot of posts here on DV Info Net wondering whether moving to CS5 is “worth it.” Even though YOU have to be the one to answer that question based on your own circumstances, there’s ample information now to allow you to make that decision. I’ll update some of my pre-release observations and go another step beyond by adding into the mix a summation of many DV Info Net members’ experiences with Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.

Going 64 bit
Although not all applications in the CS5 suite are yet 64 bit software, PPro/Encore, After Effects, and Adobe Media encoder most definitely are. That means they love RAM; the more you have, the better will be your experience. Here are Adobe’s official system requirements.

Still, folks have reported that PPro CS5 on dual core laptops with 2 to 4 GB of RAM gets them adequate, even if not fluid, functionality while processing such highly compressed files as AVCHD that they could not reasonably edit on CS4. The consensus is that general editing and rendering performance, even without GPU acceleration, is improved somewhere in the 10-15% range over CS4 on a given system.

Does anybody out there think their computer is just too fast? Wish you’d have bought a slower one? Doubt it! There’s no such thing as a computer that’s too fast. The better configured your system is, the more capability you’ll gain from PPro for your multi-stream HD editing. I think realistically you’ll really want an i7 and all the DDR3 RAM you can cram in your system, as well as the right video card (more on that later). While naturally Adobe isn’t going to reveal their secret recipes, it appears that PPro holds as many frames in RAM as it can – which is a lot more with 64 bit addressing – using only as a last resort the much slower temp/preview files and the swap file on the hard drive. The PPBM5 benchmark by Bill Gerhke and Harm Millaard shows that renders using 24GB of RAM do significantly outperform even an otherwise generous installation of 12GB.

The much-discussed Mercury Playback Engine is more than GPU acceleration using an nVidia-based CUDA video card. All users benefit from the software portion of Mercury. This module is 64 bit, multi-thread optimized code that processes as many frames as possible at once for both timeline playback and rendering. I’d conjecture that this is a large part of the reason CS5 performs a bit better than CS4 even without GPU acceleration of effects. read more...

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