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Extremely Slow RAM Previews

New Here ,
Jun 20, 2023 Jun 20, 2023

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Hello, Community.  I am having a slowly degenerating (over the last few months) performance issue with AE RAM previews.  It has gotten to the point where I can't edit or playback pre-rendered green bar content at all.  It's almost 1 frame per second of playback speed, no effects at 12x12 quality.  I want to check if there are settings that I am missing before blaming my hardware.  Would hate to scrap my overbuilt laptop.

 

AE 23.5.0 with stock settings, no pluggins, Lenovo P73, Win 11 Pro (fully updated), i9-9880 @ 2.30GHz, Nvidia Quadro RTX 4000 (fresh driver), 128gb ram, 2tb SSD C: drive (software), 2tb SSD data drive (footage storage).  100GB disk cache at C:\Users\name\AppData\Local\Temp, Conformed Media Cache at C:\Users\name\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Common

 

Purging disk cache, restarting AE and rebooting PC no longer seems to have any effect.  The worst offending project is made up of 4K .MOV footage, 94549kbps data rate but the problem haunts me with other projects to a slightly lesser extent.

 

All 16 CPU cores hold steady at 90% while trying to generate a RAM preview, either by command or as an automatic idle process, then drop to about 30% during playback, which again isn't any faster than the generation stage.  I'm not taxing my GPU or RAM in the least.  Hoping that I may be missing a setting somewhere that would explain why this beefy machine has been brought to it's knees.

 

Thanks in advance for any ideas!    

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Community Expert ,
Jun 21, 2023 Jun 21, 2023

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Can you confirm if multi-frame rendering is enabled in the prefs? If so, then it could be your GPU driver. I've heard of a few folks having issues with the most recent Nvidia driver. Rolling back to the previous Studio driver or two might help. Even if you're not taxing your GPU, the driver can still have a massive impact on interactive performance and "drawing" the UI and your image.

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New Here ,
Jun 21, 2023 Jun 21, 2023

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Thanks for the input, David.  That is exactly the kind of help I need to narrow this down.  Multi-frame rendering was on with 10% CPU reserved for other tasks.  I turned it off, purged everything, rebooted and relaunched the project; no change in performance.  

 

For what its worth, the project file size is 14.5mb and this issue has spanned the last three video card driver updates and a migration from Win10 to Win11.  The increasing frequency and severity of this situation makes me feel like I have some hardware failure in my machine, but I don't know enough about computers to understand if mother boards 'degrade', per say.

Thanks again for any help out there! 

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Community Expert ,
Jun 21, 2023 Jun 21, 2023

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You're welcome. This stuff can be really hard to diagnose. Definitely keep Multi-frame rendering turned on as that will give you a huge performance gain. 

Motherboards don't degrade, they catastrophically die, so you're good there.

a 14.5 MB file is pretty large, so to me that says you're either using a lot of Warp Stabilizer (that data is actually saved in the project file) or a lot of shape layers. There are other things that can make a large .aep, but is it one of these two? 

 

Is this project the only one with the issue? Try using the new Composition Profiler to see if your bottleneck stands out: https://helpx.adobe.com/after-effects/using/composition-profiler.html

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New Here ,
Jun 21, 2023 Jun 21, 2023

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Ok, that snail is fascinating.  It reports anywhere from 18ms to 492ms to RAM preview straight footage, no effects.  The project is devoid of shape layers and any effects at this stage, not even color tweaks.  When the snail reads 18ms the playback of a full green bar breaks down and the audio goes into slow-mo for about 5 seconds, then it stops playing back completely.

 

The project is made up of several 'chapters' so I deleted all comps down to a single chapter (15 comps of nested footage) and the file size went from 14.5mb to 13.8mb.  Removing all unused footage took it to 13.5mb.

 

The full project calls on 136gb of footage and audio (not all at once, of course).

 

All of my projects suffer this ailment to various degrees, though I always shoot the same footage format on the same cameras.  Any sound logic in video card or processor architecture being obsoleted by ever evolving software updates?  Threads vs cuda cores vs blah blah new hottest thing I can't live without?  My machine is only two years old, but I'm losing faith in it pretty quickly.  

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Community Expert ,
Jun 21, 2023 Jun 21, 2023

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It sounds like something else is going on. A project that's just referencing footage shouldn't necessarily be that large. If it's just footage and native effects it could be under 1 MB. Do you have a bunch of LUTs on your footage?

I would make a copy of the project to mess with and start deleting huge chunks of assets in your project panel and saving/undoing until you can find out what's going on here.

Do you start with a template project each time that has a base file size? 

 

Edit: Oh, and to answer your question, no, a two-year old machine shouldn't be having issues like you're describing just because the hardware has aged a bit. Bad RAM can definitely cause weird issues, but if you're only having issues in AE then the .aep is the place I'd start investigating over specific pieces of hardware.

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New Here ,
Jun 21, 2023 Jun 21, 2023

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No effects at all, native or otherwise in this project.  No LUTs, either.  I have had some intermitant issued with general Windows activity, but nothing as consistant as AE.  The base project that I always start with is 658kb.  I will rebuild this project from scratch and try to find what is bloating it up.

 

I really appreciate the time you have spent with me, thank you very much!

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Community Expert ,
Jun 21, 2023 Jun 21, 2023

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You're quite welcome! That's definitely the right approach because the situation you're describing seems to be as simple as possible, so a 14+MB project is definitely suspect.

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