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Old Aug 26, 2011, 10:40 AM   #1
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Default please, question about .h264 rendering

good afternoon to all,

i must go for a new computer exclusively for sony vegas 8 and mpg4 rendering.

i am an amd fun since 2000 and i will go again for an amd based pc.

please, i ask to know if the on board graphics such as the radeon 3000 with 1 gb shared ram is quite efficient for mpg4 rendering (raw file m2ts extension).

many thanks in advance
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Old Aug 27, 2011, 9:01 PM   #2
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Though I don't do much with video, I would say that you should go with a separate video card with its own RAM. Sharing RAM between the CPU and GPU is going to slow down the system, and you are going to want all the speed you can get when working with video.

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Old Sep 2, 2011, 8:55 AM   #3
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dear vtphotog i thank you for your kind replky and sorry for the delay in reply you back.

i have to explain that i had a problem with my internet connection.

yes, you have right that i have to buy a separate vga card for my video rendering needs.

i assume that a vga card up to 250 euros will do the job.

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Old Sep 3, 2011, 9:24 AM   #4
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I was running Sony Vegas 8 and the biggest thing for me was the 2 GB of ram I had for Win 7 64 bit. I was running a separate graphics card with 512 mb of ram.
When I monitored the processes, the main ram was more limiting for me.
It spent more time swapping main memory than anything else.
I was running a dual core AMD processor.
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Old Sep 24, 2011, 8:20 AM   #5
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With a 10 y/o machine, any new machine will be an improvement. While I like AMD, and built my wife's around AMD, as I researched the upgrade/rebuild of my machine, after research, went with Intel Core i7. I am also using Adobe Premiere Pro which has a lot more demand than Sony Vegas. You can certainly build a good machine with AMD.

If shopping for a commercial product, concentrate on "gaming" machines as they are more likely to have the components closer to what you might custom build. Plus, with gaming, while it is a different video, the emphasis is on being able to present a high resource demand video product.

If building - or a checklist to compare commercial products...
The three critical components are CPU, System Memory, and Graphics.

For CPU, at least quad core (or more) Phenoms from AMD or Core i3 minimum, i5 preferred minimum from Intel. What led me to Intel, after review, AMD's stength is in the gaming, where video rendering is stronger with Intel - particurally the i7 as that is what differentiates ot from the i5 unlocking that capability. In your case, none would be a bad choice.

Memory - the more the better, preferably DDR3. The biggest consideration on comercial builds, do they have an open slot to double the base memory, or do you have to throw away the memory to upgrade.

Video. After maxing out the system memory, you don't want the video sub-system taking it. A video card with its dedicated memory is a must! At least 1gb of DDR5 memory. If building, motherboard is limited by the CPU selected, but don't spend extra for the identical version of the motherboard that includes video when you are going to disable it. Gaming machines will typically come with a dedicated video card. On lesser machines, you will disable the onboard video, but make sure there is a slot on the board for a video card. In terms of cards, Radeon is owned by AMD and great with gaming. Any of their high end cards will do fine, and you may not have to go as high as 250 euros. Nivida, with their CUDA cores, are actually better with video rendering - or the jagginess on the timeline review as you are editing prior to final rendering. Adobe designed Premiere to maximize the CUDA resource, but I don't know about Sony.

Finally, you made reference to vga. New cards are typically coming with digital and hdmi outputs. Make sure that whichever card cou choose, the "in the box" specs includes the adapter to allow connecting a vga cord to the digital input on the card. I know my GTX 460 did, and that is what I am using as I haven't upgraded my monitor - yet. Speaking of the GTX 460 and the reason I noted you may not need to go as high as 250 euros, the GTX 560 is the current rear model and would be priced at the 250 euro level. The problem is, spec wise, the 460/560 are virtually identical, and the slight difference didn't justify the price difference. May be something similar with the Radeon but haven't researched.

Last edited by tizeye; Sep 24, 2011 at 8:26 AM.
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Old Sep 25, 2011, 9:20 AM   #6
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I bought one cheap PC a while back with an AMD Athlon X2 245 (2.8GHZ Dual Core) and HD 3200 graphics in it.

IMO, it's really not very suitable for h.264 video playback with most software. Now, some software is going to try and use it's GPU level decoding, and you may be OK with something like Vegas (you'd need to try it to find out for sure, as I think some of the older versions of it only supported Nvidia chipsets + an older software version may not recognize the latest video files).

But, I haven't been impressed the the AMD HD 3000 family for anything related to GPU acceleration, using either Win 7 or Linux with the latest ATI Catalyst suite and drivers.

I got that PC a while back for finishing up a project when my primary desktop had an issue that ended up being a Motherboard failure. I didn't want to risk not being able to troubleshoot the issue and get it fixed in time to finish the project, so I grabbed a cheap box with that chipset, a small 320GB drive, Win 7 Pro and 3GB of memory for $235 from Dell Outlet until I could fix my primary desktop.

Even though I added some memory to it (bringing it up to 6GB total) as soon as I got it, some software that's designed to use GPU Acceleration for still image rendering with DirectX (like FastPictureViewer Pro under Win 7) seems to have an issue with that chipset and drivers, where I didn't see any benefit to using hardware acceleration with it (even though that feature really helps when snapping back and forth to 100% view with other chipsets I've tried with it).

Even some Adobe Flash content tends to have issues at full screen with hardware acceleration in Flash Settings enabled and the latest AMD Catalyst drivers inistalled (stuttering, audio out of sync, etc.). Frankly, the Intel X3100 graphics chipset in an old laptop I've got performs better than the HD 3200 graphics for some things, even though the HD 3200 tests a lot better if looking at benchmarks for them.

Now, you may find that it works just fine (as it tests well for an integrated graphics chipset, and is supposed to support h.264 decoding on the card).

But, I'd get a dedicated graphics card for it instead. Even a cheap one (under $50) should perform much better than the HD 3000 series chipsets.

I'd probably grab a card with 1GB of memory and support for the latest DirectX 11 if buying a new one. You can find cards using either AMD or Nvidia chipsets like that for under $50 now that could work from bus power if your PSU isn't up to a better one (for example, one of the inexpensive cards using an ATI HD 5450 or 6450 chipset, or an Nvidia GT 520 or GT 430 chipset that could work from bus power in a PCI-e slot). Here are some DirectX 11 capable cards with 1GB of onboard memory sorted by lowest price first. Any of them are going to perform a lot better than the HD 3000 series integrated graphics.


On a tight budget, I'd probably grab this GT 430 out of the under $50 models. Even though they're common in many of the ATI cards, this card is unusual for an entry level Nvidia based card like that in that it has a DisplayPort on it (some of the less expensive Zotac cards with Nvidia chipsets have them now). I'm seeing more and more monitors with DisplayPorts on them, which is why I might lean that way if buying a new card. It's also got an HDMI port and DVI port and comes with a DVI to VGA adapter you can use if your display needs a VGA interface; and it can run from Bus Power in a PCI-e slot:


But, if the PC and PSU in it is capable of supporting a faster card (which may require dedicated PSU connections and you'd need to make sure there's room for any card you buy in the case), you may want to spend a bit more for a faster card, since as time passes, I'd expect more and more applications to be able to use GPU acceleration in a better way.

For example, if using Adobe CS5 Premiere Pro, Adobe has a featured known as the Mercury Playback Engine that can take advantage of CUDA based GPU acceleration with higher end Nvidia Chipsets (and there are some "hacks" around that let you add some of the unsupported Nvidia cards to a file so that it will use them, too). See the supported cards at the bottom right on this page:

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Old Sep 26, 2011, 8:42 AM   #7
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Adding to what JimC stated...

1. As you go to a higher end card, pay attention to the power supply requirements. Most manufacturers put the lowest rated power supply in to save money. Even my last build I only put a 350w power supply in so on the upgrade had to replace it with a 700w. The GTX 460 card specified 450w and probably could have gotten by with a 600w to power the card and all other components, but 350w was an obvious no-go.

2. That hack for unsupported cards in Adobe Premier Pro is unbelievably easy. It is nothing more than editing an existing text file to include the model and trick Premiere into thinking it is supported. Of course, it doesn't change the capabilities of the card, but at least Premiere will try to use the resourses where and to whatever level they exist on the card rather than not attempting because "not supported."
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