Originally Posted by michaelA
General Question: Is modern Video Processing Software smart enough to use a second processor while leaving the main processor available for system tasks? Is it possible to 'assign' a processor for it to use?
Assuming the software is actually multithreaded, "leaving the main processor available" would be bad for performance, as it would run half as fast as it could otherwise. It would be more effective for the program to run its threads at a lower-than-normal priority, so it still uses both cores if they are idle but will not interferere (much) with foreground processes.
(sidenote: in modern systems there is not a "main" processor; all the CPU cores are equally fast, and the OS will generally try to spread the load over all of them.)
You can constrain an individual process to run on only certain CPU cores if you have a multicore/multiprocessor system. In my experience this is normally not necessary for video editing software, as it is generally written with the expectation it will be running in the background for a long time. The details of doing this vary from OS to OS, but in Windows XP/2000 you do it through Task Manager by selecting the application and then drilling down into a submenu.
(edit: if your editing program is NOT multithreaded, and you have a system with multiple CPU cores, you might actually see a performance increase by forcing it to always run on one CPU.)
|In the past I've always used SCSI disk subsystems as these were able to operate at high speeds while also being able to handle disk-to-disk and controller-to-disk operations on their own (little processor involvement). Are any of the new technologies able to do that these days? (I haven't kept up with hardware in many years)
Any remotely modern computer/disk controller will offer hardware DMA support for any type of hard disk you have attached to it, except possibly some types of external drives (eSATA/SAS > FireWire > USB, generally, in terms of performance.)
|I've generally heard that it's good to have 2+ GB of RAM to do HD editing. I've used Vegas with 2GB RAM and been absolutely fine
It's never a bad
idea to have more RAM, and it is quite cheap these days. Generally well under $100/GB unless you need something exotic. It can help in some cases (especially with smaller files when most of it can be in memory), but if you're dealing with a 50GB HD file -- it doesn't matter that much if you have 512MB or 1GB or 2GB of RAM, as most of the file can't fit in memory anyway.
If you're running on a Windows system, you can bring up Task Manager, do some editing/encoding, then look at the 'peak commit charge' figure to see how much RAM was actually in use at any one time (for all programs, not just the editing program).