Adobe Premiere Laggy Startup of Play on Dual Xeon with Titan X & 128GB RAM

basspig

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Aug 7, 2007
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I've just upgraded my workstation from my 8 year old Core2Quad with 8GB and GTX680 to a new dual CPU with the following hardware and I am having more dropped frames on playback than my old machine:

Supermicro X10DRi server motherboard
EVGA 1000W Gold Power Supply
EVGA Titan X (12GB DDR5)
Dual Intel E5-2630 v3 CPUs
128GB ECC Samsung memory (recommended part number by Supermicro)
Crucial 240GB SSD (boot/OS drive)
Samsung 2TB SSD (projects, temp area)
Mushkin Reaktor 1TB SSD (Video drive one)
Mushkin Reaktor 1TB SSD (Video drive two)
HT Omega sound card

Main monitor: HP LP3065
4K Video monitor: LG 31MU97
Input device: Wacom Intuos tablet

Here's the problem:
When I start playback of any project containing XAVC or Apple Prores files, there is a 3-second delay before video starts to move. The CTI moves along as soon as I press Play, and audio plays immediately, but the video is a freeze frame for 3 seconds. Then it starts to play. In this interim, Premiere reports that it dropped ~90 frames. If I stop and restart playback there is NO delay and NO DROPPED FRAMES. It's only when it sits idle for a while, or I open a new project and try to play it that this happens.

This happens with 4K XAVC-I, but seems to be even worse with Prores 422 UHD and HD files. It is also worse with XAVC HD (not 4K), with frames being dropped here and there throughout playback. The least trouble is the 4K XAVC-I. It will play through an 18 minute edit without dropping a single frame, after the initial startup problem. HD won't play more than a few seconds without dropping a frame or two.

I've been watching Task Manager like a hawk through all this testing. With XAVC-I 4K, CPU use is 16-18% once the stumbling is past. With HD footage, CPU is 8% and frames are being dropped occasionally.

So far, I've tested my SSD drives and they are all better than 500MB/s on SSDBench, sustained transfer. The Resource monitor reports disc usage at under 55MB/s for 4K XAVC-I and around 8MB/s for XAVC at HD resolution. So I am using about 1/10th of the disc's transfer capabilities.

The only format I find I don't have ANY issues with is XDCam HD (MPEG2). It begins playing immediately, there are no dropped frames at the beginning of playback, even with a four-camera timeline, and after 110 minutes of play, there is not a single dropped frame, despite the entire project having Unsharp Mask applied to the finished timeline and the timeline having the red "needs rendering" line above it.

But Prores from my Shogun recorder, whether HD or UHD, drops frames frequently. And XAVC-I from my Sony FS7 drops frames. Both drop frames at start--3 seconds worth. XAVC at HD drops frames worse than XAVC at 4K resolution, which doesn't make any sense to me.

So far, I've shut off as much power saving stuff as I could find. Set the Windows profile to Performance, prevented shutoff of drives and USB devices, disabled EIST in the BIOS, etc.

Furthermore, I rearranged all my drives today, by moving the video drives to the 6-port SATA controller and the boot drive with the OS to the 4-port SATA controller. This made zero improvement.

In BIOS, I turned on memory interleaving below 4GB. Not sure if it helped, maybe 2% at best.

But I am rapidly running out of ideas. The CPUs are loafing along, the drives are super fast, but Premiere is laggy at start of play (but NOT laggy if I scrub the timeline). I can play the video back at 8X normal speed and it's also pretty smooth. The UI seems responsive, especially as it pertains to moving around in the video. No lag if I jump to another part of the timeline. The only lag is when I hit Play. I can scrub with no lag. I'm perplexed by this behavior.

As far as running other applications, like Maya, the machine just tears through renders at blazing speeds. So I can't understand why Premiere acts like it's being powered by an old Celeron. My 8 year old Core2Quad can play HD Prores and XAVC without dropping any frames. Why not a dual Xeon?
 

basspig

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I found something out today that seems to add weight to a hunch I had about CC 2015's playback problems being related to the SATA controller/driver.

Since discovering the Lumetri scopes disabling, I was testing it on my old quadcore and found that I could get almost fluid playback of XAVC 4K on the Core2Quad with 8GB RAM. Another thing I noticed is that opening Task Manager did not cause it to drop frames. In fact, multitasking didn't bother it at all. Moving files around had no effect on it.

But over on the dual Xeon machine today, I was copying some files to a newly installed SSD drive. Premiere was reading source material from H:. The drive I was copying over materials to was M:, on a separate controller channel. It was going to take an hour, so I decided to do some work in Premiere CC 2015. I was rather surprised that the app could not play anything at all while files were being copied. It just acted like it does for the first 3 seconds of normal playback, but indefinitely. None of Premiere's drives were involved in the file copy operation, but the fact that the south bridge was active was enough to stop it from staring playback.

So this points to some sort of crummy SATA driver that cannot support simultaneous operation by two or more threads. I note that when first starting play on CC 2015, there is a heap of disc activity before playback begins, like the player module being loaded into RAM. That disc activity seems to lock out reading the video file until the player module is copied to RAM. Because when I stop and restart playback, there is no big disc activity the second time.

In short, if ANYTHING accesses ANY disc on the system, even for a millisecond, Premiere CC drops frames. Normal system background activity causes disc access every few minutes, which corresponds with the frames dropped every few minutes. The thing to solve is why Premiere CC can't function during disc I/O on the new Intel chipset, whereas it can on the old chipset.

This is a conflict between CC and the SATA driver. CS6 does not exhibit any delayed start of playback on the dual Xeon. Unfortunately, I am running the most recent drivers that Supermicro has on their web site. I've reported the issue to them and maybe they'll look into it.
 

basspig

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I thought so briefly, but then I remembered that this same software played with no lag and no frame drops on my old Core2Quad, at least as far as HD video is concerned. As for UHD Prores (3840x2160), there is zero improvement over the old system in terms of smoothness of playback and number of frames dropped. Either the software doesn't like my new hardware, or some fundamental mismatch is at play.
 

basspig

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I read mixed experiences with Premiere Pro. Some are getting good performance (mainly Macbook Pro users) while Windows users seem to have a lot of complaints about lag, freezes, video audio synch issues.

I'm running two versions of Premiere and both run poorly on this new hardware. Both ran acceptably well on the old Core2Quad box.

I've noticed something interesting though:

I have lag when starting playback of theses formats:

XAVC
Prores 422
AVCHD

I have no lag at all when playing this format:

XDCam HD

On my old machine, no lag on any of them as long as they're all HD (4K is a bit too much for the old box.)

Puget Systems recommends dual Xeons for running video editing for high volume production houses, so I don't think that I made a mistake choosing dual Xeons over a single i7-4770, which seems to fare better in Premiere as far as startup lag.

One more data point: VLC Media Player cannot play XAVC 4K footage at more than 1 frame per second on the Dual Xeon. It's as bad as the Core2Quad I built in 2007. I was quite surprised that I see zero performance improvement with such expensive hardware.
 

Sakata

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Aug 7, 2015
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Well if the software can only utilize one or two cores then a new i7 will beat out basically everything, Perhaps you can look at the processes per core and see if your speeds could be slowing it down?
 

basspig

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VLC is only using one core, but Premiere seems to be using at least half of the cores. But a single core on this system should be faster than a single core of the ancient Core2Quad. The E5 2xxx series executes 16 FLOPs per clock cycle, much more than the Core2Quad.
 

Sakata

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Aug 7, 2015
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Well the only thing I can think to say is run Intel burn test, test you GPU and your RAM to check stability of all your parts and to see if you encounter any errors, Also check to see if your drivers are up to date, Also what is your memory allocation for premiere pro? Also can you try check whether you have GPU acceleration on then try it with the opposite setting? Also try MPC video player instead of VLC and see how it works for you as in windows VLC isn't so amazing.


Edit : Also read through this and see if it could help? http://urbanvideo.ca/solution-fix-playbackscrubbing-lag-premiere-pro-cc
 

basspig

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I made an interesting discovery about VLC Media Player today while digging into the advanced menus. I found a setting for number of threads. It was defaulted to 1. I changed it to 30 and now it can play 4K XAVC effortlessly. Even XAVC-L at 59.94 fps 3840x2160. 3% CPU usage, but smooth playback and no lag starting it up. Only issue is screen tearing. None of the Adaptive Vertical synch settings help at all.
I also turned on a multithread optimization in the nVidia driver and the VLC CPU usage droped to 2% for the XAVC-L clip playback.
However, none of this tweaking helped Premiere. In fact, with thread optimization turned on in the driver, Premiere is dropping frames here and there during playback, not just at startup.
I ran Prime95 and MEMtest 86+ for the first day of hardware integrity testing.
Drivers were downloaded from their respective hardware vendors. However, the latest video driver has MAJOR bugs regarding desktop management and monitor resolution. It was causing my desktop to rearrange itself on every bootup and my 4K monitor would come up at 640x480 resolution after rebooting. I had to roll back to the driver that came with the card as it works without these issues.

I don't have ANY lag with scrubbing the timeline. Not even with four cameras in the multicam editor with four 4K XAVC files. But it won't play if I hit the Play button. Scrubbing is smooth as can be with no lags. Baffling!
 

Sakata

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Can you tell me more about this multi core support in VLC? I am stuck with since I am on linux and my Hi10P stuff stutters from time to time, Although it shouldn't soon since my new processor came today! ^.^ ( unrelated but excited)
 

basspig

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It's under the advanced preferences...Input CODECs.. Video Codecs... FFmpeg.. on the right under Decoding, between Hardware decoding and Advanced option is Threads. That was set to 1 on my machine. You can set it to any number up to the number of threads your system can handle. Hardware decoding, I set to DirectX Video Acceleration (DX\... (the rest doesn't fit in the dropdown).
 

basspig

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Aug 7, 2007
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I found something out today that seems to add weight to a hunch I had about CC 2015's playback problems being related to the SATA controller/driver.

Since discovering the Lumetri scopes disabling, I was testing it on my old quadcore and found that I could get almost fluid playback of XAVC 4K on the Core2Quad with 8GB RAM. Another thing I noticed is that opening Task Manager did not cause it to drop frames. In fact, multitasking didn't bother it at all. Moving files around had no effect on it.

But over on the dual Xeon machine today, I was copying some files to a newly installed SSD drive. Premiere was reading source material from H:. The drive I was copying over materials to was M:, on a separate controller channel. It was going to take an hour, so I decided to do some work in Premiere CC 2015. I was rather surprised that the app could not play anything at all while files were being copied. It just acted like it does for the first 3 seconds of normal playback, but indefinitely. None of Premiere's drives were involved in the file copy operation, but the fact that the south bridge was active was enough to stop it from staring playback.

So this points to some sort of crummy SATA driver that cannot support simultaneous operation by two or more threads. I note that when first starting play on CC 2015, there is a heap of disc activity before playback begins, like the player module being loaded into RAM. That disc activity seems to lock out reading the video file until the player module is copied to RAM. Because when I stop and restart playback, there is no big disc activity the second time.

In short, if ANYTHING accesses ANY disc on the system, even for a millisecond, Premiere CC drops frames. Normal system background activity causes disc access every few minutes, which corresponds with the frames dropped every few minutes. The thing to solve is why Premiere CC can't function during disc I/O on the new Intel chipset, whereas it can on the old chipset.

This is a conflict between CC and the SATA driver. CS6 does not exhibit any delayed start of playback on the dual Xeon. Unfortunately, I am running the most recent drivers that Supermicro has on their web site. I've reported the issue to them and maybe they'll look into it.
 

siposh

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Mar 30, 2016
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Hello basspig,
since you've written this message quite some time - have you seen any improvement in the last couple of months?
I've just built a rig very similar to yours, only I have 2 E5-2670, otherwise very similar, and I notice a lag at the beginning of XAVC files as well and it really bothers me.
Thanks a lot!
 
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