• Absolutely most important is the CPU, right now that is the Intel i7 quad or hexa core processor or the dual processor Xeon E5-26xx series. Specifically for MPEG encoding the amount of memory is the most important factor to influence performance. As you can see from the performance data the speed of the processor is also very significant. AMD processors lack the full SSE set of instructions and are not as effective as the Intel processors.

CPU-Clock  

  • A dual processor setup profits from the extra cores during MPEG encoding, but is hampered during H.264 encoding due to latencies between the 2 chips, a single i7 profits from more cache.
  • With CS6 the practical minimum memory is 8 or 12 GB of RAM, 16 or 24 GB is suggested for most users. For heavy multitasking or dynamic linking, 32 or 64 GB is optimal.  Here is a Resource Monitor plot of memory usage while doing a simple PPBM5 MPEG2-DVD encoding in Premiere.  This was a capture at a peak of memory usage.  Notice that there are no Hard Memory Faults (requiring  writing out and later reading the Paging file) but Premiere by itself is using more than 6 GB (this system had 12 GB).

  • SSD's are nice for laptops, but in editing desktops they do not show any benefit in performance. For the boot disk they show significant faster loading of programs.
  • The Adobe minimum basic disk system is an absolute minimum of two 7200 rpm disk drives.  Our personal preference is for a SSD drive for the Operating System & Applications and a RAID array for the project files. Specific functions like a separate dedicated drive for writing Output files or Preview files are of less value as it may just slow things down compared to a high performance RAID, the only way to tell is to run the PPBM6 benchmark.
  • A CUDA/MPE card makes a huge difference in performance and improves quality of the output over software MPE.