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I wanted to know if it is worth it to buy SSDs to improve render speed? By what percent can SSDs reduce render time?

P.S. I ask this because, some time ago, I accidentally changed hard drive cables and after that my Sony Vegas render time has increased 3 times. I couldn't solve it back after that, then I concluded that hdd speed might be problem.

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    For today's computers, processing and ram are much better performers then hard drives. In a typical computer I would recommend upgrading the hard drive before anything else usually. – DigiVision Media Aug 9 '17 at 1:32
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    I accidentally changed hard drive cables and after that my Sony Vegas render time has increased 3 times --> Check that your HDD hasn't switched to PIO or a lower DMA mode than it was. – Gyan Aug 9 '17 at 17:05
  • @Mulvya thanks, have read about them. I use Windows 10, SATA drives, so maybe it doesnt relate to me (as i've understood about PIO/DMA). – T.Todua Aug 11 '17 at 15:19
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It depends entirely on the type of rendering you are doing and the specs of your computer. Bottle necks can occur in many different parts of the rendering pipeline. Generally speaking, rendering is very GPU or CPU intensive, depending on if the render engine is CUDA (or similar) enabled. If the renderer is able to utilize a GPU, then GPUs and/or dedicated encoding cards will generally provide the largest boost to performance if they have not already been optimized, if not GPU enabled, then CPU becomes the biggest factor if not extremely fast or doing very light rendering.

Memory is a potentially large factor as well and would compound with the hard drive. If there is not enough storage space for the CPU or GPU to work on the video stream, then it will have to spend much more time moving data on and off the hard drive. In this case (if the memory is showing high utilization during render) then increasing the amount of memory is likely to yield a significant improvement in performance.

Data transfer rate is still potentially a bottleneck though. If rendering is very minimally CPU/GPU intensive and/or the system already have very high performing CPUs or GPUs, then it is possible that a HDD would not be able to keep the render engine supplied with data to process.

An easy way to tell if your disk drive is a problem is to look at how long the render takes relative to the rate at which you can playback video in the editor. If you are encoding to a different drive than your source material is on, then if the HDD is a bottleneck, it would be expected that render speed should move at the same rate as you are able to playback. If you can playback footage at 20fps, then your HDD is capable of feeding at least 20 frames per second (with no effects applied). If the render engine is processing less than 20 frames a second, the processing speed is the limit. If it is processing 20 frames a second, then it is entirely possible that the HDD is failing to keep the render engine supplied with data to process.

If you are storing the render on the same drive you are reading your source from, it becomes much harder to tell as a HDD requires moving the read/write head between where it is reading the source data and writing the render results. This extra seek time will drastically slow the performance of the drive. As a rule of thumb, I'd say to consider looking in to disk related solutions if your render time is better than 1/3 of the playback rate when reading and writing to the same drive, though I'd encourage trying to do a test on different drives for source and output to be more certain. So, if you are reading and writing to the same drive and you can play back 30fps, then if your encoding is running at 10fps or higher, an SSD might be helpful. (As might more memory as that would reduce how often the system has to switch between reading and writing and help cover the gap.)

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In preview and cache, it should help. But in rendering, the cpu upgrade is the best.

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    Don't forget about the impact of GPU performance if the render engine is CUDA enabled. That will likely blow away gains from CPU changes. – AJ Henderson Aug 9 '17 at 14:48
  • @AJHenderson so, CUDA makes it slower? – T.Todua Aug 10 '17 at 9:09
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    @T.Todua, no, it will be a much much larger improvement. This answer indicated that CPU will provide the biggest render time improvement, but that is incorrect if the renderer supports CUDA. GPU upgrades will dwarf the impact of a CPU upgrade in most cases then. – AJ Henderson Aug 10 '17 at 19:59
  • @AJH I thought cuda rendering was falling out of vogue. Do people still use it if they have a high end cpu? – DigiVision Media Aug 10 '17 at 21:31
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    @digivision not to my knowledge. It depends on the type of render. CUDA offers massive gains on parallel actions. Modern GPUs are super computers on a chip. Modern CPUs offer some dedicated circuitry for things like h264 encoding now on the higher end which can make a big difference as it is specialized hardware, but it can only do a limited number of things. CUDA is still very, very much alive and super important for many rendering pipelines. – AJ Henderson Aug 10 '17 at 21:53

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