Sony Vegas 13 – Catalyst for a New Computer

PC hardware manufacturers should love Sony Vegas 13, as it will drive new sales, at least if the experience of this author is typical. Granted, this author’s two-plus year old laptop, with its 4 Gig of memory and Intel, i5-based CPU, had issues editing with Sony Vegas 12 (would need to reboot at least once per day, occasional crashes, long load times).  Sony Vegas 13, combined with some of the NewBlue effects, slowed that lap-top to a crawl and made editing painful and rendering extremely time-consuming.

These issues led me on a quest to find a new laptop (see posts about the Lenovo Y50 and Toshiba S55t laptops). The one parameter that seems to make the biggest difference in terms of the Sony Vegas performance is RAM; 16 gigabytes seemed to fix many of the issues with load-time, crashing, etc.

This post provides a brief history of some of the symptoms I saw with Sony Vegas 13 performance, in the hope that his may help others who are experiencing similar problems.

Problems:

There were three issues with Sony Vegas 13 when using the NewBlue effects plug-ins:

  1. PCs with older graphic cards would not display images that had a NewBlue ChromaKey effect.
  2. On my desktop computer, Sony Vegas 13 crashes when rendering most file formats; very frustrating.
  3. There sometimes seems to be noise introduced into the rendered output. This was seen with both of the new Lenovo and the Toshiba laptops, which didn’t exhibit the issue described in number 1 and 2, above.

Solution:

Disable the GPU in the NewBlueFX Video Essentials. The pop-up menu to do this is found by clicking the “About” text that is next to the “?” (help) icon just below the preset drop down menu on the Video Event FX menu.

One must click on the "About" option to see this menu.  Although this shows only the "Disable GPU for this product" box marked, it may be that "Disable GPU Option for all products" may need to be selected as well.
One must click on the “About” option to see this menu. Although this shows only the “Disable GPU for this product” box marked, it may be that “Disable GPU Option for all products” needs to be selected as well.

Additionally, to prevent Sony Vegas from crashing during rendering on the desktop machine, 32 slices were selected in the MP4 rendering configuration.

When the GPU option is enabled on the NewBlue FX, occasional noise would be introduced, as seen in this screen capture. This noise would be seen in the rendered output. Interestingly, the noise was only visible in the edit line when it was in draft quality. Even if it couldn't be seen in the edit mode, it was still there in the rendered output.
When the GPU option is enabled on the NewBlue FX, occasional noise would be introduced, as seen in this screen capture. This noise would be seen in the rendered output. Interestingly, the noise was only visible in the edit mode when it was in draft quality. Even if it couldn’t be seen in the edit mode, however, it was still there in the rendered output.
When the GPU option was disabled, the noise went away.
When the GPU option was disabled, the noise went away.

Additional Notes:

The following are rough notes of how I came to the above conclusions. These troubleshooting steps were on my desktop machine (see specifications below), which, on paper, has the best specifications of any of the computers I own, including the aforementioned Lenovo and Toshiba lap-tops I reviewed.

  1. Sony Vegas 13, build 373, either crashes or it stops rendering when using:
    1. The Mainconcept MP4 file (1280×720 – various resolutions were attempted).
    2. Also tried rendering with OpenCL and CUDA
    3. An MXF file (35 Mbs resolution) (screenshots of a couple of the Crash messages are below)
    4. I tried “preparing content for review” (this is the option that creates review files), but no luck.
    5. Tried rendering as a WMV file, but no luck.
    6. It did render with the Sony AVC MP4 format, but the quality wasn’t very good (not as good as MainConcept normally is).
    7. I did notice that I was able to render 1 minute of the 4 minute file, however.
  2. One by one and then altogether, I disabled the three plugins (NewBlue ChromaKey, Isotope Repair and HitFilm) that came with Sony Vegas 13 that I was using (note they were unchecked, not removed). Each time, it would crash.
  3. Graphics card driver software was upgraded. Background processes, including firewall and anti-virus protection were disabled.
  4. After noticing that it would encode approximately 1 minute of the file, I thought it might be a RAM issue, so the RAM was upgraded to 16 Gytes from 8 Gbyte that came with the computer. 16 GB Patriot Viper 3 DDR3 PC3 – 15000, 1,866 MHz. Still crashes!
  5. As noted above, disabled GPU in the NewBlue plug-in menu, which fixed the problem in the lap-top and older computers. Additionally, it seems like the number of slices had to be increased to 32 when rendering on the desktop computer.

Specifications for the Lenovo K10 Desktop computer

Upgrades

  • Graphics Card (Upgraded) AMD Radeon R9 200 Series
  • 16 GB Patriot Viper 3 DDR3 PC3 – 15000, 1,866 MHz.
  • Antec 620 Watt Power Supply

Lenovo K410 Base Specifications

  • Max Turbo Speed -3.4 GHz
  • Number of Cores – Quad-Core
  • 64-bit Computing – Yes
  • CPU Qty -1
  • Max CPU Qty – 1
  • Processor Main Features – Intel Virtualization Technology
  • CPU Socket – LGA1155 Socket
  • Chipset Type – Intel H61 Express
  • CACHE MEMORY
    • Installed Size – 8 MB
    • Cache Per Processor – 8 MB
  • RAM
    • Memory Speed – 1600 MHz (as noted above, upgraded to 16 Gbytes, 1866 MHz)
    • Memory Specification Compliance – PC3-12800
    • Form Factor – DIMM 240-pin
    • Features – dual channel memory architecture
    • Configuration Features – 2 x 4 GB (upgraded to 2×8 GB)
  • HARD DRIVE
    • Interface Type – SATA 6Gb/s
    • Spindle Speed – 7200 rpm

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