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Adobe Premiere is one of the oldest brands in PC video editing, although with the switch to Premiere Pro the underlying codebase was radically updated. For the CS5 version, yet another seismic change has taken place. Not only has the application moved to a 64-bit environment, but hardware graphics acceleration is now built in to a much greater extent than before.
The previous CS4 version of Premiere Pro was 64-bit aware, so could take advantage of a little more memory running on a 64-bit version of Windows. But the CS5 incarnation is native 64-bit software. So if you have more than 4GB of memory on your system, it will use whatever there is available. The downside is that as most of what's new in CS5 revolves around its new 64-bit engine, there will be no 32-bit version. So your current workflow may require more fundamental changes than just an app upgrade. All your old 32-bit plug-ins will need updating, just for starters, although quite a few manufacturers have already made the switch, such as Boris and Magic Bullet.
thanks to its 64-bit Mercury Playback Engine with graphics hardware acceleration support.
Graphics hardware acceleration extends far beyond the handful of filters supported in previous versions of Premiere Pro. The range still doesn't include everything, but about half of the filters and a few dissolves have GPU acceleration, indicated by an icon in the Effects browser. Unfortunately, this acceleration is only available for graphics hardware supporting CUDA, and initially just Nvidia's Quadro CX, FX 3800, 4800 and 5800, plus the GeForce GTX 285. So ATI users will be out in the cold, for now.
The new CS5 code is called the Mercury Playback Engine, and we have found it a clear improvement over its predecessor. Our tests were performed on a quad-core workstation running a 3GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 with 8GB DDR3 memory, and 64-bit version of Windows 7. Graphics acceleration was provided by Nvidia's Quadro FX 4800. This system had few problems playing chromakeyed HDV superimposed over another layer of HDV. Six streams of Full HD AVCHD weren't frame perfect, but much smoother than with CS4, and scrubbing was usefully liquid as well. Most reassuringly, CPU usage approached 100 per cent during playback, showing that system resources were being fully utilised.