Nvidia vs AMD GPU's in a Vegas laptop... what do we know...?
Hopefully JR will spot this and put his 2 bob's worth in as we've corresponded quite a bit with this subject coming up often.
14 days ago I purchased a Toshiba laptop with some fairly decent off-the-shelf spec and a view to being able to tweak it a tad under the hood with extra RAM (spec states I could double up the 16gb it came with) and install mSATA drive aswell as extra to the the Hybrid it came with... and maybe swap out the Hybrid for SSD aswell... Plan as always was going to revolve around how well the money tree bore fruit this year.
The reason I chose it was primarily the combination of Intel CPU/AMD GPU which is not easy to find off the shelf.
What I've discovered over the past 14 days is that the level of 'Toshiba Europe support' doesn't match the quality of the components they put inside their machines.
Last year Toshiba Australia forced Tim's Laptop repair manuals website in Oz http://www.tim.id.au/blog/tims-laptop-service-manuals/ to remove ALL Toshiba service manuals he provided free for download claiming copyright infringement and for no other reason than to force it's customers to have any service/upgrade work performed by one of their 'providers' at inflated prices.
On principal mine is going back tomorrow for a full refund and that is possible thanks to the errors they have printed about the spec of the laptop I bought from them direct.
However... naturally I needed to search and find my alternative to replace it asap. What I discovered, claimed by a company here in the UK who specialise in building desktops AND laptops to spec, is that in a portable laptop environment, they have tested SVP using AMD (Open CL) and nVidia (CUDA cores) and found no identifiable difference due to the fact that the processors are the 'M' version as in M for mobile which makes them M for mini size and therefore mini in capability in comparison to their big brother versions that go inside a desktop. This is (they claim) ultimately why there is no performance difference between the 2 GPU makers inside a lappy.
So... can anyone here clarify if indeed this information I've been handed is correct please...? and as such when shopping for a portable Vegas machine one can have the added luxury of far more choice selecting an Intel CPU/Nvidia GPU without actually foregoing any real world Vegas performance drop over an AMD GPU....?
If so I can build an absolute beast SVP portable machine that will allow me to have this spec:
Processor (CPU).........Intel Core™i7 Quad Core Mobile Processor i7-4810MQ (2.80GHz) 6MB
Chassis & Display.......Vortex Series: 17.3" Matte Full HD LED Widescreen (1920x1080)
Memory (RAM)............32GB KINGSTON SODIMM DDR3 1600MHz (4 x 8GB)
Graphics Card..............NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 970M - 6.0GB DDR5 Video RAM - DirectX® 11
2nd Graphics Card.......NONE (upgradeable)
Memory - Hard Disk......250GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD, SATA 6Gb/s (upto 540MB/sR | 520MB/sW)
2nd Hard Disk..............NONE (upgradeable)
mSATA/M.2 SSD Drive.....120GB Kingston SSDNow mS200 mSATA (upto 550MB/sR | 520MB/sW)
2nd mSATA/M.2 SSD Drive..NONE (upgradeable)
DVD/BLU-RAY Drive....... NONE instead a 2nd/3rd HDD HARD DRIVE OPTICAL BAY CADDY (12.7mm)
Memory Card Reader......Internal 9 in 1 Card Reader (MMC/RSMMC/SD: Mini, XC & HC/MS: Pro & Duo)
Thermal Paste...........STANDARD THERMAL PASTE FOR SUFFICIENT COOLING
Sound Card..............Intel 5.1 Channel High Definition Audio + SPDIF/MIC/Headphone Jack
Bluetooth & Wireless....GIGABIT LAN & WIRELESS INTEL® AC-7260 HMC (867Mbps, 802.11AC) + BLUETOOTH
USB Options.............3 x USB 3.0 PORTS + 1 x USB 2.0 PORT AS STANDARD
Firewire................1 X 1394a FIREWIRE PORT
Operating System........NO OPERATING SYSTEM REQUIRED
Carry Case..............Trust 17.3" Notebook Carry Bag Classic
Laptop Cooling Stands...CoolerMaster U2 Plus Ultra-Quiet Laptop Cooler, upto 17.3 inch
Warranty................3 Year Silver Warranty (1 Year Collect & Return, 1 Year Parts, 3 Year Labour)
Insurance...............1 Month Free Laptop Insurance inc. Accidental Damage & Theft
Delivery................STANDARD INSURED DELIVERY TO UK MAINLAND (MON-FRI)
Build Time..............Standard Build - Approximately 4 to 6 working days
Price £1,506.00 (incl VAT)
That works out only £122 more than if I had been able to upgrade the Toshiba myself IF the specs had been correct when I bought it... tho the extra cost is actually negated because it can be further upgraded to actually have a total of 5 solid state drives inside the laptop (3 x 2.5 and 2 x mSata)... that makes it ultra portable and with it being RAID capable it should be possible to turn it into the Ferrari of laptops... I should add it weighs in at 3.9kg tho I don't plan on running a marathon with it.
So... I'm really hoping to get agreement from some of you that this machine will run SVP as beautifully as if it had an AMD GPU.... the Dynamic nature of it gives it qualities akin to an upgradeable desktop... albeit the CPU is only upgradeable to the 4940MX quad core as listed but you can't have everything in a portable and more cores means more heat and no way to use a bigger and better cooling system (currently) :-)
None of the newer video cards is supported fully by Vegas. They are stuck in 2010 with their software and they keep raking up the $$$. The best cards that can fully use the Vegas capabilities are the Fermi generation (on nVidia) or HD69xx (on AMD).
Sure John will jump in and say that "AMD all the way" but that is just not fully true. Is just his preference because at some point Apple decided to go AMD for their mainstream computers (though have nVidia upgrades).
In my opinion, stop wasting money on laptops for video editing. Get a decent desktop - it will provide more bang for the buck, it can be upgraded later, and will be a longer term investment than a laptop.
[Sorin Nicu] "None of the newer video cards is supported fully by Vegas. They are stuck in 2010 with their software and they keep raking up the $$$. The best cards that can fully use the Vegas capabilities are the Fermi generation (on nVidia) or HD69xx (on AMD)."
One must be specific. The Vegas video engine, effects and compositing support the newer cards just fine.
The Mainconcept AVC encoder is the one that is hard coded to specific GPU architectures. The Sony AVC encoder does get benefit on my newer GPU, but Sony AVC uses the GPU for so little it does not really matter.
I was one who got bitten by the GPU thing a couple of years ago. I had an AMD 5850 and the MC AVC encoder was quite fast. Then I got my current AMD 7950 and MC AVC does not work with it. I had posts in the Sony forum about this. For AMD I dumped the executables and found the hard coded architecture limitation.
As stated, the video engine works very well and things that could not perform fully on my 5850 do perform better on my 7950.
[Sorin Nicu] "n my opinion, stop wasting money on laptops for video editing. Get a decent desktop - it will provide more bang for the buck, it can be upgraded later, and will be a longer term investment than a laptop."
Your opinion to not bother with a laptop and go desktop is absolutely good advice although in the context of my query is over simplifying and not actually answering the question .... Vegas does work with laptop sized architecture, even if restricted by a variable percentage due to harware configs and current sizing restrictions and although I will eventually be in a position to hang my hat on the same hook every day, currently I can't do that, so primarily I need a portable solution to allow me to maximise the time I can spend becoming more skilled at editing with Vegas. I don't view my laptop purchase as an investment... it's the cost of a tool I need to perform a job and carries no real residual value. The true value for me is measured in the cumulative time I get to use the tool. Time is the most valuable asset I believe we all have and the more time I get to spend using a tool the more real value it accumulates for me.... but now I'm leading into a whole other subject which isn't relative to this question.
So I just really need to find out from the community here (if possible) in fact this apparent benchmarking of SVP using laptop architecture with the 2 different GPU's, reported verbally to me today, fits the model of experience from people that might have actually had the opportunity to try both GPU's with Vegas in a laptop, or if anyone has also read any such information that concurs...?
I guess more specifically, has anyone used the GTX 970M with Vegas which I've pre-selected in the above configuration...?
I have GTX 960 in my PC. I had Radeon HD7970 GHz Edition (rebadged now as R9 280X), GTX480, Quadro 2000, GTS450.
Sadly only the GTX480, Quadro 2000, GTS450 where used by Vegas fully.
GTX960 has integrated engines for hardware acceleration of video decoding (up to 4K) and encoding (again up to 4K).
Sadly Vegas has no clue about this - it is the only GPU from the above that doesn't get recognized by Vegas.
For example, CyberLink's PowerDirector does.
OpenCL? Sure, it works. But to me, the transitions are just minimal time gain, my six core (12 thread) can go trough those very quickly anyway.
The only saving grace might be Intel QuickSync, that seems to be supported by Vegas inside Sony encoder. But my CPU doesn't have that option (doesn't have a video integrated) so I cannot report is works or not.
[Sorin Nicu] "Sadly only the GTX480, Quadro 2000, GTS450 where used by Vegas fully."
Now we're getting somewhere... thanks Sorin... Are you of the opinion that the 480M chip will give greater Vegas performance than the 970M....?
[Sorin Nicu] "The best cards that can fully use the Vegas capabilities are the Fermi generation (on nVidia) or HD69xx (on AMD). Sure John will jump in and say that "AMD all the way" but that is just not fully true."My statement is based on the fact that (1) Vegas Pro uses Open CL for GPU Acceleration (I'm talking about Options | Preferences | GPU Acceleration) and (2) AMD Provides better Open CL support than NVIDIA. Numerous Vegas Pro users who once owned NVIDIA cards and now have AMD cards have validated that the switch has increased timeline playback. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't use NVIDIA GPU's, just that the AMD's seem to perform better with Vegas Pro.
Note that the limitation of using older cards only affects the encoders like MainConcept that are quite old. Don't confuse timeline GPU acceleration that will take advantage of the latest GPU's with encoder GPU acceleration that in some cases is locked to older GPU's.
[John Rofrano] "Note that the limitation of using older cards only affects the encoders like MainConcept that are quite old. Don't confuse timeline GPU acceleration that will take advantage of the latest GPU's with encoder GPU acceleration that in some cases is locked to older GPU's."
That is an important aspect to consider... thanks for establishing that John.
So.... with that in mind how does all this relevant information differ with the 'M' version of GPU's designed to be small and fit inside a laptop...?
Does the reduction in size and relative performance actually reduce their differences to a level one can't distinguish in real terms while using SVP...? (for instance the GTX 970M is rated to run at 80% of the performance of it's desktop big brother the 970...?)
This claim made by the guys at https://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/ is that their tests with Vegas shows no difference between the Nvidia and the AMD GPU's. I'll go back and get all the detail I can about the in-house tests they claim to have run using Vegas with both different GPU's (sorry I didn't ask which version of SVP... DOH !)
[Nick McMahon] "This claim made by the guys at https://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/ is that their tests with Vegas shows no difference between the Nvidia and the AMD GPU's. I'll go back and get all the detail I can about the in-house tests they claim to have run using Vegas with both different GPU's (sorry I didn't ask which version of SVP... DOH !)"I'd be interested in understanding their findings. Vegas Pro supported GPU rendering before it supported GPU Timeline acceleration so make sure it was a version that supported both.
That's certainly a beast of a laptop. I have a new one with basically the same processor, a lower-end nVidia GPU, 16GB, PCIe-based SSD (512GB), and the best display on any laptop (4K quantum dot), but only 15.6". Unfortunately, they seem to have pretty much abandoned 17" screens. And I wanted to actually have battery life -- I have desktops at home and work, so I'm not trying to entirely replace a desktop with a laptop. Because you really can't, not for anything that needs lots of CPU or lots of screen.
Your GPU is a really fast mobile GPU, don't worry about that. It's nVidia's latest architecture, Maxwell, and with 1280 rendering pipelines, it's no slouch. In fact, that's twice the size of mine, and the bus is 192-bit, versus 128-bit on my system.
As other have mentioned, you're not going to get Main Concept AVC fast rendering with that chip. Maxwell architecture is replacing Kepler, Kepler replaced Fermi -- which is the last architecture Main Concept supported. Now, keep in mind that whey they did here was pretty evil. The whole point of the CUDA or OpenCL interfaces is that the GPGPU computing doesn't count on the specific GPU.
But Main Concept hard-wired these in, basically to give them leverage over companies like Sony. Then they were bought by DivX, then Rovi, and basically ignored the product. At least based on what they're showing on their web site, Sony has the latest version -- they just pretty much abandoned new GPU support.
The rest of Vegas, like some plug-ins, compositing, etc. will benefit from the GPU. You need to use the latest OpenCL drivers from nVidia, and unfortunately, they haven't been as good with OpenCL as they are with their proprietary CUDA. And of course, you have to enable the use of OpenCL in the "Video" tab of the preferences dialog.
Just looking at basic benchmarks, the 850M in my laptop will beat my desktop AMD HD6970 on maybe half of the published benchmarks.. the HD6970 may be the fastest GPU for Main Concept rendering. But it's a 2010 card... things evolve. So that's one of the fastest GPUs you can get in a laptop without going to SLI. Try using the "Red Car" benchmark from Sony, that'll definitely take advantage of GPU compositing, even if the AVC rendering is the same. Just rendering to Main Concept from any single video source, you're counting on the AVC acceleration only. Which you aren't going to get.
[Dave Haynie] "As other have mentioned, you're not going to get Main Concept AVC fast rendering with that chip."
Many thanks for your input Dave... real world experience having used both Nvidia and AMD in a laptop with SVP which is exactly what I was hoping to hear about.
I'm liking the idea of Frameserving to render in x264 and Norman is very nicely giving me a heads up on his system to use ffmpeg. This for me is based purely on the suggestion of better quality output but apparently it's also a faster process.
Please note that the "M" in the video card name means it is a "Mobile" video card. It can drop to a lower powered less compatible GPU if you do not go into the video driver settings and specify that it stay in full powered mode when Vegas is running. Other apps may also need to be added to the "full powered" mode list (such as Titler Pro).
[Edward Troxel] "Please note that the "M" in the video card name means it is a "Mobile" video card. It can drop to a lower powered less compatible GPU if you do not go into the video driver settings and specify that it stay in full powered mode when Vegas is running. Other apps may also need to be added to the "full powered" mode list (such as Titler Pro)."
Many thanks Edward.... that is news to me and by the sounds of it important news as of course without being at full power it makes sense that one wouldn't be getting the full range of performance.. I would have assumed that the makers of the Mobile GPU's woulda already considered this and built in the necessary defaults to ensure this was not a manual selection process but rather happens automatically....? I mean who would ever want their GPU to be working at less than maximum...? We choose to purchase based on the numbers that can be attained by a given graphics card and I can't think of any time I'd want to use it at half speed... I'd always want everything it can give me in terms of performance!!
Am I missing something...? Oh hang on... are you referring to the 'Switchable graphics' list I saw with the AMD Catalyst software...? You can choose which programs can be selected to use the 'High Performance' mode...?
High Performance uses more power and, therefore, lower battery life. So it switches to "low power" mode which does not have all the GPU capabilities. This should only happen when unplugged but could cause slower speeds or some plugins to fail.
I have helped many people getting the "Low GPU" error in Titler Pro resolve this by changing that setting.
[Edward Troxel] "I have helped many people getting the "Low GPU" error in Titler Pro resolve this by changing that setting."
Yes.. it suddenly crossed my mind that you may have been referring to what is the Switchable graphics menu having seen it when I loaded the AMD driver for Windows 7 x64. I always check through everything and every setting that the tree menus take one to when new software is installed. It's in the right click menu on the desktop screen and fairly instinctive for me that it is set up to save power when using battery.... but thanks for pointing it out... understandable how some people may miss how those settings are important to ensure one gets the best from a mobile GPU.
I've been having several conversations with a few custom builders of Hardware and I've seemingly opened a can of worms when it comes to support for modern GPU's by SVP.
But in fact, the takeaway advice is that if I want the best performance in a portable workstation (and you can get some seriously powerful kit inside a custom build nowadays) then I'd be better off to drop SVP and move to the Adobe suite because it has more money and people updating it to make use of ALL the latest graphics cards.
So my question now changes and is aimed at all of the guys here who use Vegas to make a living as part of their job as Pro Video Editors.
I think that some view the world from one point of view, and others completely different. Vegas tried to leverage at the time what was suppose to be standard. They went down that road, and now Nvidia pulls a Microsoft and creates a J++ out of OpenCL. If you look at OpenCL benchmarking sites like Luxmark, you will see that AMD and even older AMD cards reign over Nvidia's latest. Luxmark Stats
I believe Vegas's programming is more elegant than most realize. On my system I have seen playback that the CPU handles with only a blip from the GPU. Switch to 32FP math and the GPU comes to life, apply a GBlur and the CPU comes to life. Is that not what the math co-processor is suppose to do? Optimize your system for number crunching and not how fast some site says it can turn an .mp4. For me I spend more time editing, than rendering and prefer playback optimization.
Laptops are not a good thing when it comes to GPU editing. I used to edit just fine on an I5 Lenovo T410 with SSD and 8GB ram. I just knew the the system was not going to be a super performer, and might have to preview at quarter or half. But the screen was so small that preview window was fine. The 970M in the laptop shown has about the same compute power as desktop gaming card from 2012. The 970 designation is not worthy of that hardware. Laptops also have gimped motherboards generally. You may want to make sure that motherboard has actual dual memory channels, full DMI 2.0, GPU is interfacing at full PCIe spec, and the display is quality enough to fully display the codec you are working with.
[Aaron Star] "I think that some view the world from one point of view, and others completely different"
Absolutely.... When it comes to the complexities of how specific computer hardware components actually operate within the many variables that exist when combined in different systems, it's more than just opinion that matters because opinion is not often quantified with the necessary knowledge base for it to contain the truisms in which conclusions can be ideally drawn.
Thanks for coming on and giving me the benefit of your knowledge on the subject.
I'm sure I read in one of your other posts that you use dual GPU's...? If I did can you expand on the way you set them to benefit the performance of SVP.
No Dual GPU. Vegas OpenCL is coded in a way that it only uses one OpenCL device. A application like Luxmark displays how OpenCL can use multiple OpenCL devices at one, similar to the way Windows uses multiple cores. In Vegas there should be check box selection of devices you wish to use including you CPU (which has opencl capabilities,) but Sony chose to keep that free for other tasks.
The only Dual GPU you can really do with Vegas is dedicate one card for Display, and the other for Compute (OpenCL/rendering.) Maybe Vegas 14 will support OpenCL 2.0 and offer multi-GPU selection, or settings to use things like the Video Encoder (VCE) integrated into most modern AMD cards.