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Upgrading 2K system to 4K - AMD R9 290X2, Nvidia Titan Black or Titan Z ?

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Toby Tomkins
Upgrading 2K system to 4K - AMD R9 290X2, Nvidia Titan Black or Titan Z ?
on May 7, 2014 at 11:49:15 pm
Last Edited By Toby Tomkins on May 7, 2014 at 11:51:04 pm

Hi all,

I've been rocking a tri-GPU set up with Resolve for nearly two years, with two 3GB GTX 580's for processing and one GTX 285 for GUI. It's been rock solid and perfectly capable for all my work up to 2K (timeline/output resolution, with source media up to 5K being handled fine).

I'm now looking to upgrade to help with 4K timelines and output and also to prepare for 4K monitoring. I'm also looking into storage but I want to focus my attention on current GPU choices and would love to hear your thoughts on this only please.

I use a hackintosh workstation which has 6 PCIe ports and allows me to have four slots run at PCIe x8 Gen 3.0 (equivalent to four x16 Gen 2.0 slots)and one slot at x4 Gen 3.0 (x8 gen 2.0) when fully populated (with one slot blocked by a GPU). I've built 8 hackintosh workstations for DITs, editors and other colourists, so please no comments on this being unstable and dangerous etc, it is only risky in the wrong hands! (-;

My budget is around $2000 for the upgrade so my options seem to be dual Nvidia GTX Titan Blacks or a single AMD R9 290X2.

Any idea which would perform better in Resolve for Mac? I understand CUDA still has a small performance margin in terms of compute performance in Resolve, so looking purely at specifications between the two might not necessarily be indicative of real world performance. Any thoughts on this? Anyone using AMD cards?

The other option is to hold out for the Titan Z but it is a little out of my budget and perhaps not entirely necessary if gains are only beyond realtime or beyond 30 nodes etc. The idea of a single powerful card running on a x16 Gen 3.0 slot (possible if I leave one of the other slots free) seems like a neat solution though.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

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Margus Voll
Re: Upgrading 2K system to 4K - AMD R9 290X2, Nvidia Titan Black or Titan Z ?
on May 12, 2014 at 7:33:17 pm

Some stuff still does not work with CL like open plugins from some provider.

You should check more in detail what are your needs.



DaVinci 10, OSX 10.8.5
MacPro 5.1 2x2,93 24GB
GUI 4000 / GPU GTX 780
Eizo Color
Scope Box
Full Ligthspace CMS

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Chris Hall
Re: Upgrading 2K system to 4K - AMD R9 290X2, Nvidia Titan Black or Titan Z ?
on May 13, 2014 at 5:53:24 pm

I've found that cuda performance with temporal noise reduction specifically is still significantly better than openCL (at least with R9 x280 6gb cards). I haven't successfully gotten a titan black to work in mavericks however, but that could be my own fault as I know a few others who have. Not sure if Resolve 11 will fix openCL to be on par with cuda for noise reduction purposes at least... my guess is they will since that seems to be the future for single system users.

Chris Hall
Colorist - Prehistoric Digital
Santa Monica, CA

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Clark Bierbaum
Re: Upgrading 2K system to 4K - AMD R9 290X2, Nvidia Titan Black or Titan Z ?
on Jul 27, 2014 at 1:22:08 am

Running TI Black non-flashed for several months. Minor annoyances when upgrading system software - make sure you have the ability to log in via remote desktop and keep an old mac video card card around if all else fails!

Doing Sony 4k and everything else.

On 10.9.4 OS and latest Resolve 11 beta, cuda and Nvida web driver are latest as well.

FCP 7, FCP X (latest) and Adobe CC are all fine, although I mainly use Resolve so YMMV.

Saphire as of today doesn't use Open CL so that's why I went the way I did.

Use Ti for GPU, an Apple monitor and a FSI 2340 @ 1920x1080 for scopes, second monitor doesn't seem to kill performance, at least not enough to outweigh the benefits.

As always, if using a higher powered card, I recommend a PSU for the GPU card.

Good luck, if you get a fast GPU and SSD for the system drive you'll never go back!

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