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Jordan White
Mac Pros or HP Workstations working with 4K Davinci Resolve
on Jun 24, 2014 at 7:47:45 pm

I've heard online that Pixar uses Mac Pros to create their animated feature films here:

http://www.businessinsider.com/pixar-uses-apples-mac-pro-to-make-films-2014...

Mac Pros that cost $3000 have a configuration like this:

3.7GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5
12GB 1866MHz DDR3 ECC memory
Dual AMD FirePro D300 graphics processors with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM each
256GB PCIe-based flash storage
Connect up to three 4K displays and six Thunderbolt displays
OS X Mavericks version 10.9

Would this be enough to edit realtime 4K video and visual effects in programs like Nuke, Autodesk Maya, and DaVinci Resolve or does it require a little more oomph like the more higher priced $4000 Mac Pro here:

3.5GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon E5 processor
16GB 1866MHz DDR3 ECC memory
Dual AMD FirePro D500 graphics processors with 3GB GDDR5 VRAM each
256GB PCIe-based flash storage
Connect up to three 4K displays and six Thunderbolt displays
OS X Mavericks version 10.9


Would HP Workstations with configurations like these be able to edit realtime 4K video and visual effects as well? I hear that LightIron, a company working with digital cinema footage, has mobile carts equipped with older Mac Pros with 12 cores of processing power.

If you want to talk more about this stuff, then shoot. I fix computers for a living. It's Mac Pro vs. HP Z820. Take your pick.


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Erik Lindahl
Re: Mac Pros or HP Workstations working with 4K Davinci Resolve
on Jun 24, 2014 at 9:34:50 pm

For what the Mac Pro 2013 is you get a lot of bang for the buck I'd say. I would however suggest looking at the 6-core machine with dual D700's and at least 16GB of RAM as a "base" 4K system if looking at realtime performance.

BMD recommends this but the 8-core system as a base. More RAM and fast I/O would also be a bonus of course given the internal drive is blazing fast (950 MB/s give or take).


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Toby Tomkins
Re: Mac Pros or HP Workstations working with 4K Davinci Resolve
on Jun 24, 2014 at 9:41:38 pm

12-core MacPro if working with RAW formats, or HP Z820, both are 4K capable, especially with DaVinci 11's new caching. CPU grunt is still important for RAW formats and encoding.


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Margus Voll
Re: Mac Pros or HP Workstations working with 4K Davinci Resolve
on Jun 24, 2014 at 10:04:53 pm

I would also wore for 12 cored machine.

--

Margus

http://iconstudios.eu
https://vimeo.com/iconstudioseu/videos

DaVinci 10, OSX 10.8.5
MacPro 5.1 2x2,93 24GB
GUI 4000 / GPU GTX 780
DL 4K
Eizo Color
Scope Box
Full Ligthspace CMS


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Ryan Holmes
Re: Mac Pros or HP Workstations working with 4K Davinci Resolve
on Jun 24, 2014 at 10:08:17 pm

I'm assuming you already fast storage of some sort?

If realtime is your concern, why are looking at the base model of either line - Mac Pro or Z820? While capable today, by tomorrow (i.e. in a few years) those will be struggling. If you're clients demand realtime 4K and you already have the storage, and I/O to back those speeds up then why not spend the money on a higher end Mac Pro or Z820? Guarantee performance for today and tomorrow....

You also didn't mention what type of 4K you'll be dealing with? Blackmagic 4K ProRes? Blackmagic 4K RAW? RED? Canon C500? Arri Alexa? Panasonic GH4?

Ryan Holmes
http://www.ryanholmes.me
@CutColorPost


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Jordan White
Re: Mac Pros or HP Workstations working with 4K Davinci Resolve
on Jun 24, 2014 at 10:45:23 pm

Actually, all of the cameras you mentioned would be what my 4K would be dealing with. $7,000 is a lot to spend on one computer. Computer stuff was never really cheap in the first place. A decent system for home use, my Dad says, would cost around $2,500 or less, so yes, this computer stuff is not cheap, and neither is the Mac Pro or the HP Z820. It would be hard just to save $7,000 for one computer, mind you.


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Ryan Holmes
Re: Mac Pros or HP Workstations working with 4K Davinci Resolve
on Jun 25, 2014 at 12:25:37 am

[Jordan White] "A decent system for home use, my Dad says, would cost around $2,500 or less, so yes, this computer stuff is not cheap"

A decent system that runs 4K in realtime for $2.5K or less...?!! If you find it sign me up. You also haven't mentioned how you plan to store all your data? The internal drive on a Mac Pro is fast, but it won't store much 4K footage. The reason the Mac Pro's and Z820's cost so much is because they're built to move data and move a lot of it. Yes, the base system will probably work for 4K provided you have fast storage (RAID). But next year there will be new cameras with new formats, and the year after that, and the year after that and on and on....So my advice is to always buy the most computer you can possibly afford.....even if that means waiting a little longer while you save. That will serve you better in the long run.

If you have clients today that are demanding this, then do what you have to do. But it sounds like from this post and other posts you've made that you're thinking about building something up. Save your money up and get a system that will last you for several years, not just a couple.

Ryan Holmes
http://www.ryanholmes.me
@CutColorPost


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Peter Chamberlain
Re: Mac Pros or HP Workstations working with 4K Davinci Resolve
on Jun 25, 2014 at 3:19:52 am

Jordan, you might wish to consider the top of he line iMac as I listed in the config guide. Its a lot less expensive than the MacPro or HP configs and while performance for 4K is not stellar it sounds like its more in your budget. Have a look at the guide for details in our new support page.
Peter

http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/support/family/10


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EricBowen
Re: Mac Pros or HP Workstations working with 4K Davinci Resolve
on Jun 25, 2014 at 2:56:45 pm
Last Edited By EricBowen on Jun 25, 2014 at 2:57:05 pm

$2500 to $4000 puts you in the budget range for 2 platforms on PC that would handle the 4K media atleast at /12 resolution preview with those applications. The 4790K with 32GB of ram, 770GTX 4GB card, with a raid 0 media drive would be the solution in the $2500 range. Clocked at 4.5 to 4.7GHz this configuration can playback 4K full res with the GPU accelerated debayering. Adobe has that now but Davinci doesn't yet.

The workstation X79 system with the 4930K, 32GB to 64GB of ram, SSD OS, 770GTX 4GB card and a raid 0 media drive would put you in the upper range of the budget listed. However with the Asus boards or Asrock Extreme 9, you have the ability to upgrade to a E5 V2 Xeon CPU such as the 10 or 12 Core without changing the board out. This configuration at 4.4GHz can easily playback 4K at full resolution preview and even 6K with the GPU accelerated debayer. It will also handle Davinci along with the other apps better than the Quad Core Desktop listed above.

The others are correct though regarding the nMPro. The budget needs to be higher to get the config required for the same performance with 4K media as what I listed above. That is the trade off for Mac and OSX.

Eric-ADK
Tech Manager
support@adkvideoediting.com


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Ryan Holmes
Re: Mac Pros or HP Workstations working with 4K Davinci Resolve
on Jun 25, 2014 at 3:23:24 pm
Last Edited By Ryan Holmes on Jun 25, 2014 at 3:37:11 pm

What Eric is proposing is a build-your-own system approach or DIY (do-it-yourself). That has it's pros and cons. You can typically purchase the components you want, but support/troubleshooting is entirely on your own. You'll need to consider your chassis, power requirements, and cooling needs if you go this route. Additionally, raw clock speed isn't the only measure of performance when dealing with a CPU. Things to also look at are cache size, QPI links, QPI speed, etc.

The benefits of a pre-configured system from HP or Apple is typically time and ease of use (i.e. support). But you're also getting components in those computers that are geared specifically at audio, video, and graphics professionals. The 4790K and the 4930K, while theoretically capable, are not technically designed for heavy lifting. In fact HP still uses older chipsets in the Z-series specifically because of how they were engineered for heavy lifting applications - Avid, FCPX, Nuke, Premiere, After Effects, Resolve, etc.

I'm not against building your own system, because it is fun and you can learn quite a bit. But it's not just a walk in the park either. I think you should investigate further if that's a route you want to go down.

[Peter Chamberlain] "Jordan, you might wish to consider the top of he line iMac as I listed in the config guide."

I think Peter is exactly right. That may be a better compromise for your needs...

Ryan Holmes
http://www.ryanholmes.me
@CutColorPost


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Jordan White
Re: Mac Pros or HP Workstations working with 4K Davinci Resolve
on Jun 25, 2014 at 3:51:50 pm

All of you. I would like for you to hear me out. I know how to build my own computer. I'm majoring in Computer Science at Kennesaw State University. I fix computers for a living. I've extracted hard drives from other computers before. I often keep up with the latest news regarding computers. My computer works well. Turns out that when you convert a 4K RAW file to a DPX or an image sequence, and then import it into Adobe Premiere Pro, and then render the timeline, it plays quite well. I have the ability to upgrade my own system. What I need to do would be to extract both the hard drive and the optical DVD and Blu-ray drives and place them in a new system. Heck, my system is a tower, and that's the beauty of towers, they can be easily customizable and upgradable because of their modular components. I can replace the motherboard. I can definite go from 1 GB graphics to 4 GB graphics from AMD Radeon to NVidia GeForce. I had a computer hardware class in high school where I examined internal computer components. I even graduated with honors in high school because I took every technical course the school had to offer. Adobe Premiere Pro, if you may have forgotten, is starting to add file format support for so many digital cinema cameras, including the top cameras in use, Red Epic and Arri Alexa. Also, Intel is going to have like 8 or 10 core desktop processors in early 2015. Reports show that they may be working on an 18 core processor. Of course, DaVinci Resolve runs on my system, but it's a true combination of hardware and software that helps the footage to play back realtime. What I would usually do would be to take the files off of the camera, put them on the hard drive, and play them in the editor. In case you were wondering, my computer is a Dell Studio XPS 435T/9000 system from 2009 with Intel 1st gen i7 3.2 Ghz Quad Core processors, 12 GB RAM, AMD Radeon 5800 1GB graphics, 2 TB hard drive, and is all in a tower for easy customization. I also hear that Intel is starting to integrate graphics capabilities in their processors. Combine this with the graphics cards from NVidia or AMD, then you have a great combination. I hear Intel Iris Pro graphics has the ability to handle 4K displays, but according to my theories, not necessarily able to handle realtime digital cinema camera footage playback. One more thing. I don't work in visual effects or post production yet. I'm just starting to experiment with this stuff on a personal level and not a business level.


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EricBowen
Re: Mac Pros or HP Workstations working with 4K Davinci Resolve
on Jun 25, 2014 at 9:22:37 pm
Last Edited By EricBowen on Jun 25, 2014 at 9:32:25 pm

HP and Apple use those same processors. The CPU's are the same whether you get them in a Apple, HP, Dell or other system configurator or e-tailer. The is nothing different to Xeons over I7 CPU's that allow for any "any heavier lifting" than the I7 or workstation chips. The Xeons only have specific firmware for security and Server operations. Beyond that the CPU's are the same and zero difference. You can also install those exact same Xeons in many X79 boards if you want. I personally run a 2697 V2 12 Core in an x79 board. That has even better performance than the equivalent Apple due to the hardware options available on the PC including NVidia cards which work better with Davinci currently. No amount of testing or benchmarks will show any performance or reliability advantage with Tier 1 oems versus other hardware.

I would not expect HP or Apple to know what you need or what works best with those applications either. Their support wont cover those applications and their functionality either. It ends at the hardware. There are other system configurators that do use standard hardware that can be upgraded with any standard hardware available online or at retail. Those configurators often know far better what hardware you need and support far more than just the hardware. Keep that in mind before you assume the Tier 1 oems are the only viable option.

BTW The Tier 1 oems purchase hardware from the same companies you find available in the channel/retail. They may have certain OEM done but the majority is industry wide hardware available in retail.

Eric-ADK
Tech Manager
support@adkvideoediting.com


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Eric Santiago
Re: Mac Pros or HP Workstations working with 4K Davinci Resolve
on Jun 26, 2014 at 3:54:59 pm

I would like to add that I failed at getting a Mac Pro 2012 setup going with Resolve 10. Specs are:
Mac Pro 2.66/6-Core/32GB RAM/10.9.3
- Quadro 4000 GUI
- CUBIX 16X host card
- BMD DeckLink Extreme
- ATTO R680 (GRAID eS Pro 12TB)

CUBIX GPU -XPANDER
- Quadro 4000
- Quadro 4000
- Quadro 4000
- RED ROCKET

Resolve 10.1.5

Created a 4K Ultra HD config setup.

I am getting about 21fps (no extra nodes) with RED ROCKET on and 19.5fps without.
Use Display GPU For Compute off.

This was my last kick at the can for the Mac Pro at work.
They have been replaced by the new Mac Pro's and it looks like the CUBIX is not supported in Resolve 11 (I could be wrong).


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Ryan Holmes
Re: Mac Pros or HP Workstations working with 4K Davinci Resolve
on Jun 26, 2014 at 4:38:57 pm

[EricBowen] "The is nothing different to Xeons over I7 CPU's that allow for any "any heavier lifting" than the I7 or workstation chips. The Xeons only have specific firmware for security and Server operations. Beyond that the CPU's are the same and zero difference"

There is a difference between the processors you listed and the ones used by Apple, HP, Dell, etc in their more expensive computers. Besides server class processors, you have more L3 cache on the Xeon's, QPI hooks to replace the front side bus, ability to address more system RAM, ability to address ECC memory-types, etc.

I'm not saying you can't use the i7 consumer-grade processors to do 4K work. You could. What I am saying is there is a difference between what processor you listed and what Apple, HP, etc spec in their high-end workstations. There is a reason for the price tag associated with those computers. The processors are different and are capable of faster access to data provided the computer is built to take advantage of that...and that is what I mean by "heavy lifting."

Ryan Holmes
http://www.ryanholmes.me
@CutColorPost


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EricBowen
Re: Mac Pros or HP Workstations working with 4K Davinci Resolve
on Jun 27, 2014 at 2:52:39 pm
Last Edited By EricBowen on Jun 27, 2014 at 3:10:24 pm

I wasn't referring to the spec differences of the CPU such as cores, GHz, cache and such. I was referring to the actual architecture of Xeon versus I7. What you mention beyond that are simply platform differences between desktop and workstation/server platforms. Both the Server ie Xeon platforms and the workstation ie socket 2011 platform have QPI. There is no difference there. The Server platform has a QPI bus between the 2 CPU's for syncing data between then. Beyond that they both use the QPI instead of the front side bus. The Cache in the CPU's is dependent on the cores. The more cores, the greater the cache since the cores need cache to run optimally and they share. A 6 Core CPU doesn't require 25 Meg cache. However a 8 or 10 core will. The 12 core has 30 meg cache and Apple, HP, Dell, and all other system configurators use the same 12 core Xeons. Incase you didn't know Apple uses the 1600 series V2 Xeons which are the same as the 2600 Xeons other than they don't support more than 1 chip on a board. Other than that it's the same Xeon.

ECC ram has zero bearing on performance or reliability with media applications. ECC is meant for server operations that have an operational time of 24/7 365. It has zero bearing on media applications so I am not sure why you bring it up. Yes the Server chips support more then 64GB of ram but most don't need more than that. If the editor does then a Dual Xeon system whether from HP, Dell, or custom configurator all have the same ram options available. Once again T1's have no advantage there. They are using the same core hardware. All are using the same Intel chips if their Xeons. All are using the same desktop or mobile chips if their those. Intel doesn't ship special CPU's to anyone.

As to performance, the higher clock speeds available for the workstation chips are outperforming the greater cores of the Xeon chips with GPU acceleration for most codecs. Once the system has the ideal cpu threads for decoding the data then GHz becomes far more important than extra cores or cache. You can reference benchmarks I posted here reflecting that has not changed for example with Adobe CC 2014.

http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?118132-CC-2014-benchmarks-so-fa...

Eric-ADK
Tech Manager
support@adkvideoediting.com


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Eric Santiago
Re: Mac Pros or HP Workstations working with 4K Davinci Resolve
on Jul 11, 2014 at 5:38:49 pm

Just like to add that the CUBIX XPANDER does not work with any Thunderbolt enclosure to date.


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Eric Fiegehen
Re: Mac Pros or HP Workstations working with 4K Davinci Resolve
on Aug 7, 2014 at 10:17:18 pm

Eric,

The Xpander you have is operating at data transfer speeds of 80Gbps bi-directional. A Thunderbolt 2 port is only capable of operating at 20Gbps bi-directional. Neither Intel or Apple currently support discrete graphics cards residing in an external PCIe slot expansion chassis connected to the host via Thunderbolt.

Cubix had planned to release its own line of Xpanders using Intel Thunderbolt 2 technology during the late June timeframe. Due to a variety of factors, not the least of which is the current lack of Intel and Apple support for discrete GPUs hosted in an external slot expansion chassis or the 20Gbps data transfer speed limitation, Cubix has opted to focus its development efforts on its new PCIe Gen3 x16 (128Gbps data transfer rate) Xpander models plus its HostEngine dual Xeon-based workstations.

Eric Fiegehen
Director, Visualization & GPU Compute Solutions
Cubix Corporation
ericc@cubix.com
http://www.cubix.com


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