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A quite long 2-part GPU/Monitor question

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Mike Leonard
A quite long 2-part GPU/Monitor question
on Oct 26, 2015 at 3:31:33 pm

Hi fellow Resolvers!

I've been following these (and other) forums for quite some time now and it always has been a great help!
But now that I am about to "step it up a notch", regarding my setup, I thought it would be wise to ask for professional help :)

I've been searching for answers, and I apologize if it has been asked before, but I just can't seem to find satisfying answers to my questions.

So, here goes (long post warning) ;)

The footage I will be working with, will range from regular 8 bit FullHD, to 4/5K Arri/RED/Sony/BM.

My 'new' setup consists of the following:

Mac OSX El Capitan
Mac Pro 5,1 (prefer these over the trashcan)
2x 6-core Xeon, 3,5 GHz each
1x nVidia Titan X 12GB (At least thats what Im thinking for now)
1x nVidia Quadro or BM monitoring card (No idea which one yet, but Im hoping quite cheap ofcourse ;) )
64GB RAM
And a whole array of M2/SSD pcie-cards and storage HDD's
Tangent Elements

Monitors:
1x LG 34uc97, 10 bit 21:9 curved, 3440x1440
1x regular 'old' 16:9 or 4:3 monitor (for Scopes and stuff)

1x playback/grading monitor (about my price range):
- LG 31mu97, 10 bit 4096x2160, 60 Hz
or
- HP Dreamcolor Z32X, 3840x2160, 60Hz
or
- HP Dreamcolor Z27X, 2560x1440

Here's the (1st) deal:

How should/could I connect these monitors to the system?
I would like to save the Titan X for GPU rendering only, as much as possible.
I would like to have the GUI main window on the 21:9 monitor
I would like to have the scopes and things on the small regular monitor
I would like to watch/playback full 10bit @60Hz on the 'pro' screen.

Is this possible? If yes, how?

I have only 4 pcie-slots (5 brackets) so its really hard..

Slot 1 (2 brackets) Titan X
Slot 2 SSD/M2 card adapter (2x M2's and 2 SATA600 connectors on 1 card :p )
Slot 3 USB 3,1 A/C card

Slot 4?? Quadro or a BM card? (decklink 4K pro?)
I guess the decklinks cant output the GUI?

Could I just let the Titan do the GUI for the two monitors, and GPU rendering as well? And use a quadro for grading monitor?

The way I would like to set it up would be not to connect anything to the Titan, connect the 3 monitors to the Quadro.. Could this work?
Or should I connect only one screen to the Titan (f.ex. main Gui) and the scopes and grading monitor to the quadro? Could it still output 10 bit 4096/60 then?

For now, the only way to go seems the Quadro m4000.. Is it up for the task? And could I still use a bit of it for extra rendering, when it already has to work so much?


The 2nd deal:

I would prefer the LG pro screen beacuse of the 4096x2160 DCi resolution, but the Dreamcolors seem really good as well. (for some reason the Z27X seems way better on paper than the Z32X?? Considering RGB and DCI P3 coverage)

The problem is, that to watch True 4K (4096) 10bit @60HZ on the LG, I would need a much more expensive Quadro card.. (I think the M4000 is the lowest quadro which supports 4096/60)

Or is there another way to output 10 bit 4096/60?

The HP 32 does 'only' 10 bit 3840/60.. Which would result in a much cheaper Quadro. (But of course the LG does 3840/60 as well)

How does the Z27X compare to these? On paper it has the best specs of the three (it seems), but is only 2560x1440.. So how does this look when I'm trying to grade 4096 footage? Would this be a problem?

So, eventhough I'm leaning towards the LG, price/spec wise, I am really confused in what to buy..

And the reason that I would like 60Hz, is beacuse of the flickering.. Most of the time, footage is played back 25fps anyway.. But a 4096/30Hz refresh would just flicker in the corner of my eye, since its a 'pc' monitor and not an actual TV.. Is this correct? Or should I be allright with a card that only can output 4096/30 (or25) and could I still set the monitor @60hz (since its capable)

Am I forgetting something? Would I need other cards, or BM solutions (i.e. external/internal cards)

I hope I have supplied enough information, and I hope to hear from you guys!

thnx Mike (the Netherlands)


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Joseph Owens
Re: A quite long 2-part GPU/Monitor question
on Oct 28, 2015 at 7:21:19 pm

[Mike Leonard] "How should/could I connect these monitors to the system?
I would like to save the Titan X for GPU rendering only, as much as possible.
I would like to have the GUI main window on the 21:9 monitor
I would like to have the scopes and things on the small regular monitor
I would like to watch/playback full 10bit @60Hz on the 'pro' screen.

Is this possible? If yes, how?

I have only 4 pcie-slots (5 brackets) so its really hard..

Slot 1 (2 brackets) Titan X
Slot 2 SSD/M2 card adapter (2x M2's and 2 SATA600 connectors on 1 card :p )
Slot 3 USB 3,1 A/C card

Slot 4?? Quadro or a BM card? (decklink 4K pro?)
I guess the decklinks cant output the GUI?

Could I just let the Titan do the GUI for the two monitors, and GPU rendering as well? And use a quadro for grading monitor?

The way I would like to set it up would be not to connect anything to the Titan, connect the 3 monitors to the Quadro.. Could this work?"


There are a lot of problems here.

Black Magic publishes a configuration guide, but the current one is very nMP coffee-can-centric, so you should go back to the Resolve 10 or 11 config document. It will tell you pretty much everything you need to know about slot assignments, which is going to be a major challenge.

First out of the gate is that you will require a Decklink 4K if you want to see your output with any accuracy... and because you are insisting on using pro-sumer monitors, you will find it necessary to sort out how to do a tight monitor calibration -- SpectraCal and LightIllusion are supported by Resolve. You will also need a Windows PC to run the calibration probe and software.

You will find that the Mac5,1 will not be able to drive the TitanX with enough power. Even if you manage to wedge it into Slot01, there simply isn't enough wattage to keep the rest of the system from browning out.

Believe it or not, some AMD/ATI GPUs (and the Quadro4000) will be just fine for User Interface, and you will be able to run a dual-screen UI so you can park the scopes on a second monitor. You must always set aside you biggest, fastest, heaviest VRAM GPU for image processing, and it cannot be paired with a lesser card or it will be pulled down to the lowest denominator. It cannot be connected to any monitors.

User Interface and image processing are two separate functions by and large, although there is an invitation in the application to share the devices. It might be a good idea or not depending on whether the UI card would be a significant contribution or a stone around the neck.

Later MacOS, Mavericks and so on, can support non-Mac GPUs, but there are some pitfalls. You must now go out and find a driver for your card... and Yosemite and later only allows up to 2 nVidia cards in a system. After that, additional cards just don't register.

I have two systems running that are similar to this setup, although I use Flanders Scientific displays.

The one system with 2x Titan Blacks is satisfyingly responsive -- they are housed in a Cubix enclosure. My UI is the stock ATI5770 that came with the system.

jPo

"I always pass on free advice -- its never of any use to me" Oscar Wilde.


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Don Eitner
Re: A quite long 2-part GPU/Monitor question
on Feb 21, 2016 at 10:48:17 pm

I have a bit of a follow-on question.

Thinking of building a new Intel Skylake/Windows 10 PC. I realize Resolve won't use the Intel graphics, but... can I use the Intel graphics to run my desktop/GUI with a GTX 760 card I already own sitting in the first PCIe slot solely for Resolve's use?

Outside of occasional video editing (not heavy color grading) my graphics needs are light, so the Intel graphics on Skylake would be sufficient for my day-to-day work. I would only be looking for Resolve to be able to use the GTX 760 for its work.

Or is this one of those "lower denominator" scenarios where the use of the Intel graphics as my GUI are going to make the whole thing not work well?

And when people say a Decklink is "necessary", that's only the case if one wishes to have a separate calibrated monitor, right? Resolve's UI will still display and allow me to do my editing on my desktop monitor connected to the Intel graphics?

Thanks,
Don


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