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Graphics card suggestion for real-time 4K playback???

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Michael McCune
Graphics card suggestion for real-time 4K playback???
on Oct 28, 2015 at 5:04:22 am

Assuming that the source and record drives are sufficiently fast (say, SSD), and the processor and ram are adequate (say, 6-core i7 and 32 GB DDR4 ram), what graphics card might work to play back 4K smoothly in real time???

I currently have a setup similar to the above but playback is slow with an AMD R9-280, even with a few GB of DDR5.

Please mention general considerations or guidelines for this application. Perhaps suggested minimums for the number of cores??? Memory bandwidth??

Real world experience with 4K real time playback???

Thanks,
Mike


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Tero Ahlfors
Re: Graphics card suggestion for real-time 4K playback???
on Oct 28, 2015 at 5:46:51 am

Depends on what kind of 4K footage. If you want to run compressed 4K stuff (like R3D) you'll probably need a couple of Titan X's.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Graphics card suggestion for real-time 4K playback???
on Oct 28, 2015 at 6:14:57 am

Mike,

The GPU is the easy part, just get any GTX Titan or 980ti that you can afford (or get multiples as Theo mentions) - the'GTX cards are simply the most powerful and least expensive of the GPUs, and an easy pick. Which ever you can afford that's 6Gb or over will work just fine.

However, whether a single i7 processor will suffice is more difficult to say, especially as you have not specified the 4K codec you're hoping to playback seamlessly. Every codec is different my friend, some easy and less computationally demanding, while others are much more difficult and processor intensive.

And, for the record, SDDs are not the ideal solution for video storage you and many others think they may be, for a number of reasons few know about. If your business is going to depend upon a seamless 4K workflow, you'll need to bite the bullet and invest in an 8-drive RAID with spinning disks. For the record, SSDs are rated and priced by two primary factors: 1) the number of terabytes of data moved on and off the drive before they start to lose performance; and, 2) the amount of overprovisioning, which is how many extra gigabytes are actually given to you onboard to accommodate for memory cells that go bad over time. Both of the above indicate that SDDs are currently great for use as boot drives, but not good investments for video storage, as moving massive data on and off the drives means those very expensive drives will die long before your return on investment will pay off.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist & Workflow Consultant
David Weiss Productions
Los Angeles


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Tero Ahlfors
Re: Graphics card suggestion for real-time 4K playback???
on Oct 28, 2015 at 7:31:17 am

[David Roth Weiss] "Every codec is different my friend, some easy and less computationally demanding, while others are much more difficult and processor intensive."

Basically if you have uncompressed footage (DPX, TIFF, etc) it doesn't require a lot of computational power, but it will require a reaaaaaaally fast RAID if you want to play it back. So if you have 50 meg frames running, for example, 24 frames a second you'd need a drive that can run faster than 1200MB/s.

If you have compressed footage (for example camera RAW stuff from Red, Arri, Sony) you'll need more CPU/GPU power to encode the information in them. The bitrate isn't insanely high so you don't need those insane drives but you'd still want to use pretty fast drives to handle the stuff.


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Michael McCune
Re: Graphics card suggestion for real-time 4K playback???
on Oct 28, 2015 at 11:01:22 am

Thanks for the insights which are well taken, David. (Also, interesting article in Tom's Hardware about the trajectory of SSDs now with 2 and 3 layers for increasing size and the corresponding plateau of hard drive density. They say another two or three years and we may see rough cost parity along with SSDs having more than 8-10 TB capacity--just add more chips-- which now is about the limit of hard drives.)

The 4K source I have is Sony recorded onto Shogun ProRes 4:2:2. You would know better, but ProRes seems to be well-liked and very workable for editors.

I believe your suggestion regarding the Titan X is also on target.

I appreciate your time, David.
Mike


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Joseph Owens
Re: Graphics card suggestion for real-time 4K playback???
on Oct 28, 2015 at 7:01:43 pm

[Michael McCune] "ProRes seems to be well-liked and very workable for editors.
"


Its an optimal intra codec.

It doesn't require a huge bitrate for source file transfer, and doesn't require massive re-computation to digest the ibp structure. In 1080HD, about a Gig a minute, whereas "Uncompressed" is going to be about 10GB. Multiply by 4 for UHD.

HIghly compressed H264 and similar codecs that are operating at about 1% of the "Uncompressed" data density start asking for major CPU processing... its just math, but because so much data is stripped out, it does become difficult to make a delicious and nutritious meal of the skeletal remains.

jPo

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


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Marc Wielage
Re: Graphics card suggestion for real-time 4K playback???
on Oct 31, 2015 at 4:21:00 am

[Michael McCune] "Please mention general considerations or guidelines for this application. Perhaps suggested minimums for the number of cores??? Memory bandwidth??
"


I think this is going to be very difficult unless you invest in a Linux system with at least 4-6 GPUs. The moment you get slammed with 5K or 6K R3D files and temporal noise reductions (or several blur nodes), real-time 4K playback on actual 4K displays is going to slow down alarmingly.

Fast i/o, as suggested above, is going to be mandatory as well. You could certainly work on 4K projects and monitor in HD, then deliver in 4K, but monitoring in 4K real-time will be costly. And a calibrated Grade-1 4K display or projector will not be inexpensive. I think the display itself will cost about as much as the computer or the drives. Last I checked, either the Sony BVM-X300 or the Canon DP-V2410 are in the range of about $35,000. Projectors are more. At the moment, I'm not convinced anything less expensive will tell you the truth.


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