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How much CPU / GPU to effortlessly edit native AVCHD?

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Kristian Tigersjäl
How much CPU / GPU to effortlessly edit native AVCHD?
on Oct 12, 2011 at 9:40:58 pm

I ma getting a new imac... I am torn between i7 processor upgrade and SSD upgrade. In most aspects SSD wins over i7, but one area where I am not so sure is video editing. The graphics card also differs somewhat between the models (27 inch). How much CPU and GPU is advisable to effortlessly edit AVCHD natively? I want to have enough but I don't wanna go overboard either spending lots of extra money that can be better put elsewhere!


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Jacob Kerns
Re: How much CPU / GPU to effortlessly edit native AVCHD?
on Oct 13, 2011 at 12:17:48 am

The i7 is fast enough but the only option is Ati/intel cards which might limit you in the future. You would be better going with a mac pro or Win7 box.

NIADA
Technical Director


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Walter Soyka
Re: How much CPU / GPU to effortlessly edit native AVCHD?
on Oct 13, 2011 at 1:25:34 am

[Jacob Kerns] "The i7 is fast enough but the only option is Ati/intel cards which might limit you in the future. You would be better going with a mac pro or Win7 box."

NVIDIA's Mac drivers seem pretty poor. ATI outperforms them quite handily, especially with OpenCL performance (which would be key to FCPX performance). If Kristian were interested in Premiere Pro, though, then a supported CUDA-enabled NVIDIA card in a Mac Pro would be the way to go.

Kristian, the CPU and SSD would affect performance in different ways. The SSD will make general things like booting and loading applications significantly faster, and will also improve memory swapping performance (for example, when you are running many apps at the same time and running low on system RAM). The i7 would provide a bigger boost for specific processor-intensive tasks, like decoding AVCHD and rendering video effects.

If you can afford both, I think they're both worthwhile.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: How much CPU / GPU to effortlessly edit native AVCHD?
on Oct 13, 2011 at 2:40:17 am

Just to be clear, you can't edit natively, it will be rewrapped QT files.

Jeremy


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Kristian Tigersjäl
Re: How much CPU / GPU to effortlessly edit native AVCHD?
on Oct 13, 2011 at 8:42:35 am

Part of FCPX's new features are "native editing of AVCHD" so that should definetely be possible. It may not be perfect for everything but for simple editing ti should most likely work fine.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: How much CPU / GPU to effortlessly edit native AVCHD?
on Oct 13, 2011 at 12:41:32 pm

[Kristian Tigersjäl] "Part of FCPX's new features are "native editing of AVCHD" so that should definetely be possible. It may not be perfect for everything but for simple editing ti should most likely work fine.
"


Yeah, it's a bit of a stretch. It rewraps to a QT movie, it doesn't edit off of the native files. It does take less time than a ProRes transcode.

Are you planning on getting an external drive to store your media?

I would opt for the faster processor, with as much RAM and GPU as you can afford. Ram will be crucial in 64bit.


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Kevin Patrick
Re: How much CPU / GPU to effortlessly edit native AVCHD?
on Oct 13, 2011 at 3:03:54 am

Here some FCP X testing on some of the latest Macs.

http://barefeats.com/fcpx01.html

Also, note that there is a white paper link on FCP X towards the bottom that talks about how FCP X uses and can benefit from various HW configurations.

The SSD drive will improve things like; boot time, wake from sleep, launch and install applications, running things like repair permissions. I doubt you will see much gain when it comes to running applications like FCP X. Plus, the speed of the Apple SSD drive is not as fast as SSD drives you can get from places like OWC.

But you will get more for your money on an i7 upgrade over an i5, as opposed to getting an SSD drive. Plus, when you upgrade to an i7 you can upgrade the graphics as well. Including going to 1 GB or even 2GB of GDDR5 memory. Note that the i7 iMac in the Barefeats test has the 6970 GPU and 2 GB of memory. It's keeping pace with what is probably the fastest Mac Pro you can get today. (until you buy and Mac Pro, then Apple will finally release a new Mac Pro, maybe, hopefully, then again ...)


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Rafael Amador
Re: How much CPU / GPU to effortlessly edit native AVCHD?
on Oct 13, 2011 at 6:43:01 am

Is interesting what they say about long clips.
people has reported the same here:

"However, when we opened a second project with similar assets, the real memory use by FCPX doubled. That implies that importing HD video clips of longer duration than our 30 second sample would impact real memory as well".
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Kristian Tigersjäl
Re: How much CPU / GPU to effortlessly edit native AVCHD?
on Oct 13, 2011 at 8:45:00 am

Thanks this should prove helpful. The thing here is that video editing isn't the sole purporse of this computer, it's also going to be used for general acticities aswell as programming so there are alot of needs that need to be met and this is where I am doubtful on what to get. I just found a firm in Sweden that installs SSD's from 3rd party so this may be an option aswell,


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Kevin Patrick
Re: How much CPU / GPU to effortlessly edit native AVCHD?
on Oct 13, 2011 at 11:42:54 am

Be careful about installing non-Apple SSD's in an iMac. I'm not an iMac user, but I believe they have non-standard HDD's in their iMacs that have some firmware on them such that an off the shelf HDD will cause issues. I'm not sure if that's the case for SSDs or not in iMacs. Plus, I thought SSD in an iMac was a memory card, not a 2.5" SSD drive.


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Kristian Tigersjäl
Re: How much CPU / GPU to effortlessly edit native AVCHD?
on Oct 13, 2011 at 1:33:23 pm

The 3,5 drives in mid-2011 models now feature a special cable taht makes none-apple drives unsuitable, they work but make the machine noisy... Have no idea how that works with ssd as they are 2,5 and probably aren't as hot if hot at all.


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Jacob Kerns
Re: How much CPU / GPU to effortlessly edit native AVCHD?
on Oct 13, 2011 at 3:21:22 pm

[Kevin Patrick] "But you will get more for your money on an i7 upgrade over an i5"

The difference between a i5 and i7 sandy bridge is a moot point. I built a i5 sandy bridge to play with PPro and its not that much slower than the i7 in fact it should of been called an i7 because the difference is 10%. I can edit native 1080p AVCHD footage and its smooth as butter with effects. Difference in speed between my Macpro and this is like night and day. Same encoding project took 6hrs on the Mac and 1.5hrs on the i5. My brothers i7 was only 5-10mins faster.

My i5 scored a 9094 and only cost me $175 at Microcenter. Whole computer was less than a grand.



http://ark.intel.com/products/47918/Intel-Xeon-Processor-W3670-(12M-Cache-3...

NIADA
Technical Director


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Kristian Tigersjäl
Re: How much CPU / GPU to effortlessly edit native AVCHD?
on Oct 13, 2011 at 7:15:05 pm

That was a nice reply, this is what I SUSPECT but haven't heard anyone say. Most people are keen to rather go too high than risking not getting satisfied but macs are very expensive and a balance needs to be made between performance vs cost.


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Walter Soyka
Re: How much CPU / GPU to effortlessly edit native AVCHD?
on Oct 13, 2011 at 7:20:54 pm

[Kristian Tigersjäl] "Most people are keen to rather go too high than risking not getting satisfied but macs are very expensive and a balance needs to be made between performance vs cost."

Here's a benchmark comparing the iMac i5 and iMac i7. You can see the performance difference and decide for yourself if it's worth it:

http://www.barefeats.com/imac11f.html

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: How much CPU / GPU to effortlessly edit native AVCHD?
on Oct 13, 2011 at 7:24:27 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Here's a benchmark comparing the iMac i5 and iMac i7. You can see the performance difference and decide for yourself if it's worth it:"

I agree.

Also that 5-10 minutes faster will add up during the day, but maybe that's just me. If you don't need the extra time, then save some money. Generally, the faster machine that you buy, the longer it will stay useful. You might have a different set if requirements, so get the slower one?


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Jacob Kerns
Re: How much CPU / GPU to effortlessly edit native AVCHD?
on Oct 14, 2011 at 12:43:16 am

[Jeremy Garchow] "Also that 5-10 minutes faster will add up during the day, but maybe that's just me. If you don't need the extra time, then save some money."

Well I could overclock my i5 to 4.7mhz which makes up that 5-10min difference. I have it set to auto speedstep which bumps it up to under load to 4.5Mhz and that's stable and only a 2min difference. Hmm 1k or $200 bucks for roughly the same speed? For 1k you could max out ram, good video card or even to good 2 large format monitors.

NIADA
Technical Director


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Walter Soyka
Re: How much CPU / GPU to effortlessly edit native AVCHD?
on Oct 14, 2011 at 1:27:13 pm

[Jacob Kerns] "Well I could overclock my i5 to 4.7mhz which makes up that 5-10min difference. I have it set to auto speedstep which bumps it up to under load to 4.5Mhz and that's stable and only a 2min difference. Hmm 1k or $200 bucks for roughly the same speed? For 1k you could max out ram, good video card or even to good 2 large format monitors."

I don't know that this is a viable option for someone looking to purchase an iMac to run FCPX.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Kristian Tigersjäl
Re: How much CPU / GPU to effortlessly edit native AVCHD?
on Oct 14, 2011 at 5:15:25 pm

It's not afaik possible to overclock a mac cpu. Read that as "a cpu in mac" ;)


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: How much CPU / GPU to effortlessly edit native AVCHD?
on Oct 14, 2011 at 5:20:42 pm

[Jacob Kerns] "Well I could overclock my i5 to 4.7mhz which makes up that 5-10min difference. I have it set to auto speedstep which bumps it up to under load to 4.5Mhz and that's stable and only a 2min difference. Hmm 1k or $200 bucks for roughly the same speed? For 1k you could max out ram, good video card or even to good 2 large format monitors."

Ok. So don't buy an iMac?


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Kristian Tigersjäl
Re: How much CPU / GPU to effortlessly edit native AVCHD?
on Oct 15, 2011 at 10:17:28 am

That is the whole point here, I am getting a mac, and there is no choice on this in the matter. I don't think you can overclock a mac pro either, though I haven't verfied this assumption.


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Jacob Kerns
Re: How much CPU / GPU to effortlessly edit native AVCHD?
on Oct 14, 2011 at 8:20:25 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "Ok. So don't buy an iMac?"

An iMac would be fine if your not doing heavy editing. I think their great for small projects but I think without the option to swap video cards or expansion its a turn off for graphics/video work. Specially since a lot of software is starting to use cuda more. Thunder bolt might change that.

[Kristian Tigersjäl] "It's not afaik possible to overclock a mac cpu. Read that as "a cpu in mac" ;)"

No its not. it was in the response to this post

[Kevin Patrick] "But you will get more for your money on an i7 upgrade over an i5, as opposed to getting an SSD drive. "

So The point was the i5 Sandy Bridge isn't that much slower than the i7 or the MacPro well at least on the PC side and especially with the auto overclock that comes with most ASUS/Gigabyte/MSI boards.

I built an i5 PC to play with PPro and its faster than my MacPro 5.1. Even in AE. What angers me is how much I paid for the Macpro and it gets out performed by a iMac or i5/i7 PC.

NIADA
Technical Director


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Kristian Tigersjäl
Re: How much CPU / GPU to effortlessly edit native AVCHD?
on Oct 15, 2011 at 10:23:52 am

That's life I guess... and mac's are expensive, not always with good reason! it's premium stuff that's just the way it is!

The iMac limitations in expansions is something that angers me aswell... but the only option would be mac pro and that is just going too far price-wise for me. Even then I'm not sure you can change cpu and you can certainly not change motherboard if that one goes out (or a component therein as isn't unusual).

So the difference isn't huge really there, the only thing that can be changed or added on a mac pro that is useful and can't be done on an imac is the graphics card but on the other hand this isn't a huge deal for me so I'll just have to go with an iMac.

I initially aimed for building a hackintosh but it was just hopeless to make something work nicely and get stable there.


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