FORUMS: list search recent posts

MacPro: More RAM or GPU

COW Forums : Apple Final Cut Pro X Debates

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Scott Williams
MacPro: More RAM or GPU
on Dec 14, 2013 at 11:19:26 pm

Help!

Looking to buy the 6 core Mac Pro this Tuesday (assuming everything goes according to plan).

As I understand the options, I can get the 6 core with any one of the three available FirePro gpu options. Here's my quandary. On a limited budget do I get more bang for my performance buck going for the low end FirePro option and 32 sticks of RAM or the midrange FirePro option and stick with 16 sticks of RAM.

I regularly use After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Cinema 4d if that helps.


Return to posts index

Helmut Kobler
Re: MacPro: More RAM or GPU
on Dec 15, 2013 at 12:22:42 am
Last Edited By Helmut Kobler on Dec 15, 2013 at 12:24:22 am

I'm angling for the 6 core option as well.

Personally, I would put the money into the GPU because you can always add more ram later when your cash frees up. Upgrading GPUs after purchase is far more difficult, if not impossible (we don't know enough yet about that issue).

Apple seems confident that GPUs, going forward, will have a big role to play in video -- that's why they put two of them in the machine as a standard configuration. I would definitely secure as much GPU power as possible....

-------------------
Los Angeles Cameraman
Canon C300 (x2), Zeiss CP.2 lenses, P2 Varicam, etc.
http://www.lacameraman.com


Return to posts index

Lance Bachelder
Re: MacPro: More RAM or GPU
on Dec 15, 2013 at 1:32:50 am

Agree - I'm looking at the Quad 3.7 with maxed out GPU's assuming they'll configure it that way. So many apps and plug-ins off-load heavy lifting to GPU's I think that will work best for me...

Lance Bachelder
Writer, Editor, Director
Downtown Long Beach, California
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1680680/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1


Return to posts index


Scott Williams
Re: MacPro: More RAM or GPU
on Dec 15, 2013 at 3:24:22 am

Thanks to both of you. That was my inclination. Glad to hear I'm not way off base.


Return to posts index

Andre van Berlo
Re: MacPro: More RAM or GPU
on Dec 15, 2013 at 9:28:31 am

But for whom would each GPU set be? Doesn't the GPU option kinda depend on your workload?

I'm doing 1080p HD video and not going to be doing any 4K in the coming 2-3years. I can imagine peope like Larry Jordan having need for a D700 set but you'd think the D500's are quite capable too. Even if they're only midrange you're going to be paying a hefty price to go from D500 to D700. When you need it that's the way to go but if not it's a waste of power.

Could anyone give an indication to which GPU would suit which type of workload?


Return to posts index

Bernard Newnham
Re: MacPro: More RAM or GPU
on Dec 15, 2013 at 10:04:42 am

There are lots of links on Google that compare the Xeon to the i7 - well worth a read before you chuck huge amounts of money at Apple - but I can't find one that compares Xeon versions, maybe someone else can. It's all so incredibly far from what you actually need to run 1080p. Xeons aren't meant for this job, they're optimised for servers - I'm using a quite old (in computer terms) Core i5 to run PPro, and it works fine.

Bernie


Return to posts index


Scott Williams
Re: MacPro: More RAM or GPU
on Dec 15, 2013 at 10:19:10 am

A couple of points of clarification.

I too work with 1080p rather than 4k. Hence my concern with the overkill on gpu.

I don't find many problems running Premiere Pro on my current high end iMac but I do note delays in heavy work in After Effects and C4D which is what I really need to address with the new machine.

I have my footage on a separate RAID 5 hard drive and my apps on an ssd drive in the IMAC.


Return to posts index

Marcus Moore
Re: MacPro: More RAM or GPU
on Dec 15, 2013 at 2:33:22 pm

I don't think people should be confused that the GPUs only facilitate 4K resolutions (though they do). With FCPX and Motion (and seemingly with updates to Resolve, and Adobe CC) the Render speed benefits will be noticeable at ANY resolution. Complex AE (some things) or Motion comps, noise reduction in Resolve, FCPX effects that support Open CL- all these will see HUGE boots in speed. I think the performance of 2 D700s is going to shock a lot of people (compared to existing Mac systems)



Return to posts index

Rick Lang
Re: MacPro: More RAM or GPU
on Dec 15, 2013 at 3:19:02 pm

I lean to agreeing with Marcus (again) that the trend is greater reliance on GPU for more uses. At this point a 6-core D700 looks worthwhile although a D500 could be the sweet spot in terms of value. If the applications that use the GPU are programmed to use what they can of the GPU (rather than assuming an arbitrary upper floor like 2 GB VRAM), then you’ll see real world benefits handling 4K and most anything with heavy calculations as previously identified. Even FCP X has had apparently almost all functions coded to take advantage of the dual GPUs and Apple has published some impressive performance improvements over a maxed out current generation Mac Pro.

As for those who don’t plan on doing 4K, if 4K proves to be very beneficial for keying, effects, improved detail and colour after downscaling to 2K or HD, you may find yourself working with 4K in post sooner than later. It does give you the option of delivering in 2K and HD, so don’t say your clients don’t need it: it may give you a competitive edge and that might accelerate your move to 4K. 4K is not 3D. By that I mean, 4K won’t make anyone feel disoriented, uncomfortable, dizzy or strain to find a good viewing angle. For your end viewer, 4K even downscaled is not going to be rejected if you offer it. Your downside will be more costly hardware and storage, but hopefully that’s offset by ‘more better’ clients who appreciate your work.

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB


Return to posts index


Andre van Berlo
Re: MacPro: More RAM or GPU
on Dec 15, 2013 at 6:16:32 pm

I understand that the D700's are going to kick ass on that machine, but what's the difference with the D500's. For someone who renders a project on a D500 and it takes 3hrs, the D700 would be best but if rendering with the D500 takes 10min, is it worth it to pay the extra $2-2.5k?

But I guess we'll know once the first people make their Bruce-X tests :-) with their MP's


Return to posts index

Marcus Moore
Re: MacPro: More RAM or GPU
on Dec 15, 2013 at 6:23:03 pm

Exactly- for those who need to pick their battles with the price, waiting on app specific benchmarks is going to be crucial. If something take 10min to render with D700s, and twice that with D500s, the user will have to decide if they can take that hit, depending on how graphics intensive their workflow is.



Return to posts index

Colin McQuillan
Re: MacPro: More RAM or GPU
on Dec 16, 2013 at 7:18:09 am

How well is C4D using the GPU these days? I'm a couple versions behind and it is heavily CPU dependant for rendering and really only touches the gpu for previews.

Colin McQuillan
Vancouver, B.C.



Return to posts index


Helmut Kobler
Re: MacPro: More RAM or GPU
on Dec 16, 2013 at 9:03:06 am

I was wondering that about C4d as well!

Did a quick search, and didn't see too much about Open CL support....

-------------------
Los Angeles Cameraman
Canon C300 (x2), Zeiss CP.2 lenses, P2 Varicam, etc.
http://www.lacameraman.com


Return to posts index

Scott Williams
Re: MacPro: More RAM or GPU
on Dec 16, 2013 at 9:10:45 am

I did find this while hunting around on Firepro graphics cards which suggests they're starting to use them.


http://www.fireprographics.com/ws/mae/maxon/resources/AMD_Maxon_SolutionShe...


Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: MacPro: More RAM or GPU
on Dec 16, 2013 at 2:29:33 pm

[Scott Williams] "I regularly use After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Cinema 4d if that helps."

I disagree with a lot of the advice in this thread. All these apps will benefit from more CPU and more RAM. Pr is the only one of these three apps that makes heavy use of GPU acceleration via OpenCL. Graphics/mograph/compositing is still very CPU-reliant in general.

I think that Helmut's advice to go for GPU now and upgrade RAM as soon as you can (because RAM will be easier to upgrade) is sound, but if you plan to purchase this machine and not touch it again, I'd go for more RAM and maybe consider holding out for the 8-core CPU configuration.

Ae renders entirely on the CPU, with only a few significant third-party plugins doing any internal rendering on the GPU. Most of these use OpenGL which will not benefit from dual GPUs and which will see diminishing returns on OpenGL performance on the higher Mac Pro GPUs (although the larger VRAM quantities could be beneficial for large textures on detailed models in Element 3D).

C4D also does final renders entirely on the CPU. The AMD brochure referenced here refer to viewport speed (using OpenGL or Enhanced OpenGL), not final rendering speed. I am puzzled by the references to GPU-accelerated dynamics calculations; I haven't heard that anywhere else, and my own experience with dynamics-heavy R14 projects has been that the dynamics simulation caching was a slow, single-threaded, CPU-bound process. If anyone knows more, I'd love to learn.

Some words of wisdom on Enhanced OpenGL from the MAXON help:

Tip:
Enhanced OpenGL offers numerous relevant material channels and lighting properties that can be displayed fluidly in the editor view without having to render the image.

Enhanced OpenGL can be activated separately in each view (Display menu) also with regard to effects such as shadow, transparency, etc.

Enhanced OpenGL, including corresponding options such as transparency, shadow and post effect must be activated in the respective view (Display menu). CINEMA 4D supports OpenGL post effects (e.g., the Cartoon Renderer post effect) only to a limited degree.

Don’t expect miracles, though. Of course it is impossible for any graphics card to display all CINEMA 4D lighting or material properties (current graphics cards just are not capable of this type of performance) and there is no guarantee that the OpenGL display in the editor view will reflect the actual rendered result (OpenGL and CINEMA 4D renderers simply differ too greatly from one another). Enhanced OpenGL serves primarily to offer instant visual feedback for everyday situations without having to constantly test-render your scene, in particular with regard to the depiction of shadows.

Tip:
Make sure you always use the most current driver for your graphics card.

Also make sure that the graphics card driver lets you enable and disable certain graphics card options. For example, antialiasing for transparent objects can be disabled, which, of course, would result in making it impossible to render smoothed, transparent objects in CINEMA 4D.

The following properties are, for the most part, supported and can therefore be seen directly in the editor view:

  • Material channels: Color, diffusion, luminance, transparency, environment, bump, normal, alpha, specular, (these can be activated / deactivated in the Editor channel, exclusively for Enhanced OpenGL display.
  • Light sources: The most important options will be implemented (e.g., type, inner angle, outer angle (Spot Light), a Spot Light’s color gradient (Details tab: Use Gradient).
  • Shadows: Hard Shadows only (any shadow type can be selected). All other shadows will only be displayed as Hard Shadows. Inaccurate shadow depiction can result when working with larger scenes.
  • Shaders: Many shaders will be calculated natively by the graphics card (color gradient, Fresnel, bitmap (i.e. loaded textures), color, checkerboard, noise (exception: All Veronis, Ober and Zada) falloff, colorizer, filter, etc.), which will result in a relatively accurate depiction of the scene in the editor view. Other shaders such as noise, etc. will be emulated: Internally, the (relatively small) shader preview (bitmap) will be used and projected onto the object with UVW projection. These bitmaps will be saved with the scene, which can result in vastly larger (scene) file sizes!


Note:
Since this functionality emulates shaders, opening a scene that contains many shaders can require a lot of memory.


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


Return to posts index


Julian Bowman
Re: MacPro: More RAM or GPU
on Dec 16, 2013 at 2:55:25 pm

How about if I only use FCPX with 1080 footage in ProRes and motion (mostly templates). money is a consideration so for me it seems like the best choice would be the 6 core with a 500 (mid range) graphics card (RAM i will max from elsewhere). But can I save myself a grand and just use the 4-core with the 500 card? I don't do masses of rendering or exporting so if the CPU is export and render only on these apps, would I benefit from the 6 core?

Cheers in advance.



Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: MacPro: More RAM or GPU
on Dec 16, 2013 at 3:07:41 pm

[Julian Bowman] "How about if I only use FCPX with 1080 footage in ProRes and motion (mostly templates). money is a consideration so for me it seems like the best choice would be the 6 core with a 500 (mid range) graphics card (RAM i will max from elsewhere). But can I save myself a grand and just use the 4-core with the 500 card? I don't do masses of rendering or exporting so if the CPU is export and render only on these apps, would I benefit from the 6 core? Cheers in advance."

My suggestion to anyone buying a Mac Pro for FCPX and trying to figure out how to best allocate a limited budget across CPU, GPU, and RAM is to wait until the unit and the new software actually ship and we can see some real-world performance reports.

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


Return to posts index

Marcus Moore
Re: MacPro: More RAM or GPU
on Dec 16, 2013 at 3:21:00 pm

This is the best advice that no one wants to hear- WAIT.

Wait for someone to line these machines up and test them on the software you use. Not benchmarks. No guesswork.

It may mean you won't be able to order a machine for a month- but you won't be sweating your decision later.



Return to posts index

Shawn Miller
Re: MacPro: More RAM or GPU
on Dec 16, 2013 at 6:26:06 pm

[Walter Soyka] " I am puzzled by the references to GPU-accelerated dynamics calculations; I haven't heard that anywhere else, and my own experience with dynamics-heavy R14 projects has been that the dynamics simulation caching was a slow, single-threaded, CPU-bound process. If anyone knows more, I'd love to learn."

Maybe they mean third party plugins like Turbulence 4D? I have to admit though, T4D is the only plugin I know of that uses GPUs for dynamics calculations.

Shawn



Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: MacPro: More RAM or GPU
on Dec 16, 2013 at 7:20:44 pm

[Shawn Miller] "Maybe they mean third party plugins like Turbulence 4D? I have to admit though, T4D is the only plugin I know of that uses GPUs for dynamics calculations."

Maybe. But I think you're being generous and I wonder if they're just, you know, wrong. Here's the text in question:

New levels of computational performance with AMD Graphics Core Next (GCN) GPU architecture
Take advantage of exceptional performance in intensive non-3D tasks such as effects processing and video rendering, without having to buy a second board. AMD FirePro cards based on the latest GCN GPU architecture use a 28nm design and deliver increased compute performance to handle such advanced effects and are the perfect match for the new physics tools in CINEMA 4D R14. This makes the effects of aerodynamic forces, springs and breaks look more authentic than ever. In the case of soft shadows, not only memory utilization increases but also the GPU is required to perform more complex calculations to add realism to your scene. The AMD FirePro W5000 offers over 1.2 TFLOPS of single-precision performance and packs the performance of a super computer into a single slot.


"This makes the effects of aerodynamic forces, springs and breaks look more authentic than ever." What? That sounds like a bad marketing paraphrase of a claim MAXON makes in the C4D R14 press release [link]: "R14 now offers greater levels of realism and control with increased versatility over dynamics with aerodynamic forces, plastic springs and breaking connectors. Users can now create much more believable animations of flying or breaking objects." Maxon never mentions any kind of GPU acceleration, and with all the buzzwordiness of GPU today, they'd be shouting that from the rooftops.

Soft shadows are rendered in the viewport using Enhanced OpenGL, and they are rendered for final render on the CPU, so they seem dreadfully out of place in the compute section.

These wouldn't be the only errors on that PDF. Look at the Cinebench R15 benchmark results (fps) chart -- the K2000 and the K4000 have the same reported frames per second, but bars of different length against the same axis.

I just don't give much credence to this sheet.

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


Return to posts index

Rick Lang
Re: MacPro: More RAM or GPU
on Dec 16, 2013 at 7:57:26 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Look at the Cinebench R15 benchmark results (fps) chart -- the K2000 and the K4000 have the same reported frames per second, but bars of different length against the same axis."

Just a typo I assume for the K2000 results, but I agree with your sentiments on all the hype that isn’t saying much clearly.

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB


Return to posts index

Shawn Miller
Re: MacPro: More RAM or GPU
on Dec 16, 2013 at 8:15:19 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Maybe. But I think you're being generous and I wonder if they're just, you know, wrong. Here's the text in question:

New levels of computational performance with AMD Graphics Core Next (GCN) GPU architecture
Take advantage of exceptional performance in intensive non-3D tasks such as effects processing and video rendering, without having to buy a second board. AMD FirePro cards based on the latest GCN GPU architecture use a 28nm design and deliver increased compute performance to handle such advanced effects and are the perfect match for the new physics tools in CINEMA 4D R14. This makes the effects of aerodynamic forces, springs and breaks look more authentic than ever. In the case of soft shadows, not only memory utilization increases but also the GPU is required to perform more complex calculations to add realism to your scene. The AMD FirePro W5000 offers over 1.2 TFLOPS of single-precision performance and packs the performance of a super computer into a single slot."


(sigh)... I think you're right, this is incorrect and misleading. It's one thing to tout the compute power of AMD's GPUs, and then talk about rendering and effects in the next paragraph... letting the reader draw the conclusion that one has something to do with the other (bad enough), but this is just untruthful. Thanks for pointing it out, Walter.

Shawn



Return to posts index

Scott Williams
Re: MacPro: More RAM or GPU
on Dec 16, 2013 at 8:25:03 pm

I put in a query to Maxon to get some clarity. See if they answer me.


Return to posts index

Scott Williams
Re: MacPro: More RAM or GPU
on Dec 17, 2013 at 1:18:26 am

Here's what I got back from Maxon support.


Hi Scott,

I hate to say this, but don't believe what you read on that fireprographics link.

Trust me when I say that CINEMA 4D currently does not take advantage of GPU rendering, whether it's with an AMD Firepro card, or any other graphics card.
If you have one of two 3rd-party renderers, Octane render or Iray, then you can utilize this card for GPU rendering. However the renderer that comes built in with CINEMA 4D can not take advantage of the Firepro cards. This is not going to improve your Global Illumination render times.

For C4D purposes, the graphics card is only used to display the 3D viewport. So for fast animation playback, heavy scenes, and quick viewport rendering you will want a good graphics card. However it's not required to run C4D. You can run the application with Use OpenGL turned off in your preferences to rely on the motherboard's RAM and processors to generate the viewport display.

You'll only see benefit from the Firepro card while rendering in the viewport (provided the graphics drivers are stable), because it is a high-end professional card. C4D uses the OpenGL capability of the card here, and does not use the GPU processing. For the cost, you may be better off getting a high-end gaming card for C4D use, since it's the OpenGL capabilities C4D needs most from a graphics card.

I hope this helps clear up the confusion. Please let us know if you need any further assistance.

Regards,
MAXON Technical Support
(csc)


Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: MacPro: More RAM or GPU
on Dec 17, 2013 at 1:52:08 am

Thanks for writing back with the MAXON response.

Unfortunately, I think there may be an error in their response, too. Both Octane and iray (third party renderers) require NVIDIA CUDA, so they won't run on AMD FirePros.

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


Return to posts index

Scott Williams
Re: MacPro: More RAM or GPU
on Dec 17, 2013 at 2:12:01 am

Thanks Walter.

I just saw that same point referenced on the Tom's Hardware site contrasting the quadro and fire pro cards. Half of learning about a system appears to be learning which information sources are trustworthy.


Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: MacPro: More RAM or GPU
on Dec 17, 2013 at 9:15:02 pm

[Scott Williams] "Half of learning about a system appears to be learning which information sources are trustworthy."

Not the ones trying to sell you something :)

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


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]