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Mac Pro Speed at a iMac Price?

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Daniel McClintock
Mac Pro Speed at a iMac Price?
on Jun 10, 2015 at 12:27:29 am

One of the improvements mentioned yesterday during the Apple keynote speech was the use of Metal on the Mac OS. According to the Apple guys, Adobe has been working with this new feature and reports that render times on After Effects shot up 8 fold.

Do you think the Mac Pro is finished, or do you see better times ahead for editing 5K and 8K video on the Mac Pro with this new system?

Here's the story that got me thinking about this.

http://www.imore.com/metal-os-x-so-huge-i-no-longer-need-mac-pro

----------------------------

"Sometimes Life Needs a Cmd-Z!"


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Walter Soyka
Re: Mac Pro Speed at a iMac Price?
on Jun 10, 2015 at 1:04:13 am

Renders will never be fast enough. If one GPU is good, two GPUs is better. There is always room for more sizzle from a sizzle core beast.

That said, the number of people who need that, or who are willing to pay for it, will probably decrease. I think that we have already seen the bottom of the V on the workstation pricing curve. A lot of the things you used to need a workstation for -- I/O and throughput -- are either irrelevant now or can be done on modern consumer-class hardware, so the demand will probably go away.

Personally, I suspect the next few years will see the end of Moore's Law (or at least its misapplication to performance). I think that absolute performance improvement will shallow or even flatten as consumer hardware shifts away from compute performance and toward energy efficiency. Who knows? That might even set the stage for the next workstation renaissance, maybe another decade hence.

Also, regarding Ae rendering, don't expect that 8x improvement right away [link].

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Craig Seeman
Re: Mac Pro Speed at a iMac Price?
on Jun 10, 2015 at 4:37:50 am

[Walter Soyka] "That said, the number of people who need that, or who are willing to pay for it, will probably decrease. I think that we have already seen the bottom of the V on the workstation pricing curve. A lot of the things you used to need a workstation for -- I/O and throughput -- are either irrelevant now or can be done on modern consumer-class hardware, so the demand will probably go away."

I can't help to think what people will need to do real time multi-pass H.265 encoding on their home computers to upload 4K videos to YouTube. Not that anyone "needs" that.



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David Roth Weiss
Re: Mac Pro Speed at a iMac Price?
on Jun 10, 2015 at 2:06:37 am

Daniel,

If render speed is a big issue for you, you're on the wrong platform. As Andrew said, a single processor, in ALL current Macs, simply cannot compete against windows machines with multiple procs. But, if you're editing with FCP or FCP X you're stuck on the Mac platform.

My take per Metal is that it speeds up 3D renders, not basic computational renders, as in normal video renders on NLEs...

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions


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


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Walter Soyka
Re: Mac Pro Speed at a iMac Price?
on Jun 10, 2015 at 2:45:23 am

[David Roth Weiss] "My take per Metal is that it speeds up 3D renders, not basic computational renders, as in normal video renders on NLEs..."

Metal is a couple of things: it's a next-generation, graphics-drawing API, a modern successor to OpenGL. It also offers compute shaders (similar to OpenCL). It's like Microsoft's Direct3D 12 (which is not just limited to 3D) or the cross-platform Vulkan.

There are a lot of video rendering tasks that can be accelerated with basic fragment shaders [link] (see also: Smoke/Flare/Flame, Red Giant Universe, a pile of effects in Motion, etc.). There are a lot of other video rendering tasks that can be accelerated with the addition of GPGPU via compute shaders [link] (see also: Premiere Pro, FCPX).

Sidebar: compute shaders were introduced in OpenGL 4.3 back in 2012, but even in Yosemite, Apple is still rockin' OpenGL 4.1 like it's 2010! I do think Metal is really neat, but I also think Direct3D is really neat, and I think Vulkan is really neat AND cross-platform, I'm not stoked to see more GPU API fragmentation and lock-in when Apple could have thrown their weight behind Vulkan (whose board they sit on).

tl;dr -- Metal is one of several next-gen APIs that lets developers use the GPU for all kinds of stuff.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Steve Connor
Re: Mac Pro Speed at a iMac Price?
on Jun 10, 2015 at 6:36:27 am

[David Roth Weiss] "My take per Metal is that it speeds up 3D renders, not basic computational renders, as in normal video renders on NLEs..."


Here's a quick look at the potential

https://developer.apple.com/videos/wwdc/2015/?id=102&scid=social47244026&ad...

Starts around 01:32:30


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Mark Suszko
Re: Mac Pro Speed at a iMac Price?
on Jun 10, 2015 at 2:57:33 pm
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on Jun 10, 2015 at 3:22:43 pm

Just crystal-balling here, but the future of post hardware is also in the cloud, with the "hardware" locally being just more of an interface platform to the cloud storage and cloud processing than a stand-alone workstation itself.

I know, you're laughing. But here's why I think that.

There are a number of Big Science projects in the works around the world ( the Square Kilometer Array and the Human Brain Project being just two of them) that will be generating exabytes and more data per day of operation, all by themselves. The hardware to drink from that fire hose of data is in development now, and once commercialized, we'll be seeing the equivalent of a Moore's law in the scaling up of internet and data processing speeds way past multi-gigabit speeds. I foresee many more of those huge data warehouse server farm complexes, hosting all of this stuff and being the "back-end" to our editing systems of the future, working in 10K resolution, but the machine in front of us will just be our access point into the datastreams, a re-imagination of the client/server setup but on way more than steroids. It will change the editing paradigm yet again, and where we edit will never be a question again, because it can be literally anywhere that has the fast access, and you will be competing for edit jobs on a global market. I believe I will see it happen before I retire. We will ALL see it before we die.


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Herb Sevush
Re: Mac Pro Speed at a iMac Price?
on Jun 10, 2015 at 3:38:23 pm

[Mark Suszko] "We will ALL see it before we die."

That is so optimistic on so many fronts, you made my day.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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Craig Seeman
Re: Mac Pro Speed at a iMac Price?
on Jun 10, 2015 at 3:43:45 pm

There'd have to be significant improvements in real time compression and, even more uncontrollable, changes in the speed and reliability of internet connections throughout the country and the world. Baring any significant economic or political changes, the latter may be years away. Sure it'll be viable in pockets.



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Chris Harlan
Re: Mac Pro Speed at a iMac Price?
on Jun 11, 2015 at 5:57:40 am

[Craig Seeman] "There'd have to be significant improvements in real time compression "

I don't know. The guys at Pied Piper are on that pretty seriously. I hear the have a potential deal with Hooli that's gonna skull French-kiss all the rest of the algorithms out there.


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Mitch Ives
Re: Mac Pro Speed at a iMac Price?
on Jun 10, 2015 at 5:33:16 pm

[Daniel McClintock] "Do you think the Mac Pro is finished, or do you see better times ahead for editing 5K and 8K video on the Mac Pro with this new system?"

I never had a computer that was too fast, so no...

Mitch Ives
Insight Productions Corp.

"Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things." - Winston Churchill


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