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Oliver Peters
nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 1, 2016 at 7:21:37 pm

One of the sites I freelance at has some upcoming projects that will all be shot 4K. Finish will likely be HD for now with a possible conform to 4K as needed later. Editing will be Premiere Pro CC and/or FCP X. Locally attached storage. Camera to be determined, but favored options include RED or Alexa Mini. So either REDCODE raw or ProRes.

In order to deal with this, it's time to update the primary machine from an older 12-core MP tower to a new machine. What is the consensus out there for extensive 4K editing? Either some configuration of the nMP or a decked out iMac. Thoughts? Experiences? Configurations?

Budget is frugal, but we want to be a bit future-proofed, although not overextended either. Right now I'm leaning towards an 8-core with the D500 GPUs, but what are the feelings of the group? Thanks.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Noah Kadner
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 1, 2016 at 8:25:20 pm

No such thing as future proofing in this business. But I think bang for buck 5K iMac is the best deal if money is an object. More deets:

http://www.macworld.co.uk/feature/mac/imac-vs-mac-pro-best-mac-desktop-for-...

Noah

FCPWORKS - FCPX Workflow
FCP Exchange - FCPX Workshops
XinTwo - FCPX Training


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Oliver Peters
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 1, 2016 at 9:24:56 pm

Thanks. Those reviews are unfortunately kind of "consumerish". I'm concerned about the GPUs. So far I'm steering away from the D700, because those seem to be the defective ones that burn up. Any update on that front?

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Mitch Ives
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 11, 2016 at 9:04:21 pm

[Oliver Peters] "I'm concerned about the GPUs. So far I'm steering away from the D700, because those seem to be the defective ones that burn up. Any update on that front?"

Been flogging one with D700's since day one... no issues. Among my friends, none of us have ever heard of this. You sure about that?

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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Oliver Peters
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 11, 2016 at 10:50:31 pm

[Mitch Ives] "You sure about that?"

The Deadpool team burned through several of these machines. I confirmed issues with the AMD folks at NAB regarding the D700 in the form factor the way Apple has implemented these GPUs. A simple Google search will turn up quite a few hits related to overheating and/or video glitches when maxed out, particularly rendering 4K from Resolve.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Mitch Ives
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 12, 2016 at 10:59:25 pm

Well that sucks. Haven't seen it with the 4K here, but I haven't tried 4K with Resolve

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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Walter Soyka
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 11, 2016 at 11:56:07 pm

[Mitch Ives] "Been flogging one with D700's since day one... no issues. Among my friends, none of us have ever heard of this. You sure about that?"

We have 4 nMPs. We've had to have 3 service calls resulting in hardware replacement (only one was a GPU replacement, IIRC). I'm definitely the outlier here, and Apple has always done the right thing and fixed them, but each repair does take the machine out of service for a few days.

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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Tom Sefton
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 1, 2016 at 8:38:43 pm

Have a look at the forever project link I posted a few weeks back. Documents a 2 year project working with red raw footage on the new Mac Pro. Brilliant performance.

Co-owner at Pollen Studio
http://www.pollenstudio.co.uk


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Oliver Peters
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 1, 2016 at 9:23:25 pm

I read through that, but I didn't see any info on the Mac Pro configuration you went with. Would you break that down? Thanks.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Noah Kadner
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 2, 2016 at 12:37:59 am
Last Edited By Noah Kadner on Aug 2, 2016 at 12:40:58 am

Sounds like you need to nail down the workflow first- 4K ProRes vs 4K REDCODE are night and day.

Were it the latter I'd want a 12-core and a RED Rocket in a Sonnet box if I planned to sleep well at night. The former would cut like butter in either machine.

Or add an Odyssey 7Q+ or an Atomos Ninja Flame

Then it won't matter which camera you shoot- you'll get awesome ProRes.

Noah

FCPWORKS - FCPX Workflow
FCP Exchange - FCPX Workshops
XinTwo - FCPX Training


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Oliver Peters
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 2, 2016 at 12:53:06 am

[Noah Kadner] "Were it the latter I'd want a 12-core and a RED Rocket in a Sonnet box if I planned to sleep well at night. The former would cut like butter in either machine."

Thanks. I've actually done a lot of RED work and I don't find much advantage to the Rocket card over a fast processor. In fact, in the early days of X, there was a serious conflict between X and the Rocket, so I've soured on it ever since. My preference would be for ProRes as well. I suspect, no matter what the hopes are, the final mix will be from several different camera formats. My gut feeling is that I'll probably been using the proxy workflow.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Lance Bachelder
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 2, 2016 at 8:28:23 am

My last feature was all native 4K .r3d's and I cut it with no issues on a nMP 6-core with D700's and a fast Thunderbolt raid. I think the raid was a very important part of the real-time performance. I've since gone back to an older Mac Pro with the GTX 980 in it and it's fine with Red footage. Why not just update your 12-core? What GPU do you have? I've got a 4 drive raid inside and SSD boot drive with 2nd SSD for cache and all is pretty nice but I do miss Thunderbolt...

It was at a Vegas premiere that I resolved to become an avid FCPX user.

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


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Oliver Peters
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 2, 2016 at 1:10:52 pm
Last Edited By Oliver Peters on Aug 2, 2016 at 2:53:54 pm

[Lance Bachelder] "Why not just update your 12-core? "

Right now it's been upgraded with an internal SSD drive, 32GB RAM and ATI 7950 card. The plan is to move that machine into a secondary slot replacing another machine that's on its last legs. The new machine would become the prime editing system.

Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Lance Bachelder
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 2, 2016 at 5:17:36 pm

Gotcha - I also had the 7950 - the upgrade to the GTX 980 is significant and gives you near the performance of the dual D700's in the nMP and works well with 4K material.

Good Luck!

It was at a Vegas premiere that I resolved to become an avid FCPX user.

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


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Oliver Peters
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 2, 2016 at 9:28:42 pm

[Lance Bachelder] " the upgrade to the GTX 980 is significant and gives you near the performance of the dual D700's"

Thanks. That's good to know.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Gary Huff
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 2, 2016 at 3:10:43 am

[Tom Sefton] "Documents a 2 year project working with red raw footage on the new Mac Pro. Brilliant performance."

And is it still the original one you bought? Did Apple have to service it? What GPUs did you get in it?


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Tom Sefton
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 2, 2016 at 8:30:30 am

We got one 8 core with d700s and then added another with the same spec. First one had 32GB ram the next had 64.. Extra ram made a positive difference for working in fcpx. Both are still in heavy use for the forever project and any other work that passes through. Both machines have a gtech studio xl raid attached via thunderbolt, an apple monitor via thunderbolt, an external soundcard via usb3 and peripherals - the speeds we have been getting are helped massively by the speed of the raids.

We never had any servicing required for either, but purchased AppleCare as a fail safe. The d700s never let us down once. Realtime r3d encoding to ProRes, then stepped down to h264 or h265 using compressor was easy. The one place the Mac Pro isn't as good as the iMac is encoding to h264 - the iMac is faster for this. However it's counter productive as I'm not sure if I could leave an iMac encoding for a week and expect it to last as long without requiring servicing - I could be wrong though...?

If you've got a lot of footage to chew through, you might find the iMac gets very hot and struggles without a red rocket X - add this purchase price on with a sonnet enclosure and you are past the expense for a Mac Pro which doesn't require it unless you need faster than realtime encoding. Can't praise the new Mac Pro highly enough - suppose the only consideration is whether apple will release something new in the fall.

Co-owner at Pollen Studio
http://www.pollenstudio.co.uk


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Gary Huff
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 2, 2016 at 3:51:05 pm

[Tom Sefton] "the speeds we have been getting are helped massively by the speed of the raids."

Oh yes, I have experienced this. A 40 minute Resolve render out to a LaCie Thunderbolt Rugged drive (because that's what the client provided after I requested a G-RAID) dropped to under 10 minutes rendering out to my MBPr's internal 1TB SSD drive.

[Tom Sefton] "We never had any servicing required for either, but purchased AppleCare as a fail safe. "

That's good to have someone with a positive Mac Pro experience, it's been a sea of negative for me asking and reading around, and I am in the market for something powerful.

[Tom Sefton] "The one place the Mac Pro isn't as good as the iMac is encoding to h264 - the iMac is faster for this."

How much faster would you say? I do a lot of H.264 and foresee going to H.265 deliverables potentially next year. Mostly work in XF AVC (with a smattering of ProRes) and starting to bring more 4K into the workflow, but man, it bogs down horribly on my current setup. Have been doing a heavy proxy workflow, but in the end, quick turnarounds for the final render are a consideration for me.

[Tom Sefton] "Can't praise the new Mac Pro highly enough - suppose the only consideration is whether apple will release something new in the fall."

That's my worry, but then again, if it's like 2013, then they'll announce it in the fall and it'll be Feb/March/April before you can actually get one.


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Tom Sefton
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 2, 2016 at 6:02:32 pm

I think someone has written an online article comparing the iMac with the Mac Pro at speeds for h264 but in our experience the Mac Pro will do it in realtime for a dual pass encode at 4K source to 4K output. The iMac tends to do the h264 encode about 20% faster as it is hardware accelerated with the i7 chip (I believe this is why, but could be wrong). It's not a huge amount but if you never work with raw, have a reasonably light workload and edit and deliver to h264 it could make a difference. I'll try and find the online article.

Co-owner at Pollen Studio
http://www.pollenstudio.co.uk


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Gary Huff
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 2, 2016 at 8:21:33 pm

[Tom Sefton] "t's not a huge amount but if you never work with raw, have a reasonably light workload and edit and deliver to h264 it could make a difference. I'll try and find the online article."

That would be great. 20% doesn't sound like a whole lot of difference, but I have a lot of longform material that currently takes about 2 hours to render on my MBPr, and I'd like to get that down to a tenth if possible. Not sure if the iMac could get me there or if the Mac Pro could. I prefer raw power, but I do understand the benefit of going with a Skylake i7 vs an Ivy Bridge Xeon.


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Tom Sefton
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 2, 2016 at 10:04:57 pm

http://macperformanceguide.com/iMac5K_2014-video-transcode4K.html

http://barefeats.com/imac5k4.html

https://larryjordan.com/articles/mac-pro-video-compression/

http://videoandfilmmaker.com/wp/index.php/news/imac-vs-macpro-great-debate/


Some interesting, some inconclusive. On the whole it seems to go with the consensus that if you ever work in 4K raw, go pro. If you only ever work in ProRes and stay in short form with limited colour correction and encoding, go for the iMac...

If you go for the Mac Pro, get the d700s, and as much ram as you can afford - aftermarket is fine as long as it's fast enough. The processors speed performance up but until you compare the 6 to the 12 there isn't enough difference. Sweet spot is an 8core with everything maxed.

The other thing to note is that if you do invest in a red rocket, it's pointless if the red camera has been upgraded to dragon sensor. Even if it shoots at 4K on the dragon, the difference in debayer means the original rocket is redundant. Would love for someone to fund a test with the new Titan in an external enclosure with some 6k footage....

Co-owner at Pollen Studio
http://www.pollenstudio.co.uk


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Gary Huff
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 2, 2016 at 10:38:03 pm

[Tom Sefton] "Would love for someone to fund a test with the new Titan in an external enclosure with some 6k footage...."

Do it with a Titan X and watch the enclosure melt... :-D


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Oliver Peters
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 3, 2016 at 12:36:10 am

One of the concerns I have in this upgrade is that a lot of the desirable local storage is shifting to Thunderbolt. So If I want to add a fast local RAID, it almost pushes me into a new Mac Pro as opposed to updating the tower any further.

Unfortunately the biggest negative for the nMP is the lack of any functional upgradability. As evidenced by the fact that we are discussing a several years old tower proves the fact that future expansion has its value over planned obsolescence.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Gary Huff
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 3, 2016 at 4:28:23 am

[Oliver Peters] "As evidenced by the fact that we are discussing a several years old tower proves the fact that future expansion has its value over planned obsolescence."

I mean, really, if ASUS came out tomorrow and said that they had developed drivers for macOS that allowed it to work with their PCIe Thunderbolt expansion card, would you ever consider a 2013 Mac Pro?


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Joe Marler
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 3, 2016 at 11:32:39 am

[Oliver Peters] "One of the concerns I have in this upgrade is that a lot of the desirable local storage is shifting to Thunderbolt. So If I want to add a fast local RAID, it almost pushes me into a new Mac Pro as opposed to updating the tower any further. "

However I think you can update the tower to a max of 32TB using 8TB 3.5" drives. I am using two of these HGST 8TB drives: https://amzn.com/B00NP6AOCK. They are very energy efficient and don't output much heat for this class of HDD, yet performance is high. It also has a five-year warranty.

The competing drive in this category is the Seagate 8TB Enterprise: https://amzn.com/B016AG0ITU

If you later get a refreshed nMP you could redeploy these drives in a RAID box like those from OWC. I also use a 16TB Thunderbay 4, and it (along with SoftRAID) work very well: https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/TB2IVT16.0S/. In theory I could put 4 x 8TB drives in it for 32TB total.


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Oliver Peters
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 3, 2016 at 2:01:22 pm
Last Edited By Oliver Peters on Aug 3, 2016 at 2:02:16 pm

[Joe Marler] "However I think you can update the tower to a max of 32TB using 8TB 3.5" drives. "

Any concerns with the draw on the internal power supply of the tower? I presume you would need to put the boot drive into one of the optical slots if you populated the tower with 4 of these drives?

Also, have you run any AJA Sys Tests or BMD Tests on these for throughput speed?

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Joe Marler
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 3, 2016 at 5:48:11 pm

[Oliver Peters] "Any concerns with the draw on the internal power supply of the tower? I presume you would need to put the boot drive into one of the optical slots if you populated the tower with 4 of these drives?

Also, have you run any AJA Sys Tests or BMD Tests on these for throughput speed?"


The spec sheet for the HGST 8TB drive says 7.4 watts operating power consumption. That is much less than a 2TB or 4TB WD Caviar Black, and only slightly more than a 4TB WD Red. You'd have to compare this to the spec of your current drives.

Re capacity limits, that would be determined by the version of OS X and possibly even the firmware. I think from an OS standpoint 32TB is doable, however there might be issues with the firmware and disk controller. You'd have to investigate that. Some info is here: http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/mac_pro/faq/mac-pro-how-to-upgrade-ha...

The new HDDs are 6 gbps SATA 3 so I don't know the backward compatibility with the stock Mac Pro 5,1 disk controller.

I'm using two HGST 8TB drives in an two-drive OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual as RAID-0: https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/Thunderbolt/External-Drive/OWC/Elite-Dual-R...

That is Thunderbolt so of course it wouldn't work with an older Mac Pro but from a pure HDD standpoint the drives are pretty good. In the above chassis I get 306 MB/sec read and 382 MB/sec write on Black Magic, and 390.8 MB/sec read and 329.9 MB/sec write on Quick Bench's extended test, with "allow cache effects" disabled. I get substantially faster performance with 4x 4TB HGST drives in a Thunderbay 4 using SoftRAID for RAID-5, about 487 MB/sec write and 532 MB/sec read on Black Magic.

I'm not experienced with the specifics up upgrading older Mac Pros with newer HDDs, I just wanted to mention it as a possibility. It might not be worth the investigative time and effort. That would lead to either a nMP or a top-spec iMac 27, which both support Thunderbolt. For professional use I would tilt toward the nMP. I know lots of people (myself included) do professional 4k editing on a top-spec iMac 27 but I think the extreme pixel count of the retina screen slows things down a bit, even if using proxy. The iMac is very fast at importing and exporting H264 on FCPX due to Quick Sync, but that is only one part of a large workflow. If you have to transcode to proxy, or are using ProRes or REDCODE then much of that Quick Sync advantage goes out the window.


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Lance Bachelder
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 3, 2016 at 6:31:39 pm

I have a 4 drive RAID 0 inside my old Mac Pro using WD Black drives with SSD's in optical bay. I get approx 500MB read/write via AJA System test and I use Softraid. SSD performance limited to 300MB per sec due to older SATA in the MOBO.

Big issue is GPU - seems if you're more Premiere than nVidia is the way to go while AMD is best for FCPX.

It was at a Vegas premiere that I resolved to become an avid FCPX user.

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


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 5, 2016 at 6:54:38 pm

If you are going to use 4k RAW, you are going to want to have the Dual GPUs. I would not be afraid of the D700s.

We have D700s and haven't had one single issue with our MacPros. If you use Resolve at all, you'll want the dual GPUs as well.

The MacPro will last you longer than the iMac, but the price is higher.

I miss my MacPros when I am not around them. They make everything go faster than Apple's more mobile based computers.

We just moved and rewired everything and we literally got rid of an entire rack of patching and cables due to Thunderbolt. It is truly an awesome technology.

I'm sure Apple will release a new computer, but for now the Tube is what they are offering. If I had to buy new today (we ordered ours when the day they were released) I would buy again.


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Oliver Peters
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 5, 2016 at 7:06:09 pm
Last Edited By Oliver Peters on Aug 5, 2016 at 7:07:17 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "If you are going to use 4k RAW, you are going to want to have the Dual GPUs. I would not be afraid of the D700s.
We have D700s and haven't had one single issue with our MacPros. If you use Resolve at all, you'll want the dual GPUs as well."


What's your opinion of going to the nMP over upgrading the current 12-core tower(s) with a faster GPU (GTX 980) and more RAM?

[Jeremy Garchow] "We just moved and rewired everything and we literally got rid of an entire rack of patching and cables due to Thunderbolt."

That's definitely a plus and a real move into the future. The choices for non-Thunderbolt RAIDs are actually getting a bit slim compared to a couple of years ago.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 5, 2016 at 10:17:30 pm

[Oliver Peters] "What's your opinion of going to the nMP over upgrading the current 12-core tower(s) with a faster GPU (GTX 980) and more RAM?"

I've never done a speed comparison, but my guess is that the new MacPro is going to win in day to day use. We still have a cheesegrater and editing on it is an exercise in futility. I'd rather edit on a MacBook Air than a cheesegrater in fcpx.

You can keep spending in the 12 core, but the architecture of the new MacPro will make fcpx work more quickly.

I use Blackmagic video out only for Resolve. I'd recommend an AJA TTap (or similar) for fcpx video out on the thunderbolt Mac. It makes a huge difference in performance in fcpx, measurably huge.

I'd think about a storage medium that isn't tied to Thunderbolt 2, but a different standard such as 10GigE or 8/16Gb fibre. That way, when TB3 comes along you will still have access to the storage by a converter box of some sort (PCIe/TB3 native/etc), and you can still keep other TB2 computers tied to it as well.


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Oliver Peters
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 5, 2016 at 11:00:17 pm

Thanks.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Gabe Strong
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 7, 2016 at 5:50:56 am

[Jeremy Garchow] "I've never done a speed comparison, but my guess is that the new MacPro is going to win in day to day use. We still have a cheesegrater and editing on it is an exercise in futility. I'd rather edit on a MacBook Air than a cheesegrater in fcpx.

You can keep spending in the 12 core, but the architecture of the new MacPro will make fcpx work more quickly."


Really? I don't know much about the new Macs I guess. I edited on a 2012 Macbook Pro i7 quadcore about a month
ago for news coverage for a TV station and it didn't seem as fast as my 2009 Mac Pro with upgraded CPU, SSD's,
980Ti GPU and so on. For what it's worth, I get 25 seconds on the Bruce X test, but I have no idea if that is any
good compared to the new Macs or not. It sure seems to edit fast in FCP X to me, but I will admit I'm not
sure what 'good' is.

Gabe Strong
G-Force Productions
http://www.gforcevideo.com


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Oliver Peters
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 7, 2016 at 6:03:51 pm

I did a test today comparing 4K performance between my Mac Pro and my son’s trash can. He’s running an 8-core/64GB RAM/D500 with a Promise Thunderbolt RAID (4 drives). My machine is an 8-core Mac Pro tower with a Sapphire 7950 card and the media drives are two internal drives striped RAID-0.

As a common denominator I used DaVinci Resolve. I had a mixture of media with various codecs. On his machine it had no problem playing 3 layers with PIPs and a mix of codecs and basic color correction. On my machine, a single stream of 4K ProResLT or XAVC (no color correction) won’t play smoothly. Granted, I think a lot has to do with the faster Promise drive, however, it’s pretty clear that the trash can definitely handles this content better.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Lance Bachelder
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 7, 2016 at 6:59:38 pm

Well your son's machine is close to $7 grand plus storage. The big bummer using an older Mac Pro, even if it's updated with SSD's, fast GPU, 12 cores etc. is it still has so many bottlenecks compared to the nMP. PCIe 2.0 slots, 1333 RAM, antique architecture etc etc. But, you can get NEAR nMP performance with the right upgrades, all it takes is plenty of cash...

It was at a Vegas premiere that I resolved to become an avid FCPX user.

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


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Joe Marler
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 7, 2016 at 10:15:56 pm

[Gabe Strong] "For what it's worth, I get 25 seconds on the Bruce X test, but I have no idea if that is any
good compared to the new Macs or not. It sure seems to edit fast in FCP X to me, but I will admit I'm not
sure what 'good' is."


My 2015 top-spec iMac 27 does about 17.1 sec on the BruceX test. I'm not sure how revealing that is -- it's a narrow GPU-intensive benchmark. My 2013 top-spec iMac 27 was twice as slow on BruceX but in actual FCPX editing it felt about the same. There may be a perf. penalty when doing bit block transfer operations on the ultra-high-res retina screen.

FCPX is pretty fast on a late-model iMac 27, but it still can't smoothly edit multicam 4K H264 without transcoding to proxy. In some cases I transcode even for single cam. It is faster than Premiere on the same hardware but what's the difference if you have to transcode on both Premiere and FCPX for smooth 4K editing? With Premiere that is now a built-in feature, and while it seems to transcode slower than FCPX, once it's done the performance is lightning fast.

In general I'd recommend the nMP for production work, despite the aging design. It is a dilemma for people contemplating a purchase in the very near future. Hopefully within a few months we'll have more info on possible iMac and nMP updates.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 7, 2016 at 11:46:20 pm

The problem I have with benchmark tests is that it doesn't necessarily parallel day to day editing operations. Sure, it's an indication of the speed of some hardware, but it's not a direct equivalent of how 'fast' an application responds to things like adding effects, pressing play, saving versions, all the really little things that add up during an edit day.

I routinely edit 4K material, and I miss my tube's when I'm editing away from the office as anything else isn't as responsive as the tubes. I can get way more full quality realtime with the tubes, even with equivalent storage speeds.


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Mitch Ives
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 11, 2016 at 9:08:21 pm

[Oliver Peters] "Unfortunately the biggest negative for the nMP is the lack of any functional upgradability. As evidenced by the fact that we are discussing a several years old tower proves the fact that future expansion has its value over planned obsolescence.
"


I suppose that depends on whether you need to upgrade. Our 8-core, fully loaded nMP with a fast TB2 RAID hasn't needed any upgrades.

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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Joe Marler
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 2, 2016 at 12:59:06 pm

[Oliver Peters] "update the primary machine from an older 12-core MP tower to a new machine. What is the consensus out there for extensive 4K editing? Either some configuration of the nMP or a decked out iMac. Thoughts? Experiences? Configurations?"

I have about 64 terabytes of Thunderbolt RAID storage on my 2015 top-spec iMac 27 and it mostly handles H264 4k in FCPX, although I always use proxy for multicam material. I also use Premiere CC 2015.3 for some things, which is somewhat more CPU-intensive and slower than FCPX when scrubbing a 4K H264 timeline.

Of course ProRes and REDCODE would be different but I'd still be concerned about using even a top-spec iMac 27 for your application since you have other options.

I would first suggest possibly upgrading your 12-core Mac Pro tower. Some GPU options are here: http://www.macvidcards.com/

My second suggestion would be get whatever nMP you can afford, despite it being late in the design cycle.

My third suggestion would be a top-spec 2015 iMac 27. Any of these choices can do the job, just some better than others.

If you use Premiere I would definitely not use the iMac. Premiere makes heavier demands on the CPU and GPU for a given amount of work, and having more CPU cores and a more powerful GPU would be real assets, which are not options with the iMac. That said, as of 2015.3 Premiere supports proxy and in my tests it really speeds things up, although it took about twice as long to generate as FCPX.

From an editing standpoint, the data path (hence screen output performance) should be independent of output screen resolution. You are reading and transforming data in memory based on the project resolution. IOW scrubbing 4K on a MacBook Air should not be faster than a retina iMac 27.

However ultimately the data must be written to the display, and for a 5k display that's about 2x the pixels to move as a 4k display, and 4x the pixels of a 2013 and earlier iMac 27. The retina iMac 27 works pretty well editing on 4k video but IMO it needs higher performance display hardware, whether that's the GPU, the Timing Controller (TCON), the busses or all of those.

Fast, fluid 4K editing is just really difficult on almost any hardware or editing software. We are unfortunately at the tail end of the nMP design cycle so people who need updated machines are in a difficult situation. Lots of people use the retina iMac 27 for 4k editing and it does work, but I would tend to recommend the nMP or an upgraded Mac Pro tower.


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Eric Santiago
Re: nMP or iMac for 4K
on Aug 3, 2016 at 3:59:40 pm

Two features and a slew of shorts and music videos, not once did I use my ROCKET thanks to the nMP.

Took a chance years ago and paid too much for this card.

Its great for DIT and dailies thats all.


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