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Michael Hadley
2013 nMac Pro with eGPU for FCPX?
on Nov 6, 2017 at 4:52:42 pm

As new iMac Pros and Mac Pros appear on the horizon, wondering if there's any way to get more bang out of my now old 2013 Mac Pro trashcan.

While I know it's possible to use an eGPU over Thunderbolt 2 with the trashcan, my question is: anyone have experience with this setup? Is it working well for FCPX? If so, what card would you recommend?

Or is the whole idea just throwing away dollars for meagre improvements...

If only I knew when/how much the 2018 mac pro was, it would make things a lot easier.

Thanks!


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Eric Santiago
Re: 2013 nMac Pro with eGPU for FCPX?
on Nov 6, 2017 at 5:47:34 pm

I didn't know it was possible with the nMP?

Any test sites on this you can post?


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Tom Sefton
Re: 2013 nMac Pro with eGPU for FCPX?
on Nov 6, 2017 at 6:27:21 pm

Barefeats have some results posted showing performance changes with this setup

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


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Noah Kadner
Re: 2013 nMac Pro with eGPU for FCPX?
on Nov 6, 2017 at 6:35:15 pm

It would be kind of a wash as TB2 sort of negates the gains you get with an eGPU. The GPUs in the 2013 Mac Pro are actually way advanced for their age so I would suggest waiting for the iMac Pro or whatever comes next in the Mac Pro line for the next big leap in performance.

Noah

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


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Michael Hadley
Re: 2013 nMac Pro with eGPU for FCPX?
on Nov 6, 2017 at 6:41:56 pm

Sage advice.... except...

It looks like I would spend about $700 for eGPU box and card and the performance gains seem like they might be worth it. (Although that's something I'm still investigating).

I will be definitely getting a new iMac Pro or Mac Pro in the future--but the eGPU might enable me to delay for another year or 18 months.

New iMac Pro will probably set me back $7K, assuming I get mid-tier. And who knows with 2018 Mac Pro. I would have to imagine at least that much?

So you see the dilemma...


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Robin S. Kurz
Re: 2013 nMac Pro with eGPU for FCPX?
on Nov 8, 2017 at 11:45:05 am

[Noah Kadner] "It would be kind of a wash as TB2 sort of negates the gains you get with an eGPU. "

Agreed completely. Waste of money on anything TOTAL. For the chassis, an RX 580 8GB and even a Belkin USB-C hub for good measure.

Save your money.

- RK

____________________________________________________
Deutsch? Hier gibt es ein umfassendes FCP X Training für dich!


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Michael Hadley
Re: 2013 nMac Pro with eGPU for FCPX?
on Nov 8, 2017 at 1:27:23 pm

Maybe. Gonna wait and see pricing on iMac Pro 10 and 18 Core.

That said, egpu.io reports a performance boost on Bruce X of 16 vs 24 secs—33% increase. That's not nothing. And likely much better with the AMD Pro Vega cards once Apple releases drivers.


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Michael Hadley
Re: 2013 nMac Pro with eGPU for FCPX?
on Nov 6, 2017 at 6:37:20 pm

With further digging, I found this post from the terrific egpu.io website...

https://egpu.io/forums/news/rx-580-review-amd-xconnect-freesync/#post-23631

With an AMD 580 card, Bruce x goes from 24 secs to 16 secs. That seems like a pretty robust improvement.


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Noah Kadner
Re: 2013 nMac Pro with eGPU for FCPX?
on Nov 6, 2017 at 8:53:26 pm

Then go for it. One thing to keep in mind is that though eGPUs technically work in High Sierra they are considered beta for the foreseeable future. So you will likely see a wide degree of gains/setbacks. I am excited about eGPUs as well but they are not quite there yet on MacOS.

Noah

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


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Joe Marler
Re: 2013 nMac Pro with eGPU for FCPX?
on Nov 6, 2017 at 9:02:14 pm

[Michael Hadley] "With an AMD 580 card, Bruce x goes from 24 secs to 16 secs. That seems like a pretty robust improvement."

My 2017 top-spec iMac 27 does BruceX in 15.8 sec, and transcodes from 4k H264 to proxy about 2x faster than a 12-core D700 Mac Pro. A 512GB SSD version with 8GB RAM is about $2700, or roughly $2300 if available on the Apple refurbished site. A 3rd party 32GB RAM upgrade would be about $350 more.

Of course the Sonnet eGPU box plus RX 580 is only about $700, but that won't speed up H264 or H265 at all.

A 10-core Vega 64 iMac Pro might be about 1.8x or 2x faster on both CPU and GPU than the top-spec iMac 27 but nobody yet knows, and how that translates to real-world performance is anyone's guess. It would also likely be quite expensive, maybe around $7000.


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Brett Sherman
Re: 2013 nMac Pro with eGPU for FCPX?
on Nov 7, 2017 at 1:11:18 pm

[Joe Marler] "My 2017 top-spec iMac 27 does BruceX in 15.8 sec, and transcodes from 4k H264 to proxy about 2x faster than a 12-core D700 Mac Pro."

The Mac Pro does a woefully poor job of decoding H.264. Since I've moved from an MPEG-2 to an H.264 codec for my camera (Canon C300 to C200). I've had to abandon the Mac Pro for an iMac and my 3 year-old Mac Book Pro. The Mac Pro is laggy playing back H.264 material, taking a half a second to even start playback. Whereas the MBP and iMac are instant. And frame refreshes when skimming are about 4X slower on the Mac Pro.

So if you use H.264 source media, I'd say avoid the Mac Pro.

--------------------------
Brett Sherman
One Man Band (If it's video related I'll do it!)
I work for an institution that probably does not want to be associated with my babblings here.


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Noah Kadner
Re: 2013 nMac Pro with eGPU for FCPX?
on Nov 7, 2017 at 2:53:30 pm
Last Edited By Noah Kadner on Nov 7, 2017 at 3:01:57 pm

Yup- that's because the iMac and MBP use newer Intel CPUs with an integrated H.264 hardware encoder (Intel QuickSync) that the Mac Pro's older Xeon processor lacks.

Noah

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


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Craig Seeman
Re: 2013 nMac Pro with eGPU for FCPX?
on Nov 7, 2017 at 4:00:20 pm

[Noah Kadner] "Mac Pro's older Xeon processor lacks."

It'll be interesting to hear how the new iMac Pro Xeons handles this (H.264) along with H.265.



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Michael Hadley
Re: 2013 nMac Pro with eGPU for FCPX?
on Nov 7, 2017 at 5:41:29 pm

In our workflow, we transcode everything to Pro Res before the edit. It's a pain upfront, but I think it pays dividends, especially once we begin adding filters, Color Finale, Core Melt, Vignettes, etc.

Only deal with H264 or MP4 on export so not an issue during editing.

FWIW, after a little more digging on the FANTASTIC egpu.io site, it seems like the optimum eGPU and card set up for FCPX on a 2013 Mac Pro trashcan is:

Sonnet eGFX 550W Thunderbolt 3 enclosure
AMD Vega 56 Graphics card
Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter


Approx $800 all in.

This is the same card series that will be in the new iMac Pro. The caveat is that you will need to wait for the new iMac Pro to launch and they update High Sierra to work with this card.

The bummer is the performance loss from TB3 to TB2. The upside is that you can use the Sonnet on other more recent TB3 macs in the future.

Or just wait and buy a new iMac Pro for $5-$10K. Or the 2018 Mac Pro for who knows how much and when...


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Noah Kadner
Re: 2013 nMac Pro with eGPU for FCPX?
on Nov 7, 2017 at 7:13:47 pm
Last Edited By Noah Kadner on Nov 7, 2017 at 7:16:09 pm

Michael- what cameras are you shooting with? Uf you *know* you're going ProRes from the start you should consider shooting ProRes either in-camera or with one of the many outboard and cheap ProRes recorders from ATOMOS/Blackmagic, etc. As compact as H.264 is as an acquisition/streaming format- it really sucks everywhere in-between.

Noah

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


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Michael Hadley
Re: 2013 nMac Pro with eGPU for FCPX?
on Nov 8, 2017 at 1:21:49 pm

Mostly shoot with C300 Mark 2, Sony F7 or F5. Generally use Edit Ready to do the transcoding.


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Noah Kadner
Re: 2013 nMac Pro with eGPU for FCPX?
on Nov 8, 2017 at 2:40:14 pm

Yup you could greatly streamline your workflow-

https://www.atomos.com/cameras/canon-eos-c300-mark-ii

Noah

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


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Michael Hadley
Re: 2013 nMac Pro with eGPU for FCPX?
on Nov 8, 2017 at 4:31:39 pm

Yes, have used those occasionally in the past and they work great. We primarily hire shooters on our projects, so it depends on their kit, and they often charge an additional rental fee for Atomos and similar. Not that big a deal to transcode at the start of editing...at least so far.


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Eric Santiago
Re: 2013 nMac Pro with eGPU for FCPX?
on Nov 8, 2017 at 7:24:12 pm

[Noah Kadner] "Yup you could greatly streamline your workflow-

https://www.atomos.com/cameras/canon-eos-c300-mark-ii"


I use my Shogun off my RED Scarlet for long format shooting.

Even better with a GH4/DSLR since its small form factor.

Love the DNxHD/ProRes options :)


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Bret Williams
Re: 2013 nMac Pro with eGPU for FCPX?
on Nov 8, 2017 at 2:49:50 pm

If you were using an iMac you might discover there’s no need tontranscode to ProRes because they have h264 acceleration built into the processor while the xeons don’t. So you wouldn’t deal with h264 during edit either, until export where the acceleration also speeds up export 5 fold.

_______________________________________________________________________
http://BretFX.com FCPX Plugins & Templates for Editors & Motion Graphics Artists


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Michael Hadley
Re: 2013 nMac Pro with eGPU for FCPX?
on Nov 8, 2017 at 4:34:43 pm

You make a good point. But I'm on a nMP so that's the issue. Performance hits.

Although I have to imagine on your iMac if you start adding a lot of filters and plug ins to your non-Pro Res files and timeline, things would really start to bog down, yes?

FCPX wants you to transcode to Pro Res (that's why it's the default selection no import) to maintain better performance. At least that's my understanding of it.


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