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RENDERING video fast with MacbookPro: RAID or NOT?

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David Hidalgo
RENDERING video fast with MacbookPro: RAID or NOT?
on Apr 4, 2017 at 8:32:43 pm

I want to have somewhere to save my files and also that will give me some more performance when reendering video.

I have: MacbookPro Retina with MacOs Sierra, 2,3 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3, NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 2048 MB, Intel Iris Pro 1536 MB

And I work with video from CANON 550D, 5D (in raw) and sometimes from Canon C300, Black Magic and similar.
It takes a long time when rendering files with lots of effects.

The question is the following: Should I make a RAID0 or buy a single external hdd.
Somewhere I read its not worth to make a RAID for rendering if you dont have 4 HDDs or more...
My budget right now would be for something like a RAID with two WD Blue or Black of 1 or 2TB.
The good thing is that in the future I could get better HDDs and use the same RAID tower, maybe I could buy one with 4 slots and use just 2 at the moment.

In the other hand, I dont know if this would worth the money in terms of increase of performace, or should I just go the other simpler option and buy something like LaCie 2TB Rugged with USB3.0 and Thunderbolt, or something a bit more expensive like LaCie d2 Thunderbolt 2 3TB 3000 GB Thunderbolt. And this would be more expensive than the RAID but maybe have better performance (Although I couldnt expand the storage in the future)

In summary... Has anyone tried this options and has any advices? ☺

thanks!


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Joe Marler
Re: RENDERING video fast with MacbookPro: RAID or NOT?
on Apr 4, 2017 at 10:22:41 pm

[David Hidalgo] "I want...some more performance when reendering video....MacbookPro Retina...2,3 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3...GT 750M...CANON 550D, 5D (in raw) and sometimes from Canon C300, Black Magic and similar....It takes a long time when rendering files with lots of effects....Should I make a RAID0 or buy a single external hdd..."

By "rendering" most people mean exporting. However the timeline must also be rendered either beforehand or as part of the export. Rendering the timeline can be CPU or GPU bound, whereas exporting (esp. if H264 or similar) is usually CPU bound. Neither are often I/O bound, so normally adding more I/O bandwidth won't help.

You can inspect your system and verify this by looking at Activity Monitor or using iStat Menus. If the CPU is already mostly high during the render/export, adding more I/O bandwidth normally won't help. This is because if it was already I/O bound, then CPU could not be high -- it would already be waiting on I/O.

You can also check Activity Monitor for how many bytes per sec, I/O per sec and bytes per I/O. This will help determine if you are waiting on I/O during render/export. Only if you are already bottlenecked on that would increasing I/O bandwidth make the process speed up.

You might get some improvement by exporting to single-pass H264 if that meets your needs, or maybe by enabling background rendering so the timeline will already be rendered at export time.


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David Hidalgo
Re: RENDERING video fast with MacbookPro: RAID or NOT?
on Apr 5, 2017 at 10:20:43 am

[Joe Marler] " If the CPU is already mostly high during the render/export, adding more I/O bandwidth normally won't help."

So, In relation with that. I´m rendering at the moment a 20 min video in 1080p from Canon 550D original files. It has a lot of color grading and noise reduction. But its taking already 10 hours 😲
All in all, it doesn´t seem that the problem is in the CPU usage.
Here´s a few screen captures from right now. Sorry its in Spanish but I guess is pretty straight forward to understand .







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Joe Marler
Re: RENDERING video fast with MacbookPro: RAID or NOT?
on Apr 5, 2017 at 3:38:06 pm

[David Hidalgo] "I´m rendering at the moment a 20 min video in 1080p from Canon 550D original files. It has a lot of color grading and noise reduction. But its taking already 10 hours 😲
All in all, it doesn´t seem that the problem is in the CPU usage. "


The CPU is likely low because you are rendering a lot of computationally-intensive effects which are running on the GPU. Whether an effect is CPU-bound or GPU-bound is highly variable. Some like Neat Video noise reduction are configurable to use either CPU, GPU or both. In general video noise reduction is one of the most time-consuming, computationally-intensive effects -- no matter what it runs on.

There is a saying, "a chain is only as strong as the weakest link". For this specific workload, you are likely already bottlenecked on the GPU, so even having an infinitely fast SSD hard drive would probably not speed things up much.

You can confirm this by watching disk I/O on Activity Monitor during this task. The things to watch are read/sec, writes/sec, data read/sec, data written/sec, and also divide data read/sec by reads/sec and divide data written/sec by writes out/sec. The latter two gives the average number of bytes per I/O. However it is likely that all of those will be quite low for this workload. They are not low because your disk is slow but because FCPX is not issuing a high rate of I/Os. It is not doing that because on average it is waiting on the GPU. Even changing to a Thunderbolt SSD RAID-0 array would likely not help much because you're already bottlenecked further up the chain.

The best steps are probably evaluate what effects are causing this by doing a timed export on a small clip with one effect at a time added. E.g, if a 1 min. clip with no effects takes 30 sec to export to H264, then adding effect "A" increases this to 40 sec, then adding effect "B" increases this to 5 min, it is mostly caused by effect "B".

If it is video noise reduction causing this, then who makes the effect? Is there some way to configure it for better performance (on Neat Video there sometimes is). Also ask whether you need video noise reduction on all 20 min of a clip (or whatever ranges you are using it on). Some effects are simply very expensive from a CPU/GPU standpoint and are best used sparingly.


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