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Would a Mac Pro GPU upgrade improve h.264 export times?

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Nick Nordquist
Would a Mac Pro GPU upgrade improve h.264 export times?
on Oct 16, 2018 at 12:23:32 am

Machine = 3.7 GHz Intel Xeon E5 Quad-Core. 12GB of 1866 MHz DDR3 ECC RAM. Dual AMD FirePro D300 GPUs (2 x 2GB)

I've got a project where I'm doing a ton of h.264 exports in a very short window and export speed is important. I'm running multiple machines. Clips come in as ProRes and need to go out as h.264. Files are roughly about 60 mins long and last go-round I found they took forever and a day to export out of client's MacPros, roughly 3hrs+.

By comparison, I have late 2015 iMac working the same files and it is exponentially faster. It's a 4GHz i7 4 core with AMD Radeon R9 M395X and it spits out the same file in about 40mins. Export settings are identical.

My question is would upgrading the GPUs in clients Mac Pros be worthwhile? If so recommendations for cards to look at?

Thanks!


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Nick Nordquist
Re: Would a Mac Pro GPU upgrade improve h.264 export times?
on Oct 16, 2018 at 12:41:51 am

BTW - I'm assuming any upgrade would have to be via some kind of eGPU box since the internal MP cards can't be upgraded.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Would a Mac Pro GPU upgrade improve h.264 export times?
on Oct 16, 2018 at 1:41:05 am
Last Edited By Oliver Peters on Oct 16, 2018 at 1:43:20 am

Short answer - highly unlikely. A machine with an i7 or i5 CPU (like a Retina iMac) would probably be faster - as you have found out. That's because of the architectural difference in the two CPUs. What software are you using to encode these files?

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Nick Nordquist
Re: Would a Mac Pro GPU upgrade improve h.264 export times?
on Oct 16, 2018 at 2:06:08 am

Exporting out of FCPX (via Compressor settings).

I assumed the iMac would still be faster due to how FCP and iMac work symbiotically but was wondering there's any upgrade to Mac Pro to make them serviceable? Client has a half dozen of them available.

I know theoretically it's possible to do an eGPU config just wondering what real-world improvements (if any) I'd see trying to export h.264. I'm skeptical that the cost vs benefit would pencil out but thought I'd ask.


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Ben Hendriks
Re: Would a Mac Pro GPU upgrade improve h.264 export times?
on Oct 16, 2018 at 7:09:27 am

Hi Nick,

You could try Handbrake or Adobe Media encoder. They max out the Xeon's in de Mac Pro.
In my experience encoding is much faster then with Compressor. But then you have to export ProRes first from FCP X
Even with this extra step, it can be faster. Also quality with Handbrake using the X264 encoder is very good.

Ben


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