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2012 Mac Pro, OS 10.11.5, GTX 970, CUDA and Adobe Media Encoder

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Shawn Marshall
2012 Mac Pro, OS 10.11.5, GTX 970, CUDA and Adobe Media Encoder
on Jul 14, 2016 at 12:26:58 am

Sorry for the long post, but I feel detail is better than vagueness.

I've been running transcoding tests in Adobe Media Encoder CC 2015.3 (and older versions) using the system described in the subject line of this post, and I'm not really seeing any speed boosts over software-only encodes.

I recently swapped the ATI Radeon HD 5870 with a stock (non-flashed) PC EVGA Geforce GTX970 that Fry's had on sale last December. I've downloaded and installed the latest Nvidia web (346.03.10f02) and CUDA drivers (7.5.30). I was under the impression that having a mountain of GPUs with CUDA enabled would greatly speed up encoding, but I'm seeing little, if any, speed improvements.

So I have a few questions:

When I have the GTX 970 card installed I now have the added option of using the GPU Acceleration CUDA renderer in AME. Does the fact that that option is available mean AME is really using the CUDA cores?

Looking at the list of supported cards on the Adobe site I don't see the GTX 970 listed. If it's unsupported then I'm confused as to why CUDA would be a render option in AME.

As a test I exported 150 frames of a ProRes 4444 sequence of a 4096x4096 animation out as PNG stills (for ingest into a server for a full dome projection).

Using software-only it takes 6 minutes to output those frames.

Using the CUDA renderer takes 5:30 to output those frames.

So over the course of the entire piece, which is 6500 frames, I could cut down encoding from 3 hrs 45 minutes to around 3 hrs 20 minutes. Is that the most improvement I can expect?

Is there any kind of software that can monitor what's going on with the GPUs on the card? I'm not clear whether iStatMenu has that much detail.

In general it doesn't seem like I'm getting better playback performance

When I run the CUDA test I see that my CPUs (Dual 2.66 Ghz 6-core Xeons) are running over 100% in Activity Monitor (though the CPU usage graphs don't show them fully pegged, like when I'm rendering in C4D).

I was all excited when Apple made it possible to run PC video cards on Mac Pros, but so far I'm not seeing much improvement in performance.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.


Shawn Marshall
Marshall Arts Motion Graphics

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