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GPU Acceleration on Mac

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George Bellias
GPU Acceleration on Mac
on Mar 8, 2012 at 4:30:22 pm

I saw this interesting post on the Mac Media Composer forum on the Avid site. No one answered it so I thought I would post it here.

"In researching a new system build, I came across a thread on choosing an MC system.

In the document I came across this -"Avid has qualified NVIDIA but the ATI should work just as well.  There is no GPU acceleration on a Mac therefore the card choice is not as relevant as it is on a PC."

A couple years ago, I abandoned my PC-based system with Quadro graphics for the Mac because I was sick of receiving media on HFS+ drives from everyone in town and always having to copy it over to NTFS drives before I could work. As a freelancer, I always felt my PC system was way zippier and more responsive then the Mac-based ones in my client's edit bays.

It all makes sense now. That sluggishness we experience in the Effect editor is due to missing a key component of the Media Composer experience - the GPU. 

Obviously the mac has many other benefits over the PC- but my curiousity is peaked - Why is the GPU not being utilized on these $5500 Mac Pro systems we have all invested in? My understanding was that the PC and Mac version were to be "in parity" with each other moving forward. This seems like a big difference in capabilities. 

Does OSX Lion lack the support framework or is there some other reason? "

I am surprised the new re- written 64 bit code does not utilize the GPU for processing power (especially dealing with various codec via AMA), more real time effects, etc. as Premiere Pro or DaVinci Resolve does.

George Bellias
Jade Productions

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Daniel Frome
Re: GPU Acceleration on Mac
on Mar 9, 2012 at 3:02:56 pm

Interesting find. I'm curious to know more about this as well.

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Jeff Greenberg
Re: GPU Acceleration on Mac
on Mar 10, 2012 at 2:42:55 pm

This is all conjecture on my part.

Avid is designing on the PC and then cross compiling for the mac.

You won't get better PC performance without the right nVidia card.

I think the mac gets some benefits with certain video cards (

As far as GPU benefits like Premiere Pro - again, the right video cards are the key; the wrong get no benefits at all (from adobe, certain effects are handled by the video card and not the CPU.)


Jeff G

Certified Master Trainer | Adobe, Apple, Avid
You should follow me (filmgeek) on twitter. I promise to be nice.
My book (with Richard Harrington and Robbie Carman)- An Editor's Guide to Adobe Premiere Pro - Compressor Essentials 3.5 and 4
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John Pale
Re: GPU Acceleration on Mac
on Mar 12, 2012 at 12:25:07 pm

I switch back and forth between Mac and PC quite often.
The performance difference, if there is one is, not noticeable. Avid does not have anything resembling a Mercury Engine that makes serious use of the GPU. It's just the crappy DVE that uses it at all.

FWIW on my Mac station running version 6.01, it properly detects my NVIDIA geforce 470 card and says it is using it for 3D warp effects.

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