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How can I increase my MC 6.5.2 on a Mac application performance...

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Bryan Roberts
How can I increase my MC 6.5.2 on a Mac application performance...
on Mar 20, 2013 at 10:21:18 pm

Hi all,

I'm running MC 6.5.2 on a Mac Pro 2.93 ghz Octo (early 2009) on OSX 10.7.5 and 16gb ram (all slots filled with 2gb sticks) along with an ATI Radeon 4870 512mb card. I am cutting a show in MC 6.5.2 at 720p 59.94 with about 1/3 AMA files (from prores 1080 files and some DNxHD ProRes files) along with 2/3 files converted by Avid. I'm working off of an eSata connected external 5 drive box connected via a Sonnet Tempo E4p but only using a single 7200rpm speed SATA drive from that box, no raid etc. I'm finding that my performance is lagging - sometimes my playback gets choked up when doing a full screen preview and starts to drop frames (this is with my quality setting at half green, half yellow) and frequently, I'll get the spinning beach ball for a few seconds after making an edit in my timeline - both AMA media and normal Avid media files. This is all before color correction, no crazy effects etc. I know they're not comparable as one is 32 bit and one is 64 bit but never had any issues with performance on FCP7 which leads me to believe my drive is plenty fast for single stream playback etc. I've already tried a fresh OS install and fresh MC install. Considering based on geekbench scores, my Mac Pro is listed as still the 3rd fastest Mac available (http://www.primatelabs.com/geekbench/mac-benchmarks/#64bit) - what is my next upgrade I should look at? Does MC 6 benefit that much more with 16 gigs of ram? Is my video card holding me back (I wouldn't think that'd be the issue)? Any insight would be much appreciated, thanks!

Best,

Bryan

FCP / AVID EDITOR
Features : Television
http://www.DefiningFilms.com


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John Pale
Re: How can I increase my MC 6.5.2 on a Mac application performance...
on Mar 21, 2013 at 2:14:07 am

Random thoughts...

AMA will definitely slow your performance. It's better for choosing selects rather than editing.

There is no reason to edit AMA with ProRes or Avid DNX QuickTime files. Just consolidate them and the will become Avid MXF media with no quality loss (just rewrap) and its fast.

Avid does not make great use of the GPU on Macs, so that's probably not the issue,

If you have a RAID enclosure, why work with just 1 drive? Drives are cheap and a RAID will increase your performance on any platform.

I will say that I got rid of my Sonnet E4P because I was having performance issues. Using a Firmtek card now and it's behaving much better.

Forget about what worked in FCP7. Apples and oranges. Avid does some stuff In real time that FCP couldn't and FCP does some other things better.


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Bryan Roberts
Re: How can I increase my MC 6.5.2 on a Mac application performance...
on Mar 21, 2013 at 3:19:56 am

Thanks John,

First off, so 16gb of RAM should be plenty for MC6 then? No reason to go crazy and get 32 or 40 gigs of ram then, meaning I won't see any benefit from it? I could get a 32 gig kit for about $350 which isn't too painful...

I tried importing the ProRes and DNX Quicktime files but instead of doing a fast import, it was re transcoding a second time so I left them as AMA. Is there another process for importing that wouldn't have Avid transcode them a second time?

I used to be a big fan of RAID but then I had a big stripe (Raid 0) die on me once while cutting a feature, I was in the last week of the edit, and it took me two days to get my project back and I almost lost part of the work I had done for good. Since then, I see how much I can do with a single 7200rpm SATA drive and build from there. I've found that 90% of what I need, a single drive is plenty fast. It's only multicam music videos, live performance stuff that suffers but even then, I'll usually span shots across several drives rather than stripe.

Good to know that Avid doesn't take advantage of GPU's, I was worried that perhaps I'd need to switch to Nvidia in order to see better performance.

What performance issues were you having with your E4P? I've had mine several years without issue, write speeds seem fine. Were your drives unmounting or something or was it a write speed issue?

I didn't mean to sound like new Avid user whining about FCP - I'm firmly in the Avid camp, it's my future after editing professionally for a decade with FCP (and occasionally with Avid). I was just using it as a comparison for possible bottle necks or to try and shed light on my own knowledge of MC6.5 and it's possible need for much more memory than I'd normally think (since it's 64 bit).

FCP / AVID EDITOR
Features : Television
http://www.DefiningFilms.com


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Bryan Roberts
Re: How can I increase my MC 6.5.2 on a Mac application performance...
on Mar 21, 2013 at 4:14:59 am

Had a chance to try some things out and I noticed that when I closed a few of my bins (I had around 10 tabbed bins open since as a former FCP editor, I'm used to having everything sort of open all at once) that my lockups were minimized and I also had frame view on in a couple bins that had 20 or so clips each in them. Closed those and that also helped. But really, I'd like to work with lots of bins open and frame view on (especially with features, I like to have frame view on for every scene so I can visually see what shots I have). Is this something that just requires gobs more memory or will MC 6.5 always choke once this many bins are open regardless of memory?

Thanks.

FCP / AVID EDITOR
Features : Television
http://www.DefiningFilms.com


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Pat Horridge
Re: How can I increase my MC 6.5.2 on a Mac application performance...
on Mar 21, 2013 at 8:43:01 am

Ok 16GB RAM shoudl be fine (I think MC will only use 12GB max)
AMA is a real resource hog. Any AMA bins open will be impacting performance and we now know there's an invisible ceiling where one more bin open and it all starts to go slow.
We advice only using AMA for short fast edits. Anything longer or with lots of AMA content you need to use the AMA to link to media and then make selects. Those selects you consolidate or Transcode (Try consolidate first and if that isn't happy Transcode) Consolidate is fast as it's just copy data and re-wrapping. And can be done for any media that is in native Avid codec and that includes proress.

I'd definetly add a second drive and make a RAID 0 you want all you can get from the drive as MC can do a lot realtime if the drives can cope.

And finally the MacPro isn't your friend nowadays. It's old tech and comparatively slow. When you look at the new Z820 machines with over 3Ghz 16 core CPUS and PCie 3 busses they fly and the old Macs just don't cut it. Even a newer iMac may improve things.

Pat Horridge
Technical Director, Trainer, Avid Certified Instructor
VET
Production Editing Digital Media Design DVD
T +44 (0)20 7505 4701 | F +44 (0)20 7505 4800 | E pat@vet.co.uk |
http://www.vet.co.uk | Lux Building 2-4 Hoxton Square London N1 6US


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Bryan Roberts
Re: How can I increase my MC 6.5.2 on a Mac application performance...
on Mar 21, 2013 at 3:20:27 pm

[Pat Horridge] "And finally the MacPro isn't your friend nowadays. It's old tech and comparatively slow. When you look at the new Z820 machines with over 3Ghz 16 core CPUS and PCie 3 busses they fly and the old Macs just don't cut it. Even a newer iMac may improve things."

I know it's old but it seems like my Mac Pro is still 20% faster than the fastest iMac available according to geekbench not to mention all the benefits of display options, memory, video card that a tower offers, no? http://browser.primatelabs.com/mac-benchmarks
I actually bought my 2.93 octo used last summer for $2500 as my 06' mac pro was being obsoleted by Lion and it was showing it's age anyways as obviously the wait for a new Mac Pro is impossible to plan for. I am still a mac user, prefer to stay that way if it's possible, and will now need to occasionally pop into FCP for old projects or a quick edit so I've been delaying the possible switch back to windows. If the Mac Pro officially dies or they FCPX it, then I think a lot of us Mac Avid users and Mac Avid shops will be flooding back to PC to get towers with newer technology than 2010 had to offer.

Thanks for the tip on consolidate - I found some very enlightening articles on the AMA workflow, consolidate vs. transcode. I could work in Avid before but that was with projects setup by assistants in provided bays, just building my knowledge now that I'm cutting on my home machine with Avid.

FCP / AVID EDITOR
Features : Television
http://www.DefiningFilms.com


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William Japhet
Re: How can I increase my MC 6.5.2 on a Mac application performance...
on Mar 23, 2013 at 9:28:44 am

Using only 1 disk is not a good idea. One of our stations is exactly like yours, and works easily with multicam projects.
The key is fast access and speed for the drives.
Add 3 disk in your raid rack, configure in RAID5 and format in Mac File system, you will have a "new" avid !

Director, DP, Post-facilities manager
Paris, France


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Pat Horridge
Re: How can I increase my MC 6.5.2 on a Mac application performance...
on Mar 23, 2013 at 2:51:24 pm

Drives are cheap. I'd not use RAID 5 I'd go either RAID 0 or RAID 1

Pat Horridge
Technical Director, Trainer, Avid Certified Instructor
VET
Production Editing Digital Media Design DVD
T +44 (0)20 7505 4701 | F +44 (0)20 7505 4800 | E pat@vet.co.uk |
http://www.vet.co.uk | Lux Building 2-4 Hoxton Square London N1 6US


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William Japhet
Re: How can I increase my MC 6.5.2 on a Mac application performance...
on Mar 23, 2013 at 3:58:56 pm

Of course for RAID 0 for speed, but as he said he lost data a few days ago, I advised a little security :-)

Regards,

W.

Director, DP, Post-facilities manager
Paris, France


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Pat Horridge
Re: How can I increase my MC 6.5.2 on a Mac application performance...
on Mar 23, 2013 at 4:54:27 pm

Yes in which case I'd go RAID 1.
Without an hardware RAID controller RAID 5 imposes OS overheads.

Pat Horridge
Technical Director, Trainer, Avid Certified Instructor
VET
Production Editing Digital Media Design DVD
T +44 (0)20 7505 4701 | F +44 (0)20 7505 4800 | E pat@vet.co.uk |
http://www.vet.co.uk | Lux Building 2-4 Hoxton Square London N1 6US


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