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After Effects_Supported GPU cards for Mac... Any recommendations?

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Brett Fullam
After Effects_Supported GPU cards for Mac... Any recommendations?
on Apr 26, 2012 at 5:14:47 pm

I'm upgrading my Mac Pro again, this time to leverage GPU hardware acceleration. I've researched NVIDIA cards for Mac (specifically the NVIDIA Quadro 4000 for Mac) and have found nothing but bad reviews. They seem to be the only vendor with a supported card for GPU acceleration for Mac.

Does anyone know of any other AE supported graphics cards for Mac? I'd even appreciate any information on one that you're currently using?

Here's the specs on my system if that helps:

Mac Pro (Mid 2010) | Mac OS X Lion 10.7.3
• 2 x 2.4 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
• 48 GB 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC
• ATI Radeon HD 5770 1024 MB (which is not AE supported)

__

Brett Fullam
Senior Graphic Designer
ds+f


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Dave LaRonde
Re: After Effects_Supported GPU cards for Mac... Any recommendations?
on Apr 26, 2012 at 6:29:20 pm

At the moment, you would only be wasting your money with a new card. There is no useful GPU acceleration in AE 10.5 (aka CS 5.5). If you intend to upgrade to CS 6, you will want to look over the new features, some of which DO take advantage of GPU acceleration, specifically Open CL.

However, Open GL-accelerated rendering in AE was such a hit-and-miss feature that the option to even use it has been removed from AE CS 6.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Brett Fullam
Re: After Effects_Supported GPU cards for Mac... Any recommendations?
on Apr 26, 2012 at 7:16:58 pm

Hi Dave,

Thank you for the quick reply. Ugh... not exactly the type of news I was hoping for, but I really appreciate the information you've provided.

So it's either upgrade to AE CS6 and see if Open CL is a good fit, or stick with slow rendering ... wonderful.

How can I improve performance in regards to render previews to knock down how long they take to generate?

I have 48 GB of ram ... so, that's not an issue ... is the only other option left to me upgrading the processor? I have such a hard time believing that other professionals are working without some sort of hardware acceleration.

-- Brett


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Dave LaRonde
Re: After Effects_Supported GPU cards for Mac... Any recommendations?
on Apr 26, 2012 at 8:09:50 pm

I think I need to make a distinction: Open GL is fine for accelerating previews, and if you have a Quadro it ought be fine for that. But AE's existing code ture prevented it from working effectively with Open GL when rendering.

It's difficult to say why you feel previewing is slow. You're probably aware that there are CPU-intensive effects like Remove Grain that slow things down, as do multiple lights, shadows, really large layers with effects and the like.

It could be a processor & memory allocation issue, and it might be well worth your time to read this:
http://blogs.adobe.com/toddkopriva/2010/10/please-try-recommended-memory-se...

Or it could be a matter of perspective. When I ran AE 3.1 on a Powermac with OS 8.6, a single 256 mHz processor and 512 whole megs of memory, previewing was a slow, painful thing. Today, if AE takes 4 or 5 times realtime to preview, I think nothing of it.

Sometimes if you haven't experienced the pain, you don't know good the relief actually feels.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Walter Soyka
Re: After Effects_Supported GPU cards for Mac... Any recommendations?
on Apr 26, 2012 at 9:41:56 pm

Have you reviewed the suggestions on Adobe's tips for improving performance page [link]?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Brett Fullam
Re: After Effects_Supported GPU cards for Mac... Any recommendations?
on Apr 26, 2012 at 9:57:43 pm

Hi Walter,

Thanks for weighing in on this, and providing additional information on CS6 and Open CL.

I have review both of the performance based links that you and Dave posted. I've tweaked ... extended ... I was hoping a supported card would speed up preview rendering via GPU hardware acceleration.

I've turned about 5 other Mac Pro's into a render farm for after hours rendering ... it's the preview rendering that seems to be impeding my workflow the most.

--

Brett Fullam
Senior Graphic Designer
ds+f


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Walter Soyka
Re: After Effects_Supported GPU cards for Mac... Any recommendations?
on Apr 27, 2012 at 1:43:12 pm

[Brett Fullam] "it's the preview rendering that seems to be impeding my workflow the most."

I hear you. I do a lot of high-res work (4K and larger), and render times for previews can really slow you down while you're working. I make pretty heavy use of the Region of Interest, proxies, and Shift-RAM preview set at lower resolution and skipping frames.

AE CS6 will probably offer you some big, big performance gains on your previews with the new global performance cache and persistent disk cache. In my opinion, this is the most exciting feature of CS6.

See this demo from Adobe's Todd Kopriva [link] for a sneak peek.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Walter Soyka
Re: After Effects_Supported GPU cards for Mac... Any recommendations?
on Apr 26, 2012 at 9:36:39 pm

[Dave LaRonde] "If you intend to upgrade to CS 6, you will want to look over the new features, some of which DO take advantage of GPU acceleration, specifically Open CL."

One important correction here. Premiere Pro CS6 adds OpenCL support (currently including only a couple ATI cards in MacBook Pros), but AE's new ray tracer's GPU acceleration only supports specific NVIDIA CUDA-enabled video cards. There is currently no OpenCL support for AE in CS6.

If you want a supported card in a Mac, the Quadro 4000 is probably your best bet. If you are willing to use an unsupported card, you can probably get much better performance out of a recent GTX card.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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David Pirinelli
MacVidCards has Mac EFI GPUs
on Apr 28, 2012 at 8:29:17 pm

Hi, I represent MacVidCards.

We offer a nice range of Nvidia cards for Mac 2008 and later. These are fully supported in the OS as they use same drivers as Quadro 4000.

If you check up in the Resolve forum, our cards have been making their CUDA app work much better on Macs.

We have GTX470, GTX480, Quadro 5000, Quadro 6000 and Tesla C2050 for Mac. These cards offer boot screen right from the second you hit the power button. The Quadro 6000 is limited to 4 GB of VRAM by OSX.

You need to remove the AGPM kext and OpenCl support requires a minor hack, but OpenGl and CUDA are solid and powerful.

And for those on 10.7.3 we just added GTX570 and GTX580. (THe gTX480 and GTX580 both require more power than is available in a Mac Pro so require some fiddling) There is a GTX570 with 2.5 GB of GDDR5, my feeling is that it will be the "sweet spot" for many Mac Nvidia GPU needs.

We are based in Hollywood CA and offer free delivery in the Hollywood area. (Venice is NOT in the Hollywood area)


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