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Patrick Shen
New Mac Pro for After Effects...
on Jun 12, 2013 at 11:49:46 am

I was wanting to see if anyone had any opinions about the new Mac Pro that was announced by apple. It seems it has a non upgradable AMD video card built into the computer. Do you think the advanced features(normally requiring GeForce cards) in AFX will be supported? Thoughts...Comments....


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Darby Edelen
Re: New Mac Pro for After Effects...
on Jun 12, 2013 at 3:47:16 pm

The only feature that benefits directly from an NVIDIA GPU is the ray-tracing renderer.

I'd recommend not getting too attached to the idea of buying the new Mac Pro until you see impartial performance benchmarks and pricing information. I suspect that this model is going to set a new high mark on Apple's price/performance wall of shame.

Darby Edelen


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Todd Kopriva
Re: New Mac Pro for After Effects...
on Jun 12, 2013 at 4:33:40 pm

Darby is correct. Only one feature (GPU acceleration of the ray-traced 3D renderer) requires CUDA. All other GPU features work fine on an AMD GPU.

See this page for details:
http://adobe.ly/UHGwMC

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
After Effects quality engineering
After Effects team blog
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Walter Soyka
Re: New Mac Pro for After Effects...
on Jun 12, 2013 at 4:51:44 pm

I'm with Darby. It's not really worth discussing the Mac Pro until pricing information becomes available. Everyone is talking about a 12-core Mac Pro with dual 6GB GPUs, but I think this will be the top of the line configuration and I think it will be pricey.

I started using PCs a year and a half ago when HP sent me a Z800 to evaluate in cross-platform workflows. I've since bought a few more HPs and use them interchangeably with my Macs. PCs offer performance options simply not available on Macs. Please note that these are also pricey!

If your concern is absolute performance, you may want to look beyond the Mac platform. The PC/Mac performance gap will become wider than it's been in a decade with PCs offering dual-processor Xeon configurations and the Mac Pro tube only offering a single Xeon CPU.

I think the Mac Pro will be a fine computer, and it's certainly a step up over what's available today on the Mac platform, but I except it to fall behind high-end PC workstations in absolute performance.

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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Ridley Walker
Re: New Mac Pro for After Effects...
on Jun 12, 2013 at 5:24:26 pm

[Walter Soyka] "I started using PCs a year and a half ago when HP sent me a Z800 to evaluate in cross-platform workflows. I've since bought a few more HPs and use them interchangeably with my Macs. PCs offer performance options simply not available on Macs. Please note that these are also pricey!
"


Walter, just out of curiosity, what is the configuration of your Z800? How does it score on Geekbench?


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Walter Soyka
Re: New Mac Pro for After Effects...
on Jun 12, 2013 at 6:36:47 pm

[Ridley Walker] "Walter, just out of curiosity, what is the configuration of your Z800? How does it score on Geekbench?"

It's a Z800 dual-proc 12-core @ 3 GHz with a Quadro 6000. I put in 48 GB of RAM and a PCIe SSD. I don't know what it scores on Geekbench offhand, but it scores about a 15 on CINEBENCH.

I got the Z800 maybe six months before the Z820 came out, so the machine is no longer a speed champion. I bought a Z620 for travel last January, and it has comparable compute performance to the old Z800 with noticeably lower sticker shock.

I expect to replace the Z800 late this year or early next year. If the Mac Pros were dual processor, I could have used one of them. As it stands, I'll wait to see what dual-proc configurations are available from HP on the Z820 after Intel releases 12-core Xeons.

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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Ridley Walker
Re: New Mac Pro for After Effects...
on Jun 12, 2013 at 6:57:54 pm

[Walter Soyka] " it scores about a 15 on CINEBENCH."

I'm geting awfully close to that on a aging 2010 12 core MacPro with 32GB of RAM.



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Walter Soyka
Re: New Mac Pro for After Effects...
on Jun 12, 2013 at 7:36:52 pm

[Ridley Walker] "I'm geting awfully close to that on a aging 2010 12 core MacPro with 32GB of RAM."

Yes. Like I said, the Z800 I have is old now -- nearly ready for replacement. It's from 2011 and uses a speed-bumped version of the Xeon in your 2010 Mac Pro. The most notable thing I do with that aging Z800 that I cannot do with my Mac Pro is drive 10-bit displays.

It's the CPU options available on PCs starting in 2012 that started showing the performance gap. Tom Daigon would shame us all with his 16-core Z820.

But even here, we are talking about relatively small differences. Imagine how wide this gulf will become next year when the Mac Pro Tube could pull around 15 on CINEBENCH with its 12-core CPU, and a Z-series could pull around 30 with two of those same 12-core CPUs. Ouch.

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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Michael Miller
Re: New Mac Pro for After Effects...
on Jun 13, 2013 at 3:31:24 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Imagine how wide this gulf will become next year when the Mac Pro Tube could pull around 15 on CINEBENCH with its 12-core CPU, and a Z-series could pull around 30 with two of those same 12-core CPUs. Ouch."

I just recently bought a new low end HP Z820 off EBay that I plan to upgrade to the 12-core Intel Xeon E5v2 when they come out. I am still going to keep my Z800 as it still a very capable workstation and will be for some years to come.


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Darby Edelen
Re: New Mac Pro for After Effects...
on Jun 13, 2013 at 10:48:27 pm

Here's a result from my Z820. This machine is pretty well equipped, although you can see that I didn't go for the fastest CPUs available. I wanted to stick with air cooling and I was trying to keep the price tag around $10k (I already had the GPU).



Darby Edelen


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Paul Roper
Re: New Mac Pro for After Effects...
on Jun 14, 2013 at 9:55:28 am

Always interesting to compare bang-for-your-buck specs. I'm working on a Mac Pro which costs around $8500 excluding the 2x Quadro 4000 cards, which push the price north of $10K. Compared to Darby's Z820 Cinebench results, my Mac's running at tortoisesque speeds:



- Paul


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Darby Edelen
Re: New Mac Pro for After Effects...
on Jun 14, 2013 at 5:28:32 pm

[Paul Roper] " Always interesting to compare bang-for-your-buck specs. I'm working on a Mac Pro which costs around $8500 excluding the 2x Quadro 4000 cards, which push the price north of $10K. Compared to Darby's Z820 Cinebench results, my Mac's running at tortoisesque speeds:"

Well, in all honesty I went back and re-configured my Z820 and it's more like $12K without the GPU :)

That's with 128GB of RAM, 1x 256GB SSD for OS, 1x 128GB SSD for Cache and 3x 3TB HD in Raid 5 configuration.

Normally I buy RAM separately at a better cost (Apple is particularly ridiculous with their pre-installed RAM prices) but when my company is buying I don't sweat it :)

Darby Edelen


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John Cuevas
Re: New Mac Pro for After Effects...
on Jun 12, 2013 at 6:59:57 pm

I only scored a 13 on cinebench. I might be keeping up with the Jones, but I'm behind the Soyka's

Johnny Cuevas, Editor
Thinkck.com

"I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."
---THOMAS EDISON on inventing the light bulb.


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Ridley Walker
Re: New Mac Pro for After Effects...
on Jun 12, 2013 at 7:08:17 pm

[John Cuevas] " I might be keeping up with the Jones, but I'm behind the Soyka's
"


They're always ahead of the curve!


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Walter Soyka
Re: New Mac Pro for After Effects...
on Jun 12, 2013 at 7:47:15 pm

[John Cuevas] "I only scored a 13 on cinebench. I might be keeping up with the Jones, but I'm behind the Soyka's"

http://instantrimshot.com/index.php?sound=rimshot&play=true

Those 2 CINEBENCH points can be overcome very easily by being better at lighting than I am. The bar is not that high...

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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James Huenergardt
Re: New Mac Pro for After Effects...
on Oct 22, 2013 at 9:07:18 pm

Walter,

I'm am VERY interested in your cross-platform workflow.

I'm needing to upgrade my 2008 Mac Pro and have looked long and hard at the new Mac Pro tube computer. Very sexy, but not sure if it will be the best fit.

Because a lot of my clients require Mac platform stuff and I work with other editors on a Mac, I'm trying to find a cross-platform workflow that's seamless.

What are you doing with it?

Thanks,

Jim

Reel Inspirations - http://www.reelinspirations.com
Commercials, Dramas, Image Pieces, Documentaries, Motion Graphics


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Walter Soyka
Re: New Mac Pro for After Effects...
on Oct 23, 2013 at 6:41:25 am

[James Huenergardt] "I'm am VERY interested in your cross-platform workflow."

Happy to answer questions -- fire away.


[James Huenergardt] "I'm needing to upgrade my 2008 Mac Pro"

This was a screaming machine at the time, but it'll be seriously outperformed by just about anything today.


[James Huenergardt] "and have looked long and hard at the new Mac Pro tube computer. Very sexy, but not sure if it will be the best fit."

I think the Mac Pro tube will be a fine computer, but it will be somewhat limited in comparison with PC options.

What are you worried about not being a good fit? Can you talk about your work now, what you want to do going forward, and maybe a price range?


[James Huenergardt] "Because a lot of my clients require Mac platform stuff and I work with other editors on a Mac, I'm trying to find a cross-platform workflow that's seamless."

My work is mainly large-format motion graphics. I spend a lot of time in the Adobe apps and C4D. The biggest challenge with these apps when switching platforms is trying to remember whether to use my thumb on Cmd or my pinky on Ctrl for a hotkey. Once you're in the apps, the computer kind of disappears.

I work every day on an HP PC workstation, and take work home on either an HP EliteBook or my MacBook Pro. Creative Cloud allows two activations, and they can be split platforms. It's easy to shuffle around to other systems by deactivating on one and reactivating on another.

I did have to buy new licenses of all my plugins. I maintain licenses for all the major plugin packages and this was a significant expense, perhaps in part because I didn't want to transfer my Mac licenses, but rather buy new ones to allow me to use it on both systems. The only exception here was GenArts; the Sapphire license is cross-platform and portable like CC with unlimited deactivation/reactivation.

I use MacDrive on my PCs, and I use Tuxera NTFS on my Macs. This way, I don't have to care what kind of drive I'm plugging into what computer -- any computer in my little shop can read any disk that comes through the door.

Networking mostly just works. Snow Leopard was brilliant; I skipped Lion altogether, but I had a few networking pains with Mountain Lion due to Apple dropping SAMBA and writing their own SMB handler for file sharing with PCs. I installed SMBUp and haven't looked back. Mavericks should support SMB 2 and I am hopeful it will do file sharing better out of the box than ML did.

I use Google Apps for business for my email, contacts, and calendar, so it doesn't matter what computer I'm on. To me, this was one of the things that made it easy for me to switch away from Apple full-time: I wasn't tied into their application stack for the everyday stuff.

I use Dropbox for syncing projects of reasonable size, though larger projects live on local RAIDs which are periodically synced.

I use CineForm or image sequences as my ProRes replacement intermediates on my PCs because I have some specific resolution requirements, but DNxHD in MXF is working nicely with Pr CC for HD-resolution projects and may be a viable candidate. It's possible to encode ProRes on Windows systems with ffmbc or ffmpeg, but I generally do this on Macs.

I could go on, if you care to point me in any specific direction.

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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James Huenergardt
Re: New Mac Pro for After Effects...
on Nov 17, 2013 at 8:01:20 pm

Hey Walter,

Thanks so much for the info.

I do a lot of After Effects work and am getting into Cinema 4D. I'm preferring C4D over Lightwave for motion graphics work, especially with Cineware.

[Walter Soyka] I use MacDrive on my PCs, and I use Tuxera NTFS on my Macs. This way, I don't have to care what kind of drive I'm plugging into what computer -- any computer in my little shop can read any disk that comes through the door.


Do you just use these as a copy mechanism, or do you actually edit off these?

I do more than just motion graphics. I do some multi-camera editing in CC as well as some promo/docu editing as well.

I work off of bare drives and use drive docks as I'm on the road a bit and work off my MBP.

I use a Thunderbolt drive dock from Seagate for my bare drive and use an SSD via Thunderbolt for my RAM cache.

When I get back to my office, I put the bare drive and the SSD in my eSata dock and work off them.

I'd just hate to have to purchase all my plug-ins again for Windows. That could add a lot.

Performance wise, I hear that a stripped down Windows Server machine can blow away the Mac. And there's more flexibility to configure and choose.

Difficult decisions for sure.

Reel Inspirations - http://www.reelinspirations.com
Commercials, Dramas, Image Pieces, Documentaries, Motion Graphics


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Walter Soyka
Re: New Mac Pro for After Effects...
on Nov 19, 2013 at 4:58:00 pm

[James Huenergardt] "Do you just use these as a copy mechanism, or do you actually edit off these? I do more than just motion graphics. I do some multi-camera editing in CC as well as some promo/docu editing as well."

I generally just copy onto my RAID, and unfortunately I don't have an eSATA card installed in my PC to give you a meaningful speed test.

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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Brandon Cranor
Re: New Mac Pro for After Effects...
on Jun 12, 2013 at 5:52:05 pm

I haven't been able to do a bunch of research on it, but I'm sure that if you wanted to make it work with an GeForce card you could get a Thunderbolt PCI box and install it...anyone know for sure?

-Brandon


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Nevin Styre
Re: New Mac Pro for After Effects...
on Jun 12, 2013 at 6:36:54 pm

thunderbolt2 bandwidth is 20Gbps where as PCIe 3.0 x16 is 128Gbps, there are enclosures to make external video cards work, but the high end cards will definitely be bottlenecked by thunderbolt vs native PCIe. The potentially good news is that the GPUs in this new mac pro are still a card form-factor and not soldered to the logic board like a laptop, theoretically they could be upgraded/swapped out. Though it would still have to be a proprietary mac-pro-tube specific replacement as these aren't the standard video card form factor, and would involve a little more than a video card replacement today as they would have to be removed from the heat sink and reapplied with thermal compound.


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Walter Soyka
Re: New Mac Pro for After Effects...
on Jun 12, 2013 at 6:39:34 pm

[Nevin Styre] "thunderbolt2 bandwidth is 20Gbps where as PCIe 3.0 x16 is 128Gbps, there are enclosures to make external video cards work, but the high end cards will definitely be bottlenecked by thunderbolt vs native PCIe."

I don't know -- it might be fast enough for compute use. Look at how well Resolve performs with a Cubix full of GTXs, all sharing a single PCIe 2.0 16x slot.

It all depends on how much data you need to push on and off the 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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Steven Mullins
Re: New Mac Pro for After Effects...
on Jun 15, 2013 at 3:46:33 am

I watched the announcement live from my AppleTV, my heart sank, I checked in with Promax and BOXX one last time for best value, and sent my CC info to Promax within 24 hours. I need to get to work (after working off my MBP while I waited months for this announcement) and an equipped z820 will be seriously fast for quite a while.

Thanks, but no thanks, Apple. Maybe some other time!

Steven Mullins
Motion Designer
EchoOut Motion Design
http://www.echoout.com


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