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Pat Bray
imac i7 v mac pro (plus CS5 and pro 12-core Q's)
on Apr 26, 2010 at 1:32:21 pm

Hi, I wondered if someone could take a quick look at these specs and make any comments/suggestions as I basically need some key facts so I can justify the spend on a mac pro over the imac i7 to my bosses, should the differences in performance be substantial (I've had a good look through the forums and it's all getting too much for my creative brain :-P )

Mac 27" Core i7 2.8GHz (quad-core)/1TB/Radeon HD 4850/SD
includes 8GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 4x2GB

OR


iMac 27" Core i7 2.8GHz (quad-core)/1TB/Radeon HD 4850/SD
includes 16GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 4x4GB

OR

Mac Pro Two 2.26GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon/640GB/SD
includes 16GB (8X2GB) & ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB


I realise that AE is heavily dependent on RAM, so theoretically the 16GB imac is better than the 8GB, unless I'm missing something. Obviously cost is a significant factor here, I'm just trying to create a break down summary for my manager as to why an imac may or may not be the best option. My other concerns is that with CS5 is being released soon, what kind of impact will the 64bit support have on the imac? Finally, there's news that the new mac pro 12-core is on the horizon, is it really worth holding out for that instead? (Note: I'll be using it for HD broadcast motion work)

Sorry for what is sure to be a 'groundhog day' thread for many of you!

P



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Walter Soyka
Re: imac i7 v mac pro (plus CS5 and pro 12-core Q's)
on Apr 26, 2010 at 3:44:14 pm

Like you said -- RAM, RAM, RAM. 2-4 GB per core.

I'd be leery of using an iMac for broadcast work. I'm pretty dependent on my RAID, Kona capture card, and broadcast monitor, and only the Mac Pro has the expansion options to make that happen.

The current Mac Pro has been out for quite a while -- it's overdue for an update, and the if the 12-core rumors are true, it will have a big impact on multiprocessor rendering. That said, no one knows when the next generation is really coming out. If you can afford to wait another month, it might be worthwhile, but if you need to start working now, the current Mac Pros will not disappoint.

CS5 is going to be a big deal for you working on broadcast HD. 64-bit RAM addressing means that you could RAM preview an entire 30-second spot in HD (provided you have enough RAM). 32-bit AE CS4 can't grab enough the 7 GB of RAM or so that it would need to cache the frames).

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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Uli Plank
Re: imac i7 v mac pro (plus CS5 and pro 12-core Q's)
on Apr 26, 2010 at 4:36:04 pm

If Premiere Pro is important too, the iMac is NOT for you. There's only a limited number of nVidia cards supported for hardware acceleration. And, believe me, you'll want it!

Director of the Institute of Media Research (IMF) at Braunschweig University of Arts


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Pat Bray
Re: imac i7 v mac pro (plus CS5 and pro 12-core Q's)
on Apr 26, 2010 at 4:49:06 pm

Thanks for the info Uli, I doubt we'll use Premier Pro, but what about Final Cut Pro, does the graphics card issues apply to this too?
P


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Pat Bray
Re: imac i7 v mac pro (plus CS5 and pro 12-core Q's)
on Apr 26, 2010 at 4:47:10 pm

Thanks for the prompt reply Walter, I'll add what you've said to my proposal, however I have a question regarding RAM - if you need 2/4 per core, then the imac would be maxed out at 16 as it has a quad core cpu, so when CS5 comes out with its 64bit support, there'll be no additional benefit as it'll be operating at maximum capacity, correct? If what I've written is gibberish I apologise!

P


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Dave LaRonde
Re: imac i7 v mac pro (plus CS5 and pro 12-core Q's)
on Apr 26, 2010 at 6:45:42 pm

[Pat Bray] "...the imac would be maxed out at 16 as it has a quad core cpu, so when CS5 comes out with its 64bit support, there'll be no additional benefit as it'll be operating at maximum capacity, correct?"

That is correct. An iMac is a fine machine... but not if your plans involve using one for any future versions of After Effects. The next version begins shipping in just a few days.

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


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Pat Bray
Re: imac i7 v mac pro (plus CS5 and pro 12-core Q's)
on Apr 28, 2010 at 10:46:02 am

Hi Dave, thanks for the reply. It's an ongoing debate but looks like we'll go for a 12-core pro.
Should anyone else be interested in this I've listed all the notes I've found below, hope it helps:

iMac i7 -

According to Macworld's tests, the Core i7 iMac beat the 8-core Mac Pro 2.2GHz in a number of Speedmark 6 tests, HOWEVER, although in terms of raw horsepower, display quality and price, an iMac is the obvious choice, its not if your plans involve using any future versions of After Effects, which begins shipping in just a few days (CS5), if you plan on upgrading, or running on fast external hard drives.

CS5 is going to be a big deal for working on broadcast HD, as the native 64-bit support means you can tap all the RAM on your system to work more efficiently with HD, 2K, and 4K projects, rather than being limited to 4GB RAM per core as with previous versions of AE, and adding RAM is the best single thing you can do to improve AE performance. (Note: the iMac is a quad-core system with a maximum RAM capacity of 16GB, so there will be no benefits in using CS5's new 64bit support)

Also, the two links below show that in terms of AE rendering, the mac pro 8-core still halve (approx) processing time compared to the iMac:

http://www.barefeats.com/imi7m.html

http://www.barefeats.com/imi7.html



Waiting for the 12-core Mac Pro -

Rumored to be released in June, the 12-core will have a big impact on multiprocessor rendering and use of the 12-core processors will reestablish a much larger performance gap between Apple's consumer and professional desktop computers

It will also allow up to 128GB RAM compared to 16BG RAM of the iMac i7



Other considerations include -

The iMac is not expandable, so you can't add a video card like AJA or Blackmagic Design, to monitor your work on a broadcast monitor

You can't add a RAID card for working with uncompressed HD footage

You'll have to daisy-chain multiple external hard drives and maybe a Blu-ray burner off a single FW800 bus, which is slow

There is NO option for fast external storage for the iMac as it only runs via firewire 800. Real world speed writes can drop as low as 45MB/sec, so this area is the Achille's heel of the iMac

Mac Pro has bigger "data pipes" that creative and high end 3D apps can take advantage of, not to mention dual CPU capability and expandability


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Tyson Frantz
Re: imac i7 v mac pro (plus CS5 and pro 12-core Q's)
on May 10, 2010 at 4:38:40 pm

I'm planning to upgrade very soon as well... I'm currently using a PowerMac G5 2.5GHz Quad with dual 23" cinema displays.

Since I plan to upgrade to Adobe's CS5 at the same time, I was considering the Quad i7 iMac simply because of the price vs. power ratio that the new iMacs are providing. I'm a motion graphics designer, but don't do much video editing. Therefore, I just simply don't need the industrial expandability of the Mac Pros.

However, I fully understand I'd be taking a hit on performance considering Apple's plans to update the Mac Pro line very soon with the reported hexacore chips. At times, I perform some fairly intense rendering with AE and Cinema 4D.

I'm wondering how much of a disadvantage I would be putting myself in by purchasing an i7 iMac, since AE CS5 is now supporting 64-bit architecture?

I could be saving myself a good $2,000 by purchasing the Quad i7 iMac over a new Mac Pro, so price becomes a major factor.

Does anyone have any advice?





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Dave LaRonde
Re: imac i7 v mac pro (plus CS5 and pro 12-core Q's)
on May 10, 2010 at 5:18:39 pm

[Tyson Frantz] " considering the Quad i7 iMac simply because of the price vs. power ratio that the new iMacs are providing. I'm a motion graphics designer, but don't do much video editing. Therefore, I just simply don't need the industrial expandability of the Mac Pros. "

You mean you don't want to be able to do MUCH longer RAM previews and MUCH faster rendering? If I were you, I'd make a visit to the Adobe web site before you buy that iMac, and see what a 64-bit application can do for your AE work....

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


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Tyson Frantz
Re: imac i7 v mac pro (plus CS5 and pro 12-core Q's)
on May 10, 2010 at 7:07:26 pm

Thanks for your quick reply Dave, and yes, what you said is exactly what I meant. I take it from your response that you'd advise to NOT buy that iMac?

Bottom line is, I know that I'll be seeing vast performance improvements over my current dinosaur of a machine, but I'm just wondering if I'll be experiencing buyer's remorse 6 months after buying an i7 iMac.

Having 64-bit capability would be great, especially being able to render longer RAM previews on higher resolution projects.

The type of work I do, however, is typically short-length (10-30 second) HD resolution graphics... so what's really important to me is faster renders, not so much longer RAM previews. I realize those go hand-in-hand, but will I ever add more than 16GB of RAM (which is the iMac's memory max) to my machine, even if I did buy a Mac Pro? Probably not.

Since Apple is supposedly launching a new line of Mac Pros in June (hopefully?), maybe my best bet is to wait until it's announced, and make my decision then.

Maybe I'm just dreading the thought of dropping upwards of $5k on a new Mac Pro and CS5 upgrade!


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Duane Giliam
Starting out with CS5
on Jun 10, 2010 at 2:30:59 pm

Hi

I was actually planning on buying an imac until i saw this thread.
Ive been mainly editing for the last couple of years but now feel I need to up my game to include motion graphics and thus am wanting to learn After Effects.

I was hoping you could guide me as to what system to go for. I feel mac is the way and was leaning toward buying the new cs5 suite because of the additional programmes it comes with.

Also is it possible to have a quadro (FX1800) card in a mac.

Any advise would be appreciated.

Thanks
Duane


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Starting out with CS5
on Jun 10, 2010 at 7:42:06 pm

[Duane Giliam] "Also is it possible to have a quadro (FX1800) card in a mac. "

Is that an NVidia card? If yes, you should check out the Adobe web site and see what an NVidia card does for Premiere.... that and a good RAID, too.

Know that After Effects is an absolute RAM hog. Of any application you use, AE will take up the most RAM.

It easily uses 4GB per CORE, and it's happier with even more. Spend an evening nosing around the Adobe web site: look at system specs, look at the Premiere/NVidia alliance, look at the other applications in Production Premium.

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


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Duane Giliam
Re: Starting out with CS5
on Jun 11, 2010 at 1:32:25 pm

HI Dave

Yes its a nvidia card. Its part of the Quadro range which is said to work well with Premium Pro.

Thanks for the advice - I'll go nose around later.
Im just concerned because I see alot of guys on the forums having issues with open GL.Is Open Gl to do with the GPU or the CPU?

Thanks again

Duane


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Walter Soyka
Re: Starting out with CS5
on Jun 11, 2010 at 1:43:46 pm

[Duane Giliam] "Im just concerned because I see alot of guys on the forums having issues with open GL.Is Open Gl to do with the GPU or the CPU? "

Even with CS5, the graphics card has relatively little impact on After Effects. AE generally renders on the CPU, not the GPU. The Quadro will impact Premiere Pro's performance a lot more than it will impact AE's performance.

You are right that many have had issues with OpenGL rendering, and even people with Adobe recommend leaving it OpenGL accleration off for rendering. The OpenGL - Interactive setting accelerates your viewport during user interactions like scrubbing the timeline and moving layers, but not during actual preview or render, and it's pretty widely considered safe and reliable.

There are some effects that are capable of GPU-accelerated rendering, and these may be accelerated nicely by the Quadro. This has nothing to do with AE's OpenGL rendering, which you can safely leave off.

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 Lewis
Re: Starting out with CS5
on Jun 17, 2010 at 8:26:17 pm

Hi Everybody

My first post on the "COW" site... here goes...

Like several of the other posters, I am waiting with growing impatience for the official announcement of the new, presumably Xeon hexacore or dual-hexacore Mac-Pro machines. I haven't found any online rumours that would shed very much useful light on any "solid" specs, and nobody seems to have any idea of the price/availability, or the impact of the new machines possibly "pushing down" pricing on the Quad MacPros? It would be SO nice if Apple would let a *little* bit of solid information out--a trickle of blood-in-the-water to keep all of us in a feeding frenzy... :-)

So, assuming that the price is too high, or immediate availability too low--is it possible to crank up the performance of CS5 (or other lower versions) on a dual-Quadcore MacPro by putting in a small SSD-Raid *internally*? Would such a setup work in tandem with the GPU to assist in overall throughput?

Obviously more RAM is ALWAYS a good idea, but what about SSD's?? Thanks for any advice!


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Starting out with CS5
on Jun 17, 2010 at 9:25:03 pm

Faster drives would only make a marginal improvement in render times. Virtually unnoticeable. The only RAIDs that make a real difference in AE are the ones that let you hot-swap a hard drive with a new one if the drive goes south. You don't lose data.

Apparently an NVidia card will help AE a little, too. Check on the NVidia link on the left-hand side of this page for details.

In AE-Land, RAM is still king.

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


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Elin grome
Re: Starting out with CS5
on Oct 20, 2010 at 2:34:33 pm

Hi all,

Sorry to drag you all through this again :) I know this subject (upgrades, Imac v Mac Pro, 4v8v12 cores) has been done to death, but well, you know how it is, a combination of not wanting to part with a stack of cash lightly and childish excitement at getting a new machine :)

Anyway I reckon im in a similar position to Tyson;

"Having 64-bit capability would be great, especially being able to render longer RAM previews on higher resolution projects.

The type of work I do, however, is typically short-length (10-30 second) HD resolution graphics... so what's really important to me is faster renders, not so much longer RAM previews. I realize those go hand-in-hand, but will I ever add more than 16GB of RAM (which is the iMac's memory max) to my machine, even if I did buy a Mac Pro? Probably not. "


This pretty much defines the kind of work i do; more graphics/motion graphic, very little editing.

Can Dave/Tyson or anyone else expand on this?


Thanks in advance,

Elin

It's all the those pesky details :p


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Walter Soyka
Re: Starting out with CS5
on Oct 20, 2010 at 3:03:42 pm

With After Effects, speed and number of cores go hand in hand -- and the more cores you have, the more RAM you need. After Effects rendering performance scales with money spent on hardware.

The iMac has only 4 cores, versus 6, 8, or 12 in the Mac Pro. The iMac is limited to 16 GB of RAM, versus 64 GB in the Mac Pro. The iMac is not expandable, but the Mac Pro is.

Can you get by with the iMac? Sure, unless you want to connect to a high-speed RAID, preview your work on a broadcast monitor, or take advantage of long RAM previews.

Will a well-equipped Mac Pro be substantially faster than a well-equipped iMac? Yes.

Is the extra performance worth the cost increase? That one's up to you. Personally, I hate to wait (and so do my clients!), so I chose the Mac Pro.

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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Dave LaRonde
Re: Starting out with CS5
on Oct 20, 2010 at 3:22:00 pm

AE 10 is 64-bit, which means it can use every bit of RAM you can throw at it.

AE 10 also works with hyperthreading, and thus can use virtual cores. On a new 12-core Mac Pro, that means AE could efficiently use 20 cores -- 10 real, 10 virtual, with the remainder left for the OS & open apps.

This makes AE a LOT faster in situations where you need a lot of processing power, and the processors don't really get up to top speed until they see about 2GB apiece... and they easily can use more!

So let's do the arithmetic: 20 cores * 2GB minimum/core = 40 GB. Considering you want a few GB for the OS & open apps, you're up in the neighborhood of 48 GB.

Consider that that I'm getting a new 8-core machine. My IT buddy and I will have to put RAM in it. We're going to install 24 GB, and if I could afford more, I'd get more. I won't be able to use hyperthreading on this sucker, but I WILL be able to use multiprocessing, so I'm going to see a big drop in render times and longer RAM Previews.

It won't be the fastest thing around, but it'll be great for AE work at home... and it'll blow the doors off anything we have here at work.

Never, EVER forget this: AE is the ultimate RAM hog. I know of no other application that uses more.

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


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Elin grome
Re: Starting out with CS5
on Oct 21, 2010 at 8:47:56 pm

Thanks guys I guess that really is all there is to be said on this issue - its up to me to decide whether this extra grunt us gonna pay for itself; Im more of a all-round creative (yes, I know how pretentious that sounds :)) than a full time motion graphics guy, so I can always find some other toys to spend that 3000 dollars on, so i guess ill be bothering folks on the DSLR, filmmaking forums :)

One final, final questions for you Dave;

I saw that the 8 core seems to outperform the 12 core in many tasks - but you mentioned you wont be able to use hyperthreading on an 8 core? is that only available on the hexacore chips? Why didnt u choose one of those?

It's all the those pesky details :p


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Starting out with CS5
on Oct 21, 2010 at 8:54:54 pm

I can't use hypethreading on my 8-core because it wouldn't be very effective. I will have the ability to do so.

However, since I'll only have 24 GB RAM on my machine (only!), I'll leave hyperthreading off for the time being. When I put 48 GB in, I'll turn it on.

After Effects can use a stupefyingly large amount of memory.

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


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Elin grome
Re: Starting out with CS5
on Nov 2, 2010 at 6:50:35 pm

ahah - well a belated thanks for those responses/

FYI In the end I went for the Imac on steroids - at this stage it suits my needs since my "bottleneck" at the moment is the work; I dont have enough of it!

my partner and i are just starting up and I figure can always upgrade at a later stage and use the imac as render node etc etc

but thanks again, as much as u surely answer these same type of questions 50x a month the individual answers are still important to us as individual decision makers.

It's all the those pesky details :p


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Clayton MacDonald
Re: imac i7 v mac pro (plus CS5 and pro 12-core Q's)
on Feb 2, 2011 at 11:39:39 pm

there seem to be a few misconceptions re the imac on here with regards to Adobe CS5, so here goes.

NVIDIA are not the only video cards which support CUDA/ Mercury engine rendering in CS5. The ATI HD series supports it as well, although apparently you need at least 800MB of video card RAM so that leaves the 27" imac with the ATI Radeon HD 5750 (1GB) as a valid option if you want to take advantage of GPU-aided rendering via CUDA/Mercury.

also, imacs are 64 bit. anything that ships with snow leopard is 64-bit. You do, however, need to boot it in 64-bit mode by holding down the 6 and 4 on startup.

Also, modern deliverables have blurred the lines of what is considered 'broadcast'. If you're delivering in NTSC, then you definitely need to preview your work on an NTSC monitor via a proper video card ie KONA3, and for that you'll need a mac pro. If you deliver for the web, or anything other than NTSC ( including Blu-Ray) then you probably don't need to proof your work on NTSC monitors. Also, if you need to ingest /output via SDI then you'll need a KONA card as well.

So, to re-cap, yes there will be MASSIVE benefits to running Adobe CS5 on a hyper-threaded imac i7 with 1Gb of video RAM and 16GB of RAM. As a 64 bit machine, your imac will be able to make full use of adobe's new 64-bit code, as well as CUDA/Mercury engine if your card exceeds 800MB of video RAM. It will be a fast and somewhat future -proof machine if you consider they are still shipping Macs of various flavours with 256MB video cards.

I picked this machine to cut my Canon 5DMkii footage on because the limitations re external drives don't really affect me. Premiere Pro edits H264 natively at around 40mb/s, so FW 800 is plenty fast for me.

This ain't your daddy's imac, people, especially now that we are reaching the physical limitations of what a silicon chip can do.

Clayton MacDonald
Video Editor
778-960-0569


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Walter Soyka
Re: imac i7 v mac pro (plus CS5 and pro 12-core Q's)
on Feb 3, 2011 at 2:39:29 am

Respectfully, there's a bit of misinformation in this post, so here are a couple important clarifications.

The phrase "Mercury Playback Engine" does not refer exclusively to GPU processing. It's a broad term that includes a lot of big architectural improvements to Premiere Pro, including multi-threading, being a 64-bit application, and some co-processing with CUDA. (See Todd Kopriva's post at http://forums.adobe.com/message/3377595 for more.)

CUDA is an NVIDIA technology. There are no ATI cards that support CUDA, and there are no ATI that accelerate processing in Premiere Pro. As above, the term "Mercury Playback Engine" is still meaningful on machines with ATI cards, but the CUDA processing is restricted to a handful of supported NVIDIA cards. (The list of supported cards is here: http://www.adobe.com/products/premiere/performance/.)

You do not need to specifically boot the Mac into the 64-bit kernel to use a 64-bit application. The kernel space and application space are completely separate, and you can still run 64-bit applications (with full access to 64-bit memory addressing) with the 32-bit kernel. (See http://blogs.adobe.com/toddkopriva/2010/03/64-bit-kernels-and-after-effec.h... for more.)

Adobe has really excellent color management, but the iMac's display is 8-bit only and cannot be calibrated in hardware like many higher-end wide gamut displays (like a Dreamcolor or Eizo), so I think that critical color evaluation still belongs on a properly-calibrated external monitor.

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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Clayton MacDonald
Re: imac i7 v mac pro (plus CS5 and pro 12-core Q's)
on Feb 3, 2011 at 8:53:42 pm

Thanks for the clarification Walter! Please correct me if I'm wrong ( again?) but here is some info I have dug up... mixed in with speculation. I'm trying to figure out how things will play out in the CUDA/OPENCL race, which i believe was at the core of my earlier misunderstanding. Here goes:

CUDA may just be OPENCL with a different wrapper (?). NVIDIA is a member of the Khronos group ( led by Apple of course) which was responsible for developing OPENCL in the first place. The chipsets are the same, the GPU's are all the same - does Adobe/NVIDIA really want to alienate the second larget company on the planet (Apple)? Me thinks not. It's just another format war and NVIDIA is trying to get their licks in first ( usually a mark of weakness).

In other words, it may not be long before CUDA is trumped by its open-sourced competitor OPENCL. CUDA is just as important to the pro video industry as other proprietary stuff like Avid video codecs ( which is, not very important?). We can see plenty of other examples where open-sourced codes have simply overwhelmed their proprietary and inherently weaker counterparts ( Linux vs. Windows ).

So, to amend my earlier post, you may only need a certain amount of video card RAM to take advantage of GPU acceleration ( CUDA/OPENCL ), especially as OPENCL moves forward. Apparently the threshold is around 800MB.

cheers!

Clayton MacDonald
Online Editor
Greedy Productions Ltd.
(http://www.elecplay.com, http://www.reviewsontherun.com)

Clayton MacDonald
Video Editor
778-960-0569


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Walter Soyka
Re: imac i7 v mac pro (plus CS5 and pro 12-core Q's)
on Feb 3, 2011 at 9:52:28 pm

[Clayton MacDonald] "I'm trying to figure out how things will play out in the CUDA/OPENCL race"

So is everyone else! :)

The good news is that graphics cards are cheap, so you can pick NVIDIA for CUDA today, and if OpenCL wins, you can switch later if ATI delivers a better and cheaper option.


[Clayton MacDonald] "CUDA may just be OPENCL with a different wrapper (?). NVIDIA is a member of the Khronos group ( led by Apple of course) which was responsible for developing OPENCL in the first place."

CUDA and OpenCL do similar things (and NVIDIA implements OpenCL on their CUDA architecture), but they are not the same. CUDA code does not run on ATI cards.


[Clayton MacDonald] "NVIDIA is trying to get their licks in first ( usually a mark of weakness)."

I think that NVIDIA's goal in launching CUDA was simple: they had a great massively parallel architecture that they wanted to open up to new markets beyond pure graphics. CUDA (and OpenCL) is a fundamentally a competitive shot at Intel for general-purpose calculation. This sort of competition is confusing for customers in the short run, but will benefit everyone who wants cheaper and faster computing in the long run.


[Clayton MacDonald] "It's just another format war"

I think you're absolutely right, and I'll take it a step further: this will be the biggest format war that no one has ever heard of in the coming years. I agree that OpenCL will have a huge amount of potential in the future, but I'd add that CUDA has a huge amount of momentum right now, both in our industry and others.


[Clayton MacDonald] "CUDA is just as important to the pro video industry as other proprietary stuff like Avid video codecs ( which is, not very important?)."

I'm not sure I follow here.

It depends on your market segment, but Avid is still very relevant to the industry. They have certainly lost momentum, but I wouldn't count them out yet.

CUDA is still new, so it's difficult to gauge its importance to the industry, but Adobe has jumped on it with Premiere Pro, BMD/DaVinci has jumped on it with Resolve, and Sorenson has jumped on it with GPU-accelerated video compression Squeeze 7.


[Clayton MacDonald] "We can see plenty of other examples where open-sourced codes have simply overwhelmed their proprietary and inherently weaker counterparts ( Linux vs. Windows )."

Very true, but this seems to apply more to commodity markets and less to specialized markets like ours. I don't realistically see Kdenlive denting the marketshare of any of the three A's (Adobe, Apple, and Avid) any time soon. Also, a lot of critical video technology is heavily patent-encumbered.

Apple's ProRes is a great example of how a closed, proprietary, sold-for-profit standard can totally dominate a market segment.


[Clayton MacDonald] "So, to amend my earlier post, you may only need a certain amount of video card RAM to take advantage of GPU acceleration ( CUDA/OPENCL ), especially as OPENCL moves forward. Apparently the threshold is around 800MB."

Agreed. Today, Adobe has only developed GPU acceleration using CUDA on qualified NVIDIA cards, but who knows what tomorrow will bring?

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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