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iMac vs. MacBook Pro Rendering Speed (MacBook Pro dramatically worse)

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John Cassidy
iMac vs. MacBook Pro Rendering Speed (MacBook Pro dramatically worse)
on Mar 18, 2011 at 12:02:46 am

I was wondering if anyone had ideas as to why the rendering speed on my MacBook Pro is dramatically worse than my iMac. Basically, what’s taking the iMac 2 mins to render is taking the MacBook Pro upwards of 60 mins to render.

Below are the specs on each of the machines, and the full results from the renders. I manually chose to stop the renders on the MacBook Pro before it finished each test, since it was taking so long.

Does such a drastic difference make any sense?

Note: All files and render folders are located on each computer’s internal hard drive. No external drives were used.

iMac
  • Software: After Effects CS5
  • OS: 10.5.8
  • Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Processor Speed: 2.66 GHz
  • Number Of Processors: 1
  • Total Number Of Cores: 2
  • L2 Cache: 6 MB
  • Memory: 4 GB
  • BANK 0/DIMM0: 2 GB, DDR3, 1067 MHz
  • BANK 1/DIMM0: 2 GB, DDR3, 1067 MHz
  • Bus Speed: 1.07 GHz
  • Graphics
    • Chipset Model: NVIDIA GeForce 9400M
    • Type: GPU
    • Bus: PCI
    • VRAM (Total): 256 MB


MacBook Pro
  • Software: After Effects CS5
  • OS: 10.6.3
  • Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Processor Speed: 2.53 GHz
  • Number Of Processors: 1
  • Total Number Of Cores: 2
  • L2 Cache: 3 MB
  • Memory: 4 GB
  • BANK 0/DIMM0: 2 GB, DDR3, 1067 MHz
  • BANK 1/DIMM0: 2 GB, DDR3, 1067 MHz
  • Bus Speed: 1.07 GHz
  • Graphics
    • Chipset Model: NVIDIA GeForce 9400M
    • Type: GPU
    • Bus: PCI
    • VRAM (Total): 256 MB


Test #1 – OpenGL Renderer ON, Render Multiple Frames OFF
  • Format: Quicktime .mov
  • Video Codec: Animation 100%
  • Channels: RGB
  • Depth: Millions of Colors
  • Color: Premultiplied


Results:
  • iMac: 2 Min, 16 Sec
  • MacBook Pro
    • Elapsed: 37 Min, 39 Sec
    • Est. Remain: 1 Hr, 0 Min


Test #2 – OpenGL Renderer OFF, Render Multiple Frames OFF
  • Format: Quicktime .mov
  • Video Codec: Animation 100%
  • Channels: RGB
  • Depth: Millions of Colors
  • Color: Premultiplied


Results:
  • iMac: 1 Min, 58 Sec
  • MacBook Pro
    • Elapsed: 13 Min, 56 Sec
    • Est. Remain: 46 Min


Test #3 – OpenGL Renderer OFF, Render Multiple Frames* ON
  • Format: Quicktime .mov
  • Video Codec: Animation 100%
  • Channels: RGB
  • Depth: Millions of Colors
  • Color: Premultiplied


Results:
  • iMac: 8 Min, 11 Sec
  • MacBook Pro
    • Elapsed: 14 Min, 53 Sec
    • Est. Remain: 50 Min


*Render Multiple Frames Settings (same on both computers):
  • Install RAM: 4 GB
  • RAM reserved for other applications: 1.5 GB
  • RAM available for AE, PR, EN, Encoder: 2.5 GB
  • Installed CPUs (processor cores): 2
  • CPUs reserved for other applications: 0
  • RAM allocation per background CPU: 0.75 GB
  • Actual CPUs that will be used: 2


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Dave LaRonde
Re: iMac vs. MacBook Pro Rendering Speed (MacBook Pro dramatically worse)
on Mar 18, 2011 at 3:13:44 pm

Without knowing specifically, it sounds like it's due to your hard drives.
This would be especially apparent when working with HD footage, or footage in an even higher resolution. Having only a single hard drive would exacerbate the situation, but it could be helped a lot by using an external hard drive with a fast connection for user files, leaving system and program files on the internal hard drive.

And I still don't understand why people intentionally hamstring themselves when doing AE work by using tiny computers and not regular desktops. If you have no other choice, that's one thing and you may have no other choice but to live with the long render times. But you have TWO machines, neither of which can effectively take advantage of the render time improvements that came with AE 10.

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


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Kevin Camin
Re: iMac vs. MacBook Pro Rendering Speed (MacBook Pro dramatically worse)
on Mar 18, 2011 at 4:17:24 pm

I'm running AE off a new iMac that has i7 processors, 4 cores and 8GB of RAM, and it runs really well.

A tower will be my next purchase, but I'm just saying that the top of the iMac line gets more bang for it's buck than compared to Mac Pros which are twice as expensive.


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