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2012 rMBP destroying my 2013 Mac Pro compressing-why?

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Tangier Clarke
2012 rMBP destroying my 2013 Mac Pro compressing-why?
on Jan 13, 2018 at 8:46:39 pm

Someone please help me understand why my 2012 Retina MacBook Pro is destroying my late 2013 Mac Pro in compressing a video file in Compressor 4.4. Granted my Mac Pro is compressing via a thunderbolt connected drive vs. my rMBP using it's SSD, but it's still a massive difference.

  • Video File - 4k Apple ProRes 422 at about 13 minutes duration
  • Custom compressor settings identical: Destination is an H.264/AAC video file
  • Have tried Mac Pro compressor preference to use 1 instance and 2 instances of compressor, and tried the supposedly faster GPU rendering when using "send to compressor" from FCP X 10.4
  • Compressor preferences for the rMBP is using only one instance.

  • rMBP gets the job done in about 16 minutes
  • Mac Pro takes about 1 hour and 17 minutes (both instance preference setups take more than an hour), and using GPU feature takes more than an hour.

Machine specs:
  • 2012 rMBP/2.7 GHz Core i7/16GB Ram/NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M+Intel HD Graphics 4000/macOS 10.13.2
  • 2013 MP/3.5GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon E5/64GB RAM/Dual 3GB AMD FirePro D500 cards/macOS 10.13.2


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Craig Seeman
Re: 2012 rMBP destroying my 2013 Mac Pro compressing-why?
on Jan 14, 2018 at 7:22:53 am

Because a Quad i7 processor with Intel Quicksync, which Compressor (and FCPX) takes advantage of, will kill a Xeon processor which doesn't support that feature, when encoding to H.264.

My Late 2013 15" Quad i7 MBPr will comfortably beat my Late 2013 6 Core Mac Pro as well.

Just imagine what a 2017 Quad i7 MacBook Pro or iMac will do.

The 2017 Quad i7 iMac may be faster in many cases that the new 2017 8 Core and competitive with the 10 Core Xeon based iMac Pro although the margin is close in many cases.



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Tangier Clarke
Re: 2012 rMBP destroying my 2013 Mac Pro compressing-why?
on Jan 14, 2018 at 5:45:02 pm

Thanks Craig. I wondered if Quicksync may be the culprit, but I was just dumbfounded that the difference would be that staggering between the MacPro and the MacBook Pro. Unbelievable to have a machine like the Mac Pro and have to offload to another computer to get the performance I want.


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Craig Seeman
Re: 2012 rMBP destroying my 2013 Mac Pro compressing-why?
on Jan 14, 2018 at 6:43:19 pm
Last Edited By Craig Seeman on Jan 14, 2018 at 6:44:29 pm

Yup. I think Larry Jordan ran test like that a few years back (and Barefeats as well).
Quicksync has a BIG advantage in accelerating H.264 encoding. The difference is not trivial at all.
This is a caveat when buying Mac Pros (including the new iMac Pro).

Interestingly the first tests I've read about do have the iMac Pro much faster with H.265 (HEVC) encoding but slower with H.264 (AVC) encoding compared to the current Quad i7 iMac.

See this Larry Jordan test from 2014. Note the HW (hardware accelerated) numbers as those are the QuickSync encodes. QuickSync is Single Pass. You can't select HW acceleration., Compressor does this automatically when you select Single Pass

https://larryjordan.com/articles/mac-pro-video-compression/

"When using hardware acceleration, the Mac Pro was, on average, 29% slower than the iMac. (Speeds ranged from 2.8% faster to 73% slower.) This is due to the fact that the Mac Pro does not support hardware acceleration for compression."

"FINAL THOUGHTS

I was totally surprised by these findings. Until we start to see applications optimized to take advantage of the power of the Mac Pro, if video compression is your key task, a high-end iMac is your best choice."


AFAIK that never happened on the Mac Pro and I'm seeing similar reports about the iMac Pro.


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Tangier Clarke
Re: 2012 rMBP destroying my 2013 Mac Pro compressing-why?
on Jan 14, 2018 at 9:17:18 pm

I realize that certain computers are purpose built and the generally the MacPro will run circles around other Macs in other tasks, but oh boy. When one considers the saying 'time is money' in this regard the MacPro is too costly for such [comparably] poor results. I would at least hope there's a trick to get these Xeon processors or GPUs to get close to QuickSync performance, but it's not even in the same ball park and honesty that's kind of unacceptable when you're buying a computer like the MacPro; new or used.

I wonder if you have several machines on a network for distributed rendering/processing/transcoding, etc, if Compressor is smart enough to identify the computers with QuickSync first. Imagine a network with several Mac Pros and one or two iMacs. It would make sense just to offload to the iMacs or in my case (and sadly) my 2012 rMBP.


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