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iMac Pro thoughts

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Oliver Peters
iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 24, 2018 at 6:34:32 pm

For those of you who have taken the plunge with the new iMac Pro, what are your thoughts now? Worth it over a 2013 Mac Pro or 5K iMac? Or are you waiting for the next Mac Pro?

In my case, I work at a shop running 3 iMac Pros, 3 5K iMacs, and 1 2013 Mac Pro. Pros and cons to all of them. They are on a shared storage network. Generally, we are getting the best - or equal to the top - performance out of the iMac Pros. However, across the board, I'd say it's a 20-25% improvement, not a 100% or 200% improvement.

What are others experiencing? And is there really any market in the video world for a new Mac Pro?

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Shane Ross
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 24, 2018 at 6:49:34 pm

Well, there is a BIG market for MacPros in my world....broadcast TV. But as it has been pointed out over and over and over again, we are a very small minority of all the video production that happens out there. Still, in Hollywood and NY and Atlanta and other broadcast markets across the globe, they could sell tens of thousands if not a couple hundred thousand units. Not just Avid people use them...premiere people do too, as well as more than a few FCX users. Will it be as profitable as the ipad or iPhone...no, of course not. But still, there is a market for them. If we don't see them, you'll see a huge migration to HP or Dell...not a lot of iMacs as edit stations aside from story producers....

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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greg janza
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 24, 2018 at 7:16:17 pm

[Shane Ross] "Still, in Hollywood and NY and Atlanta and other broadcast markets across the globe, they could sell tens of thousands if not a couple hundred thousand units. Not just Avid people use them...premiere people do too, as well as more than a few FCX users."

That is definitely true but the difference in 2018 is that there no longer is a differentiating factor that makes a mac purchase any better than any other computer. Avid and Premiere work just fine on the PC side and some would argue that they work even better.

I Hate Television. I Hate It As Much As Peanuts. But I Can’t Stop Eating Peanuts.
- Orson Welles


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Oliver Peters
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 24, 2018 at 7:21:57 pm

[Shane Ross] "Well, there is a BIG market for MacPros in my world....broadcast TV."

I kinda have to ask why? Because at least right now, the iMac Pros and even many 5K iMacs deliver better performance.

[Shane Ross] "Not just Avid people use them...premiere people do too, as well as more than a few FCX users."

Avid - I don't see, since the bulk of Avid work for film and TV is in the proxy world and MC really doesn't make much use of the GPUs. Any Mac would do. At least with Premiere and FCPX, you have a lot more people working in original, native media, where the machine performance is critical.

I realize that currently, Mac Pros (2013 and towers) are all over the place. But, will that continue? My own theory is that if Apple releases a new Mac Pro on the same schedule as the iMac Pro, then machines will be in the wild by January 2019. If they do what they did with the 2013 machines, then expect to see that machine in a similar variation for about 5 years. Given the development pace of computers, my own guess is that such a machine would be the last of its kind produced by Apple.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Shane Ross
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 24, 2018 at 7:58:30 pm

[Oliver Peters] "I kinda have to ask why? Because at least right now, the iMac Pros and even many 5K iMacs deliver better performance."

The need for two displays and video IO to a client monitor...even in offline bays. Connectivity to servers. That little trash can did NOTHING to contain any mess. The amount of cables coming off that thing was embarassing, unsightly. And they got hot hot hot.

I have been in exactly ZERO edit bays/cutting rooms that use iMacs. All are on trash cans, or 2012 towers. The only iMacs I see in the process are on story producers desks.

Performance is one thing...but containing cable mess is also a high priority. And expanded connectivity. It will be interesting to see if ANY iMac Pros pop up in broadcast bays. I'm hearing more rumblings about getting HP Z6 machines or buying 2012 MacPros and upgrading them. We love our towers.

[Oliver Peters] "vid - I don't see, since the bulk of Avid work for film and TV is in the proxy world and MC really doesn't make much use of the GPUs. Any Mac would do. "

Yup...which is why many of us are still on 2012 Mac Pros.

[Oliver Peters] "At least with Premiere and FCPX, you have a lot more people working in original, native media, where the machine performance is critical."

And Resolve. And more and more Resolve bays...and online bays in posts houses...are going PC. Or have 2012 MacPros with external boxes for GPU. Even Trash cans. No post facility or online bay has an iMac at it's core. Online has demands that like machines with slots, or that are rack mountable. iMacs don't offer that. If I hear of one in use I'll let you know. But iMacs are mainly single user edit stations that are self contained.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Oliver Peters
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 24, 2018 at 8:27:54 pm
Last Edited By Oliver Peters on Jan 24, 2018 at 9:35:29 pm

[Shane Ross] "The need for two displays and video IO to a client monitor...even in offline bays. Connectivity to servers. That little trash can did NOTHING to contain any mess. The amount of cables coming off that thing was embarassing, unsightly. And they got hot hot hot. "

Hmm... I work with one nearly every day. I have i/o and additional connected items. In fact, with the help of BMD i/o and a dock, I'm running three connected displays, plus a video monitor. It's not really any more messy than the back of a cheese grater. Plus I've seen some very good rackmount versions.

Mine doesn't run hot at all. Certainly less than an iMac. This is with a lot of 4K original in Premiere and AE and Resolve. Hardly ever kicks in the fans. There IS a problem with the GPUs and Adobe apps, but that's because only Apple apps are optimized for the dual-GPU configurations.

My main complaint is with the Thunderbolt connectors. They are terrible - and this seems to happen on all machines - they easily become disconnected and fall off or get pulled off. So Thunderbolt 3/USB-C is a definite improvement.

But, in regards to your original concern, I am currently doing that with the iMac Pros, too. And actually fewer do-dads, because I have 10GigE built-in.

[Shane Ross] "And Resolve. And more and more Resolve bays...and online bays in posts houses...are going PC."

But, I think you are making the argument for me. People who want to stay in the Mac ecosystem will like and move to the iMac Pros. People who need a tower and all it offers will go to PC.

[Shane Ross] "No post facility or online bay has an iMac at it's core. Online has demands that like machines with slots, or that are rack mountable."

With all due respect that's sort of an LA 90's/00's-era argument. We deliver online content to networks from iMacs, iMac Pros and Mac Pros. I think if you started from scratch and not legacy installations that were built upon, the hardware mix might be different. Take a look at several of the European facility user stories at FCP.co.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Neil Goodman
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 25, 2018 at 3:48:06 am

[Shane Ross] "No post facility or online bay has an iMac at it's core. Online has demands that like machines with slots, or that are rack mountable. iMacs don't offer that. If I hear of one in use I'll let you know. But iMacs are mainly single user edit stations that are self contained.
"


Not always true. At the place I worked at last - all the edit bays (30) were Imacs hooked up to an Isis. The finishing team was on Imacs/Isis and only the colorist was on a cheesegrater for big jobs that we produced and shot. The rest of the stuff was theatrical so they would get finished footage eventually w/o the need to color. Those 2015 imacs maxed out are very capable for offline and online and obviously things have only gotten better.

The place I'm at now is all cheesegraters - probably 60 something bays. There's wires all over the place and they are slow as molasses in comparison to the imacs at the old gig. Dont even get me started on PPro performance on them. Avid runs just ok.

Id hope if a new tower came out from apple we'd jump all over it.


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Robin S. Kurz
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jun 16, 2018 at 12:26:45 pm

[Shane Ross] "I have been in exactly ZERO edit bays/cutting rooms that use iMacs."

Must be an American thing then. Since I don't see anything BUT iMacs in any of these pictures from major broadcasters (some with HUNDREDS of seats) aside from MacBook Pros that is…







… or in my own editing vicinity. Go figure.

But then I guess it's an FCP thing? 😏 Where you plain don't need superfluously beefy hardware and slots and racks and what not else just to be able to edit video. This is the 21st century last I checked. I also have no clue why anyone would think they actually needed more an iMac Pro(!), let alone a top of the line iMac just for editing with Final Cut Pro X, unless they cut nothing but 14 camera 6K multi cams all day… but even that is doable with an iMac Pro. 😄 So I can only assume it's just some "cool" or "pro" factor that needs to be nursed by insisting on racks and towers.

- RK

____________________________________________________
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James Sullivan
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 24, 2018 at 7:51:14 pm

I am still waiting to see the next tower. I am one of the very stuborn holdouts who is hoping to leapfrog all of thunderbolt one and two, and the doorstop that trashcans now represent, and come out swinging with only having to buy USBc compatible kit to make it through the next ten years of post.

I cannot justify 13,000 on a computer that cannot be repaired easily and is attatched to it’s monitor. I also cannot justify maxing out a 2017 macbook pro no matter how much I want to have two terabytes inside the machine. Two generations in I still do not see anybody using the touchbar in neat useful ways. Because Apple went for small I am tempted to buy the 13inch maxed out but they still dont have enough full bandwidth ports to make that a wise decision either and make for a productive dongle life at the same time.

I am very much a small time owner operator and cannot just invent cash flow that would let me hand Apple that amount of money that quickly. (I should mention I am not good at the business side of running my business so chalk this line of hate up to having to do twenty jobs instead of just creating moving images.)

Now that Ives is done building buildings I hope we can see the next generation of laptops and towers that reflect a more “professional” upgrade and maintainence path that will keep people like me stay in the game. I am still on a cheesegrater and god if I could swap out to the latest kit(CPU and GPUness) and be on MacOs would that not be wonderful? Or even run some threadripperness just to keep Intel on its toes. Would that help keep the competiton happening and consumers seeing some benefit on the price end of things?

All wishful thinking on my part but as I am part of the team who uses these tools to make my living instead of create them from scratch I want to communicate what it is that would work for me and hope others feel the same way.

I feel like we have made so many improvements over all to workflows in general but it is still like hearding cats to try and get both software and hardware to play nice and make things orders of magnitude easier. Am I happy I do not have to own and maintain a HDCAM SR deck? Yes! Do I want to edit on a 15inch screen all day? NO! (bring back a 17inch laptop and take my money!!!)

just venting to peers and looking foward to other’s responses and their own reading of the tea leaves,

James

PS I am glad they put 10gb ethernet in that puppy. I hope that trend continues as fiber is still stupid expensive and fragile to run on a small scale still.



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Oliver Peters
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 24, 2018 at 8:16:25 pm

[James Sullivan] "All wishful thinking on my part but as I am part of the team who uses these tools to make my living instead of create them from scratch I want to communicate what it is that would work for me and hope others feel the same way."

I would think that a new Mac Pro, which is destined with the upgradeability of the old Mac Pro towers, probably is wishful thinking ☺

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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James Sullivan
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 24, 2018 at 9:04:20 pm

Wishful thinking indeed! But they could still do it, so for now I am going to continue to believe they can make me happy again. I just worry their pushing into commisioning content is going to distract them from making hardware that lasts for more than ten years.

I dont want to watch your shows, I want to make them using your ecosystem.

James

Also let me plug an ipad pro into a mirorless dslr and show me what the camera sees and make me really happy! (Terradek does not count as it is more stuff to strap on and power)



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Oliver Peters
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 24, 2018 at 9:29:03 pm

[James Sullivan] "Wishful thinking indeed! But they could still do it, so for now I am going to continue to believe they can make me happy again"

It may well be that it uses standard and user-replaceable socketed/slotted ports for RAM, drives, or GPU. But slots for add-in cards? That's where I think Apple will draw the line.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Shane Ross
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 24, 2018 at 10:41:59 pm

[Oliver Peters] "It may well be that it uses standard and user-replaceable socketed/slotted ports for RAM, drives, or GPU. "

Maybe...but as apple seems to be moving farther and farther away from ANY user customization that they don't pre-configure, I'm not holding my breath.

[Oliver Peters] "But slots for add-in cards? That's where I think Apple will draw the line."

I wonder why that is? WHy did they go "NO! You can't do this anymore...we don't like it." So stupid.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Oliver Peters
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 24, 2018 at 11:21:33 pm

[Shane Ross] "I wonder why that is? WHy did they go "NO! You can't do this anymore...we don't like it." So stupid."

I don't know, but some thoughts would be design, power consumption, heat, how many *should* they include, OS support/accommodation, etc. And, of course, because they can. ☺

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Oliver Peters
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 24, 2018 at 11:24:22 pm

BTW - here's a design concept (not Apple's):

http://pascaleggert.de/macpro.html

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Oliver Peters
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 25, 2018 at 2:34:35 pm

One area we have seen definite differences between the iMac Pro and 2013 Mac Pro is with native RED files in Premiere Pro. The iMac Pro is definitely better and allows our editors to work natively, while the Mac Pro tends to choke and is best when we use a proxy workflow.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Eric Santiago
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 25, 2018 at 2:38:53 pm

[Oliver Peters] "best when we use a proxy workflow."

IMHO I enforce this workflow with all RED projects.
Lugging around features is a pain with RED since you have to hang on to all data.
Sure you can export to R3D from RCX (trimmed, etc..) but that just adds more work.
I guess if your working in short form, native format editing would be fun :)


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Oliver Peters
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 25, 2018 at 2:59:29 pm

[Eric Santiago] "IMHO I enforce this workflow with all RED projects."

Oh, I completely agree. But it's less of an issue with TV spots. My point, however, was the direct performance comparison between the two machines.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Tom Sefton
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 26, 2018 at 8:03:48 am

Have they fixed the crappy problem with premiere that makes project unwieldy and horribly slow to open, save and add media to when you have more than 5TB of rushes inside?

I’d previously thought of waiting for whatever modular Mac Pro might be coming this year, but experiences like these are making my wallet itch.

Co-owner at Pollen Studio
http://www.pollenstudio.co.uk


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Oliver Peters
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 26, 2018 at 12:53:04 pm

[Tom Sefton] "Have they fixed the crappy problem with premiere that makes project unwieldy and horribly slow to open, save and add media to when you have more than 5TB of rushes inside"

Odd. I haven’t run into any issue like that.

Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Tom Sefton
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 26, 2018 at 1:34:59 pm

I had it twice with large projects last year where the library of footage (all red 8K and 6K raw) when imported to a cc project would slow the project to a crawl when saving, opening, closing or importing new footage. The library was around 7TB in size - contacted adobe support (which is dreadful) and they said to reduce the size of the library by either working in proxy and relinking for final export or to edit chunks together and compile at the end. Didn't seem viable so worked in FCPX instead.

Perhaps it was a freak, but it seemed to be an acknowledged problem at the time from Adobe; storage was fast and had plenty of space, as did scratch disks and cache so I couldn't figure out what was causing it other than a software problem.

Co-owner at Pollen Studio
http://www.pollenstudio.co.uk


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Oliver Peters
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 26, 2018 at 1:49:58 pm

[Tom Sefton] "I had it twice with large projects last year where the library of footage (all red 8K and 6K raw) when imported to a cc project would slow the project to a crawl when saving, opening, closing or importing new footage."

I really haven't run into that and over the past year we've had about 7 editors on various machines running some pretty large projects.

Premiere has to go through a "conforming" process with audio on various media types. When you first import media, this happens in the background and slows everything down. But once down, standard operation is pretty fast. It's generally advisable to not have this cache on a shared storage volume, so we save those files locally. This means that if you open the project on a new machine at any point, those files have to be created again locally on that machine. That's the only annoyance we have routinely run into. However, waiting the first time is about the same as waiting for FCPX to write all the waveform cache files, which is essentially the same process.

The other thing that can balloon project files sizes in Premiere is if you have media, like Alexa Log-C, where Premiere automatically applies a built-in LUT. In your case with RED files, maybe there's a slowdown because of RAW, but I would think only if you've changed the RED settings away from "as shot". Just a thought.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Andrew Kimery
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 26, 2018 at 5:17:58 pm

[Oliver Peters] "I really haven't run into that and over the past year we've had about 7 editors on various machines running some pretty large projects."

I'm working with a company that has two docs in PPro and each doc has about 20TBs of media in it and I haven't heard them complain about slowness when opening or saving the project.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 26, 2018 at 7:20:02 pm

[Andrew Kimery] "I'm working with a company that has two docs in PPro and each doc has about 20TBs of media in it and I haven't heard them complain about slowness when opening or saving the project."

Slowness is the in the eye of the beholder. Isn't that how the saying goes?


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Andrew Kimery
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 26, 2018 at 8:41:29 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "Slowness is the in the eye of the beholder. Isn't that how the saying goes?"

It is, though when I've been opening, saving, ingesting, etc., into the projects I mentioned in the previous post they do so quickly and not "horribly slow" like Tom has experienced. Sure, it's all relative, but I doubt my 'quickly' and Tom's "horribly slow" are the same speed. 😉

On my current gig we generate about 80TB of media each week (11 video feeds running for 90min stretches, three times a day, four days a week). All of that footage ends up in PPro and the projects open and save in a few seconds. Importing media is a little slower than I'm used to, but it still happens in seconds, not minutes (and I'm used to importing files that are much shorter than 90min so my point of reference isn't really comparable).


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 26, 2018 at 9:14:05 pm

[Andrew Kimery] "It is, though when I've been opening, saving, ingesting, etc., into the projects I mentioned in the previous post they do so quickly and not "horribly slow" like Tom has experienced."

Is it 6k and 8k red raw footage like Tom is using, though?


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Andrew Kimery
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 26, 2018 at 9:49:06 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "Is it 6k and 8k red raw footage like Tom is using, though?"

No, but the original talking point was that 5TB of media was the max PPro could handle w/o slowing down and my responses have been to that point. Factoring in codecs, HD vs 6K/8K, specific machine hardware, etc., are obviously different variables that can play into what Tom is seeing.

I don't work with 6K/8K red raw footage, so I can't comment specifically to that workflow, but I do work with large amounts of media and don't experience Tom's problems so that can help eliminate variables with regards to trouble shooting and workflow development. To that point (and the most recent post from Tom), the problem sounds specific to the footage he is using, as opposed to using large amounts of media in general.


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Tom Sefton
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 26, 2018 at 9:02:42 pm

Nahhhh, this was beach balls for 30s whilst trying to import a single jpeg to a project that had been worked on for days. I think it was more to do with the compatibility between cc and red helium footage.

Co-owner at Pollen Studio
http://www.pollenstudio.co.uk


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Gabriel Spaulding
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 26, 2018 at 1:13:16 pm

"Have they fixed the crappy problem with premiere that makes project unwieldy and horribly slow to open, save and add media to when you have more than 5TB of rushes inside?"

I don't use Premiere Pro as a regular part of my workflow anymore, so I haven't experienced that. This is the first I've heard of the issue. I would be surprised if those problems were caused by the iMac Pro itself, especially if, as Oliver reported, the problem is not universal.

Gabriel Spaulding
Creator & Director of ACE Enterprizes
Videographer | Video Editor | Motion Designer

How Can We Help You Tell Your Story?
http://www.aceenterprizes.com


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greg janza
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 26, 2018 at 5:38:46 pm

That may have been a localized problem. I've worked on multiple projects that have involved over 5 terabytes of media and there's been no noticeable lag. I'm also working on a PC though so maybe it's been a mac bug.

I Hate Television. I Hate It As Much As Peanuts. But I Can’t Stop Eating Peanuts.
- Orson Welles


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Shawn Miller
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 26, 2018 at 5:50:37 pm

[greg janza] "That may have been a localized problem. I've worked on multiple projects that have involved over 5 terabytes of media and there's been no noticeable lag. I'm also working on a PC though so maybe it's been a mac bug."

Same here (on PCs) - but my projects and media are on local storage.

Shawn



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Robin S. Kurz
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jun 16, 2018 at 12:34:19 pm

[Oliver Peters] "The iMac Pro is definitely better and allows our editors to work natively"

Just edited an 8K RED film in realtime, even with color corrections applied on my iMac Pro. Mind you, NO optimization or proxy or any of that. Merely set to "Better Performance"… which is obviously a completely moot point at 8K.

So what is it I need a Mac Pro for again?

- RK

____________________________________________________
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Gabriel Spaulding
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 26, 2018 at 2:14:47 am

I can't compare my 10-core iMac (Radeon Pro Vega 64 with 16GB of HMB2 and 64GB of RAM) to a 2013 Mac Pro or current 5k iMac because I don't have one of those, but I have run a number of tests comparing it to my maxed out late 2013 iMac. In every case rendering (Motion and After Effects) is 2x faster or more, and the actual experience of using those apps is completely different, especially in Motion where I am seeing realtime playback with much more going on than I would have ever attempted on the iMac. Where I had to create proxy media to edit 3 angles of 4k multicam (GH5 and Fs7 files) in FCP X on the iMac I can edit them all natively with the iMac Pro —even when KeyFlow Pro is simultaneously creating thousands of preview files in the background. Keeping FCP X Library and cache files on the internal SSD I am seeing drastic improvements in the speed of audio waveform drawing. I can tell that not every app I use is fully optimized for the iMac Pro, some use more resources than others, but apart from this I am absolutely thrilled with the iMac Pro. Every 2 weeks I receive about 1TB of data for multicam edits, and it would take nearly an entire day to create proxy media for those projects; not having to create proxy media means I have 26 more days to work every year now that my computer is free to do other things, which well more than pays for the iMac Pro.

Gabriel Spaulding
Creator & Director of ACE Enterprizes
Videographer | Video Editor | Motion Designer

How Can We Help You Tell Your Story?
http://www.aceenterprizes.com


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Rich Rubasch
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 31, 2018 at 1:59:43 am

We have two iMacPros with a second 21:9 Dell widescreen monitor...tons of real estate. We have the QNAP 1282T3 and use the 10Gige to the 10Gige on the QNAP for about 700MB/sec speeds. Our old towers connect with the old reliable gigabit.

Yes, some desktop woes, but working thru them. A dock for the iMacPro isn't really out there...most are for Macbook Pros that don't have any ports. But the thing is fast. The internal SSD is pulling 3000MB/sec and that is no joke!

Photoshop is open in 6 seconds.

So far so good. Even liking the keyboard and mouse that came with them....and although we got the new trackpad we haven't really used them much yet.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage
Founder/President/Editor/Designer/Animator
http://www.tiltmedia.com


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Bill Davis
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jan 31, 2018 at 5:40:49 pm

[Rich Rubasch] "nd although we got the new trackpad we haven't really used them much yet.
"


This was always fascinating to me.

If my 2011 MacPro era GPU hadn’t been too weak to run the then brand new FCP X - I wouldn’t have had to learn the software on my laptop.

But because I did - I became a trackpad oriented FCP X editor from day one - and that completely unplanned change is what totally broke my decades of mouse reliance.

Now I literally haven’t touched a mouse in years - and the idea of reaching over to a mouse unit and breaking my “home row” hand position to do anything seems really strange.

Looking back it was a major shift in my expectations of how editing happens.

And really nice that with an external trackpad - my editing mechanics do not change - no matter what type system I’m driving.

For me it was one of my careers “happy accidents.”

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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Peter Steinberg
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Feb 2, 2018 at 4:44:46 am

Apologies for what I imagine is an ignorant question, but why do you connect the iMac Pros to the QNAP 1282T3 via the 10GbE connections rather than via the Thunderbolt 3 (40 Gbps) connections?


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Andrew Ryann
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jun 9, 2018 at 7:58:16 pm
Last Edited By Andrew Ryann on Jun 9, 2018 at 8:17:48 pm

Hey Rich,

What are the specs on your iMac pros? There are so many variations, that I don't even know where to begin. Like is the 3.0gig 10 core preferable to the 3.2gig 8 core?

We are also looking at a Qnap box, probably the QNAP TVS-1282T3-i7-64GB, loaded with 8, 10tb HGST Ultrastar Helium drives. Are you guys also using the Qtier functionality with the 2.5" SSDs and/or the m.2 SSDs for additional cache? We are probably going to purchase the Qnap through SimplyNAS, as they build to spec, RAID and fully test before shipping, but any other vendors and/or specs that you might recommend would be thoroughly appreciated!

Thanks much!

Andrew


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Bob Zelin
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jun 9, 2018 at 9:18:00 pm

Hi Andrew -
you can get a nice 2017 iMac with thunderbolt 3 ports, and get the Sonnet eGFX box with the Vega 64 for $1299 right from Sonnet. And for your 10G port, you can just spend $177, and get the Sonnet Solo 10G which is a thunderbolt 3 to 10G adaptor. This will save you money on the iMac Pro. You will get 1000 MB/sec to the QNAP.

For the QNAP, the TVS-1282T is very nice, but for the same money, you can get the larger TS-1685, which can hold 12 drives instead of 8 drives, and yes, it's expandable and comes for free with the dual 10G ports.

I have found that the SSD's for Qtier or simple caching do absolutely nothing for video editing performance (for HD, 4K, 6K and 8K editing with Premiere, FCP X, Resolve, and Media Composer). Save your money. And the HGST NAS series drives or the WD RED drives (same product) work great, are super reliable, and cheaper than the Ultrastars.

I do these all the time.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
bobzelin@icloud.com


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Oliver Peters
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jun 9, 2018 at 9:33:53 pm

[Bob Zelin] "you can get a nice 2017 iMac with thunderbolt 3 ports, and get the Sonnet eGFX box with the Vega 64 for $1299 right from Sonnet."

Bob, the only problem with that is that none of the editing applications (except Resolve) take much advantage of the eGPU. So if the main concern is rendering/exporting within an NLE like FCPX or Premiere Pro, then the iMac Pros will still yield superior results. Although we are mainly talking about a 10-20% bump for the iMP over a decked out iMac.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Joe Marler
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jun 13, 2018 at 8:54:02 pm

[Oliver Peters] "if the main concern is rendering/exporting within an NLE like FCPX or Premiere Pro, then the iMac Pros will still yield superior results. Although we are mainly talking about a 10-20% bump for the iMP over a decked out iMac."

This will vary based on the codec and NLE. Some common workflows in FCPX are significantly slower on a 10-core Vega 64 iMac Pro than a top-spec 2017 iMac. I ran these tests yesterday:

Export from 4k Sony XAVC-S, clip length = 10:17

Output = 4k H264 Fast Encode, 2017 iMac 27 = 5:53, 10-core Vega 64 iMac Pro = 7:10
Output = 4k H264 Better Quality, 2017 iMac 27 = 11:25, 10-core Vega 64 iMac Pro = 14:49
Output = 1080p H264 Fast Encode, 2017 iMac 27 = 5:53, 10-core Vega 64 iMac Pro = 4:00

So at least the iMac Pro is faster at encoding to a 1080p H264 file, but it's slower than a 2017 iMac at encoding to a 4k H264 file. FCPX on the iMac Pro is also slower than the 2017 iMac on the H264 decode side, not just encode. This can be seen by how scrubbing an H264 4k timeline is more sluggish on the iMP than the iMac. The iMac Pro is faster at encoding and decoding ProRes.

In Premiere 2018, the iMac Pro is faster than the 2017 iMac at all the H264 encoding tests I've done.


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Michael Hadley
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Feb 1, 2018 at 12:23:41 pm

Interesting.

You mention you keeping libraries and caches on internal SSD--presumably with media on external drives.

Anyone else doing it? Are there performance gains?

I've been keeping everything, including the library, on external 7200 RPM Raids.

Wonder if there's a performance boost by splitting library and media on internal and external drives. Thoughts? Experience?


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Gabriel Spaulding
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Feb 1, 2018 at 3:31:11 pm

"You mention you keeping libraries and caches on internal SSD--presumably with media on external drives.

Anyone else doing it? Are there performance gains?

I've been keeping everything, including the library, on external 7200 RPM Raids.

Wonder if there's a performance boost by splitting library and media on internal and external drives. Thoughts? Experience?"



Until recently I also kept all of my media and FCP X Libraries on external 7200rpm RAID drives. With my iMac Pro I keep media on external drives but move the Library (cache files inside) to the internal SSD and now audio waveforms draw significantly faster. Certainly the CPU and GPU play a role in drawing thumbnails and waveforms, but it seems to me that the storage itself makes the most noticeable impact. FCP X generates thumbnails and waveforms for different cameras at different speeds. The GH5 is extremely fast. The Sony Fs7 with multiple audio channels, however, is annoyingly slow to draw, so I'll take my speed improvements wherever I can find them.

Gabriel Spaulding
Creator & Director of ACE Enterprizes
Videographer | Video Editor | Motion Designer

How Can We Help You Tell Your Story?
http://www.aceenterprizes.com


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Joe Marler
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Feb 1, 2018 at 5:33:05 pm

[Gabriel Spaulding] "Until recently I also kept all of my media and FCP X Libraries on external 7200rpm RAID drives. With my iMac Pro I keep media on external drives but move the Library (cache files inside) to the internal SSD and now audio waveforms draw significantly faster. Certainly the CPU and GPU play a role in drawing thumbnails and waveforms, but it seems to me that the storage itself makes the most noticeable impact. FCP X generates thumbnails and waveforms for different cameras at different speeds. "

FCPX I/O can be characterized as two very different profiles. One is typical large sequential I/Os for media. This is what benchmarks like Black Magic measure, and spinning RAID arrays are good at delivering that.

The other I/O profile is small random I/Os used for metadata management, in particular thumbnail generation, waveforms, info.plist files, etc. I assume the SQLite calls FCPX makes for database management also generate lots of small random I/Os. Unfortunately RAID arrays are not good at that. SSD drives are better, but even they have limits on random I/O per second (vs MB/sec) rates.

Here is an I/O histogram I generated using the terminal dtrace utility bitesize.d when FCPX was scrolling through a library with AVCHD .MTS files. There are lots of small I/Os: https://joema.smugmug.com/Computers/FCPX-Event-Browser-Perf-Data/n-M7bG7L/i...

Which files it does I/O to can be inspected with the dtrace command iosnoop.

Regardless of I/O size or rate, a key item is whether the I/O system is overloaded. This can be examined with the dtrace command iopending which produces a histogram of how many async I/Os are backed up waiting to be serviced.

Using these commands is more difficult than older versions of macOS because of security restrictions. Starting with El Capitan you have to first disable System Integrity Protection. I wouldn't recommend anybody use these unless they are quite familiar with terminal: http://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/208762/now-that-el-capitan-is-root...

How much of what I/O type varies based on what FCPX is doing, and also the codec. Scrolling through a large library with the Event Browser in filmstrip view incurs a lot more small I/Os than in list view. These thumbnails are then cached and subsequent scrolling is a lot faster. However if you resize the thumbnails there's a threshold whereby they must be regenerated. Unfortunately there's no manual control over this, such as in Lightroom where you can say "generate previews" and they are persistent.

As you said there are cases where putting the library and cache files on an SSD (even the system SSD) can help performance. However it can be difficult to determine whether this helps. Just because your spinning RAID array is chugging loudly doesn't mean it's overloaded. Lots of people speculatively put items on SSD, yet it may not help performance if the workflow isn't I/O-limited. If you measure the before/after timing of a specific workload and it's faster with library on an SSD, then that's good evidence but methodically doing such things is time consuming.

I usually use a 4-drive spinning RAID-0 array and often put both library and media there. Sometimes if I have space and it's a "lean" library I'll put it on the system SSD or another external Thunderbolt SSD. If you use RAID-5 there's a write penalty so it might be more important to put scratch/library files elsewhere in that case. However SoftRAID is very good at optimizing writes on RAID-5, so if you use that the penalty is often less than you expect.


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Gabriel Spaulding
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Feb 1, 2018 at 9:18:30 pm

"As you said there are cases where putting the library and cache files on an SSD (even the system SSD) can help performance. However it can be difficult to determine whether this helps. Just because your spinning RAID array is chugging loudly doesn't mean it's overloaded. Lots of people speculatively put items on SSD, yet it may not help performance if the workflow isn't I/O-limited. If you measure the before/after timing of a specific workload and it's faster with library on an SSD, then that's good evidence but methodically doing such things is time consuming."

Tests like this are indeed time consuming, but so is waiting say 8 hours for waveforms to draw when the Library is on a RAID vs on the internal SSD, which is at times twice as fast. After a few years of cutting one recurring type of project with the Library on a RAID, then cutting the same project with the Library on the internal SSD, and seeing dramatic differences, the results were actually not difficult to determine at all —just move the Library to an SSD and compare the times. Granted, some of this speed improvement is moving to a beefier machine, but I tested the iMac Pro with the Library on a RAID and on the internal SSD and there is a huge gap in the amount of time it takes to draw waveforms.

Gabriel Spaulding
Creator & Director of ACE Enterprizes
Videographer | Video Editor | Motion Designer

How Can We Help You Tell Your Story?
http://www.aceenterprizes.com


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Michael Hadley
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Feb 1, 2018 at 10:17:55 pm

Thanks for the insight.

Wonder if that is a best practice in general--or suited best to the power of the iMac Pro.

I'm on a 2013 nMP and wonder if I would get a performance boost as well by keeping libraries and caches on the internal SSD and continue to keep media on external raids....


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Eric Santiago
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Feb 9, 2018 at 5:10:33 pm

Looking at getting the base version of the iMac Pro.

Thoughts on this compared to a D700?

Mostly After Effects and NLEs.


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Lance Bachelder
Re: iMac Pro thoughts - $3999
on Feb 9, 2018 at 9:37:17 pm

If you serious about getting the base iMac Pro check out Microcenter - they have a crazy deal right now if you go into their store - $3999!

It was at a Vegas premiere that I resolved to become an avid FCPX user.

Lance Bachelder
Writer, Editor, Director
Downtown Long Beach, California
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1680680/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1


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Eric Santiago
Re: iMac Pro thoughts - $3999
on Feb 11, 2018 at 8:05:22 pm

Thanks Lance.

Cant really order from another country (Canada).
I guess I will know soon how the 2013s will fare against a base version.
Going to order Monday.


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Tom Sefton
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Feb 17, 2018 at 9:58:41 am

Vince LaForet just posted something really cool on his Facebook thread about the performance of the iMac pro with fcpx vs adobe vs resolve.

Have a look - very interesting!

Co-owner at Pollen Studio
http://www.pollenstudio.co.uk


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greg janza
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Feb 17, 2018 at 7:49:28 pm

I read his review and you're right it is interesting.

He added this at the end: "At the end of the day: we’re going to have to become proficient w ALL NLEs – Final Cut Pro. X, Adobe Premiere, Davinci Resolve and … well no: Not Sony Vegas …sorry. Is that still around?"

From a freelancer's perspective though, the need to be proficient on FCPX is the lowest priority due to it's lack of presence in post facilities.

I Hate Television. I Hate It As Much As Peanuts. But I Can’t Stop Eating Peanuts.
- Orson Welles


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Gabriel Spaulding
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Feb 17, 2018 at 8:10:25 pm

"From a freelancer's perspective though, the need to be proficient on FCPX is the lowest priority due to it's lack of presence in post facilities."

That certainly doesn't represent any of the freelancers who have been using FCP X the past 6.5 years. Also, it seems to me that what post facilities are doing should be largely irrelevant to most freelancers, who generally find their own clients through various avenues, clients who could not care less what NLE they use. If you were looking for a job at another post facility that's a different story, but in that case you'd no longer be a freelancer.

Gabriel Spaulding
Creator & Director of ACE Enterprizes
Videographer | Video Editor | Motion Designer

How Can We Help You Tell Your Story?
http://www.aceenterprizes.com


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Andrew Kimery
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Feb 18, 2018 at 12:43:29 am

[Gabriel Spaulding] "If you were looking for a job at another post facility that's a different story, but in that case you'd no longer be a freelancer."

While it's common to use 'freelance' as an umbrella term to cover both freelancers and independent contractors they aren't the same thing. A freelance employee is still an employee of the company (W2) while an independent contractor is not.

Some employers will classify freelancers as ICs in order to avoid things like payroll taxes but that's a bit shady and illegal. And some employers will hire freelancers to fill staff positions, becauset by hiring a freelancer they don't have to provide staff benefits (not illegal, but still shady). This, and/or a freelancer staying with the same company for years, is usually referred to as 'perma-lance'.

I went freelance/IC again about 6 or 7 years ago and I'd say 3/4 of my time I'm working as a freelance employee so I need to know the gear that companies typically use. In my neck of the woods it's Avid and PPro for editing (an AE/PS for graphics).


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Tom Sefton
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Feb 17, 2018 at 10:07:06 pm

Over twice as fast as resolve for encoding red raw, and adobe way behind even that. Freelancers are soon going to be using fcpx even if it’s for final export.

I’d be really interested to see how someone goes with an egpu connected to an iMac pro...

Co-owner at Pollen Studio
http://www.pollenstudio.co.uk


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Tim Wilson
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Feb 17, 2018 at 11:29:44 pm

[greg janza] "He added this at the end: "At the end of the day: we’re going to have to become proficient w ALL NLEs – Final Cut Pro. X, Adobe Premiere, Davinci Resolve and … well no: Not Sony Vegas …sorry. Is that still around?""

Yes, except MAGIX bought it and calls it VEGAS Pro. Still very much around, with an active forum here at the COW. If you're not using it, you probably don't need to, but the people who love it are the most enthusiastic user body I've ever seen, outstripping even the most ardent FCPX-philes and "I'll still be using Avid after I'm dead" Media Composers.

But I don't buy for a minute that most people need more than one. The real takeaway of FCP going "poof" and vanishing is that, no matter how much folks loved it, and loved their lives using it, it was more likely than not NOT the best fit for their work. It was its own dead end, and to the extent that both Adobe Premiere and DaVinci Resolve suggest a future for FCP that might have been, they both underscore to me all the reasons why FCP itself couldn't have gotten there.

And I don't say this with any lack of love. Remember, I adopted FCP when it was still at Macromedia running on Windows. LOL I loved it. But it was my 4th NLE by that point, and by the time I became Product Manager at Boris FX, I had to become at least passingly conversant with around 2 dozen NLEs and a half dozen more compositing environments. My overwhelming impression was, wow, there's a lot of great stuff out there that does a lot of cool things! I think it's kind of cool that circumstances led to so many other folks finding similar experiences.

That said, there are of course many thousands of folks still happily using FCP. More power to 'em. Noting again that before I left Boris FX to go to Avid, I was living and breathing FCP all day, every day. I understood why people felt it was all they'd ever need.

That's why I think there was also a giddiness -- preceded by anger, accompanied by nausea in the early days, but still, something of a euphoria -- unleashed when people realized that they didn't have to settle for what one developer offered them. If there's something you want or need in one application or another, if a client wants you to use this rather than that, it's not a crisis. It's an opportunity. If you're so inclined, it's FUN to be using more than one.

So it's not that anyone HAS to learn more than one. It's that it's fulfilling for ME to be the one to decide these things, and not fall into crisis if a client asks for a non-favorite. None of this is a big deal...whereas before 2011, it ALL seemed like a big deal.

But if using lots of tools doesn't sound fun, or if you find enough of what you need in X, PPro, Resolve, MC, or whatever, heck, even Vegas, I don't think it represents a failure of imagination to find that one developer has created a sweet spot big enough for you to find what you're looking for for a while. Nobody HAS to do anything.

Which is a pretty sweet spot indeed.


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Robin S. Kurz
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jun 16, 2018 at 12:39:53 pm

[Oliver Peters] "I'd say it's a 20-25% improvement"

Couldn't disagree more. You must simply not be doing anything very taxing or anything that benefits from the cores and GPUs as much. Or something is just plain wrong with your machine(s). The iMac Pro is a beast from my experience.

- RK

____________________________________________________
Deutsch? Hier gibt es ein umfassendes FCP X Training für dich!
Youtube | Facebook


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Oliver Peters
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jun 18, 2018 at 3:27:14 pm

[Robin S. Kurz] "You must simply not be doing anything very taxing or anything that benefits from the cores and GPUs as much."

iMac Pro 10-core Vega 64 vs. Mac Pro 4-core AMD R9. All connected 10GigE to QNAP NAS. Adobe, Apple and Resolve apps.

https://digitalfilms.wordpress.com/2018/01/06/putting-apples-imac-pro-throu...

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Robin S. Kurz
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jun 18, 2018 at 6:54:02 pm

I'm tickled that you actually post that article as (I can only assume) an argument to counter what I said, where it fact only confirms exactly what said. Weird. But I guess I should also have said "taxing AND at least barely optimized" to be clear.

It's a beast clocking in at near TWICE the speeds at tasks that are not only the solely relevant ones (to me and in the context of this forum), but those that are even optimized enough to count to begin with. Because sorry, but trying to use ADOBE apps as a yardstick for speed on modern app and hardware architecture is just amusing to me. 😄

Never mind that it doesn't even vaguely confirm your claim of "20-25% improvement" either. Odd math looking at your own numbers. Numbers that are in fact noticeably worse than mine btw, for whatever reason.

- RK

____________________________________________________
Deutsch? Hier gibt es ein umfassendes FCP X Training für dich!
Youtube | Facebook


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Oliver Peters
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jun 18, 2018 at 7:19:16 pm
Last Edited By Oliver Peters on Jun 18, 2018 at 7:33:46 pm

[Robin S. Kurz] "Never mind that it doesn't even vaguely confirm your claim of "20-25% improvement" either."

Maybe you should re-read the actual test results. They vary widely depending on application. So this is a generalized average across the board. Most people care about the results with more than simply FCPX. For example, the Compressor and After Effects render/export times were nearly the same between the iMac Pro and iMac.

You could also post some of your own test results in detail to back up what you are saying (with detailed machine specs). And then justify why someone should pay the price for that machine.

BTW - There's also a good AppleInsider test article linked at the end of the post. More across-the-board results.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Oliver Peters
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jun 19, 2018 at 12:46:17 pm

Just for clarification and for the sake of accuracy... This morning I ran a simple average of the numbers in my post. This was for only the iMac Pro versus iMac (excluding the Mac Pro). And only for the tests where elapsed times could be generated. Averaged across the board, the iMP came out 48% faster. Those machines are also twice as expensive and not a perfect apples-to-apples comparison, since the configurations are different.

Of course, that gives equal weight to every function and doesn't account for playback performance differences. Naturally, a test like Bruce-X is just a brute force test and doesn't necessarily translate directly to real-world editing, but does skew the average a bit. So take any of these comparisons with a grain of salt.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Steve Connor
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jun 19, 2018 at 1:18:49 pm

It's a shame there isn't a benchmark for editing speed :)


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Robin S. Kurz
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jun 20, 2018 at 3:51:43 pm

[Oliver Peters] "Averaged across the board, the iMP came out 48% faster."

Which was exactly my point, yes. No clue what that has to do with "attitude".

I just know that I was just editing various multi cams last week on the iMac Pro, ranging from 4 to 10 cameras of ProRes raw in 6K. Incl. color corrections, some colormasks and a few other effects here and there, without dropping a single frame. Even dipped into an native 8K RED timeline on the side that performed without a hitch set to better performance. Do any of that on a "normal" iMac.

Spoiler: you can't.

But if that's not the performance you need, then the iMac Pro isn't the machine you need either. No shame in that.

- RK

____________________________________________________
Deutsch? Hier gibt es ein umfassendes FCP X Training für dich!
Youtube | Facebook


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Oliver Peters
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jun 20, 2018 at 5:39:31 pm

[Robin S. Kurz] "Which was exactly my point, yes."

My original post, mentioning 20-25%, was factoring in the MacPro, not only an iMac versus iMacPro comparison. Since our shop uses all 3.

[Robin S. Kurz] "I just know that I was just editing various multi cams last week on the iMac Pro, ranging from 4 to 10 cameras of ProRes raw in 6K. Incl. color corrections, some colormasks and a few other effects here and there, without dropping a single frame."

What are your iMP specs? What are the storage specs? I don't have a lot of ProResRAW experience, yet, except for the few clips on the internet. But, since the data rates are like standard ProRes, they are relatively low to start with. But I would refer you to the timeline playback section in my blog post, regarding multilayer performance on the 3 machines I used.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Robin S. Kurz
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jun 24, 2018 at 4:46:02 pm

[Oliver Peters] "My original post, mentioning 20-25%, was factoring in the MacPro"

Well, factoring in just it's "real" predecessor seems as the only "real" relevant yardstick. But even once the new Mac Pro comes out I'd say factoring in the '13 Mac Pro (even if to the huge advantage of the '19 Mac Pro, no doubt) would be rather silly, even though I'm sure everyone is going to "logically" do it.

On the other hand I guess one could say that the grim, horrible picture everyone seems to want to paint of the '13 Mac Pro ain't all they're cracked up to be either. IOW so much for "outdated even when it was released" if it can still hold it's own with FIVE year younger hardware. 😏



[Oliver Peters] "What are your iMP specs? What are the storage specs?"

10 core, 128GB with local SSD storage. And yes, raw has just barely higher demands on a system than just plain ProRes… which is why it is THE game changer for me. Once everyone has adopted it (especially certain HDMI-out-only cams), it will be yet another serious notch on Apple's "yeah, sure… we DON'T CARE ABOUT PROS"-belt. But that's another thread.

- RK

____________________________________________________
Deutsch? Hier gibt es ein umfassendes FCP X Training für dich!
Youtube | Facebook


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Tom Sefton
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jun 18, 2018 at 9:18:39 pm

it pretty clearly shows and corroborates a speed bump when working with mixed format high resolution media both in adobe and fcpx exports, aside from when the dual gpu of the 2013 Mac Pro boosts export performance from mixed media timeline to prores master.

Can’t really see where your attitude comes from here Robin.

Co-owner at Pollen Studio
http://www.pollenstudio.co.uk


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Andrew Ryann
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jun 18, 2018 at 7:37:41 pm

Hi All!

With all due respect, Robin I'm trying to discern what you are saying and/or hardware configuration for which you are advocating. Oliver seems to have laid out a pretty strong case for using the iMac Pro in a shared storage post-production workflow environment (with the caveat that he is exempting projects/apps with tremendously demanding processor and video card needs, like 3D rendering/compositing and the like). Cost vs. Performance vs. Ease of Integration are all pretty clearly defined in his documentation and first-hand experience. And I do not believe that he is a shill for Apple. If you have a difference of opinion, please provide a real-world example of your experience with this gear and what configuration you would recommend.

And I am by no means flame throwing here! Not my style. I would truly like to hear what approach you would take.

Thanks much!

Andrew


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Gabriel Spaulding
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jun 18, 2018 at 7:38:36 pm

I posted a few times (above) comparing my 10-core iMac Pro to my late 2013 iMac. Since then, however, my 10-core iMac Pro had significant hardware issues Apple was unable to fix, then I upgraded to an 18-core iMac Pro that had the exact same problems. I returned that and now have a maxed out 5k iMac, and in nearly every case it is outperforming the 18-core iMac Pro. Multicam editing is smoother, playback is smoother, Motion render times are more or less identical, and while both iMac Pros would spontaneously shut down multiple times a day the 5k iMac has never done this.

In fact, before I returned the 18-core machine I compared it to my late 2013 iMac: the 18-core with directly attached OWC Thunderbay 4 drives was MUCH slower at playback and export than the late 2013 iMac accessing media on the same drive... over a network. Working with those iMac Pros for a good 6 months (when they weren't in for repair), and having compared them to two different iMacs, I have to say that I do not see any benefit to the iMac Pro over a modern 5k iMac, at least using the Pro Apps —unless you are working with 8k footage or 360 video, that's where that machine will shine.

Gabriel Spaulding
Creator & Director of ACE Enterprizes
Cinematographer | Editor | Motion Designer

How Can We Help You Tell Your Story?
http://www.aceenterprizes.com


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Joe Marler
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jun 19, 2018 at 2:12:19 pm

[Gabriel Spaulding] "... my 10-core iMac Pro had significant hardware issues Apple was unable to fix, then I upgraded to an 18-core iMac Pro that had the exact same problems. I returned that and now have a maxed out 5k iMac, and in nearly every case it is outperforming the 18-core iMac Pro. Multicam editing is smoother, playback is smoother, Motion render times are more or less identical...In fact, before I returned the 18-core machine I compared it to my late 2013 iMac: the 18-core with directly attached OWC Thunderbay 4 drives was MUCH slower at playback and export than the late 2013 iMac accessing media on the same drive... over a network..."

I've had two different 10-core Vega 64 iMac Pros and tested them extensively vs a 12-core D700 Mac Pro and a top-spec 2017 iMac. The results vary based on codec and workflow. Even the old nMP is pretty quick on ProRes. It is hobbled on H264 since it doesn't have Quick Sync.

While the iMP doesn't have Quick Sync, FCPX apparently uses AMD's UVD/VCE hardware so it's much faster than the nMP but no faster at encoding, editing or encoding H264 than a 2017 i7 iMac. In fact the iMac is smoother and faster on 4k H264 than a 10-core Vega 64 iMP.

The main problem with the iMac Pro is H264. It's faster than the "trash can" but that's a low bar -- the nMP is very slow on that codec. If I used an all ProRes or raw workflow I'd be happy with the iMac Pro.

The iMP might do better than the iMac on an effects-heavy timeline but it's difficult to know what effects use what % of GPU. Even effects which are frequently described as "GPU intensive" often don't use that much. This can be determined with various monitoring tools like the latest version of iStat Menus.

The BruceX test is GPU-intensive but is tricky to run to avoid caching, pre-rendering or codec effects. If exporting to ProRes 422 from an unrendered timeline using a fresh library, I got the following numbers:

2017 i7 iMac 27: 15.8 sec
12-core D700 Mac Pro: 17.0 sec
10-core Vega 64 iMac Pro: 14.8 sec

For those using an all-ProRes or RED RAW workflow the iMP is pretty fast. I didn't test those codecs vs the nMP but my impression is a 10 or more core iMP is faster.

Re I/O, I tested the iMP on many different Thunderbolt drive arrays and it did just fine, certainly no slower than the iMac.


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Gabriel Spaulding
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jun 19, 2018 at 2:19:47 pm

Those are all solid points. Most of the time I am cutting Sony Fs7 and Panasonic GH5 footage, which is clearly benefitting from Quick Sync.

Of course I wanted the iMac Pro to work for me. It's a beautiful machine, and wonderfully quiet, and I do miss the extra I/O ports, but apart from that I just found no advantage to using it with the type of media I typically work with. That, and of course the constant system crashes and the T2 security chip preventing the install of certain apps.

Gabriel Spaulding
Creator & Director of ACE Enterprizes
Cinematographer | Editor | Motion Designer

How Can We Help You Tell Your Story?
http://www.aceenterprizes.com


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Robin S. Kurz
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jun 20, 2018 at 4:00:22 pm

[Gabriel Spaulding] "I just found no advantage to using it with the type of media I typically work with."

Oddly, I figure that kind of stuff out BEFORE I plunk down that kind of cash. Guess I'm weird that way. 😏

[Gabriel Spaulding] "and the T2 security chip preventing the install of certain apps."

Huh? Wha?

- RK

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Gabriel Spaulding
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jun 20, 2018 at 4:52:38 pm

It was a brand new machine that virtually no one had access to at that point, meaning there were very few real world tests. The machine was faster at some tasks, but at the end of the day it wasn't the performance that caused me to return it (both machines) it was the constant system crashes. I couldn't run iStat Menus without the entire machine shutting down immediately. It's fine on every other Mac I have ever owned. KeyFlow Pro also caused system crashes —an app that is also fine on every other Mac I have owned. Final Cut Pro X and Motion causes complete system crashes as well, sometimes just when moving a clip one frame in the timeline. Apple could not fix the issue. Even with a new user account, only Pro Apps installed, and all peripherals disconnected the crashes continued.

"Huh? Wha?"

You can't install the SoftRAID for OWC's Thunderbay 4 drives with the T2 security chip fully enabled, so I had to disable it —rendering it pointless. x

Gabriel Spaulding
Creator & Director of ACE Enterprizes
Cinematographer | Editor | Motion Designer

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Bob Zelin
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jun 20, 2018 at 5:08:31 pm

well, before we start blaming the iMac Pro, let's start out by saying that with the exception of the new thunderbolt 3 Sonnet peripherals (Solo 10G, eGFX external GPU box with Vega 64) - all the third party peripherals (that you can clearly see in /Library/Extensions) will no longer install, unless you disable System Integrity Protection if you are running macOS 10.13.3 or higher. This includes SoftRAID, and everything else you see in Library/Extensions, including ARC (Areca), Promise, Sonnet, Cal Digit, and everything else that requires a third party driver. In the past, you used to install the driver, it would fail, you would click on System Preferences> Security and Privacy> General, and see that the driver install was blocked. You would click on the lock to unlock, click ALLOW, and you could now install the driver. No longer. Now you have to go into Apple Recovery Mode (command R when you are booting up) and open terminal and disable System Integrity Protection by typing in
csrutil disable
and reboot the Mac. Now you can install whatever you want. Like I said, this does not apply to NEW thunderbolt 3 peripherals, like the Sonnet Solo 10G, which just plug in and work.
And of course, you can just buy an iMac Pro, that already has the Vega 64 card and the 10G port.

SEE - if you stop thinking, and just give Apple the money, and run only Apple Apps, then you won't have any of these problems anymore ! ☺

This of course, is the reason I have no hope for the possible release of a 2019 Mac Pro. With the current mindset of Apple, and the current "reason" many even want a Mac Pro - what on earth makes you think that you will go out and get a "new Mac Pro" and install any NVidia GPU card, any RAM, any CPU, any 10G card that you want ? YOU will not get to choose. It will be an APPLE HARDWARE PARTNER. So much for Mr. I Can Hot Rod This Myself So Much Better. That's not going to happen (in my opinion) even if there is a new Mac Pro in 2019.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
bobzelin@icloud.com


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Dom Silverio
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jun 20, 2018 at 9:02:48 pm

Previously if you had a $3000 laptop hardware failure, you had some leeway to fix HDD, RAM, optical drive, - even keyboard and such. The industry, in general, is moving away from that and Apple leads the way. Now we have a $13K desktop that near impossible to even replace a bad RAM. And our experience with the "Genius" Bar has not been stellar. The GPU failure rate of the MP 6,1 dual D700 is high and the hoops you have to go through just to get it approved for repair makes buying another high-end Apple computer less appealing.

We have had limited inquiry for the iMac Pro, mostly individuals looking to replace/supplement the old 2013 MP 6,1. But we have limited our deployment of the top end iMac Pro. Too risky for us with the current low-level interest.


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Misha Aranyshev
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jul 2, 2018 at 8:10:45 am

[Bob Zelin] "- what on earth makes you think that you will go out and get a "new Mac Pro" and install any NVidia GPU card, any RAM, any CPU, any 10G card that you want ? "

Was it ever like this with Macs?


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Bob Zelin
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jul 2, 2018 at 1:13:57 pm

absolutely - the "old" Mac Pro from 2006 - 2012. Companies like Other World Computing (http://www.macsales.com) were created because of computers like this. You get third party RAM, upgrade your own processors, it was easy to work on. You pulled out the old GTX-120, or old ATI card, added internal NVidia Quadro 4000's, or GTX-680's. You added Cubix or Magma expansion chassis, and put whatever you wanted in there (like Pro Tools I/O cards). And of course I/O cards from AJA, Blackmagic, and Matrox. And of course, the AVID HIB card that went to the Nitris DX breakout box.

I would love to know the politics of Apple these days. If they get to sell you an iMac Pro, and the iMac or iMac Pro works great with an eGPU box - WHAT DIFFERENCE to them does it make if it's an NVidia GTX-1080ti card or an AMD Vega 64 card. They don't make either - and they get to sell the computer and keep all the profit. WHY do they care what a third party company does to enhance their product, and why do they make it so difficult for these third party companies ? Of course, this all ties in with the new insanity of SIP (System Integrity Protection) which all started in
December 2017. Bottom line - they get to sell what they manufacturer - why do they care what people want to stick on the computer, and why are they making it so difficult, after all this time ?

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
bobzelin@icloud.com


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Tim Wilson
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jul 2, 2018 at 8:45:54 pm

[Bob Zelin] "absolutely - the "old" Mac Pro from 2006 - 2012. Companies like Other World Computing (http://www.macsales.com) were created because of computers like this. You get third party RAM, upgrade your own processors, it was easy to work on. You pulled out the old GTX-120, or old ATI card, added internal NVidia Quadro 4000's, or GTX-680's. You added Cubix or Magma expansion chassis, and put whatever you wanted in there (like Pro Tools I/O cards). And of course I/O cards from AJA, Blackmagic, and Matrox. And of course, the AVID HIB card that went to the Nitris DX breakout box. "

It goes further back than that, Bob. I'd say dang near almost to the Mac iici and IIfx in 1989. The idea was that you bought the equivalent of a big ol' cavern whose sole purpose was for you to pop the top off of and fill to your hearts content with anything you wanted -- the sky's the limit.

There used to be catalogs for a dozen companies chock full of every kind of accessory that you could load into your Mac -- and we all aggressively subscribed to all of them -- because we wanted to know which RAM was fastest, which drives were most reliable, which cards supported the most IO, who added acceleration, on and on.

Sure, it's nice that computers can handle a lot of this stuff natively now. I don't miss manually configuring Token Ring networks any more than I miss blacking my tapes. But I do miss the days when Mac video creators were driving innovation across the industry -- in drives, in monitors, in RAM, you name it -- because we demanded the best of the best, because no matter how good the computers Apple sold us, we wanted them to be BETTER, faster, capable of more stuff than Apple or anyone else imagined. OUR imagination was the only limit to performance.

Okay, and to a lesser extent, our budgets and the technology itself, but the early days of the COW and our predecessor community going back to 1995 (June of 1995, to be exact -- we crossed our 23rd anniversary last week!) was shaped by people who were pushing the tech faster than developers really wanted to go. LOL But they sold us the stuff, and stepped up when we demanded that it worked the way WE wanted it to work, even if it was something that they hadn't intended when they designed it.

It's sad to me that the Mac user community has become not only complacent, but actively hostile to the idea that Apple wasn't doing enough to develop the computers we need. It's not Moore's Law that has slowed innovation to a crawl. It's users who are happy to take whatever Apple gives them, and shout down anyone who wants to drive Apple to do better.

On one hand it seems ridiculous to say that here, among some of the most dissatisfied people on the internet. LOL At the same time, I think back to 1999, when Apple created a computer so powerful that they were forbidden to export it to some countries. This message was playfully exaggerated, but it was true. Can you even imagine Apple trying to pretend that theirs are the most powerful computers on the market? It simply doesn't come up any more.



And the remarkable thing is that we took that computer, and made it even MORE powerful. Why? Because we demanded that capability from our computers. We DEMANDED the ability to customize them, to make them vastly more powerful, because we understood, yes, we're a niche. You can't make money selling a computer to us that does everything we need. We get it. Just stay out of our way, and everything will be fine. 😂



[Bob Zelin] "WHY do they care what a third party company does to enhance their product, and why do they make it so difficult for these third party companies ?"

I swear I think a lot of it is because we let them get away with it. There's a reason why the key images for the early days of marketing FCP was on a laptop with FireWire. That wasn't as big a deal here in the COW, where we were early adopters of Cinewave, Decklink, Kona, Aurora Igniter, and so many more. We used Final Cut Pro as the foundation of a heavy-iron suite that could run circles around anything out there once we finished shaping it to our needs.

But now, people who insist that an iMac Pro still isn't enough for the work they're doing, or the work they want to do, are treated as deviants, liars, ignoramuses, or trolls. Yeah, it's a niche, like it's always been. But now Apple and a significant part of its user base are new sets of obstacles, instead of the foundation we build on to reach newer heights.

That's all I'd like to see a return to. An Apple that enables its customers to drive technology further, faster, and in previously unimaginable directions through creative third-party partnerships, and a user base centered around encouraging each other to think bigger, and pointing the way to the specifics of making it happen.

Less about me and what I need. Less about either/or. Less about how much more I can do with less. More about making the entire industry bigger, better, bolder. More about what's possible with MORE. More about demanding more from our vendors, enabling each other to do more.

And yes, it was that way for the vast majority of our tiny little life cycle. In the context of the COW, I'd say something like 18-20 of our 23 years. This today? This is NOT how it was. And talking about how it was is anything but ancient history.


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Misha Aranyshev
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jul 2, 2018 at 10:26:50 pm

I didn't mean the expandability. By the way PowerMac 9600 had more slots than cheesegrater MacPro. I meant there always were hoops to jump through to make something to work in Mac: flashing firmware, patching kexts, etc.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: iMac Pro thoughts
on Jul 2, 2018 at 10:55:49 pm

[Bob Zelin] "why do they care what people want to stick on the computer, and why are they making it so difficult, after all this time ?
"


It's in Apples DNA. Jobs never wanted to release anything but a sealed box, computing appliance and technology (and consumer habits) over the past 5-10 years have finally gotten to the point where doing just that is commercially viable.


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