Go Back   MacRumors Forums > Apple Hardware > Desktops > Mac Pro

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old Dec 1, 2012, 01:24 AM   #1
LeicaM8
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: West Michigan
MacPro + SSD + iDVD?

Hi All, I Am very happy with my MacPro Mid-2010 12gig 4 core 2.8GHz in just about every way except one: iDVD Encodes. I know, old and EOL, but I have a need to produce some discs once a week and it's the app I have.

Since iDVD is hard capped by a maximum of using 2 Cores I am left without a way to address that bottleneck, but it occurs to me I can address how fast data gets into those two cores.

Query: How much improvement might I see in my iDVD encodes by going to an SSD Boot Drive with my source & destination files on it?

Time reduction of a few percent? 10% - 25% - 50%?

Knocking even say 25% off a 3hr encode is signifigant enough to be worth my effort in my opinion.

Sincerely
Richard in Michigan
LeicaM8 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 1, 2012, 03:01 AM   #2
All Taken
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: UK
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeicaM8 View Post
Hi All, I Am very happy with my MacPro Mid-2010 12gig 4 core 2.8GHz in just about every way except one: iDVD Encodes. I know, old and EOL, but I have a need to produce some discs once a week and it's the app I have.

Since iDVD is hard capped by a maximum of using 2 Cores I am left without a way to address that bottleneck, but it occurs to me I can address how fast data gets into those two cores.

Query: How much improvement might I see in my iDVD encodes by going to an SSD Boot Drive with my source & destination files on it?

Time reduction of a few percent? 10% - 25% - 50%?

Knocking even say 25% off a 3hr encode is signifigant enough to be worth my effort in my opinion.

Sincerely
Richard in Michigan
Seems to me you're governed by your DVD drive
All Taken is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 1, 2012, 12:40 PM   #3
LeicaM8
Thread Starter
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: West Michigan
Quote:
Originally Posted by All Taken View Post
Seems to me you're governed by your DVD drive
Thanks for Responding, sincerely.
If you are referring to DVD Burning, your comment is spot on!
However I'm coping with an excessively long DVD Encoding problem which is an entirely different challenge where the chief bottlenecks are CPU Usage and the movement of data to & from a hard drive.

Unless I am utterly misinformed!
(Not Un-Precedented in my Life)

BTW I have iDVD create a disc image rather than burn the disc because Toast writes faster/better imo and if there is a mis-burn it's instantaneous to try again.

Richard in Michigan
LeicaM8 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 1, 2012, 12:53 PM   #4
All Taken
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: UK
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeicaM8 View Post
Thanks for Responding, sincerely.
If you are referring to DVD Burning, your comment is spot on!
However I'm coping with an excessively long DVD Encoding problem which is an entirely different challenge where the chief bottlenecks are CPU Usage and the movement of data to & from a hard drive.

Unless I am utterly misinformed!
(Not Un-Precedented in my Life)

BTW I have iDVD create a disc image rather than burn the disc because Toast writes faster/better imo and if there is a mis-burn it's instantaneous to try again.

Richard in Michigan
Could handbrake achieve the same result for you with better processor usage?
All Taken is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 1, 2012, 01:01 PM   #5
ColdCase
macrumors 68000
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: NH
If the CPU is not the significant bottleneck, then using two drives, one for source video and one for the destination encoded TS files, could be better than one fast drive for both. Of course two fast drives would be better.

I've done this as routine for several years now (perhaps its an old wives tale) so I don't know what % gain you would get. Its certainly more than 0, however.
__________________
MiniServer (2012-2.3-i7-8-120SSD-1TBHD), rMBP15 (2014-SJE1-2.6-16-SM1024), LG27EA83D, SYDS212JK2, LaCie Big5s, MacBooks, iMacs, AppleTVs, Time Capsules, AEBSs, MacPro early 08, some older stuff.

Last edited by ColdCase; Dec 1, 2012 at 01:06 PM.
ColdCase is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 1, 2012, 11:04 PM   #6
LeicaM8
Thread Starter
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: West Michigan
Quote:
Originally Posted by ColdCase View Post
If the CPU is not the significant bottleneck, then using two drives, one for source video and one for the destination encoded TS files, could be better than one fast drive for both. Of course two fast drives would be better.

I've done this as routine for several years now (perhaps its an old wives tale) so I don't know what % gain you would get. Its certainly more than 0, however.
Good thoughts.
I did switch to using different drives a few months back and there was an improvement, but the speedup wasn't especially noteworthy.
My girlfriend is working hard to talk me into stopping with the 'due diligence' dithering and just buy a good SSD and find out.
R. In Mi.
LeicaM8 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 1, 2012, 11:28 PM   #7
LeicaM8
Thread Starter
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: West Michigan
Quote:
Originally Posted by All Taken View Post
Could handbrake achieve the same result for you with better processor usage?
I've been trying for many months to find a way to do that very thing, but no Ah Hah Moment as of yet. The iDVD projects are made from everything from vhs digitizings to hd source files and shrinking the HD with Handbrake down to dvd resolution has helped. Though, only in keeping high res files from doubling the encode times.

R in Mi
LeicaM8 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 2, 2012, 11:06 AM   #8
Coldmode
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeicaM8 View Post
My girlfriend is working hard to talk me into stopping with the 'due diligence' dithering and just buy a good SSD and find out.
R. In Mi.
Listen to the girl! She's obviously the brains of this operation ;-).
__________________
15" Macbook Pro 11,2, 2.0GHz i7, 8GB RAM, 256GB HD; iPhone 5s 32GB, Black; Retina iPad Mini 32GB T-Mobile, Black
Coldmode is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 2, 2012, 06:38 PM   #9
LeicaM8
Thread Starter
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: West Michigan
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldmode View Post
Listen to the girl! She's obviously the brains of this operation ;-).
You have no idea how true that statement is!
😇
LeicaM8 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 3, 2012, 07:41 AM   #10
tyr2
macrumors 6502a
 
tyr2's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Leeds, UK
You can check yourself where your bottleneck it. I'd expect it's the CPU power and not the disk speed at all.

Run 'Activity Monitor' while performing some encodes. Keep an eye on the CPU tab, if it's running at 100% maxed out on a number of cores than adding faster disks isn't going to make any difference to that phase.

If it's failing to max out the cores or if there is a later phase of the encode where it copies the data about for some reason you should see that on the 'Disk Activity' tab. If my Mac Pro (1,1) I get 250MB/s max write to a SSD and 95MB/s to a regular HD. If the process isn't already hitting numbers in those ballparks then putting faster disks in probably won't make much difference.
tyr2 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 3, 2012, 10:13 AM   #11
LeicaM8
Thread Starter
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: West Michigan
Quote:
Originally Posted by tyr2 View Post
You can check yourself where your bottleneck it. I'd expect it's the CPU power and not the disk speed at all.

Run 'Activity Monitor' while performing some encodes. Keep an eye on the CPU tab, if it's running at 100% maxed out on a number of cores than adding faster disks isn't going to make any difference to that phase.

If it's failing to max out the cores or if there is a later phase of the encode where it copies the data about for some reason you should see that on the 'Disk Activity' tab. If my Mac Pro (1,1) I get 250MB/s max write to a SSD and 95MB/s to a regular HD. If the process isn't already hitting numbers in those ballparks then putting faster disks in probably won't make much difference.
Thx for the input.
The Stats you suggested to check are:
iDVD CPU usage is 150% on avg
- this is on a 2.8ghz quad-core intel xeon
- notably to me, a single core does NOT get saturated during the encode process, usage is distributed across all cores.
Hard Drive read/write numbers are:
750k/sec sporadic reads and sporadic writes at 250k/sec

Based on your info it would seem that I am having feeble Read/Write Performance issues that would DEFINITELY benefit from installing an SSD. Would you agree with my thinking on this point?

Based on my rough knowledge of multi-core processing on my mac, if the task is not saturating a single core then there exists the potential to speed up a task. BUT this might be irrelevant for iDVD as I am informed it is written so that it is capped to use 2 cores.

Sincerely,
Richard in Michigan
LeicaM8 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 3, 2012, 12:47 PM   #12
tyr2
macrumors 6502a
 
tyr2's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Leeds, UK
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeicaM8 View Post
Hard Drive read/write numbers are:
750k/sec sporadic reads and sporadic writes at 250k/sec

Based on your info it would seem that I am having feeble Read/Write Performance issues that would DEFINITELY benefit from installing an SSD. Would you agree with my thinking on this point?
Actually no I would suggest that the numbers point to the drive being perfectly fine as it is. Those numbers are nowhere near the max capacity of the drive. The reason you're not seeing higher numbers is that iDVD isn't wanting the data any faster. Adding SSD might make a small difference but I bet you'd hardly notice.

If you're seeing 150% CPU usage on average then that's approx 1.5 cores. In the CPU tab at the bottom of Activity Monitor there is a small graph showing usage per core. Sounds like you've got 2 cores that are pretty busy already. If iDVD can't scale to more cores, then adding a faster drive won't help, you'll still be stuck with the CPU performance.

I'd suggest you stick with what you have.
tyr2 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 3, 2012, 01:26 PM   #13
LeicaM8
Thread Starter
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: West Michigan
Quote:
Originally Posted by tyr2 View Post
Actually no I would suggest that the numbers point to the drive being perfectly fine as it is. Those numbers are nowhere near the max capacity of the drive. The reason you're not seeing higher numbers is that iDVD isn't wanting the data any faster. Adding SSD might make a small difference but I bet you'd hardly notice.

If you're seeing 150% CPU usage on average then that's approx 1.5 cores. In the CPU tab at the bottom of Activity Monitor there is a small graph showing usage per core. Sounds like you've got 2 cores that are pretty busy already. If iDVD can't scale to more cores, then adding a faster drive won't help, you'll still be stuck with the CPU performance.

I'd suggest you stick with what you have.
Your info sounds quite reasonable.
I do have a general question though.
Wouldn't an app limited in it's design to use two cores, like iDVD, have it's processing occupy two cores while the other 6 shown in Activity Monitor remain nearly idle?
Some of the tasks in iDVD do exactly that - saturate one core. (I believe that is the menu rendering) However during the encoding process all 8 cores are handling a distributed load across all eight cores.
Does this observation reflect something the OS/CPU Controllers do in response to only being asked to use 2 cores?
eg:distributing the task so the load is leveled across the available cpus?

Thanks for the help!
Richard in Michigan
LeicaM8 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 3, 2012, 01:44 PM   #14
LeicaM8
Thread Starter
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: West Michigan
Quote:
Originally Posted by tyr2 View Post
Actually no I would suggest that the numbers point to the drive being perfectly fine as it is. Those numbers are nowhere near the max capacity of the drive. The reason you're not seeing higher numbers is that iDVD isn't wanting the data any faster. Adding SSD might make a small difference but I bet you'd hardly notice.

If you're seeing 150% CPU usage on average then that's approx 1.5 cores. In the CPU tab at the bottom of Activity Monitor there is a small graph showing usage per core. Sounds like you've got 2 cores that are pretty busy already. If iDVD can't scale to more cores, then adding a faster drive won't help, you'll still be stuck with the CPU performance.

I'd suggest you stick with what you have.
Not sure if would be helpful, but here is a screen capture of my CPU History window showing the way the cpu load is being distributed across all 8 cores.
(Set to standard 2 second update intervals)
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 2.41.09 PM.png
Views:	11
Size:	29.9 KB
ID:	381337  

Last edited by LeicaM8; Dec 3, 2012 at 01:45 PM. Reason: added screen shot
LeicaM8 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 3, 2012, 01:48 PM   #15
tyr2
macrumors 6502a
 
tyr2's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Leeds, UK
Sounds like different parts of iDVD are multithreaded differently. From what you have observed it sounds doubtful that iDVD was specifically forced to a 2 core maximum, otherwise you would only see threads on 2 cores. However given it's age it was probably only designed with 2 cores in mind. As such it is creating multiple threads over multiple cores to do the rendering, just not all the effectively.

It seems a little weird that during the rendering phase you have threads running that aren't taking up the entirety of the CPU resource available to them. It's just a guess but I would suggest that whatever the thread is in iDVD that is controlling them is the bottleneck, it is possibly feeding the data into and out of the rendering threads and not itself scaling over multiple cores. It was probably not designed for feeding data to so many rendering threads at the same time.

As I say it's just a guess, but it's my hunch as to what is happening.

If you fancy trying an experiment and have enough RAM available you could create a RAM disk using http://tmpdisk.inkscribbles.com and put a small iDVD project and rendering destination on there. That'd be the fastest storage you'd ever get. Would be interesting to see if it made any difference to the rendering times.

(BTW I have not tried tmpDisk myself, it was just something I came across looking for a RAM disk for OS X).
tyr2 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 3, 2012, 01:58 PM   #16
tyr2
macrumors 6502a
 
tyr2's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Leeds, UK
With reference to that screenshot it looks like it would well utilise a quad core CPU, quad core pro's were pretty common back when iDVD was last refreshed.

I guess your CPU has hyper threading hence seeing 8 cores? I'm not sure how well iDVD would be optimised to cope with such a configuration. At the end of the day you still only have 4 execution cores to work with.

Personally I don't think that utilisation is too bad for an application of it's age.
tyr2 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Dec 3, 2012, 02:17 PM   #17
LeicaM8
Thread Starter
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: West Michigan
Quote:
Originally Posted by tyr2 View Post
With reference to that screenshot it looks like it would well utilise a quad core CPU, quad core pro's were pretty common back when iDVD was last refreshed.

I guess your CPU has hyper threading hence seeing 8 cores? I'm not sure how well iDVD would be optimised to cope with such a configuration. At the end of the day you still only have 4 execution cores to work with.

Personally I don't think that utilisation is too bad for an application of it's age.
You make excellent suggestion and your hypothesizing seems sound.
I honestly thought OS based Ram Disks went way of the Do-Do when OS9 went bye-bye. Just this Saturday I was lamenting I didn't have that option! Since I have over 7 gigs of unused Ram Space, I suspect a Ram Disk App is an experiment I can easily run. Probably would tell me if an SSD would be at all beneficial.
Thx.
Richard in Michigan
LeicaM8 is offline   0 Reply With Quote

Reply
MacRumors Forums > Apple Hardware > Desktops > Mac Pro

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Similar Threads
thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
MacPro 2008 3.1 HD/SSD Upgrade flyman Mac Pro 14 Feb 25, 2014 10:16 AM
Intel 520 SSD - MacPro 4,1 - 10.8.3 manamana Mac Pro 14 May 31, 2013 06:53 AM
MacPro mid08 SSD? UncleSchnitty Mac Pro 9 May 7, 2013 10:08 AM
upgrading to new ssd macpro 3.1 cpnotebook80 Mac Pro 13 Feb 1, 2013 05:40 AM
MacPro SSD testing rantingrich Mac Pro 1 Aug 2, 2012 06:55 PM

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:46 PM.

Mac Rumors | Mac | iPhone | iPhone Game Reviews | iPhone Apps

Mobile Version | Fixed | Fluid | Fluid HD
Copyright 2002-2013, MacRumors.com, LLC