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theMarble

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 27, 2020
947
1,266
Earth, Sol System, Alpha Quadrant
Very soon I will be retiring my 2015 15" MBP in favour of a new 14" M3 Pro as my daily driver, for a multitude of reasons including speed and stability issues.

My workload mostly involves relatively heavy workloads in Final Cut Pro and Adobe After Effects (currently 1080p but in the process of migrating to 4K), and light workloads in Cinema 4D. Some development work may also be happening in the future.

I am tied between either the 12c/18c/18GB/1TB model (the standard higher-tier config on Apple's website) or the 11c/14c/36GB/512GB model. Any other configs are pretty much out of the question, including previous-gen machines.

I know that GPU performance is key in Cinema 4D especially, however After Effects is a huge memory hog and I have been having memory pressure issues in both AE and C4D (going into yellow/red).

512GB or 1TB is not much of a concern for me as my 2015 has a third-party 1TB NVMe SSD in it that will be going into a Thunderbolt enclosure either way. I also already have terabytes of mechanical drives that are used for backups and archiving projects.

I highly doubt that I will be keeping this M3 for as long as I've had my 2015 (just over 6 years), however I do expect at least 3 years of use out of it.

What would you choose?
 
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R S K

macrumors regular
Oct 18, 2022
161
53
Hannover, Germany
First off… why would you use AE in the context of FCP? Pure habit or are you actually doing something all the time that somehow can't be done in Motion? Because if not, you're really shooting yourself in the foot. Just as you would be if you used Motion in the context of PPro. Never mind that Motion is exponentially faster than AE. AE is comparatively an archaic snail even on Apple Silicon.

As far as video is concerned, if you're using FCP then even a "meager" 16GB unified memory will let you edit 50+ streams of full-res 4K. I've even edited 12K on an M1 Macbook Air. Because modern apps – such as FCP – will use the newest, fastest, most efficient frameworks that will utilize components such as the media and neural engines for that much more speed and significant CPU/GPU relief. Again, something that Adobe apps in particular are exceptionally bad at since they're bogged down by age-old code.

With 3D on the other hand, apps such as Cinema, Blender, Houdini, etc. rely far more on raw GPU and therefore memory. But that's also dependent on which renderer you're using. So if that's a significant portion of your work, then more memory will make much more of a difference than elsewhere. Of course, things change, and while RAM is only a fraction as important with Apple Silicon as it is/was under Intel, who knows what's next? Since there is no upgrading memory in M-Macs it's probably best to buy as much as you can afford right off the bat to be that much more future-proof.

And if anything, I think it's far more likely you'll be using an M3 much longer than your previous one. Unless you think you'll be needing performance beyond things like 18 or more full-res 8K streams in realtime anytime soon??

In short: if anything, then more memory will get you more performance than more cores 95% of the time. But in either case, we're still not even talking double-digit percentages for the vast majority of tasks.
 
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Andrey84

macrumors regular
Nov 18, 2020
207
163
Greater London, United Kingdom
11c/14c/36GB/512GB
This one, because it has double the unified memory. You mentioned you've got yellow and red memory pressure, and I've seen tests with FCP where increased memory makes a very significant difference. Also you've mentioned you've got no issues having external storage.

Will this difference be more noticeable in FCP, compared to having 1 extra CPU and 4 extra GPU cores? Yes, I believe so.
 

theMarble

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 27, 2020
947
1,266
Earth, Sol System, Alpha Quadrant
First off… why would you use AE in the context of FCP? Pure habit or are you actually doing something all the time that somehow can't be done in Motion? Because if not, you're really shooting yourself in the foot. Just as you would be if you used Motion in the context of PPro. Never mind that Motion is exponentially faster than AE. AE is comparatively an archaic snail even on Apple Silicon.
It's mostly because it's what I'm used to. I already know how much of a slug AE is in comparison to Motion, as I do some of my lighter compositing work in Motion now, however for me, nothing compares to the level of flexibility/versatility that I have in After Effects when doing much more complex projects.

I also prefer AE's interface over Motion. Yes, Motion is much cleaner and fits in better with macOS, however when working with lots of layers, I do still prefer AE. Especially since I have a custom workspace setup. You don't get that in Motion. I also like the integration between AE and C4D (Cineware).

And if anything, I think it's far more likely you'll be using an M3 much longer than your previous one. Unless you think you'll be needing performance beyond things like 18 or more full-res 8K streams in realtime anytime soon??
We'll just have to see how long they hold up. Who knows, computer performance may start to plateau again like it did in ~2014-2018, in which case as long as Apple still supports it, I will keep on using it. If there are major advancements in 3-4 years time that do make a difference in my work, then I will upgrade again.

This one, because it has double the unified memory. You mentioned you've got yellow and red memory pressure, and I've seen tests with FCP where increased memory makes a very significant difference. Also you've mentioned you've got no issues having external storage.

Will this difference be more noticeable in FCP, compared to having 1 extra CPU and 4 extra GPU cores? Yes, I believe so.
Yeah, I'm now heavily leaning towards 36GB instead of 12/18 now.
 
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R S K

macrumors regular
Oct 18, 2022
161
53
Hannover, Germany
Export was roughly 10% faster on 64GB compared to 32GB.

Using an 8K RAW export for reference. Really? You couldn't find a lesser real-world scenario?? 😂 And how is that even a "significant" difference under the most extreme of circumstances?

For any and everything else the difference will be single-digit, if even that. 0% for 99% of anything else. But if that's worth hundreds more to you, go for it. Any and all Adobe apps won't benefit either way.
 

Andrey84

macrumors regular
Nov 18, 2020
207
163
Greater London, United Kingdom
Using an 8K RAW export for reference. Really? You couldn't find a lesser real-world scenario?? 😂 And how is that even a "significant" difference under the most extreme of circumstances?

For any and everything else the difference will be single-digit, if even that. 0% for 99% of anything else. But if that's worth hundreds more to you, go for it. Any and all Adobe apps won't benefit either way.
Yes, but in the OP's scenario, do you genuinely recommend his other config with 18GB RAM over the 36GB one?
This Mac won't be used for just browsing! OP will the working in Final Cut Pro.
 

R S K

macrumors regular
Oct 18, 2022
161
53
Hannover, Germany
I already wrote that I've even edited 12K footage on a 1st gen M1 Macbook Air (obviously not in an Adobe app). It, too, "only" had 16GB. So yeah, this isn't Intel we're talking about here.

Besides that, I also wrote that I would choose more RAM over more cores if that's what the choices are in the context of FC. The point being that it's not a necessity for the vast majority of tasks. Especially the ones we're talking about here, i.e. 1080p or 4K, not some artificially extreme cases. FC will benefit far more from RAM, C4D on the other hand from both more RAM and more GPUs. So it's a toss-up. Unless you get both you won't get the best possible performance in both.
 
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