AMD Sapphire Radeon HD 7950, Single/Dual Nvidia K5000 for MP5,1/MP6,1 comparison

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by bxs, Jun 21, 2014.

  1. bxs, Jun 21, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2014

    bxs macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2007
    I managed to get with my son at the office today and performed some limited testing to check out the new Premiere CC 2014 using a Sapphire Radeon HD 7950, Single and dual Nvidia K5000s in a MP5,1 and Dual D700s in a MP6,1. The results were interesting and revealing IMO.

    All hardware was running latest 10.9.3.

    The test goal was simply to Export a timeline (rendering implied here) on every graphic card combination.

    Here's what hardware/software we had on hand

    1) A MP5,1 - 12core 2.93 GHz, 64GB RAM, 480GB PCIe SSD for OS/Apps, 240GB RAID-0 2x 3G SSDs for Application's cache, single 7950 driving 30" ACD, 23" ACD and 60" TV.

    2) A MP5,1 - 12core 2.93 GHz, 64GB RAM, 240GB PCIe SSD for OS/Apps, 240GB RAID-0 2x 3G SSDs for Application's cache, dual Nvidia K5000s in Slots 1 & 2 with Slot 2 driving a 27" Apple LCD.

    3) A MP6,1 - 12core 2.7 GHz, 64GB RAM, 1TB PCIe SSD, Dual D700s, 21:9 34" LG display, 23" ACD and 46" TV.

    4) Adobe Premiere CC 2014

    We tested the MP5,1 that had dual K5000s, using both and using just one... using CUDA and OpenCL.
    We used the MP5,1 with 7950 to test just OpenCL (CUDA not available with 7950).
    We used the MP6,1 with dual D700s using OpenCL.
    We used MP5,1 with the K5000s using CPUs (Software) for exporting the timeline.

    Times are Minutes:Seconds

    MP5,1 Dual K5000s, CUDA: 4:16
    MP5,1 Dual K5000s, OpenCL: 4:13

    MP5,1 Single K5000, CUDA: 4:15
    MP5,1 Single K5000, Software: 5:02

    MP5,1 Single 7950, OpenCL: 7:06

    MP6,1 Dual D700s, OpenCL: 3:31

    a) On the face of it the MP6,1 using Dual D700s did well against the dual K5000s in the MP5,1 -- 3:31 vs. 4:16.

    b) On the MP5,1 using Dual K5000s vs. Single K5000 was a wash. This surprised me and I wonder if there's a Preference configuration that needs to be explored/discovered. I presumed the Adobe software would be aware of there being two K5000s vs. one graphics card. I could not find anywhere in the Preference setting to indicate there were dual graphics cards and simply assumed Adobe software would know about it... so pressed on with the testing.

    c) On the MP5,1 using CUDA or OpenCL was a wash. They had essentially the same times.

    d) On the MP5,1 using CPUs for exporting took longer than using the graphic card.

    e) Using the MP5,1 and 7950 was considerably slower than using the dual or single K5000. Using 7950 took 7:06 vs. K5000 took 4:13. Thus K5000 was around 1.75 faster.

    f) Using the MP6,1 and dual D700s beat them all with a time of 3:31. Son & I were happy to see this result.

    Thus we have for OpenCL

    MP6,1 D700 at 3:31
    MP5,1 K5000 at 4:13
    MP5,1 7950 at 7:06

    Son now has to decide on keeping a K5000 for one of his MP5,1s as it does run 1.75 times faster than the 7950.

    Of course this was a very small limited set of tests, and more testing needs to be done.

    BTW... Export times can be obtained from the Premiere NOTES so it's not necessary to keep an eye on the elapsed time for the exporting which goes poof when the export completes. The NOTES provides the "Encoding Time: 00:04:15" for example.

    Do you have any advice or some insights on what further testing can be done with this hardware and Adobe software to expose the performance differences of these graphic cards. I have a limited time using these cards and will have to make decision what makes sense to keep and what to return.

    I notice that today while the AMD Sapphire 7950's price sits at around $455, the Nvidia K5000 ranges from $1599 at OWC, $1799 at NewEgg, and to as much as $2499 at the online Apple Store.
  2. bxs, Jun 22, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2014

    bxs thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2007
  3. fuchsdh macrumors 6502a

    Jun 19, 2014
    To your question: Adobe can indeed use dual GPUs during encoding and export in either OpenCL or CUDA (regular editing and display is *not* accelerated by dual GPUs, unlike FCPX). The fact that it's not clear what GPU is being used or if both are is a persistent issue with all of Adobe's applications.
  4. bxs thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2007

    When you say "Adobe can indeed use dual GPUs during encoding and export in either OpenCL or CUDA..." does this mean by default or does it mean the software preferences need to be configured to use both... hopefully it is by default.

    I ask this because I saw little difference encoding the timeline using 1x K5000 vs. 2x K5000 for CUDA and OpenCL.
  5. fuchsdh macrumors 6502a

    Jun 19, 2014
    I dunno, honestly. As far as I know there's no way to tell if it sees your two GPU or not, because there's no way to tell if it sees your single GPU aside from seeing if the options under project settings show CUDA or OpenCL Mercury Playback options (at least After Effects lets you see your GPU info for OpenGL and CUDA... although it has no multiple GPU support.)

    One possible factor I didn't see mentioned in your tests above--do you have the latest CUDA drivers from Nvidia? You should be able to click on the system pref pane and check/download drivers from a button there.
  6. bxs thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2007
    Yes... latest CUDA driver via System Prefs is installed.

    I would have expected to see a difference between having 1x K5000 installed vs. having 2x K5000... but as I post above, there's no observed difference using CUDA or OpenCL. This tells me the 2nd K5000 is either not being seen or is ineffective for encoding the timeline. The System Profiler report clearly shows 2x K5000 discovered.

    My decision of buying 2x K5000 vs. 1x K5000 vs. buying 1x Sapphire 7950 needs to be made within my 30 days return policy with OWC. Thus I'm anxious to make the most of this time by testing correctly.

    If you or other have some other tests I should perform please post them here... thanks. :)
  7. bxs thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2007
    I had a chat with Adobe Tech Help concerning this 1x K5000 and 2x K5000 and was told that for encoding a timeline (exporting) the basic requirement for the graphics card is 1GB VRAM and not too much horsepower. This results in only 1 card being used and the 2nd one would be essentially doing nothing.

    The time when 2x K5000s get used will be during project work being done and applying effects such as Color Grading and Warp stabilizing. In these cases the 2x K5000 would get heavy use and speed things along.

    This then explains why my test showed identical encoding timeline times for 1x K5000 and 2x K5000s.

    I will admit, my workflow moves along quite a bit faster using 1x K5000 and even better with 2x K5000s when compared to using the single Sapphire Radeon HD 7950.

    I will be using the K5000s for rest of week and will compare this with what I know I can do using the 7950. Then make a decision what to keep and return.

    BTW... when calling in for Tech Help the menu system mentioned that telephone help will soon be abandoned and users should use Chat and/or forums for help.... (sigh).
  8. benjobe2513, Jul 14, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2014

    benjobe2513 macrumors member


    Sep 10, 2008
    Humboldt County, California
    Thank you for sharing that information. It is very helpful to me as I am about to upgrade my graphics card. Here's my current configuration:

    5,1 Mac Pro 12-core 3.46GHz 48GB RAM nVidia GTX 680 512GB SSD-PCIE for OSX 512GB SSD-PCIE for Cache 2x 4TB Deskstars RAID 0 for media files.

    (I'm upgrading that RAID 0 to 3x 3TB Seagate E.3s soon for faster speeds)

    I was leaning towards a Titan Black until I discovered that it wouldn't support UHD @ 60Hz on my Dell UP3214Q monitor while the AMD 7970 would. But now I'm leaning towards a dual K5000 setup like you have, one of the benefits being that I wouldn't need an external power supply to run the cards. The drawback of course is the cost of those cards.

    I too do a lot of rendering and exporting in Premiere Pro and Encoder, and I'd like to reduce the amount of time it takes for me to do those tasks. But is the time savings worth the extra cost? Have you been happy with your dual K5000s? Noticed any limitations?
  9. benjobe2513 macrumors member


    Sep 10, 2008
    Humboldt County, California
    I forgot to ask, were you able to run the tests again using a timeline with multiple filters on the video clips? Maybe that would make a difference between the dual K5000 and the single K5000.

    I usually have 3 - 4 filters on all my video clips (Crop, Colorista, Film Emulation, Vignette, etc.) and I'm dealing mostly with 4K footage now so my GTX 680 is struggling to handle renders & exports. I actually got a Quadro K5000 to try out and it didn't improve the render & export times. Now I'm thinking that I should try having two K5000s to see if there's any improvement.

    Thanks again for sharing your experiences.

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