Confused by GFX card options for 4K colour grading

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Sharky II, Jun 3, 2017.

  1. Sharky II, Jun 3, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2017

    Sharky II macrumors 6502a

    Sharky II

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #1
    Hi all,

    I have a 12-core 3.46GHz cMP and I'm an audio guy (Logic X). I'm currently running the following set up:

    Main Screen: 30" ACD with 5770 1GB (PC)
    Side monitor: Dell 24" (1920x1200) with stock GT120 for boot screen and metering/misc windows

    I'm starting to edit and grade more and more video in FCPX, including 4K footage (up to 60fps 4K from a Panasonic Lumix GH5, as well as 6D, 7D and 600D HD footage). I've just downloaded the demo of Color Finale for grading and it's great to have curves and LUT presets directly in FCPX!

    My system can handle 1080p FCPX projects with ease, and even 4K GH5 footage is fine when throwing on FCPX effects and Color Finale. However, it struggles with 4K 60FPS playback in FCPX - handles it better than I thought it would, though!. I'd bet a 7950 or R9 280x would solve this.

    But I was surprised to learn that DaVinci Resolve Lite was free! However, I cannot even get simple iPhone footage to playback. I'm guessing it wants to lean on the GT120 only, due to CUDA...?

    I see two options, keep the GT120 for side display and:

    1) Buy a 7950 or R9 280X 3GB to replace 5770, buy Color Finale and stay in FCPX
    2) Buy a 4GB nVidia card (GTX 770?) to replace 5770 and use the more advanced DaVinci Resolve Lite to grade

    It's my understanding that an nVidia GFX card be a bit useless for FCPX and an R9 280X not help with DaVinci Resolve... correct? Otherwise, option 3 would be to buy an R9 280x and use DaVinci Resolve.

    Finally - when my 30" ACD dies I'd like to purchase a 4K monitor to replace it and want to be able to run it at 60hz.

    I'm looking to do this on a budget by purchasing second hand (under £100) as this would be for occasional use for music videos - I really just want to be able to have curves and LUTs inside of FCPX, so maybe option 1 is simplest?

    Thanks!

    Ed
     
  2. casperes1996 macrumors 65816

    casperes1996

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Location:
    Horsens, Denmark
    #2

    Before we go any further, there's one important question that needs answering:
    Are your colour grading done for a profit? Cause if they are, I'm pretty sure the free version of DaVinci Resolve isn't legal to use. At least if you make more than a certain amount of money with it. There are also some limitations to export and whatnot in the free version

    If that's no problem, DaVinci is generally better for grading as it's pretty much what it's built for, with editing being a second priority, where the reverse is true for FCPX. With Colour Finale you get a good grading experience in FCPX too though. I can highly recommend the R9 285 instead of the 280X however, since it's a newer architecture and not that much more expensive. If I recall correctly, Tonga (GPU in the 285) has more media encode blocks for video.

    Another thing - what happens if you temporarily eject the nVidia card from your system while running DaVinci? How does it perform for you then?
    If it performs decently, maybe we can work around this some other way
     
  3. Sharky II, Jun 3, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2017

    Sharky II thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sharky II

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #3
    Hi,

    Thanks for your reply! No, I will be grading video for my own projects. Some will even be single take shots - but just big files at 4K at up to 60FPS (usually 24 36 or 48 though). In fact, not making any money from it is the reason I want to do it 'on the cheap'. I'm not trying to change careers and charge people to grade ;)

    As far as the limitations, I believe Resolve can import and export 4K footage (but no higher), which is not a problem for me. I also don't need collaborative access, etc.

    I really just want the LUTs, curves etc. I'm happy to spend some time learning Resolve, if only I could try it!

    My Mac Pro is in an enclosure so it's not easy to whip out the nVidia card, but I'll give it a go! I thought AMD cards were useless for Resolve, but I read that the nMPs did OK, so I'm probably mistaken there? I'll try just the 5770 and see if I can at least play back video.

    Edit: despite being faster at decoding 4K, it looks like the R9 285 only comes with 2GB VRAM, so it looks a bit under specced for Resolve.

    Cheers!

    Ed
     
  4. casperes1996 macrumors 65816

    casperes1996

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Location:
    Horsens, Denmark
    #4
    Well, you already know FCPX, and if all you want are the features that you get with Colour Finale, then isn't sticking with that easier? Let's resource heavy too.

    Well, CUDA helps resolve quite a lot, but OpenCL can also be used to accelerate DaVinci, and it runs on all GPUs. (well, not ALL - but all major ones). AMD cards are usually better with OpenCL than nVidia, but when CUDA is supported, it usually in turn outperforms OpenCL by a bit. Some GPUs show bigger differences between CUDA and OpenCL than others - for instance, the 680MX from a few iMacs back, has about 20% faster Resolve rendering with CUDA compared to OpenCL (Note - as far as I've gathered, the App Store version of Resolve only supports OpenCL). Anyway, whole point is that some GPUs might do alright with Resolve, regardless of CUDA. Though if DaVinci is the sole purpose, CUDA is probably a smart idea.

    Hmmm. I know we may be going a bit up the price range now, but then I'd recommend an R9 380X if we stay with AMD. It's the 285 running a few MHz faster, and can be got with 4GB of VRAM. It's similar to the R9 M295X that could be gotten with the 5K iMac of 2014, but running at about 70MHz faster. (I have said iMac. - Haven't really used Resolve that much, but Final Cut runs great with it that I can say. 4K can get slightly choppy if you punch in enough effects and layers, but a few levels of grading it can handle flawlessly)
     
  5. namyrb macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2016
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #5
    That is incorrect. You can make money using any version of davinci resolve.
     
  6. casperes1996 macrumors 65816

    casperes1996

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Location:
    Horsens, Denmark
    #6
    Really? Well that's awesome. I thought the free license only prohibited non-monetary and very small profits work. But wicked! Thanks!
     
  7. thornslack macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2013
    #7
    I'm sure you're aware but this makes me think you're going to yank the card from a running system, which would be ill-advised :p
     
  8. Sharky II thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sharky II

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #8
    Hi,

    Some good news - the App store version of DaVinci Resolve Lite is not the 'full' version, in that it ONLY supports openCL.

    However, it was choosing to implement that on the GT120 and not the 5770, with no way to change it!

    I downloaded the version off their site, and it allowed me to configure the graphics cards and processing type as usual (see pics), and so i chose OpenCL and disabled the GT120, which gave much better performance! I can still see I need a new graphics card, but it was enough to allow me to start learning the workflow etc. It performed better than I was expecting, but can bog down if I throw a lot at it, of course.

    So I'll be considering the R9 280X, but the new iMac developments mean that I'd be quite keen on an 470/480/580 type situation, if I could find one cheap enough. I'd love 4GB+ of VRAM and 'guaranteed' support for the foreseeable future.

    Cheers!

    Ed
     

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  9. jjjoseph macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2013
    #9
    Hey everyone, I'm a professional colorist have been for over a decade, I have also worked for Blackmagic doing demo's and support. Some good information here and some mis-information.

    The free versions of Resolve is completely free do as you please. You can make money with it, if you can, but it only supports 1 GPU and is limited to HD resolution 1920x1080, it can't use any stereo 3D tools and some of the plugins(OFX) and some of the more advanced vector based tracking/retiming etc..

    The reason you are only seeing OpenCL is because you are not using NVIDIA hardware, if you had a NVIDIA card, while using the free version you would see CUDA instead of OpenCL. A Geforce GT 120 doesn't have enough CUDA cores to support CUDA in Resolve.

    If you are staying in the Final Cur Pro X program, 4k is not the same as 4k in Resolve. Final Cut Pro X uses proxy's and renders in the background. Blackmagic Resolve holds the image in video memory at all times. A completely different technology with completely different hardware requirements.

    If you are going to do real Color Grading, I would suggest only using NVIDIA hardware. It sounds like a 4k Resolve setup is actually overkill for what you are doing, and the hardware required and Blackmagic Resolve license seem like overkill as well.

    I would just stay in the Final Cut Pro X environment and not worry about Resolve except for learning the color grading art.. If you wanna jump into 4k color grading in resolve, it requires a lot more hardware.
     
  10. casperes1996 macrumors 65816

    casperes1996

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Location:
    Horsens, Denmark
    #10

    This has definitely been changed in one of the later versions. The Lite version from the App Store anyway, can definitely export to 3840x2160
     
  11. Sharky II, Jun 8, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2017

    Sharky II thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sharky II

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #11
    Yes, it supports 4K and can use two graphics cards - one for GUI one for processing. It suits my needs well.

    I got some instability using Color Finale, and due to the 5770 dealing with Resolve better than I'd expected, it's looking like I'll grab a 280X 3GB and work with Resolve. I can use free LUTx took to see/preview LUTS while editing in FCPX, you don't need Color Finale
    for that. In the future it might be nice to grab it for quick and dirty
    grading.

    The nVidia option does appeal for Resolve, but the 280X should be able to handle 4K grading. The 380X appears pointless andnmote power hungry, the 470/480X too expensive for me. I like the AMD option due to Apple's 'native' support.

    I'd be interested in an equivalent nVidia option to the 280X, but perhaps with 4GB. Still looking into that, it looks like a GTX 770, suggestions welcome!

    Thank you!
     
  12. jjjoseph macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2013
    #12
    Hey Zeus!! I just read the new specs for the free version of Resolve. Black magic is just giving software away at this point. I remember being part of a business loan for a 100k Resolve system that would be as useful as a "etch a sketch" compared to Blackmagic's Free software.

    I'm still not seeing more than one GPU supported in the free Resolve, but maybe i'm mistaken. Also the spec sheet was for v14 which is still BETA I'm on 12.5.4.

    So what system do you have? Did you say you had the 5,1 MacPro?

    NVIDIA cards do support OpenCL, so if you have to stay in Apple Final Cut Pro X, you should be fine. I'm not 100% sure if the OpenCL 1.2 versus 2.0 comes into play, but i'm sure someone has tested all the GTX models with Final Cut.. Aside from that, I'm not a huge fan of AMD in general, they have never preformed close to our needs in any of our editing, fx or finishing workflows. We have always stayed with NVIDIA.

    If you can I wouldn't get anything lower than a 980ti, if you can muster the Watts required, a GTX 7xxx to GTX 9xxx is a HUGE jump.

    Bare feats has some basic examples of the speed diff between 6xx and 9xx/10xx, its pretty phenomenal.
    http://barefeats.com/cmp_pascal.html
     

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