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elbateria

macrumors member
Original poster
May 5, 2020
39
41
It's been a few days since I received my new M1 Max 32gb. In all the reviews they say it is a beast for video editing, but it really isn't looking like that to me, at all. I only get it to work well with a 100% workflow in ProRes, but of course, this is crazy in real world.

From ProRes to ProRes.

Captura de pantalla 2021-12-24 a las 3.09.45.png


Captura de pantalla 2021-12-24 a las 3.09.52.png


Exporting to H264 / H265 for Youtube is incredibly slow since it seems that the processor barely goes over 40% load. I've tried Da Vinci, Final Cut and Compressor with the same bad results. It is really hard to spend € 3,800 on a laptop and get worse results than with a € 1,500 AMD RYZEN.

From ProRes to H264.

Captura de pantalla 2021-12-24 a las 3.09.00.png


Captura de pantalla 2021-12-24 a las 3.09.14.png


On the other hand, when I connect an NVME hard disk through a TB3 / USB4 box, many times it does not start it, having to disconnect the rest of the USB devices, connect the disk, wait until the M1 Max starts it and reconnect the other USB devices. It's like it doesn't have enough energy. I'm having issues with my external screen and recovering from sleep.

I am happy with the overall speed and performance with Capture One, but if exporting H264 / H265 is so slow I will surely return it.

I am doing something wrong? Is this performance normal?

Regards.
 

ataq

macrumors regular
Oct 29, 2006
186
246
Curious about what others say to this. I haven't received my M1 Max 32GB yet, but plan to use the same apps which you mentioned.
 
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tRYSIS3

macrumors regular
Nov 15, 2011
126
354
Same problem, it's a known issue that exporting H.264 on the new MacBook Pros is slower than on 5 year old machines

 

elbateria

macrumors member
Original poster
May 5, 2020
39
41
It's kind of hard to make anything about your post without some numbers and some reference to your projects.

This is just a 90" 4K vídeo in the timeline exported to H264 and ProRes. No filters, no transitions, no color correction, nothing. Ultrafast ProRes performance but a total disaster in H264 and only 30-40% processor load. Why? I don't know but same results with Final Cut, Compressor and Da Vinci, so I don't think this is something I'm doing wrong.
 

ed.

macrumors regular
Jan 31, 2008
217
175
Well the Macbook Pros have dedicated ProRes hardware encoding, so no surprise about the performance gains there.
About this point, I think there's a growing disconnect between what Apple thinks of 'professional users' and what customers think a 'professional user' is. For example, Apple seems to think a pro video user is someone whose pipeline is completely in ProRes and doesn't really need to deliver compressed formats. Think broadcast / cinema production companies. We'll probably have a confirmation of this when the next Mac Pro comes out, with 40 cores and a price tag that only a production company can afford. In short, Apple doesn't seem to think that a guy with a laptop making Youtube videos is a video "pro". The test is probably the Pro Display XDR. A 6k monitor for pros that (according to apple) competes with pro monitors that cost 20 or 30k. If you can't justify and afford the purchase, you're not the pro apple thinks of.

To come to your problem, I don't really think this is directly Apple's fault:I suspect a lot of H264 encoders have simply been ported to M1 to get it out of the door but not really rewritten to take advantage of Apple Silicon in full.
It's mildly surprising that according to your experience even Apple's own FCPX and Compressor don't really perform.
I read somewhere here that even HandBrake has a weird behaviour where it kind of sucks but if another export starts in Media Encoder then suddenly it starts going faster (see: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/odd-behavior-m1-max-handbrake-1-4-2.2326983/)

Lastly, you always have the nuclear option of voting with your wallet: returning the damn thing and buy two and a half pcs with Ryzen!
 

adamjackson

macrumors 68020
Jul 9, 2008
2,334
4,730
Troubling data. I’m going from a Core i9 iMac w/ Vega 48 to an M1 Max with the assumption my transcode/export in h.265 workflow is going to be 2-3x faster. I hope I’m not disappointed or else I’ll definitely return the machine and get my $4700 back.
 

ctjack

macrumors 65816
Mar 8, 2020
1,375
1,416
Just wait until they update the software. I also started journey with new M1 Air at the time when there was very little native apps and only rosetta running intel.
Clearly here, if you see 40% workload, then it is not optimized to take full advantage. Because the code is written with m1 in mind with 4 perf. cores.
 

elbateria

macrumors member
Original poster
May 5, 2020
39
41
Well the Macbook Pros have dedicated ProRes hardware encoding, so no surprise about the performance gains there.
About this point, I think there's a growing disconnect between what Apple thinks of 'professional users' and what customers think a 'professional user' is. For example, Apple seems to think a pro video user is someone whose pipeline is completely in ProRes and doesn't really need to deliver compressed formats. Think broadcast / cinema production companies. We'll probably have a confirmation of this when the next Mac Pro comes out, with 40 cores and a price tag that only a production company can afford. In short, Apple doesn't seem to think that a guy with a laptop making Youtube videos is a video "pro". The test is probably the Pro Display XDR. A 6k monitor for pros that (according to apple) competes with pro monitors that cost 20 or 30k. If you can't justify and afford the purchase, you're not the pro apple thinks of.

To come to your problem, I don't really think this is directly Apple's fault:I suspect a lot of H264 encoders have simply been ported to M1 to get it out of the door but not really rewritten to take advantage of Apple Silicon in full.
It's mildly surprising that according to your experience even Apple's own FCPX and Compressor don't really perform.
I read somewhere here that even HandBrake has a weird behaviour where it kind of sucks but if another export starts in Media Encoder then suddenly it starts going faster (see: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/odd-behavior-m1-max-handbrake-1-4-2.2326983/)

Lastly, you always have the nuclear option of voting with your wallet: returning the damn thing and buy two and a half pcs with Ryzen!
I don't care about what Apple considers a Pro. If they pretend to sell computers only for guys who work ONLY in ProRes they are gonna sell a very few computers. Besides, you can film and edit in ProRes, but at the end of the day you need to deliver in H264 or H265 so you better get a good performance with that codecs.

The ProRes cores also should improve H264/H265 performance.
 

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elbateria

macrumors member
Original poster
May 5, 2020
39
41
Just wait until they update the software. I also started journey with new M1 Air at the time when there was very little native apps and only rosetta running intel.
Clearly here, if you see 40% workload, then it is not optimized to take full advantage. Because the code is written with m1 in mind with 4 perf. cores.
I think this is acceptable with BlackMagic or Adobe, but FCPX and Compressor should work fine since the very first day.

Besides, I don't trust Apple "software improvements". They supposedly solved the old Macbook Pro i9 thermal throttle with ATI video card and external monitors and people is still waiting for it. They fix little glitches, but they never fix performance issues because they use to be "by design".

For example, I use it 99% clamshell. I can start my old mac without open it just pluging the power cable. With M1 Max you need to open the laptop. I know they are gonna do nothing about it. 20 years working with macs teach me if you can't do something the very first day, you better forget it.
 
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UBS28

macrumors 68030
Oct 2, 2012
2,893
2,340
I believe Linus mentioned that the media engine is not working correctly.

Maybe ask Apple support when they will fix this.

For the most consistent performance, I guess you can better use a PC laptop with the RTX 3080 / 3090.
 

elbateria

macrumors member
Original poster
May 5, 2020
39
41
I believe Linus mentioned that the media engine is not working correctly.

Maybe ask Apple support when they will fix this.

For the most consistent performance, I guess you can better use a PC laptop with the RTX 3080 / 3090.
I just sold a 3900X with a RX5700 and 64gb and I hoped to improve its performance with the M1 Max. Probably a 5950x + 3070Ti/3080Ti + 64gb/128gb would be the best value choice, but nowadays in my country to get a fair priced Nvidia card is not possible. They ask nearly 1200€ for the 3070ti and 2000€ for 3080ti.
 

arche3

macrumors 6502
Jul 8, 2020
407
286
Depending on your work a 2nd render setup might be best. I have to keep my work all in house so I setup multiple render stations. But after camera I'm transcoding to prores for edit. So I'm pretty streamlined.
 

avidfan451

macrumors newbie
Oct 31, 2014
18
17
Posting my experience here as another data point. 14” M1 Max with 64GB RAM and 2TB SSD. I was going from a 2018 15” MacBook Pro Intel i7 with 32GB RAM and 2TB SSD. I am primarily an archivist, ripping older DVDs of home movies and theater performances then converting to MP4 with Handbrake. My old MBP would take 22mins to encode a DVD this way, even using VideoToolbox settings for H264 or H265. New M1 Max does the same project in 2mins. I even upped the quality slider to 75 in order to tax it, and it’s still done in sub ten minutes, effectively cutting my time in half. Not sure why this wouldn’t be the case in FCP or Compressor, too.

As for the clamshell comment — I was also disappointed that I couldn’t wake the laptop with a swipe on my external trackpad or taps on the keyboard. I read on another thread on here that this affects even the standard M1 MBP and Air, and one solution is to never let the displays go to sleep on AC power, which doesn’t bother me since I cut the power to them via a Wyze plug at the end of the day, anyway. Problem mostly solved — I’ve only had a few cases where one of the monitors didn’t wake properly and a reboot solved it.

Again, far from perfect, but for my specific use case the new machine is a dream. Apple gave me $950 for the old one, which brought the cost down a bit on the new one, and I am using the Apple Card with monthly installments to pay it off over time. I hope to see them continue to improve these machines with software updates. Hope things improve for you, too, or that you find some settings that work. We’ll see.
 

ed.

macrumors regular
Jan 31, 2008
217
175
Wait a second, I just realised in your initial post you're comparing exporting from Prores to Prores which is basically just writing a file to disk, to performing an actual compression from Prores to H264... questionable to say the least!

In any case, I've decided to look into this and noticed that when exporting to h264 from a 4k prores timeline on my poor little 13" m1 macbook, there's another process called VTDecoderXPCService that shoots up to 230%, so at least some processing power is being put to good use. I get about 40fps in Davinci to h264, the project is a Prores clip straight without anything else going on.
Interestingly enough, the same VTDecoderXPCService (video toolbox maybe?) gets called by Adobe Media Encoder, which manages to use up to 260% CPU, and appears to be slightly faster than Resolve. Handbrake seems to be lagging behind, not sure why but probably there's some obscure setting someplace.

It does seem that this is all lack of optimisation though, although I'm not sure what are your benchmarks in terms of compression times that make you say your machine is so slow that's making you sick.
 
Last edited:

Freyqq

macrumors 601
Dec 13, 2004
4,038
181
Maybe it’s heat? Try forcing the fans to go at 100% when rendering using a third party app.
 

Kobayagi

macrumors 6502a
Dec 18, 2012
918
2,075

Wow, so I'm not the only one!​


I was gonna start a thread about this, but I see more people are having the same issues. So I'll share my experiences here. I bought a base 16" M1 Pro and I was curious about the performance gains I was about to get compared to my current MacBook Pro and did a few test.

The hardware:
Old MacBook Pro 15": Mid-2015 Retina, quad core 2.5ghz i7, M370X gpu, 16gb ram, 500gb ssd.
New MacBook Pro 16": M1 Pro, 10 core cpu, 16 core gpu, 16gb ram, 500gb ssd.

My tests:

Lightroom:
Exported 82 edited photos from my Sony A7iii.
Old MacBook Pro: 5 min, 10 sec.
New MacBook Pro: 1 min, 18 sec.

So the new one is 4 times faster. Nice.

Geekbench: I'll keep this one brief, since I care more about actual export results, but I still wanted to do these before I sell my old MacBook Pro. Basically, the new one had almost 4x the score on OpenCL and Metal.

Final Cut Pro: Export of a 4 min, 10 second video (4K30p), shot on a A7iii. Export: H.264
Old MacBook Pro: 5 min, 12 sec.
New MacBook Pro: 5 min, 40 sec

I honestly couldn't believe it, so I ran it again: same results.

I then tried a different, shorter video (2 min, 16 sec), but also from the A7iii @ 4K30p. Same H.264 export settings.
Old MacBook Pro: 2 min, 43 sec.
New MacBook Pro: 3 min, 5 sec

Again, slower, not by much (13,5%), but I kinda expected it to crush it by at least a half, not be slower...

What I noticed:
The old MacBook Pro's fans almost immediately go on full blast. The temp reaches 71°C.
The new one is bairly audible @ 1500rpm. This is probably because M1 is less power hungry, but still, I thought I'd hear them more during these intensive tasks.
Now, I didnt check out the speeds or load the cpu and gpu were on, should have done that, but I can't imagine they were being fully utilized.

So I'm wondering what exactly is happening. Is the software (Monterey or FCP) not fully optimzed? Or is there something else? Either way, the laptop obviously still feels super fast with any 'normal' task, I just wish FCP was much faster instead of, and I still cant believe it, slower.

Oh and just for fun, I exported the first video to ProRes. The file size became 18gb instead of 1.5gb, but the export time was around 50 seconds...
 

ed.

macrumors regular
Jan 31, 2008
217
175
Finally some numbers! It does seem like older intel machines have an edge on M1s on h264 export. I did some tests myself and my 2017 i7 iMac managed to edge out the M1 by roughly 10% using fcp, Adobe media encoder and QuickTime. Handbrake took ages on both machines, who knows why.
It still feels unreal that apple own apps have not seen a benefit from the new architecture, at least in terms of h264 exporting, but it can be the case that they all rely on videotoolbox and that’s a bottleneck somehow.
In short: don’t get a M1 if your job is to stare at progress bars of compressions being made.
 

macar00n

macrumors 6502
Aug 6, 2021
338
1,018
On the other hand, when I connect an NVME hard disk through a TB3 / USB4 box, many times it does not start it, having to disconnect the rest of the USB devices, connect the disk, wait until the M1 Max starts it and reconnect the other USB devices. It's like it doesn't have enough energy. I'm having issues with my external screen and recovering from sleep.

OP, Monterey 12.1 was just recently released. Upgrade to it. I had incredibly frustrating issues with my external monitor (plugged in through USBC->DisplayPort) that were 100% resolved with this update. Before the update my external would not wake from sleep, and would actually kernel panic my machine on some wake attempts. I think Apple resolved some USBC software stuff, and I hope your external drives work better after this update too. If you update, let me know how it changes your experience, I am curious.
 
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