nMP performance issues

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by lietsche, Jan 13, 2015.

  1. lietsche macrumors regular

    Apr 4, 2006

    I need some advice please. I am having performance issues with my nMP (6-core, 32GB RAM, 1TB HD, D700's), purchased when it rolled out last year. I do have Apple Care.

    For the moment it is in for repair at an Authorised Service Provider from Apple in Luxembourg.
    They have it for more than 2 weeks now and do not seem to find the problem.
    All the hardware tests seem to be OK.
    They do not want to change the computer but only the defective parts.
    Problem: They do not know what to change.
    For the moment they are still working on the machine in order to find the problem (the piece of hardware to change).
    But I have the feeling that they will get back to me and tell me that the machine is OK which is not the case.

    This is what is happening:

    - MacPro does not want to get into sleep mode and wakes up constantly, most of the time immediately (2 seconds or so) after entering the sleep mode. Very annoying especially with a Promise Pegasus 2 8TB attached to it which falls into sleep mode and then wakes up immediately again.

    On the net I found somebody who had the same issue and got his computer changed. Apparently the graphic cards were defective.

    - MacPro has serious performance issues.
    Especially under Final Cut Pro 10(.1.4)

    Since I received the computer I was not impressed by its performance so it is possible that I have the problem since the start.

    I now put a Late 2013 Retina Macbook Pro 15”, 2.3 I7, 16GB RAM, Nvidia Geforce GT 750M 2gb next to it to compare side by side.
    I attached to each computer a TB Drive with a cloned FCPX project.
    The Mac Pro was connected to a Pegasus Promise 2, the Macbook to a G-Raid, both Disks in Raid 0.
    Both computers were updated to the latest 10.10.1 release. Everything was up to date.

    I tried the following:
    FCPX 10.1.4
    share to: H264 1080p, faster encode, preset: computer

    Project was 16:48 long, rushes in H264, additional Effect Layer and TC Layer unrendered

    MBP (cpu 13%), 9:21
    nMP (cpu 40%), 25:39

    same sequence without layers
    MBP (cpu 20-40%) 3:22
    nMP (cpu 36%) (was at 11% when MBP finished, aborted)

    MBP: plugin Filmconvert REAL TIME unrendered
    nMP: NO REALTIME unrendered

    I have the feeling that the Graphic cards are not functioning as they should be.

    I then cloned the Harddisk from the Macbook Pro to the Mac Pro to see if it is a software issue but the performance issues persisted.

    Any ideas? Can I get in touch with Apple directly if the Service provider does not find the problem and does not want to take any more action?

    Thanks for your advice!
  2. mikeboss, Jan 13, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015

    mikeboss macrumors 65816


    Aug 13, 2009
    the difference in performance might be due to the lack of support for Intel® Quick Sync Video in the Mac Pro. the export to H264 is significantly faster if the CPU supports Quick Sync Video. Xeons don't have Quick Sync Video implemented.


    there are a few Xeons supporting quick sync (but none of them delivered in the nMP):

    also, I stopped using sleepmode on any of my machines a long time ago. too much potential trouble...
  3. lietsche thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 4, 2006

    I learned something today, in fact I was not aware of this.

    I do not know if these performance issues are related to that as I do not have a feedback of the repair, but it does make sense in a way.

    Still I am surprised of this significant performance difference, of a machine which is sold as a workhorse for pro video editing/encoding which costs a significant amount of money compared to a (high end) laptop.

    I do export a lot in H264 for my work so I am not very happy about this...

    But then again I do not understand the poor performance with the plugin filmconvert which is handled by the gpu's in comparison mbp/nMP.

    Just received an email that they ordered material to be exchanged in my nMP. Don't know what though.
    Will keep you posted
  4. Macsonic macrumors 65816


    Sep 6, 2009
    There is this article that also finds the Macbook Pro to be faster than the New Mac Pro with H264 video compression. The new Mac Pro used here was an 8 core 3.33ghz. http://macperformanceguide.com/blog/2014/20140729_2045-H264-video-compression.html The article explains QuickSync is not supported in the CPUs of the nMac Pro which confirms what MikeBoss mentioned in his post above. As far as I know, Apple Resellers are sometimes hesistant to order replacement parts if they are not sure which spare part is confirmed defective. The reseller store will shoulder the cost of the replacement part they ordered in case it was verified the unit is working fine and none of the parts are defective.
  5. lietsche thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 4, 2006
    thanks for the link macsonic,

    the information provided in http://www.macprovideo.com/hub/final-cut/final-cut-pro-x-performance-test confirm my h264 export tests. sadly.

    did not expect that a machine which is dedicated for video pro's and costs 3 times the amount of a laptop would not have the latest and best technology incorporated in their cpu's. I was wrong.

    So in the end - if you export mainly h264 for your work, the nMP is the wrong ship for your trip.... :(
    I do a lot of video editing (mainly) and I appreciate the speed, but when it comes to H264 export I suddenly think something is very wrong. It takes ages. Was editing lately on a rMBP maxed out and wonder if the price difference is worth it. I am slower while editing on the rMBP but lose the time while exporting.
    Maybe I am better off with a maxed out retina Imac for the editing suite and a rMBP for mobile editing...
  6. mikeboss macrumors 65816


    Aug 13, 2009
    yep, for exporting to H264 the Xeons are crap when it comes to the time needed to complete the task. I'm not sure about the quality though: IIRC the hardware assisted encoding is faster but also of inferior quality. but as I said, I'm not 100% sure about this. there was a thread back in december about this. here's what the OP found out while doing some benchmarks at an Apple Store:

  7. burnsranch macrumors member

    Jun 19, 2013
    I also have a new nMP base model and was unimpressed with the performance, until I did some real world testing against my old iMac. I am converting and installing about 7TB of videos into FCPX libraries and when I did some simple testing of that process between the two machines, I am not even sure I could have gotten the job done on the old iMac (2012) My nMP has been running at 100 percent for about three weeks straight now and barely breaking a sweat. I would hate to think about my iMac with its higher temps running for three weeks straight like that.

    The h264 encoding was a shock at first but when I started to look at the over all process, I am not sure it really matters.
  8. Riwam macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2014
    Basel, Switzerland
    I am ignorant of the kind of work you do.
    Therefore just 2 small side remarks.
    First, I found through blood sweat and tears that Apple Service provided by Apple itself was much more reliable and friendly than the service (not deserving that name) I got from the largest Apple retailer in Basel, Switzerland.
    Second remark. I might be wrong but had the feeling of more people complaining about nMPs with the D700 than with the other 2 graphic cards.
    Maybe it is only because owners of D700 do more demanding work...:confused:
  9. mikeboss macrumors 65816


    Aug 13, 2009
  10. lietsche, Jan 15, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2015

    lietsche thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 4, 2006

    Riwam, I guess you are right that the D700s are having issues.
    I got some news today which are a bit reassuring. Finally they found out that one of the D700 is defective which hopefully explains the poor performance with Filmconvert and performance in general. So they will replace it.

    I am very curious how the performance will be now. Hopefully I get the machine back before the weekend.

    I am doing mostly FCPX editing with color grading and some effects, so various layers of filters/plugins which are sometimes a bit demanding. The MacPro is almost silent what I like a lot. Just when it comes to some basic tasks like H264 encoding, which I do a lot for previews for my clients is taking a lot of time. Maybe the defective D700 was part of the poor performance. Do not know yet.

    I still have to invest in a 4k Monitor (probably the LG 31MU97) which would set me back around 1400 Euros but if the performance in not getting significantly better I might as well sell the nMP and go for a maxed out 5K retina imac.
    I heard that the imac is noisy under heavy duty which I would have to live with.
    Well, first I will check the performance on the repaired nMP anyway but the "slow" H264 encoding is still confusing me. Is there some h264 encoding hardware (or faster software... sorenson?) which I could invest in? I could always export in a rendered Apple Prores which is very fast and then send it to another h264 encoder. I think Matrox/Elgato did an usb encoder in the old days? But don't know if this is worth anything concerning the processor performance we are having nowadays...
  11. lietsche thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 4, 2006
    So I got my nMP back yesterday (they changed 1 D700) and as far as I can tell, performance did not change. But the sleep/waking problem is now gone, so that is fixed at least. Still a bummer that filmconvert is performing less good in realtime than my MBP. It's based on OpenCL ressources so the D700's should handle that perfectly (rendering is very fast on the gpu's though). I guess the NVIDIA from the MBP handles the realtime better (all that in FCPX 10.1.4 on a Promise Pegasus 2 RAID 0)... I will send the developper a mail to find out if they know anything about it.
    So in general the computer is technically OK (what the Apple Service provider tested at least) but I the overall performance is less amazing that I would expect for the difference in price compared to a 15" MPB maxed out (late 2013). oh wait: The performance of the late 2013 MBP maxed out is exceptional! Well, it is all a matter of perspective.
    At the Apple Service provider I saw a retina Imac and the screen is just wow.
    But in the forums people complain about the noise and the fans (heat), especially in the maxed out versions. This thing is heating up quite a bit it seems and I guess it would be just very noisy given the type of image editing I do. My nMP is dead silent. So I think I will just stick to it and do a side by side performance test with another nMP just to be sure if everything is OK...
  12. megalaser macrumors 6502


    Nov 17, 2009
    Did you try disconnecting all external drives and USB devices, no apps running and see if it sleeps? Do you mean total hibernate sleep or do you mean that the monitor energy saver does not kick in?


    Regarding heat - If I push the Mac too hard and it gets hot I use an app called SMCfancontrol and simply increase the fan speed using this for a few minutes and it cools it down very quickly. I have the same as you: 6 core D700
  13. lietsche thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 4, 2006
    The sleep issues are gone now. One of the D'700's was defective and got replaced. This was apparently causing the problem.
    Concerning the heat I do not have issues with the nMP. It is very quiet and even when the fan kicks in it is not noisy.

    I got a reply concerning the FILMCONVERT realtime playback. It is normal and they are working on it

    We don't yet have support for multiple GPU systems, so I imagine that the slow down is due to excessive copying of image data from one GPU to another.
    We will be addressing this problem very soon.

    I further did some benchmark tests on the GPU's (OpenCL and OpenGL) and the performance seem to match other d'700s.

    So I guess my system is working just fine now. Will stick to it and not go for the retina 5K Imac.
  14. megalaser macrumors 6502


    Nov 17, 2009
    Thanks, what is the symptom you are seeing of the performance problem, is it dropped frames? stuttering playback, does it stop playing or something else?
  15. lietsche thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 4, 2006
    In FCPX 10.1.4 the filmconvert plugin gives stuttering realtime playback (when unrendered).

    The H264 export performance issue compared to a late MBP has been discussed in this thread and is not an issue anymore.

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