Nvidia GeForce GT 650M and after effects

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by rory898, Jul 18, 2013.

  1. rory898 macrumors newbie

    Jul 18, 2013
    Hi, will try to keep this as straight forward as possible. I emphasise that what I write here is of my understanding, not fact.

    I'm a fledgling video editor at long last about to upgrade from a late 2009 white unibody macbook. I use both premier and after effects and most of their functions - including 3d ray tracing in the near future.

    Adobe specifies that to get any sort of performance out of 3d ray tracing in after effects your mac should have the Nvidia GeForce 650M card (from my understanding). They also say - and it seems general knowledge - that 1GB of VRAM is a minimum for this kind of work.

    The latest 27" iMac doesn't come with the 650M, the 21" iMac does, but has only 520MB of VRAM. This is effectively excluding me from even considering either machine. Assuming that I do not want to build and own a PC, my only apple option seems to be the 15" MBP with the Nvidia 650M and 1GB of VRAM (and the purchase of an additional monitor for editing). I exclude the retina mbp because not being able to upgrade with cheaper 3rd party RAM is a no go, and i don't need a retina display.

    I'm staring to come around to the idea of the 15" mbp with monitor instead of an iMac but assuming all the above is true, the lingering worry is the reduced processor speed of the mbp compared to the turbo boost available on the rmbp or the iMac. It quite frustrating that I can't seem to get the graphics card I need with the higher CPU and screen size.

    So I guess my question is; am I right in my thinking here? Is the mbp the only logical option? Or are there upgrades coming to iMac or graphics cards that will change my options? Will other Nvidia cards such as the ones in the 27" iMac soon be compatible with 3D ray tracing?

    Thanks for your time.

  2. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    You can "hack" Adobe CS6 (or CC) to enable other GPUs (only nVidia) for 3D ray-tracing in After Effects, but... that's still not an officially supported feature.

    And yeah, Adobe is essentially saying that you need a Mac with 650M, and just 650M. It's weird, but the 27" iMac has much better GPUs (660M, 680MX, etc...) but those are somehow excluded.

    So that means you have only 2 choices: 15" Retina, or the high-end non-Retina 15" MBP.

    Though you missed one thing: the 15" MBP would have the same TurboBoost feature of the 15" rMBP. If you meant that the MBP 15" line doesn't have the upgraded processors... well, that doesn't matter. You're just getting 100MHz extra.

    And the 15" MBP may in fact work better than the Retina computer since it has a much lower resolution screen to worry about. Of course if you plug in an external display and use that one exclusively, it wouldn't matter either way, but the 15" MBP does allow you to upgrade its internals (storage and memory), so it gives you more options.

    I'd say... go for it. You already found your solution.
  3. B... macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2013
    They mean at least a 650M. Any number above that is good too.
  4. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    Nope. That's not true.

    It's "just 650M". Weird, right? But nothing else is supported on Mac OS. Unless you own a Mac Pro, then you have 3 more choices...

    See this:


    And it's not just any 650M. It has to be a 650M with 1GB of VRAM. That's basically Adobe saying that they optimized After Effects specifically for the Retina MacBook Pro 15". The 15" non-Retina just got in because it has the same GPU (except for the base config with only 512MB VRAM).

    Anything else will only be able to use OpenGL features but not the 3D ray-tracing feature.
  5. BuCkDoG macrumors 6502

    Jun 13, 2013
    Interesting topic here Rory. I personally think your Logic is correct. Get the MacBook Pro non Retina with the 650M and just get an external monitor seeing as you don't really care for retina and want the screen real estate.
  6. B... macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2013
    Whoa. Creeeepy! :)
  7. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    I know, right!?

    Not sure what this will imply for the Haswell update to rMBP since you can pretty much guess that the list only comprises of nVidia GPUs.

    And very very specific ones at that.

    There's a hack that you can do to allow other GPUs. (still has to be nVidia)


    But... it's still just a hack, and it seems like you'll have to redo the hack every update. And you also run the risk of Adobe blocking the hack at some point with a new update. That's especially true for CC users. So best chances are still to comply with their requirements.

    And in essence, the rMBP 15" mid-2012 or early-2013 is the only laptop that is guaranteed full support. (the 15" mid-2012 MBP just tagged along for the ride)

    Super weird... (or creeeepy!)
  8. sofianito macrumors 65816


    Jan 14, 2011
    This sounds as bad application design. An application should be hardware agnostic...
  9. duervo macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2011
    There's nothing creepy, ridiculous, or stupid about it. They have a finite amount of resources to spend on hardware validation and testing for specific uses, and have therefore chosen those cards with which to perform that testing. There's a blurb about it here:

    The reason that the GPU-accelerated ray-traced 3D renderer is limited to working on only specific GPUs is simple: testing. We are committed to making After Effects stable and reliable—as well as fast—so we must thoroughly test every card that we say After Effects will use to provide these features.

    Lots of tech companies take this stance. It doesn't necessarily mean that it won't work with other cards. It just means that if you try it on other cards, and you run into issues, then you will find it rather difficult to get help from them if you call their support line.

    With that said, they have a much wider range of supported GPU's under Windows, and they also have a Feature Request link at the above URL, where you can request additional GPU's be tested/validated by them in OS X. So, what I would do, is that if I ran into troubles with (for example) a 680 GTX in OS X, I would use BootCamp for the time being, and send them a feature request (along with a request for a temporary license for the Windows build of their product) until they add that device to their supported list. (Creative Cloud paid subscribers may get the Windows license with their subscription, but I'm not sure about that. Probably have to check with Adobe to confirm.)

    Here's the feature request link: http://www.adobe.com/go/wish
  10. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    Ok, how about you buy the 27'' iMac (probably the one with 2GB vRAM), and test the software. If it doesn't work, you return the iMac and either:

    - buy a MBP
    - wait for the Mac Pro (and for Adobe to support it)
    - build a windows desktop
  11. duervo macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2011
    ... probably because I'm not the one that needs to use that software.

    If I needed to use After Effects, I would use a Windows desktop and be done with it.

    But, I'm not the OP, and the OP asked for Mac/OS X options.
  12. devilcm3 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 3, 2011
    South Melbourne, Australia
    amazing .... for them to charge so much for a piece of software, yet still skimping on resources are beyond logic.
  13. rory898 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 18, 2013
    I appreciate this advise. But for my case i think it might be an unnecessary risk. I mean, although the 680GTX is a more powerful card I probably wouldn't notice enough of a difference between this performance and the mbp 650m performance to warrant the risk.

    I don't think its weird that they only test some cards to work with After Effects but I do think its weird that they don't give the option to include these cards in the 27" iMac. I almost feel like I'm being funnelled towards the Mac Pro. But i suppose that is just their business model.

    What kind of price will the Mac Pro be when it comes out?

    Thanks to everyone for their input, this has been a really helpful and worthwhile first posting experience!
  14. duervo macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2011
    I agree, and is one of the reasons I do my best to avoid using any product made by Adobe if I can.

    If there is any collusion going on anywhere by Adobe, I wouldn't say it's to push people towards specific Apple products. I would probably say that it's to push them away from Apple, and over to Windows, based on the difference in the list of supported cards for 3DRT.

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