What do I need?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by dasx, Dec 21, 2014.

  1. dasx macrumors 65816

    dasx

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2012
    Location:
    Barcelona
    #1
    Hey guys.

    What I do: Lots of 1080p60 video editing.
    Software: FCPX.
    Hardware: Currently working with a 2012 QuadCore Mini with 16GB of RAM and HD4000 graphics.

    Problem: Depending on the plugins, effects, subtitles, etc., a 30 minute video can take up to 5h to render + export.
    That is... well... killing me to be honest. I'm guessing the biggest bottleneck here is the lack of a dedicated graphic card, but I have no other machine to compare to, so...

    What to do? I have been thinking about getting the nMP (although I'd probably wait to the 7,1), but I then think if an iMac would be enough.

    What do you guys think? I'm guessing my times would probably drop to a fifth with an iMac, but since 10.1.3, FCPX takes advantage of multiple GPUs, so...

    Thanks!
     
  2. EdDuPlessis macrumors 6502

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  3. dasx thread starter macrumors 65816

    dasx

    Joined:
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    #3
    Thanks for the reply EdDu. Wouldn't the nMP (specially the 7,1 model whenever it comes out) give an easy path to 4K too?
     
  4. EdDuPlessis macrumors 6502

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    Nov 23, 2014
    #4
    You will spend almost twice as much. There are no value 4K screens that compare well to the iMac 5K screen and if you look at some of the discussions here the Mac OS is hobbled when it comes to full compatibility with a wide range of 4K screens.
     
  5. dasx thread starter macrumors 65816

    dasx

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    #5
    Ahhh, OK. Got ya.

    Do you think there would be a huge difference between a base Retina iMac and a maxed out one? Again, I'm talking about FCPX performance here.

    Thanks.
     
  6. EdDuPlessis macrumors 6502

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    #6
    Max it out because you won't be able to upgrade anything later.
     
  7. dasx thread starter macrumors 65816

    dasx

    Joined:
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    #7
    Well... We're talking about €1400 here! :eek: ($1712)
    If the difference isn't critical...

    EDIT: Also... Fusion Drive?
     
  8. EdDuPlessis macrumors 6502

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    Nov 23, 2014
    #8
    Ok to be more specific, get as much RAM and graphics power as possible. Leave the storage to the cheapest option as you can add Thunderbolt storage later.
     
  9. leon771 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2011
    Location:
    Australia
    #9
    If on a budget I'd get a base model quad core 4,1 Mac Pro and stick dual ATI 5770s in it.

    Check out barefeats.com for FCPX benchmarks with various ATI cards.

    I'm not sure, but can you use a thunderbolt PCI chassis with an ATI card for OpenCL compute power with the mini?
     
  10. Pending macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2014
    #10
    If you are going to get the iMac 5k I would consider a slightly different approach.
    Its probably worth upgrading the 'none user accessible' options when you buy, like the cpu from 3.5 to 4.0 Ghz and the gpu R9 M290X to the M295X. The Ram you can add yourself in that machine whenever.
    Pretty sure you would be happy with the nMP too. Either way enjoy.
     
  11. dasx thread starter macrumors 65816

    dasx

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    #11
    Yeah... I'm sure too, :p Problem is the nMP is more expensive and doesn't come with a screen (5K btw!).

    Also I've been checking performances and the difference between the iMac and the nMP isn't that big. If you're only doing h264 it's even better the iMac. :eek:
     
  12. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    Sep 24, 2014
    Location:
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    #12
    If it were me I'd learn a different editing suit to avoid vendor lock-in. Given the choice of new Apple machines though I think I'd choose the nMP simply because I like to pick my displays and want them to last longer than the machine powering them. I do agree however that the riMac is pretty nice.
     
  13. xav8tor macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 30, 2011
    #13
    Not really. 4K, or more correctly, UHD, is four times the pixels of 1080p. At some point in a 4K/UHD workflow you're going to choke that quad i7 and/or the GPU. The only thing really unique about the "Retina" 5K iMac is that it is a nonstandard size in the video world and that alleged added workspace doesn't amount to much with a complex project. It also has a proprietary implementation to even be able to drive the display. nMP is much more suitable for serious HD/UHD video work.

    ----------

    Maybe early on, but recent SST 60 Hz, UHD monitors, such as the Dell P2715Q, are plug and play. Teething problems and software not keeping up with hardware were the issues. Apple knows the future is 4K/UHD. Now they just need to release their own TB display.
     
  14. dasx thread starter macrumors 65816

    dasx

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    #14
    What do you recommend then? I think it's important to note that 85% of my exports are to h264, so Xeon isn't really the best idea probably.

    Would you recommend me to skip the retina and wait for the new "normal" iMac?

    Thanks!
     
  15. xav8tor macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 30, 2011
    #15
    If you are editing 1080p60 video professionally, or are a serious hobbyist, I wouldn't recommend an iMac at all. The new Mac Pro was made just for you. I have a new six core MP with the D-500 and have been rendering maybe 50% of my videos to H.264 and never had a problem with the rendering times. Never had an issue on my old MP either, but most rendering there was in Windows using CUDA.

    However, it isn't just about rendering in working with HD...far from it. If all you are doing is ripping and rendering, then an iMac may do you just fine, and might even beat the MP on a few tasks, but overall, the Pro is going to be the better choice for serious work by a large margin. One thing no one will tell you this: If you are doing a ton of heavy work, that iMac is eventually going to have a heat issue. I know, I have one of them too. The new MP is the opposite. You'll never even know it is running.

    Check out Barefeats. He's got tons of benchmarks comparing the two.
     
  16. dasx thread starter macrumors 65816

    dasx

    Joined:
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    #16
    Thanks for the reply xav8tor!

    My initial idea was a nMP, but after watching at exports of H264... even non retina iMacs beat the nMP. It's all due to QuickSync, the iMac has it, the nMP doesn't. If you're mainly exporting ProRes then the nMP would beat anything, but it does lose against the iMac when H264 comes into it. See here for example.

    I obviously don't know if I'm gonna be exporting to ProRes soon or if the H264 standard is gonna be dropped in favor of something new that doesn't support QuickSync, but right now, a non Xeon processor is better for H264 exporting.

    If prices were the same I'd probably go for the nMP, but it still is a lot more expensive. Also, the nMP would last me longer than the iMac (theoretically).

    Tough decision. All I know right now is that working with my Mini is killing me. :eek:
     
  17. xav8tor macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 30, 2011
    #17
    That link proves exactly what I was trying to say. If the ONLY thing you are concerned about is H264 rendering, then yes, the top iMac will beat the nMP. However, when you start adding effects, or work with other formats, it's a different world. The iMac is not a heavy duty machine. The MP is. I've got both purchased late 2010 in addition to the nMP. Of the two early ones, guess which one is still purring along as well as it did out of the box and which one is going to the junk yard because the screen is totally ruined from internal heat and the sole HD suddenly failed.
     
  18. dasx thread starter macrumors 65816

    dasx

    Joined:
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    #18
    Oh my god man... why do you do this to me! Problem is the nMP is around €1400 more expensive and doesn't have a screen, so add €500 more.

    I'll make my numbers, I guess that if I keep it 2 more years I can justify it.

    Cheers.
     
  19. xav8tor, Dec 22, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2014

    xav8tor macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Oh, it gets better. Wait until you plunk down the money for an external Thunderbolt RAID! True, that's a lot of money, but if you spec out the iMac with the 4790 and 295 GPU, and up the RAM to equal the 16 GB in the MP, to try and come closer to the overall performance of the MP, the difference isn't nearly as much, at least in the USA, where it's about half of that. Yes, you still have to buy a monitor, but the upside is you can get exactly what you like, and if it goes down, just plug in another one. You can't do that with the iMac. Sure, you can plug in an external one, but that defeats the purpose of the iMac.

    Just to use my old iMac to transfer some newer files before getting rid of it, I had to run it from an external USB 2 drive (slow) and use an external monitor. The GPU got pretty flaky too, so now it's just a huge pretty chunk of aluminum taking up half a desk with all kinds of stuff wired to it. Of course, you'll have tons of cables coming out of the new MP too, but it sure is small and very cool to look at. If only it had some sort of pulsing deep red or blue internal lighting it would be even better.
     
  20. dasx thread starter macrumors 65816

    dasx

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2012
    Location:
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    #20
    Really, thank you VERY MUCH for your replies.

    Is it really necessary? As I'll detail below, my original plan for the nMP was a 1TB SSD and then put my media into a USB 3.0 drive that I've got.

    My numbers: (Barcelona)

    Retina iMac: €2,629.00 ($3,224.20)
    • 4GHz i7 + €250.00 ($306.60)
    • 16GB RAM + €200 ($245.28)
    • 3TB Fusion Drive + €150 ($183.96)
    • Radeon R9 M295X 4GB + €250 ($306.60)
    • TOTAL: €3,479.00 ($4,266.64)


    nMP: €4,049.00 ($4,965.69)
    • 6-core
    • 16GB RAM
    • 1TB SSD + €800 ($981.12)
    • Dual D500
    • TOTAL: €4,849.00 ($5,946.81)

    See my pain now? :(
     
  21. xav8tor macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 30, 2011
    #21
    I see it. That's crazy. You're paying an awful lot for that 1 TB internal. but is incredibly fast. I just went with the stock config for OS/apps and have an external 2 TB Thunderbolt RAID 0 that is fast enough for my purposes, and 12 TB in RAID 5 via USB 3 for storage and backups. It's fast enough too. The internal drive pegs the Blackmagic speed test and can easily sustain way over 750 MB/s. The TB RAID 0 runs about 300 and the USB 3 RAID 5 not far behind at 265, both with conventional 7,200 RPM drives.
     
  22. dasx thread starter macrumors 65816

    dasx

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2012
    Location:
    Barcelona
    #22
    This is insane. I was working on a project yesterday, and after exporting I came up with an idea. I cut the most of it so I had a 3 minute project like this:
    • 1080p
    • 60 fps
    • 2 layers of video
    • Color correction in background video
    • Color correction + exposure + keyer in the front video
    • 3 different audio tracks, all WAV

    I then exported again (I have background render turned off so it wasn't rendered), and it took under 11 minutes with my Mac Mini. I then put it in a new library which I copied to a hard drive and took it to the Apple Store with me today. They didn't have the top spec Retina iMac, but they did have the hexacore nMP.

    Results: (I did three exports in every machine, this is the average)

    • Mac Mini 6,2: 10:48 Quad i7 2.6GHz, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, Intel HD 4000
    • nMP: 5:27 HexaCore 3.5GHzGHz, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, Dual D500s
    • r-iMac: 1:48 Quad i5 3.5GHzGHz, 8GB RAM, 1TB Fusion Drive, Radeon R9 M290X 2GB

    I'M IMPRESSED. :eek:

    So the nMP is twice as fast as the Mini in terms of H264 exports (90% of what I do is h264), while the r-iMac is 6 times faster.

    Obviously if exporting ProRes4444 with LOTS of effects the nMP would beat the r-iMac... but I guess this all comes down to what I need and thankfully I'll be able to save a lot of money.

    Thanks you all! :)

    The question now is: What difference will it make the i7 4GHz against the i5 3.5? And the Radeon?

     
  23. xav8tor, Dec 23, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2014

    xav8tor macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    You're narrowing down your decision the right way. Using H264 and effects that don't take advantage of the MP, you are seeing the benefits of H264 on the i7 and not taxing the dual GPU of the MP. If that's good enough for you and you're not going to expand your workflow in the future, then you can save the money. Just read up on iMacs and heat, and screen smudges. It's a common enough problem with heavy use.

    The i7 will give you a significant boost in clock speed for tasks that are primarily single threaded (there are still quite a few in the audiovisual world), and it gives you hyperthreading, virtually four additional cores for those tasks that are highly threaded. Go for it! As for the GPU, I have no clue about AMD mobile cards, but more is usually better, especially when you're restricting yourself to what is really a laptop GPU.
     
  24. mikeboss, Dec 23, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2014

    mikeboss macrumors 65816

    mikeboss

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Location:
    switzerland
    #24
    hm... the r-iMac being more than twice as fast than the nMP doesn't make sense to me. maybe the core i5 supports intel Quick Sync and the Xeon doesn't? AFAIK the output quality of videos encoded using intel's Quick Sync aren't too great... might be a good idea to look into this before making the decision.

    edit:
    indeed, the E5 Xeons do not feature Quick Sync. possible explanation as of why the iMac was faster.
    http://ark.intel.com/search/advanced?s=t&MarketSegment=SRV&QuickSyncVideo=true
     
  25. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    #25
    I am quite sure it's because of Quick Sync. So, unless your workflow always benefit from Quick Sync (e.g. no 2 pass encode etc.), you may have to think twice before you go for it.
     

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