Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Colorist - get the best-est GPU for your Mac Possible.

Out of the entire Final Cut Studio suite if I had asked you
"Which application depends on the your OpenGL graphics card the most?"

The typical answer I would get is Motion of course with all its 3D stuff.
Nope, more than %70 percent of that happens in your multi-core CPU.

The bulk GPU (Graphics Processing Unit/OpenGL/Video Card) bound processing load comes from full color codes and the floating point calculations and one app in particular which has GPU assisted rendering and preview which is Apple Color.

After upgrading a machine running color to a Converted 1024MB GDDR5 Nvidia OpenGL card my render times were reduced by 10x, the ablity to do 1/4 window preview with "secondaries" on 6pt blur.

The other is the Cineform codec. I'm guessing both use GPU assisted computation intensively for LUTs and other. esp in 10bit or floating renders and extrapolations.

So if you're doing heavy Color grading and the NVIDIA GT120 is not cutting it, look for a eprom modded/flashed NVidia card with more punch.

No significant performance boosts were observed in Final Cut Pro, Soundtrack Pro, Motion or Compressor with this video card upgrade. It ran just a tad faster, but Color completed a 10 minute render in 1 minute and was blazing fast without beach-balling on me even with 6 secondaries with 2.0 to 6.0 key blur, film effects and 32bit floating point rendering to both ProRes 422 and Uncompressed 10bit.

I believe - though cannot state as absolute fact that the famous Cineform codec also depends heavily on GPU for its OneLine computations in QT. But I will confirm this soon.

Also don't forget that Color does not support multiple graphics cards per system of any sort, meaning it won't start correctly if 2 ATI 47xx or GT 120's are installed.

Apple forgets to tell you that on their order your Mac Pro page when offering to fill the 4x 8x and 4x PCIe slots with 3 additional 16x PCIe graphics cards.

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