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TOPIC: Can Anyone Report on FCPX Performance on New Kaby Lake Macbook Pro?

Can Anyone Report on FCPX Performance on New Kaby Lake Macbook Pro? 04 Jul 2017 00:19 #89198

  • Smesh
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I know this is hardware related but it's FCPX specific and there's not much going on that forum...

I'm looking for feedback on performance running 4k projects with the new Kaby Lake MBP's. I've resisted upgrading because they STILL only come with a max potential of 16GB RAM, which is what I purchased almost 4 years ago. WTF??

I really need the portability of a MBP, but am considering getting one of the new iMacs to get me through a major project. The most important thing right now is speed to get through a whole season of TV with a looming deadline, so I'm considering just getting the iMac and dumping it once the project is done. If I lose say $500 three months from now when the project is done, I can live with that.

If I LOVE it, I keep it after, and then use my current MBP on location just for DIT type work and then do major editing when I get back home. I would upgrade my MBP when Apple brings out a beefier MBP with at least 32GB RAM.

BUT..if someone can convince me that the new best MBP will not disappoint, and will blow my current MBP out of the water, then I'll jump.

One other issue, is that, the wait is over a month from Apple (or anywhere else) to get a 27" with i7 processor in ANY configuration, so if I want one now, I'm stuck with a 27" i5 3.8GHz with a 2TB fusion drive. At least it has 8GB VRAM in the Radeon 580. I would upgrade the base 8GB of RAM myself to 40GB total (+2x 16GB).

I'm currently editing on a maxed out Late 2013 MBP:

Model Name: MacBook Pro
Model Identifier: MacBookPro11,3
Processor Name: Intel Core i7
Processor Speed: 2.6 GHz
Number of Processors: 1
Total Number of Cores: 4
L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB
L3 Cache: 6 MB
Memory: 16 GB
Storage: 1TB SSD

Intel Iris Pro:

Chipset Model: Intel Iris Pro
Type: GPU
Bus: Built-In
VRAM (Dynamic, Max): 1536 MB
Metal: Supported

NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M:

Chipset Model: NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
Type: GPU
Bus: PCIe
PCIe Lane Width: x8
VRAM (Total): 2048 MB
Metal: Supported

I'm using an external 27" 4k Samsung monitor.

I'm running a 24TB TB2 G-Speed Shuttle XL.

I can't seem to find any benchmarks or performance comparisons for the new MBP with the Kaby Lakes. There is some on the iMacs, but only the i7 models.

Any real world experience you can share with these units from those who have recently upgraded would be greatly appreciated.
Last Edit: 04 Jul 2017 00:20 by Smesh.
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Can Anyone Report on FCPX Performance on New Kaby Lake Macbook Pro? 04 Jul 2017 09:44 #89201

  • joema
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Smesh wrote:
....I'm looking for feedback on performance running 4k projects with the new Kaby Lake MBP's....I really need the portability of a MBP, but am considering getting one of the new iMacs to get me through a major project. The most important thing right now is speed to get through a whole season of TV with a looming deadline, so I'm considering just getting the iMac and dumping it once the project is done...If I LOVE it, I keep it after, and then use my current MBP on location just for DIT type work and then do major editing when I get back home....

IMO for an H264 4k project of this scale (which requires huge transcodes) you need the fastest available computer which is currently a top-spec 2017 iMac 27. It is much faster than a 12-core Mac Pro for this workload -- I tested that last week.

I am in a similar situation, except instead of MBP it's waiting for the iMac Pro. I ordered a top-spec 2017 iMac 27 which will be delivered next week. If the iMac Pro turns out better for this workflow (somewhat questionable due to lack of Quick Sync), then I'll just sell the 2017 iMac.

Smesh wrote:
...if someone can convince me that the new best MBP will not disappoint, and will blow my current MBP out of the water, then I'll jump...

I have top-spec 2015 and 2016 MacBook Pros. The limited benchmarks I've seen for the 2017 show it a bit faster than the 2016, but a top-spec 2017 iMac will be considerably faster. I'm not crazy about the new MBP design -- I've got various dongles and docks, but the thinner lighter design is nice. Touchbar is OK but I think most pro users already know the commands by memory. It is quieter and a bit faster than the 2015 but sustained transcoding performance can't match the iMac. If you absolutely need portability for on-site editing, then the MBP is the best way. If you only need DIT-type work, you don't necessarily need a new MBP.

Some users like using a single laptop coupled to an external monitor at home. Two problems with that: (1) I've never seen an economically viable external monitor as good as a 27" retina screen, and (2) if 80% of your work is fixed location, you need the fastest possible machine for this project magnitude.

Obviously if cost was not a factor you'd just get both 2017 MBP and iMac 27. You'll have to evaluate exactly how much of your editing & transcoding work will be in the field vs back at home. I have dreams of doing that in the field but am always too busy with production details so it never gets done.

Smesh wrote:
....the wait is over a month from Apple (or anywhere else) to get a 27" with i7 processor in ANY configuration, so if I want one now, I'm stuck with a 27" i5 3.8GHz with a 2TB fusion drive.......

For your scope of work I would definitely NOT get an i5 iMac 27. I'd suggest the top-spec version, even if you have to wait. In an urgent situation maybe you could rent or lease a top-spec 2015 iMac 27. At least those are faster than your MBP, then when the 2017 model is available get that.

I'll report real-world FCPX performance tests on the 2017 iMac 27 when I get it next week.
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Can Anyone Report on FCPX Performance on New Kaby Lake Macbook Pro? 04 Jul 2017 15:24 #89206

  • VidGreg
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Hi Smesh
You might want to look at some comparisons on barefeats.com and see if that helps. Lots of info about the iMacs and you would need to read a few of the articles.
In regards to the 16GB RAM limits, I believe this is due to the low power RAM chips available and matching to the Kaby Lake processors. Have to keep the temperatures low in laptops, more watts = higher temps. The battery also suffers.
iMacs can use higher wattage processors and RAM, better cooling and no battery issues.

Good Luck on your project, Greg
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Can Anyone Report on FCPX Performance on New Kaby Lake Macbook Pro? 04 Jul 2017 21:17 #89207

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Thanks guys.

I do 90% of my editing at a desk at home for sure, but this year more than ever I will be moving around in various countries. Canada for a couple of months (where I would be driving up and haul the iMac up with other gear) and then South Africa and Namibia this fall. Most I will likely do in Africa is ingest footage, some rough cuts and maybe some simple BTS edits, but I guess it all depends. Since I'll be there a couple of months, it would be nice to be able to work on the road when possible rather than just wait until I got back to LA. I guess i can make do on the MBP I have. I understand the 16GB RAM limitation better now, and it seems that windows laptops seem to suffer the same limitation. The videos I have seen suggest that the MBP is the slowest laptop among nearly all similar spec laptops with same CPUs and RAM running Premiere and media encoder. I realize that FCPX is different, but we can't really compare FCPX on windows laptops, can we?



I have seen some info about hooking up an eGPU to the 2016 MBP. I had zero knowledge in that regard in the past, so I wonder how that will change things when working at a desk. Seems like I would just be throwing money at something trying to make it work like a desktop solution, when I could simply put that $$$ into two computers, one iMac and one MBP. The 512 GB SSD are backordered apparently, hence the 5 week wait for one to be built. If I could buy an i7 with 512GB SSD today I would. The 1TB option is available but it pushes the price way up to $3600 with 8GB RAM, applecare and tax. The $600 difference could be spent on a more useful glyph external or go towards the $300 it will cost to buy 2x 16GB of RAM to get me to 40GB.
Last Edit: 04 Jul 2017 21:29 by Smesh.
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Can Anyone Report on FCPX Performance on New Kaby Lake Macbook Pro? 04 Jul 2017 22:30 #89210

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Smesh wrote:
...Most I will likely do in Africa is ingest footage, some rough cuts and maybe some simple BTS edits, but I guess it all depends. Since I'll be there a couple of months, it would be nice to be able to work on the road when possible rather than just wait until I got back to LA. I guess i can make do on the MBP I have....The videos I have seen suggest that the MBP is the slowest laptop among nearly all similar spec laptops with same CPUs and RAM running Premiere and media encoder. I realize that FCPX is different, but we can't really compare FCPX on windows laptops, can we?....

For H264 4k content, it all must be transcoded to proxy anyway. No desktop or laptop is fast enough using FCPX, Premiere or anything else to really smoothly edit or skim 4k without that. If you accept the requirement for proxy, almost any machine is fast enough, including your 2013 MBP.

When I generate dailies in the field on my 2015 or 2016 MBP, I transcode to proxy overnight, get up early and cut them together. Usually an entire day of multi-camera 4k shooting can be transcoded overnight even on the slowest MBP.

Smesh wrote:
....I have seen some info about hooking up an eGPU to the 2016 MBP....how that will change things when working at a desk. Seems like I would just be throwing money at something trying to make it work like a desktop solution, when I could simply put that $$$ into two computers, one iMac and one MBP.....

eGPU is a nice possibility but it does *nothing* for the most time-intensive task which is transcoding. It also does nothing to accelerate H264 4k skimming and rendering. In general it accelerates effects, nothing else. That is an important issue later in the editing pipeline but not for the early phase. It does not transform a laptop to a desktop for transcoding or evaluating selects.

Smesh wrote:
....The 1TB option is available but it pushes the price way up to $3600 with 8GB RAM, applecare and tax. The $600 difference could be spent on a more useful glyph external or go towards the $300 it will cost to buy 2x 16GB of RAM to get me to 40GB.

That is a tough situation. I'm getting my 2017 2TB iMac 27 early next week. Personally I think 1TB is a better minimum -- despite the cost it gives you more "elbow room" to avoid running out of space -- even if you don't put any media files, etc. on the boot drive. If you ever plan on using Parallels, etc, those things take up space.
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Can Anyone Report on FCPX Performance on New Kaby Lake Macbook Pro? 05 Jul 2017 00:06 #89212

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Joe did you order the 2TB flash drive? I thought about the 2TB fusion, which has 128GB of flash on board and can be upgraded later to a 2.5" SSD if I decided to keep it and really felt the need (although it requires the screen to be removed). Not sure how that would change things. According to Larry Jordan, he says the Fusion drive is what he uses: larryjordan.com/articles/configure-a-201...c-for-video-editing/

As for the MBP I have now, agreed on transcoding. I was transcoding overnight when on location in Texas, but to ProRes 422, which took up a shitload of room. I should have done proxy. Interestingly, I watched another video on comparison and a 2015 MBP used had the identical model/spec RAM and Video Card as mine does. Only difference was 0.3GHz increase in processor. I guess Apple didn't change the Retina model for a couple of years and since I bought mine absolutely maxed out the first month it came out, I got my money's worth out of it. The guy got double the speed of his 2015 Retina MBP using the new Kaby Lake MBP, but it's still MUCH slower than a new iMac i7.



I just took a 2 minute 1080p clip with zero grading or adjustments and added a Neat Video NR to it and rendered the selection. It took like a fricken hour. Honestly I think my MBP runs faster when my 34" is monitor is disconnected as well, but either way, that's just ridiculous. I can wait until I export to apply renders, but either way, I need to do something so I can at least test questionable footage to see if it will pass QC before keeping it in the edit.
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Can Anyone Report on FCPX Performance on New Kaby Lake Macbook Pro? 05 Jul 2017 11:49 #89230

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Smesh wrote:
Joe did you order the 2TB flash drive? I thought about the 2TB fusion... According to Larry Jordan, he says the Fusion drive is what he uses: larryjordan.com/articles/configure-a-201...c-for-video-editing/

Yes 2TB SSD 2017 iMac 27. I think 1TB or even 512GB is fine for many cases. However I'll be putting Parallels on it and longer term it gives more "elbow room" to not worry about space on the boot drive.

Re Fusion Drive, my previous 2013 iMac 27 had the 3TB and it was fine for most things. But here's the dilemma: you normally want your media on an external drive, so what good is the 3TB space that you can't use much? With 512GB or 1TB SSD it's fast enough to put media there but in the 4k era not big enough. With media on external storage I did side-by-side testing of 3TB Fusion Drive iMac vs SSD iMac 27 and for video editing I never saw a significant performance difference attributable to the Fusion Drive. But if you'll use all external media, why not go SSD?

Smesh wrote:
...I just took a 2 minute 1080p clip with zero grading or adjustments and added a Neat Video NR to it and rendered the selection. It took like a fricken hour....I need to do something so I can at least test questionable footage to see if it will pass QC before keeping it in the edit.

Neat Video is just plain slow, and on 4k agonizingly slow. In the interface there is a config option under Tools>Preferences>Performance>Optimize Settings where it will briefly test your system and suggest the best-performing combination of cores and GPU. However this only changes it from "really slow" to "slightly less slow".

When I tested a 12-core Mac Pro with D700s, I was interested would it run Neat Video much faster. Using a 31 second H264 XAVC-S 4k clip from a Sony A7RII, it gave the following results, which was a useful but not huge improvement. I'll re-run this on the 2017 iMac next week when I receive it.

Neat Video 4.5.5, macOS 10.12.5, FCPX 10.3.4:

2015 iMac 27, 4Ghz i7, M395X: 9 min 7 sec
2016 MBP 15", 2.9Ghz i7, Radeon Pro 460: 12 min 47 sec
nMP, 12-core Xeon, 2 x D700: 7 min 0 sec.

Stabilize above 31 sec 4k clip:

2015 iMac 27, analysis phase: 1 min 32 sec, render phase: 19 sec
2016 MBP 15", 2.9Ghz i7, Radeon Pro 460, analysis phase: 1 min 33 sec, render phase: 48 sec
nMP 12-core, analysis phase: 1 min 22 sec, render phase: 26 sec

Sharpen above 31 sec 4k clip:

2015 iMac 27: 21.2 sec
2016 MBP 15": 42 sec
nMP 12-core: 27.7 sec

Digital Anarchy flicker reduction on 12-sec 4k clip from DJI Phantom 4:

2015 iMac 27: 9 min 15 sec
nMP 12 core: 9 min 6 sec

So if you want a fast QC check in the field on whether noisy material needs reshooting or can be fixed, there is no fast way. You'll have to pick a few representative secs and run Neat Video on that. Whether you have a MBP, iMac 27 or Mac Pro in the field, it will still be slow.

Neat Video can be configured to use all-GPU processing but this only benefits if the GPU is hugely fast -- much faster than the dual D700s in the nMP. In theory the iMac Pro top GPU will have 3x that performance, so maybe Neat Video would run a little faster on that. People who ask "why would you ever need a faster computer" have never worked with this stuff.
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Can Anyone Report on FCPX Performance on New Kaby Lake Macbook Pro? 08 Jul 2017 01:41 #89274

  • DmitriZigany
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iMacs are fine for travelling ;)


I saw some rumour that new MacBook Pros are coming this autumn. Get the iMac and a MacBook Pro later, I'd say...
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