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Which GPU is better for the 2010 MacPro ? 16 Mar 2014 18:07 #42764

  • Living Smart TV
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While we're waiting for our nMP to arrive, we've decided to keep our existing MacPro (2010) as a second editing station.

When we bought it, we were using Adobe Premiere Pro so changing the existing GPU to an nVidia Quadro4000 made sense to today we would like some more power for the FCPX editing.

It seems to me that buying a Radeon 7970 would be better than the Quadro4000 - can someone please confirm that and if possible, please point out which parts of the workflow (import => transcode => edit => export / encode) we will see the biggest advantage compared to Quadro4000?

Also, do we really need to get the more expensive "Mac" version of the 7970 or can we just use the PC-version?

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Which GPU is better for the 2010 MacPro ? 17 Mar 2014 03:41 #42798

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Consider a pair of 5870's. There's a whole thread here somewhere about this very subject. In the hardware section, maybe?

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Which GPU is better for the 2010 MacPro ? 05 Apr 2014 15:28 #44091

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Living Smart,
Well this question is a little old, but no one answered your question about using stock PC 7970 vs. Mac flavor.
Yes you can use a stock PC 7970, also any version of 7000, 6000, 5000 series card as well as many other cards, right out of the box. The issue you will have is that the PC version does not contain the proper EFI block for Macs and therefore will not generate the video out while booting. You will not see the gray screen with the revolving "clock". Once the boot cycle completes, you will see the "Login" screen.
For the most part, since all the drivers exist in the OS (ML,Mavericks,…) the card will function fully except for the initial boot screen.
Some of these cards can be hacked (flashed) to function exactly like a fully compliant Mac card, boot screen and all. Depends on the card, and you can buy flashed cards on eBay.
The only time that the boot screen becomes an issue is in selecting the boot drive during the boot process (option key) or seeing verbose boot etc… It is best to select boot prior to shutting down if you know that you need to change boot drives. If all else fails for some reason, then removing any boot capable drives except the one you want will result in that drive starting the Mac.
Under Mavericks, you can use 2 CL capable GPUs that are identical to boost some apps processing power, like FCPX. The program has to be written to take advantage of multiple GPUs.
As to the 7970 vs the Quadro, for the most part yeah the 7970 will be faster. Check out BareFeats.com, lots of caparisons like this one…
www.barefeats.com/gpuup.html
Duo 7970s in a souped-up MP but running ML…
www.barefeats.com/mp12c346.html (note that there are some new cards out & this test was pre 10.9)
And there are other comparisons at BareFeats so you can play around with possible configurations on an old MacPro. There are also comparisons between the old MP vs nMP in various configurations.
Hope this helps, Greg

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Which GPU is better for the 2010 MacPro ? 21 Apr 2014 10:01 #44835

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Really scratching my head on this one too.

I'm not in a position to order the new mac pro yet, so want to keep the existing mac pro going a little longer. I'm on a 3,1 (early 2008) with a 5770 and I have to admit my editing is coming to a crawl sometimes.

I have a couple of other cards installed, including a SAS card for my LTO system, so adding a second GPU isn't an option. I really need a faster single GPU.

I don't mind spending a couple of hundred on a new GPU IF it's going to make significant difference, but if not it's a waste of time.

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Which GPU is better for the 2010 MacPro ? 21 Apr 2014 13:59 #44839

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Hi Dave,
Did you happen to checkout the BareFeats article I posted above (the first one)? Gives a pretty good comparison of various cards. There are lots of choices for faster GPU's.
How any single component will affect your editing is dependent on the total system, including hardware, the apps and codecs you are using. Even within various apps, a faster GPU may only help for certain processes, other bottlenecks may be tied to CPU or storage.
When do you get the slowdowns? How many effects are you applying? Multicam? How much ram do you have? Does Activity Monitor show lots of memory swaps? AM can also show you what/when/where is using resources. What are your hdds? RAID? What OS/FCP version?

In addition to all of the above, the 2008 MP3.1 has some hardware limitations and is inherently slower than LivingSmart's 2010 MP above. The CPU's and the PCIe bus is very different.
The SAS/LTO card shouldn't matter unless you are reading/writing to it at same time as editing. The MP3.1 had 2/4lane PCIe(1.1) and 2/16lane PCIe2 slots, so make sure that is not the bottleneck.
Of course, optimized or Proxy files are always options especially if slowdown is during basic editing.
A decent modern GPU card will set you back $200-$800.00 USD.
Hope this helps, Greg

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Which GPU is better for the 2010 MacPro ? 21 Apr 2014 15:51 #44847

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Hi Greg,

Thanks for the reply. Yes I looked at the bare feats stuff, but honestly, those comparisons don't mean that much to me and how I work as such, and some things were better at one thing and worse at another.

Clearly my 2008 3,1 is getting rather long in the tooth now. I also just realised that some ram has gone bad, not that it's caused crashes, but the system no longer detects it, so I'm down to 12GB, of which I'm assuming 4GB is running in single channel mode now too. It looks like this DDR2 800Mhz is way too expensive to contemplate replacing nowadays.

And therein lies one of the big issues for me. The ram is running at only 800Mhz! I've noticed my MacBookPro (17" 2.5Ghz i7 with 16GB ram) runs faster on lots of things than the MacPro does, though it's certainly slower are ProRes encoding :(

I don't think the HDDs are the cause. I'm booting from an SSD (SATA) and have 6TB of RAID 0 (3x2TB) that are running at the bandwidth of the SATA ports (the 3,1 only has 256MB/s SATA).

In terms of editing and the slow downs, well, it's over an entire range of things.

For multi cam I generally drop to Proxy so that's OK.

I'm just doing a 1 minute promo for someone and it's positively crawling. There is some green screen keying (about 10 seconds at the start and another near the end), but once rendered they run fine.

Adding a couple of layers below any green screen positively crawls, though on the MBP it seems to run fine.

It's really struggling when I add a solid background, maybe some basic title text and a logo. Again, on the MBP it's running fine.

Since I figure out the RAM has gone bad I'm starting to think I really need to work on replacing the machine ASAP. The 27" iMac (i7) with the 4GB GPU looks interesting and is half the price of the MacPro spec I'd go for. Quicker delivery too.

What I don't have a good handle on is how much snappier the iMac would be than my 2008 MacPro 3,1. I've read some reports that they 'blow them away' while other people complain they are getting bogged down, so like the tests people run, it's hard to know what reality is.

Hmmm.... scratching head wondering what to do here. Funds are somewhat limited at this time otherwise a MacPro would have been ordered already, but I may end up editing not he MBP at this rate.

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Which GPU is better for the 2010 MacPro ? 22 Apr 2014 15:34 #44913

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Hi Dave,
Sometimes figuring out issues is challenging.
Have you by chance looked at this thread…http://www.fcp.co/forum/4-final-cut-pro-x-fcpx/19355-so-this-fcpx-lag-that-creeps-into-the-ui-with-complex-projects-i-decided-to-measure-it
What you are describing may be related to software and how you updated FCPX/OS10.x.x.
I would use that thread as a starting place to troubleshoot and see if your issues are the same.

You also don't say what format the media is in. FCPX does not like certain formats like XDCam. If you find yourself using XD or EX formats, use a 3rd party app like Streamclip to convert to ProRes. Lots of stutters crawling otherwise.

If you know that some of the ram is bad, I would definitely remove any bad chips. Funky ram does some weird things, and it is often hard to diagnose. How did you test the ram, and was it a stress test? Also, try to remove the ram, clean the contacts and reseat to see if problems go away. You are better off without bad chips than with funky ram. 12GB is pretty reasonable, again using Activity Monitor will let you know if you run out of ram and if you see lots of page swaps, more ram is called for. Not sure where you are, but have seen this ram on Amazon very reasonable.

Unless you are editing 4K/5K, I agree that your hdd setup should be fine. The only way to get faster speeds would be all ssds or a flash based PCIe card, but you say that you used all slots, so that is out anyway.

The reasons for the various results between tests is several things all play a role in throughput. Barefeats is pretty good at explaining when a particular test is about the GPU vs the CPU and what apps take advantage of hardware. The type of CPU, number of cores, GHz, multi-threading, ram, and bus speed all affect CPU processes.
For processes reliant on the GPU, then and only then does the video card matter. Open CL allows some computational power to be sent the the GPU, motion and effects especially use the GPU. Given what you are doing with green screens, titles, etc…I think you would see real benefits by upgrading the GPU.

As to the iMac vs MP3.1, like you say sometimes the iMac will be a lot faster, other times the same, and for some things will be slower. Upgrading to a better GPU would go a long way towards making your MP perform better in applying effects. I too have limited funds, so am always looking for ways to save. I also think that the nMP has some first version limitations, so would advise to hold off for next version if possible. The MP3.1 allows you to swap parts and has the 4 SATA slots and PCIe slots for expansion, both the iMac and the nMP need external solutions adding to costs.

Apply the solutions from the thread, check your codec formats; convert if necessary, fix preferences, recheck/reseat ram, beg/borrow/buy a faster GPU and see what happens, let us know.

Hope this helps, Greg

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Which GPU is better for the 2010 MacPro ? 22 Apr 2014 16:01 #44921

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Dave,
Also forgot to mention plug-ins.
Sometimes 3rd party plug-ins may affect performance.
Hope this helps, Greg

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Which GPU is better for the 2010 MacPro ? 22 Apr 2014 18:09 #44929

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Thanks. I may try a fresh Mavericks install, it won't take that long.

I'm editing a mix of ProRes 422, ProRes 422 (HQ) and some H264. Oh, theres one file that's Animation codec from After Effects too.

It's to the point I need to render to get some things to work, almost like I had to do in FCP7!



Am I asking too much of an 8 core MP with 5770 when the MBP works fine?
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