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How fast is the black MacPro for me?

26 Jan How fast is the black MacPro for me?

I am sure like many others, I spent the time between placing the order for the new MacPro and receiving the unit with reading the various tests and asking myself what the productivity gains would be for me. My primary editing system is PremierePro CC and most reviews were based on FCPX, i.e. not so relevant for me given most of the increase of performance came from FCPX ability to use the dual GPUs. I am also far more interested in the gains in render times compared to how many filters one can through at the NLE whilst still playing back in full resolution.

A couple of days ago my new MacPro arrived, naturally I was keen to find out what the improvements would be for my typical tasks. As a base line I wanted to measure the improvements versus a very known quantity, my MacBook Pro Retina. Furthermore I used tasks that I would generally do in typical job with the same third party filters that may or may not by GPU optimised. All my software runs on the latest versions (as of time of publishing). Of course these tests are not representative or scientific and as indicated these are my personal benchmarks.

Here are the results

For the NLE test I used a 2 minute ProRes422HQ file that was shot with a BlackMagic Cinema Camera (converted using DaVinci Resolve from raw to BMC Film). For the first test I simply exported the ProRes file to another ProRes file (match source). In the second test I applied FilmConvert, next I adjusted the perspective and for the final test added Magic Bullet Looks (Vignette and Cosmo Effect with 5%, 5% and 5%). Finally, I wanted to see the performance when rendering h.264 files rather than ProRes422HQ files.

I did the same tests on both the MacPro and the MacBook Pro to compare the relative speed. In addition I wanted to see what the story is with FCPX, so I used PremierePro and FCPX with the same filters and measured the render time. Rendering was done with Adobe Encoder and Apple Compressor.

Finally I did three more assessments: Neat Video to de-noise the videos as I use this a lot and it generally takes forever, Cinema 4D performance for a recently created 5s post credit clip and DaVinci Resolve conversion from DNG to ProRes422HQ.

All tests focus on how fast the rendering is, not playback or other aspects.

When looking in iStat if the D700 are used the results were mixed. I was never able to see memory used, but this could be because of iStat. With C4D and DaVinci the frame rates went up, under PPro and AE it looked like the cards were not used, but again that could be iStat.

Overall I already feel that Adobe CC benefits greatly from the Mac Pro and I can see that there could be more coming once the Mercury Render Engine gets optimised for the D700. To answer the original question, the Mac Pro is 3.2 times faster for me than the MacBook Pro Retina and it “only” costs 2.4 times the money. Of course all of this is just for my use cases.

Base clip for NLE test after the filter are applied

Frame grab from the Cinema4D project

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