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Old January 2nd, 2012, 06:36 PM   #1
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(pretty urgent) Question about Rendering Times with 12 Core Mac Pro & Compressor

Hey All,

at our work we have an older 2.66 Quad Core Mac Pro and a 3.0 8 core, older one too.

We have a big project coming up at the third week of january (so it's pretty urgent) where we are gonna need good enough processing power to have hours and hours of XDCAM footage to render to H264 (720p and/or 480p) at the end of every day.

Because our older Mac Pro's, even with clusters in Compressors, aren't always as reliable or fast enough, we bought a Matrox MXO2 last year to help us do such things. The Matrox has helped us enough, but for this project we would need more processing power.

We are doubting between a second Matrox MXO 2 or a new 12 Core Mac Pro, which costs substantially more, but could be used for a lot of other things too (such as replacing some of our older Mac Pro's).
Now, we should first know how fast we can have a reference for rendering XDCAM footage to 720p or 480p H264 with the clusters and all threads turned on.

There is not one Apple reseller in Belgium that I found that had a 12 core, and nobody wanted to order one to test it for us. Ordering one could take up to 3 weeks, so we have to decide now.
We are leaning towards a 12 core because we also ordered 2 Scarlets and working with RED footage will welcome a 12 core, but we are nothing with it if it is too slow at rendering H264 on that project.

I read one test of someone online that his older Quad Core (the same as our quad core) rendered his film in 17 minutes, and the new 12 core MP in 3 minutes (!!!), both with clusters set up to their maximum.
This is very good news, but could someone confirm me how rendering times are?
Can we expect faster than real time, significant faster than real time, real time, more than real time, ...?

I don't know if this is too much to ask, but if someone has some XDCAM footage (roughtly a 30 minute file?) and could for instance test a render to the H264 LAN preset and/or the Youtube Sharing preset (a very good 720p preset but one that I know takes a LOT of rendering time) that you could render and give us some heads up, it would be great, as we have to decide pretty urgently.

Any help or advice is greatly appreciated,

thanks,
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Old January 2nd, 2012, 07:15 PM   #2
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Re: (pretty urgent) Question about Rendering Times with 12 Core Mac Pro & Compressor

If your MXO2 has Max, it has a hardware encoder for h264. If not, you can get an Elgato Turbo encoder to plug into a USB port. I usually get close to real time for encoding 1080P with my Elgato. If I'm scaling down the speed goes up.
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Old January 2nd, 2012, 09:21 PM   #3
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Re: (pretty urgent) Question about Rendering Times with 12 Core Mac Pro & Compressor

Last month I used the Turbo h.264 to make low-res screening files of 5 hours of XDCam footage for the writer of a project. It certainly did not take long, a couple of hours. Unfortunately the timecode wasn't transferred so the cut points have to be figured out for each clip, not terrible but an inconvenience.

Today I made a screening file of the edited project using the Broadband high quality preset of Compressor 4. It took less than 4 minutes to make from a 4 1/2 minute ProRes file. That was on a 2009 8-core with all cores at 90% roughly. Figuring with advances in the overall hardware of a MacPro since 2009 you can make a reasonable guess that a 12-core with at least 16gb of RAM could be twice as fast. The big question here is the Scarlet footage. That's 4k, a lot more data than HDCam. From what I've read and heard you might as well set days aside to render and deal with the rushes just to get them to ProRes.
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Old January 3rd, 2012, 12:33 AM   #4
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Re: (pretty urgent) Question about Rendering Times with 12 Core Mac Pro & Compressor

Instead of utilizing a computer in a single configuration, have you considered setting up a render farm over network?

*edit* did some quick research and it seems FCP/Compressor isn't really set up well to allow this kind of computing unfortunately.
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Old January 3rd, 2012, 07:02 AM   #5
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Re: (pretty urgent) Question about Rendering Times with 12 Core Mac Pro & Compressor

Perhaps you might consider two PC machines with i7-3930K with Adobe Media Encoder on each that would make 100% use of all the cores and be faster and cheaper than a single Mac Pro?
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Old January 3rd, 2012, 11:25 AM   #6
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Re: (pretty urgent) Question about Rendering Times with 12 Core Mac Pro & Compressor

Wow, the Adobe sales force is on its toes!
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Old January 3rd, 2012, 12:33 PM   #7
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Re: (pretty urgent) Question about Rendering Times with 12 Core Mac Pro & Compressor

But not a bad idea in terms of time and money. I have a four year old PC set up just for FTP and low priority rendering purposes, keeps my working Macs free for... work.
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