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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

SHOOTOUT: Apple Laptops vs Mac Pro
rendering Premiere Pro CS6 video effects

Originally posted Thursday, July 19th, 2012, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist
Added the 2011 iMac 3.4GHz on July 30th.

Adobe Premiere Pro is unique among Adobe pro apps in that it supports acceleration of video effects by graphics processing units (GPUs) that support either CUDA or OpenCL -- unlike some pro apps that support one or the other. So we set out to answer questions like, "Which graphics card does the best job of rendering these effects?" and "Do I need a Mac Pro or will a 2012 Apple laptop render these effects just as fast?"

GPU ACCELERATED VIDEO EFFECT: DIRECTIONAL BLUR
LOWEST number equals fastest time in seconds.

GPU ACCELERATED VIDEO EFFECT: FAST COLOR CORRECTION
LOWEST number equals fastest time in seconds.

CPU RENDERED VIDEO EFFECT: UNSHARP MASK
Notice all seven Mac Pro GPUs score essentially the same. That's because this effect is not GPU accelerated. Only the CPU is huffing and puffing.
LOWEST number equals fastest time in seconds.

GRAPH LEGEND
MP 3.3 Q40 =
'mid 2010' Mac Pro 3.33GHz Hex-Core, NVIDIA Quadro 4000 GPU
MP 3.3 G58 = 'mid 2010' Mac Pro 3.33GHz Hex-Core, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 GPU **
MP 3.3 G57 =
'mid 2010' Mac Pro 3.33GHz Hex-Core, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570 GPU **
MP 3.3 G28 = 'mid 2010' Mac Pro 3.33GHz Hex-Core, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285 GPU
MP 3.3 R68 =
'mid 2010' Mac Pro 3.33GHz Hex-Core, AMD Radeon HD 6870 GPU **
MP 3.3 R58 =
'mid 2010' Mac Pro 3.33GHz Hex-Core, AMD Radeon HD 5870 GPU
MP 3.3 R57 =
'mid 2010' Mac Pro 3.33GHz Hex-Core, AMD Radeon HD 5770 GPU
iMac 3.4 R69 = 'mid 2011' iMac 3.4GHz Quad-Core i7, AMD Radeon HD 6970 GPU
2012 RMBP 2.7 =
'mid 2012' Retina MacBook Pro 2.7GHz Quad-Core i7, NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M GPU
2011 MBP 2.5 =
'late 2011' MacBook Pro 2.5GHz Quad-Core i7, Radeon HD 6770M GPU
2012 MBA 2.0 = 'mid 2012' MacBook Air 2.0GHz Dual-Core i7, Intel HD 4000 GPU
2011 MBA 1.8 = 'mid 2011' MacBook Air 1.8GHz Dual-Core i7, Intel HD 3000 GPU

Test movie was a 32 second Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) 1920x1080 23.98fps.
**NOTE: Radeon HD 6870, GeForce GTX 570 ,and GeForce GTX 580 provided courtesy of MacVidCards eBay Store.

INSIGHTS and ADVICE
Every Mac with an NVIDIA GPU and CUDA support rendered Premiere Pro CS6 GPU accelerated video effects in the shortest time. But the AMD GPUs were not "slouches." On the other hand, the MacBook Airs with the Intel HD 3000 and 4000 integrated GPU were slow.

The 2012 Retina MacBook Pro's GeForce GT 650M rendered a collection of five GPU accelerated video effects an average of 21% faster than the Mac Pro with Radeon HD 5870. On the other hand, the Mac Pro with Quadro 4000 rendered the same five effects an average of 27% faster than the Retina MacBook Pro with GeForce GT 650M. You could say the Retina MacBook Pro was in the middle of the "pack."

What about video effects that are NOT CUDA or OpenCL accelerated? We included Unsharp Mask as an example of a video effect that leans on the CPU rather than GPU. In that case, the 6-core Mac Pro we used in the test rendered that effect 30% faster than the fastest 2012 MacBook Pro. However the Retina MacBook Pro rendered Unsharp Mask 54% faster than the fastest 2012 MacBook Air.

So is the 2012 MacBook Pro equal to the 2010 Mac Pro as a Premiere Pro platform? It depends on what functions you use most and what GPU you are sporting. Taking combined CPU and GPU performance into consideration, the RMBP is NOT the equal of the 2010 (or 2012 'speed bump') Mac Pro -- especially if you have a high-end NVIDIA GPU. It doesn't mean using a MacBook Pro is a bad idea. Just not equal.

As for the 'mid 2012' MacBook Air top model (2.0GHz Core i7), it took and average of three times longer than the 2012 Retina MacBook Pro to render a collection of five video effects in Premiere Pro. You could use the MBA to run Premiere Pro but it would be a big step down from both the Mac Pro and MacBook Pro.

ALTERNATIVE GPUS
As you can see, we included the Radeon HD 6870, GeForce GTX 570, and GeForce GTX 580 in the mix. The samples we used have been flashed with firmware to support both OS X and Windows. They are NOT
available from the Apple Store and you can't just order them from Amazon. They can be purchased from special sources like MacVidCards eBay Store -- who supplied our test samples. Another source for replacement GPUs like the Radeon HD 4870, Quadro FX 4500, and GeForce GTX 285 is the AppleMacanix eBay store.

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WHERE TO BUY PREMIERE PRO CS6 (or other Adobe products)
Order directly from Adobe USA.
Don't live in USA? Try these links to Adobe France, Adobe Germany, Adobe Sweden, or Adobe UK. (Clicking our links helps us earn a commission.)

WHERE TO BUY MACS and other APPLE PRODUCTS
Click on our Apple Store USA text links or display ads when you order. It's a great way to support Bare Feats since we earn a commission on each click-through that results in a sale.

DON'T LIVE in the USA? Here are some Apple Stores to click:
Apple Store - United Kingdom
Apple Store - Canada
Apple Store - France
Apple Store - Germany

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copyright 2012 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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