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BlackMagic eGPU - Yes, I Know It's Mentioned In Other Threads... BUT!

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Hi All,

As someone who shoots 305MBit 4K and edits on a 2016 MBP with Resolve, there's one thing you should all keep in mind about Resolve performance.

Resolve has several in-built features for caching and rendering, some are manual and some are automatic, and they can be used in any combination you like (ie, you can use all of them at the same time if you choose to).  However, for editing 4K footage on a low powered machine they may simply not be enough, which is why some people use an Online / Offline workflow that they manage manually.

This manual online / offline workflow is complicated, takes some time to get working and understand, but it works really well.

I personally transcode my own proxy footage using "Prores Proxy" at 720p and edit with that - timelines with this footage play flawlessly forwards and backwards at more than 60p with no lag and editing is a breeze.  This is with effects disabled of course.

As Resolve is an NLE, a colour correction suite, a professional sound mixing and mastering suite, and is now a VFX suite, we have to be clear with our language around these things.

I can EDIT whatever resolution footage I like because I use proxies.  My proxy workflow doesn't help with mixing lots of audio tracks though.  Nor will it help if you want to do precise colour or VFX work.  You may be able to do simpler VFX work at a lower resolution and then just bump up the resolution when rendering out, but you may not, depending on your specific situation.

Resolve is great in that you can have a 1080 timeline, you can edit 720p proxy footage on it, viewing it at a range of resolutions while you do so, then you can swap back to the 4K source footage and then render out at whatever resolution you like - all from that same 1080 timeline.  In this way, you can do non-critical things at lower resolutions and get the performance benefits, but not limit the quality of the final output.

So when someone says "I edit 4K footage in Resolve" the first step is understanding what they are talking about SPECIFICALLY.  When people say that I just automatically change it in my head to say "I use Resolve with 4K footage in some unspecified way for some unspecified purpose" and then go from there.

I hope this helps.

K.

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2 hours ago, jonpais said:

That’s disturbing. 

No I think you are seeing how terrible an Apple laptop is LoL.

I will repeat that statement. If you want to buy a laptop that is shit paper thin you are going to pay a performance price. PC gaming Laptops are thick and heavy as hell for a reason. To dissipate heat. The MSI one I have I bet is 3 times heavier, probably twice as thick, maybe 3 times as thick as my 2015 Macbook Pro 15". Do I like carrying it no. But it does what it is suppose to do, even editing 4K stuff, or playing any game on the planet all night. Does it get hot, sure, Are the fans in it noisy doing it, yes. But it works. Does it do FCPX, no. But neither does a lot of Apple Laptops it looks like.

https://www.excaliberpc.com/674540/msi-gp63-leopard-041-15.6-full.html

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I’ve got the 2016 MBP, it’s been fine, edits FCP no problem, it’s quiet, doesn’t overheat, no funky keys, no glitches. Guess I lucked out. But yeah, if you hate it, good for you. I’m happy with mine.

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46 minutes ago, kye said:

As someone who shoots 305MBit 4K and edits on a 2016 MBP with Resolve, there's one thing you should all keep in mind about Resolve performance.

Resolve has several in-built features for caching and rendering, some are manual and some are automatic, and they can be used in any combination you like (ie, you can use all of them at the same time if you choose to).  However, for editing 4K footage on a low powered machine they may simply not be enough, which is why some people use an Online / Offline workflow that they manage manually.

I found this website about Resolve 14. The main thing here is they have some nice links to heavy duty files to experiment with to see how well your computer, laptop can handle stuff. They are a little ways down on the page.

https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/DaVinci-Resolve-14-Performance-Windows-vs-Linux-1126/

5 minutes ago, jonpais said:

I’ve got the 2016 MBP, it’s been fine, edits FCP no problem, it’s quiet, doesn’t overheat, no funky keys, no glitches. Guess I lucked out. But yeah, if you hate it, good for you. I’m happy with mine.

So you can edit 4K files in a 4K timeline without Proxies?

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3 minutes ago, webrunner5 said:

I found this website about Resolve 14. The main thing here is they have some nice links to heavy duty files to experiment with to see how well your computer, laptop can handle stuff. They are a little ways down on the page.

https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/DaVinci-Resolve-14-Performance-Windows-vs-Linux-1126/

So you can edit 4K files in a4K timeline without Proxies?

Of course!

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5 minutes ago, webrunner5 said:

What about Resolve? I don't use FCPX. Too cheap to buy it. Well too poor actually. I have too many other toys I spent on.

I’ve only played around with Resolve a little, so I can’t say. In fact, I seldom edit on my laptop anymore since I prefer working on my 27” iMac if only for the larger real estate. 

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This is a good intro to the structure of proxies and caches in Resolve - it's from v12 but the overall structure is likely to be similar if not exactly the same in 15.

There's also a google doc of the diagram: https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/1pbBbA4I2q3RZYrOSELPXgfdzp0X6B9OngVimTeSmbuo/edit

Resolve is a complicated beast.

I had to watch a few tutorials on manual Online / Offline editing workflows to find one that worked, especially considering my proxy files were slightly different filenames (extensions were different than proxies) but this was one of the ones I watched and might give an idea about the logic involved.

 

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26 minutes ago, jonpais said:

I’ve only played around with Resolve a little, so I can’t say. In fact, I seldom edit on my laptop anymore since I prefer working on my 27” iMac if only for the larger real estate. 

Ahh yeah that makes sense. I don't have the paid Resolve, but for what I do the free one works fine. I used to do Premier but since this CC thing I really can't justify paying all that money.

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Well I’ve had more time to play with the eGPU and.. I’m not sure it has anything to do with the perceived performance gains. I think it’s not that the RawLite files require a lot of computational power, but rather just a lot of bandwidth to read them quickly enough for smooth playback. 

Yesterday I moved some footage over to my built in drive which can read at 2000/MBs and had no playback issues at all. Also no performance difference with eGPU connected or unplugged.

I now believe the 2016 MBP 15” is fast enough to handle playing back these files... provided you have a fast storage solution. 

Rendering may be another matter, but honestly I never had an issue with rendering.

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53 minutes ago, DBounce said:

Well I’ve had more time to play with the eGPU and.. I’m not sure it has anything to do with the perceived performance gains. I think it’s not that the RawLite files require a lot of computation power, but rather just a lot of bandwidth to read them quickly enough for smooth playback. 

Yesterday I moved some footage over to my built in drive which can read at 2000/MBs and had no playback issues at all. Also no performance difference with eGPU connected or unplugged.

I now believe the 2016 MBP 15” is fast enough to handle playing back these files... provided you have a fast storage solution

Rendering may be another matter, but honestly I never had an issue with rendering.

Ok so here is what I dont get about this.... (BTW I understand that 2000/MBs disks are great for operating system start ups.)

So, say my Sony records at 100Mb/s which is 12MB/s and my Mavic Pro records at 60Mb/s which is 8 MB/s. I can download RED 4k Raw which will be 20MB/s and 160Mb/s.

So what essentially use is a 2000/MBs hard disk in terms of read or write speeds for video?

And I know I sound a bit of a whinger. But essentially I am in the 'dont mind spending money camp' as long as I get 'decent performance gains'.

And I just feel there is a bunch of smokes and mirrors trying to sell us i9s in wafer thin laptops, egpus because we have wafer thin laptops, thermal throttling, thunderbolt 3, Titan Vs, fast ram etc without a whole of evidence it does a lot of good - and if it does what?

And really I dont think everything should be setup in a way that you need a degree in particle physics to work out what you should buy.

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3 hours ago, DBounce said:

Well I’ve had more time to play with the eGPU and.. I’m not sure it has anything to do with the perceived performance gains. I think it’s not that the RawLite files require a lot of computational power, but rather just a lot of bandwidth to read them quickly enough for smooth playback. 

Yesterday I moved some footage over to my built in drive which can read at 2000/MBs and had no playback issues at all. Also no performance difference with eGPU connected or unplugged.

I now believe the 2016 MBP 15” is fast enough to handle playing back these files... provided you have a fast storage solution. 

Rendering may be another matter, but honestly I never had an issue with rendering.

Can you do some testing with your MJPG files from your 1DXII? That is what I am thinking will really see a jump. If you can natively play MJPG inside of FCPX without transcoding, things would get a lot better for me....

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53 minutes ago, DaveAltizer said:

Can you do some testing with your MJPG files from your 1DXII? That is what I am thinking will really see a jump. If you can natively play MJPG inside of FCPX without transcoding, things would get a lot better for me....

Sure, I’ll check it out and let you know how it goes. Though my understanding is the eGPU does little for FCPX.

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4 hours ago, DBounce said:

Sure, I’ll check it out and let you know how it goes. Though my understanding is the eGPU does little for FCPX.

Ok, just did some testing with the 1DXMk2 files. Honestly, FCPX seems to be about the same either way with these files. They play back ok on both in internal and external drive. And the eGPU makes no perceivable difference. I'm thinking my money would be better spent on a fast external M.2 drive for the C200 files. Transfer speeds make a very noticeable difference where the C200 is concerned. A fast drive would seem to offer the best bang for the buck.

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22 hours ago, Robert Collins said:

Looks like the i9 is to be avoided....

 

This is a recurrent and common issue in most PC even twice as thick as the macbook pro with the new I9. 
Intel really sucks, and Apple failed in realizing this i9 does not do well or to properly cool it. 

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On 7/16/2018 at 9:48 PM, wolf33d said:

Also worth mentioning, the new MBP are really fast. The high end model as better single core CPU performance than the best IMAC PRO. 
The overall performance jump both in CPU and GPU vs 2017 models is enormous. 

The new DDR4 memory is very fast. And the faster SSD are out of this world. 
In fact PC manufacturer should feel ashamed, as seen in the attached picture. 

 

image.png.51710ef7617c981dbbfb0befc5da67e5.png

Lots of bullshit form apple like always.  These are all old sata ssd disks.

Just try Dell XPS 13 & Samsung PM961 or EVO 960/970.

 

 

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13 hours ago, Robert Collins said:

Ok so here is what I dont get about this.... (BTW I understand that 2000/MBs disks are great for operating system start ups.)

So, say my Sony records at 100Mb/s which is 12MB/s and my Mavic Pro records at 60Mb/s which is 8 MB/s. I can download RED 4k Raw which will be 20MB/s and 160Mb/s.

So what essentially use is a 2000/MBs hard disk in terms of read or write speeds for video?

And I know I sound a bit of a whinger. But essentially I am in the 'dont mind spending money camp' as long as I get 'decent performance gains'.

And I just feel there is a bunch of smokes and mirrors trying to sell us i9s in wafer thin laptops, egpus because we have wafer thin laptops, thermal throttling, thunderbolt 3, Titan Vs, fast ram etc without a whole of evidence it does a lot of good - and if it does what?

And really I dont think everything should be setup in a way that you need a degree in particle physics to work out what you should buy.

My understanding is that you're right, in that it doesn't really matter if you have a disk speed of 2X your bitrates, or 10X your bitrates, however I have a thought.

Fast drives tend to be SSD instead of physical drives, and one thing about physical drives is their poor latency performance, which does have an impact to performance.  So, if the drives in question are different technologies then perhaps it's not the straight read-speed but other differences?

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On 7/16/2018 at 12:48 PM, wolf33d said:

Also worth mentioning, the new MBP are really fast. The high end model as better single core CPU performance than the best IMAC PRO. 
The overall performance jump both in CPU and GPU vs 2017 models is enormous. 

How big a jump is there from the Radeon 460 to Radeon 560X? 

I'd love to sell my gaming PC and just have one laptop. I bought the gaming PC to have entry-level VR specs (RX 480) but with asynchronous timewarp it's possible the 560X could hang, even though I assume it's at best about half as fast.

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I think BM will do well with ths box.

Official support by both Apple for the OS and BM for Resolve should mean not only reliability but also a high degree of optimisation.

Obviously with the emphasis on should.

That, and being available to walk into an Apple store and take one home, will probably tip the balance for people over the better value available by rolling their own solution.

And the value is all relative of course if you have to factor in your own time in the initial setup and configuration, potential conflicts and troubleshooting when either the OS or Resolve gets updated and the performance  gap being narrowed anyway by optimisation.

Realistically, most people want enough power to get the job done and anything above that is a bonus. If this bumps 13" Macbook Pro power enough to deal with Pocket 4K footage efficiently end to end then I think that is a large audience right there.

In the same vein, I expect to perhaps see BM release a repackaged version of the Fairlight audio accelerator at IBC to do for audio what this is doing for video.

If it's a similar price (and it will probably be less) then that will mean BM will have put the power of what were not that very much long ago absolute elite end tools on our desktops for about £1000.

Increiblde really to think that when we would install Fairlight FAME consoles it was routine for a team of 3 of us to be on site to commission it for at least 3 days anywhere in the world and you can now just download it !

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