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DaVinci Resolve 15 performance with iMac Pro (18 core) with AMD Vega Frontier Ed...
 

DaVinci Resolve 15 performance with iMac Pro (18 core) with AMD Vega Frontier Edition  

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zardonKG
(@zardonkg)
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I am new here, but I actually do all the video editing for a technology website called Kitguru.net. I own the business and have been working with my team who all tend to use Premier on PC. I use Final Cut on OSX as I prefer it for titles and speed of export for 4k. I recently bought an 18 core iMac Pro for the business and decided to see if I could speed up performance with the sonnet 650W eGPU enclosure and an AMD Fronter Edition Vega card which I had imported from America to the UK for $900 (quite cheap considering it has 16GB of HBM memory).

I haven't had much luck getting Final Cut X 10.4.1 to even recognise it (OS 10.13.4), never mind use it, but DaVinci Resolve 15 is able to see it under Manual METAL settings in the app and I found that exporting it was pinning the Frontier Edition card to 100%. The render times are faster than the internal Vega 64 card which is downclocked to accommodate the chassis and it lets the internal card handle other tasks (such as display over my two 5k monitors).

I have dipped in and out of Resolve over the years and know it fairly well, and I do think it has a lot to do to catch up to Final Cut X in many regards, but I am getting extraordinary speeds from Resolve 15 with the Frontier Edition card at 100% - around 5 to 7 minutes for some of 4k files which were taking 13-18 minutes or so to export on Final Cut (and 30 minutes+ on Premier, but I don't use Premier as its a waste of time for Apple hardware).

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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Antoine
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have you tried OpenCL other than Metal? as usually OpenCL runs faster at least in DR 14.

2017 15" MBP 3.1 MHz RP560 + AMD Vega FE [email protected] (Breakaway 350 + SF600) + macOS 10.13.6


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itsage
(@itsage)
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@zardonkg Thank you for sharing. I’m amazed at how underutilized the Vega 64 dGPU is. When no eGPU attached, does the dGPU get taxed more? What’s the noise level when the dGPU handles the load by itself?

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use | eGPU enclosure buying guide


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zardonKG
(@zardonkg)
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The vega frontier edition card is showing 100% utilisation at times, particularly when exporting. Its noticeably faster than the built in Vega Pro 64 inside the Imac Pro. Right now I think you can only set up one card as the main device in Resolve 15 but it does get some utilisation often between 10% and 50%. The Frontier Edition card is definitely helping some features especially the final export - the image above shows that its using the full core of the vega card at 100% but not much of the memory if any. I need to spend more time with this over the coming week to get a handle on what works and what doesnt work, but its rock solid with the new beta 15 resolve.

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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itsage
(@itsage)
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The majority of software need optimization for eGPU in macOS. If you can get a hold of FCPX 10.3.4, you can compare the performance of your iMac Pro with vs without eGPU.

Best ultrabooks for eGPU use | eGPU enclosure buying guide


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zardonKG
(@zardonkg)
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Posted by: Antoine

have you tried OpenCL other than Metal? as usually OpenCL runs faster at least in DR 14.

Cant say ive noticed that much difference between metal and opengl when forcing resolve to bypass the vega 64 internal card in the imac pro and using the Frontier Edition PCIe card in the Sonnet 650W eGPU box. I am not really trying to give definitive answers just yet as I need more time with the setup. I used this forum a lot before buying these items so I felt I should at least make some effort in helping other people who are maybe unsure about buying this equipment to accelerate some tasks. Shame that Final Cut X isn't quite so easy to get working with an external GPU.

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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zardonKG
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Posted by: itsage

The majority of software need optimization for eGPU in macOS. If you can get a hold of FCPX 10.3.4, you can compare the performance of your iMac Pro with vs without eGPU.

Yes, Ive read a lot about 10.3.4. Everything im using is on the latest updates so perhaps its not ideal. in this post I have included an image of load between Vega 64 onboard and Frontier Edition Vega (16GB) with Metal selected. It looks like Frontier Edition is doing the bulk of the export process and the inbuilt Vega 64 is handling the dual 5k monitor ( iMac pro screen and an LG 5k running on bus 2 separate to the eGPU on the other bus) and the playback of the 4k window (and all other processes) while thats happening. I know this kind of very expensive iMac Pro perhaps is not an ideal representation for people, but I am noticing some large speed improvements with the eGPU added. Hopefully support improves over the coming months. I need to start using Resolve more now I feel if I can integrate it into my Final Cut workflow for our 4k videos.

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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zardonKG
(@zardonkg)
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Incidentally I was getting an alert when I selected both GPU's to enable them both saying I would need to pay for the full version (£229 before VAT). I bought it from jigsaw in the Uk and the girl there was kind enough to send a scan over of the code. I downloaded studio from the blackmagic site (not the demo) and now both cards can be selected and they both seem to do exporting now. Its very fast at exporting now. a file that was taking 30 minutes+ in Premiere and around 13 in Final Cut to export seems to be less than 6 minutes!

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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Chippy McChipset
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DaVinci Resolve is one of the few apps I've found during this eGPU transition that works well "out of the box" with eGPU. Adobe's apps — in general — lag far behind Black Magic's in terms of GPU utilization. They have partnered with NVIDIA to make their RED previewing functionality marketing-worthy but in terms of the larger workflow and supporting lots of card types, Adobe is a laggard in the GPU space.

Haven't tried FCPX but the new version is worth a look by virtue of ProRes RAW format (bit of a misnomer but it's still going to be cool what it allows for). That said, Resolve 15, once it's officially out and more stable, is going to be my platform for choice for NLEs. Just too much powerful stuff built into it for an unbelievable price.

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zardonKG
(@zardonkg)
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Posted by: Chippy McChipset

DaVinci Resolve is one of the few apps I've found during this eGPU transition that works well "out of the box" with eGPU. Adobe's apps — in general — lag far behind Black Magic's in terms of GPU utilization. They have partnered with NVIDIA to make their RED previewing functionality marketing-worthy but in terms of the larger workflow and supporting lots of card types, Adobe is a laggard in the GPU space.

Haven't tried FCPX but the new version is worth a look by virtue of ProRes RAW format (bit of a misnomer but it's still going to be cool what it allows for). That said, Resolve 15, once it's officially out and more stable, is going to be my platform for choice for NLEs. Just too much powerful stuff built into it for an unbelievable price.

Yeah, I would agree. Premiere is just too slow now to consider. BlackMagic Beta 15 seems pretty good all round, but the interface is still noticeably slower at times than Final Cut X. Exporting on Resolve 15 is remarkable however. Need to spend more time with Resolve, but its not too difficult to pick up - even if things like Green Screen etc seem massively convoluted compared to the easy way Final Cut X set all that up.

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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Boris D.
(@boris_d_)
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Hello,
I'm curious about the performance improvements made by resolve 15, and I found this topic by searching for it.
I was already on this forum because I'm interested about egpu especially with macbook pro.

I want to invest into a more powerful machine and I'm wondering what's best between buying a workstation + laptop or a new macbook coffee-lake + egpu.
Right now egpu isn't reliable enough and will not work on bootcamp (I do play occasionally).

I would LOVE to buy a Mac Pro since when it comes out, it's generally a good deal.

Therefore, I emit some thoughts :

What you first stated is quite normal for Resolve, however what performance do you get from using only the internal vega vs both?
Since I'd be quite worried if the internal vega would be under the performance of the egpu vega.
Actually egpu is supposed to be a bit less powerfull, and the internals of the imac pro is supposed to have a great airflow system that won't throttle the vega.

Second thought :

FCPX is a far better video editing software than premiere, however with this new Resolve 15, and since I use resolve on most my projects, and since I was also one foot into fusion, I'm taking in consideration to switch to Resolve...
If resolve is actually faster than FCPX then I can't justify buying an Macbook.
A Mac pro would be ok since they are usually well worth the price at the launch date.

Concerning the performance gap between resolve and fcpx I think I ll do some tests myself / benchmark it soon.
Well FPCX doesn't have the same workflow as it auto-generate Prores proxies if asked by the user, but I can't see a future where Blackmagic doesn't include also this functionality in it's software. Other than that, if rendering time are similar, nothing would keep me on FCPX.

What do you guys think? 🙂

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts


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Antoine
(@antoine)
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Joined: 2 years ago
 
Posted by: Boris D.

Hello,
I'm curious about the performance improvements made by resolve 15, and I found this topic by searching for it.
I was already on this forum because I'm interested about egpu especially with macbook pro.

I want to invest into a more powerful machine and I'm wondering what's best between buying a workstation + laptop or a new macbook coffee-lake + egpu.
Right now egpu isn't reliable enough and will not work on bootcamp (I do play occasionally).

I would LOVE to buy a Mac Pro since when it comes out, it's generally a good deal.

Therefore, I emit some thoughts :

What you first stated is quite normal for Resolve, however what performance do you get from using only the internal vega vs both?
Since I'd be quite worried if the internal vega would be under the performance of the egpu vega.
Actually egpu is supposed to be a bit less powerfull, and the internals of the imac pro is supposed to have a great airflow system that won't throttle the vega.

Second thought :

FCPX is a far better video editing software than premiere, however with this new Resolve 15, and since I use resolve on most my projects, and since I was also one foot into fusion, I'm taking in consideration to switch to Resolve...
If resolve is actually faster than FCPX then I can't justify buying an Macbook.
A Mac pro would be ok since they are usually well worth the price at the launch date.

Concerning the performance gap between resolve and fcpx I think I ll do some tests myself / benchmark it soon.
Well FPCX doesn't have the same workflow as it auto-generate Prores proxies if asked by the user, but I can't see a future where Blackmagic doesn't include also this functionality in it's software. Other than that, if rendering time are similar, nothing would keep me on FCPX.

What do you guys think? 🙂

my 2 cents.
here there are some tests http://barefeats.com/imacpro_vs_pt7.html

From my tests (I have a RP560 which is obvious less powerful than Vega)  and the ones at Barefeats, Frontier card is more powerful than the Pro Vega 64 in the iMac Pro. If you consider that Frontier or Vega card in an eGPU enclosure could be liquid cooled, thermal throttle is less than a problem in an eGPU config compared to the Radeon Pro inside the Mac.

Right now for me FCPX is a better one-stop platform for the projects I'm working. I've considered the possibilities to switch to Resolve but there are some areas ( like ProRes proxies, media management, faster workflow, easy/faster to use) where FCPX is superior but taking in consideration the current eGPU block for rendering in FCPX and future new functionalities  in Resolve I could change my mind.

2017 15" MBP 3.1 MHz RP560 + AMD Vega FE [email protected] (Breakaway 350 + SF600) + macOS 10.13.6


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Chippy McChipset
(@chippy-mcchipset)
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Joined: 2 years ago
 

I believe this year we will see quite a few people abandon Premiere Pro for FCPX and Resolve 15, due in no small part to both of those platforms being more GPU-aware (generally). Between the two I think Resolve has more features across the board that are accelerated, however I think most people would prefer Apple's workflow / UI, especially when comparing Motion to the new Fusion module. It's great BMD added it to Resolve but the module itself needs some work to become more friendly IMO.

I think which one people choose will boil down in most cases to which UI / workflow they like better (or which one their clients like better). Both are good performance options, both support numerous ProRes options, etc. Will be interesting to see if BMD adds ProRes Raw support. I hope they will.

Thunderbolt 3 Macs, Sonnet and OWC eGPUs, 4K Displays, etc


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Chippy McChipset
(@chippy-mcchipset)
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Joined: 2 years ago
 

Anyone had any luck configuring dual AMD eGPUs in such a way as to get a significant performance boost in Resolve while running 10.13.4? If so which parts of the workflow / which features showed the greatest boost? So far I'm not seeing much evidence of optimization for dual GPUs in this configuration, although dual eGPUs are clearly supported (i.e. there is no issue setting that up).

In most cases though, one powerful eGPU seems to perform as well as two when set up for OpenCL. Debayering, transcoding, etc. Unfortunately I think we're still in a situation where the main benefit comes from CUDA more than anything else, despite the overall AMD support and Mac eGPU support from BMD.

[Can confirm the use of Fx in the timeline is heavily reliant on GPU and can benefit from an extra eGPU. Grading as well.]

Thunderbolt 3 Macs, Sonnet and OWC eGPUs, 4K Displays, etc


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Eightarmedpet
(@eightarmedpet)
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Joined: 3 years ago
 

Thanks for sharing this. I'm currently working on a video project on a 13inch MBP in FCP X and its hell on earth. Might look to switching to Resolve if it utilises eGPU's natively.

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