Mac: Graphics Cards and Render Time

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General question: running a 3gHz, 12 core, 2012 Mac Pro, 16 Gb Ram, and a ATI Radeon HD 5770 1024 MB video card. Will upgrading to a newer/better video card meaningfully reduce rendering times?
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Wilbur Nelson

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Posted 2 months ago

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Jay Versluis

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I very much doubt it. The GPU is used when rendering effects while you're watching during your edit, but when it comes to creating exports from your projects, it's all CPU as far as I can tell.
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Joe Morgan

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It would depend on your definition or  meaningfully reduce rendering times.

Let me give you the Windows version answer to your question. Camtasia 9 didn't render videos utilizing the Graphics card.
Camtasia 2018 does. So it's easy to make a comparison.

My computer is 4 years old. It no slouch by today's standards.

XPS 8700

Windows 10, 64-bit, English EA - -

 4th Generation Intel Core i7-4770 processor 3.40 GHz (8M Cache, up to 3.9 GHz)

16GB RAM Dual Channel DDR3 1600MHz - 4 DIMMs EA - -

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 1.5GB GDDR5 EA - -    Supporting   4 Displays


The graphics card is a High Performance one. But at the lower end of the spectrum. 

Render times increased around 20% consistently in version 2018. I ran several comparisons.

If your computer didn't come with a high end graphics card in it.There's a high probably it doesn't have a transformer large enough to carry a high end graphics card. You'll have to do some research and see what transformer is installed, your computer demands, and if there's any leftover to run a graphics card. If not, you'll need to upgrade the power source as well.

My card draws over 100 watts. You can't just plug something like that in. They don't typically overpower a computer that much.

One other thing,being a 2012 computer. You'll probably have a PCI Express 2.0 slot for your graphics card. So you'll only get 2.0 performance out of a modern 3.0 graphics card.
You might be able to save some money on an older Express 2.0 card.I'm not sure about that,you'll have to look around. A while back Fast/Strong Express 2.0 cards were a bargain.

A 3.0 card will plug into a 2.0 slot and run. It can't run faster than 2.0 Check out this video. It explains it better than I. Released 3 days ago. Hows that for timing?

Regards,Joe


(Edited)
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Jay Versluis

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Really? Camtasia 2018 supports the GPU for rendering? How exciting - I missed that bit in the press release. They should have mentioned it, I had assumed it's just more efficient rendering algorithms.
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Joe Morgan

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Actually, if you don't have a discrete GPU. There's no increase in render speeds at all.The speed increases are all GPU related. At least none that I could detect in my non scientific tests.
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bretts

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As it turns out, have been experimenting quite a bit with my new Macbook Pro 2018, i7 2.6, 32GB RAM, and the dedicated 4GB graphics card. I also purchased the Blackmagic eGPU, which houses an ATI/AMD 580, 8 GB mid range card. 

I also upgraded from camtasia 3.x to 2018 3 weeks ago. Lotsa upgrades!

So, Adobe Premiere is faster with the eGPU, by about 15-20 % on most tests. The timeline scrubs, are glass though, Big improvement.

Screenflow 8 (latest) runs like a bat out of hell! I can see, via "MenuStats" it is using all 6 cores, and particularly when rendering H.265, I am blown away. Would say it is 90% faster with eGPU.

The HUGE winner, and my least favorite editor, is DaVinci Resolve 15. Holy crap, it is faster than Final Cut Pro on 4k renders. That being said, I HATE it. :-)

Camtasia, is BY FAR my favorite editor. Love it on both Windows and Mac, and put up with some quirks. The rendering engine in Camtasia 2018 shows a greater improvement on my Mac, then on my Windows machine. The app feels more stable on both. Where the eGPU shines on Camtasia Mac is again on the timeline. Many of the lags we all encounter, disappear. Rendering, is not any faster going from the internal but discrete GPU on the laptop, to the eGPU. But, it is faster using the discrete GPU than internal by about 25% over last year's similar macBook Pro, and Camtasia 3.

If you want pure rendering speed on an inexpensive mac Editor, use Screenflow. Incredibly well coded app. Telestream rocks on the mac platform. If you want powerful and faster rendering, go for a thunderbolt 2 eGPU on your 2012. Might be faster than legacy PCIe, albeit little more latency.

But, popping a modern GPU in your older machine, is not likely to coax more speed out of Camtasia 3. It might enhance the timeline.


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Joe Morgan

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Here's a screen shot of Camtasia 2018 rendering a video.The GPU is shown in red. How much the graphics is utilized varies throughout the rendering process.

I agree with Bretts, I looked up a ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics card. It's no slouch either, so an upgrade probably wouldn't change much.




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Wilbur Nelson

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Thanks, you guys -- appreciate the feedback!