Expensive Video Card [Archive] - Glock Talk

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jasonvp
09-20-2011, 07:12
Sometimes it just pays to pony up the money.

I use an early 2008 Mac Pro (yeah, it's over 3.5 years old and counting) to do all of my photo and video editing, as a hobby. The videos I edit are of me on the race track in my car. I get a big kick out of putting them together, but they are horrendously computationally expensive to export. The reason for that is that I convert from the camera's AVCHD format to H.264 MPEG4, and then scale it down from 1080p to 720p. These videos are about 20 minutes long a piece. That scaling can easily take almost an hour and a half per video.

My "poor" Mac has 2 4-core 3.2GHz Harpertown processors in it and, while fast in its day, it's showing its age. Fortunately, I'm using Adobe's Premiere Pro video editing software which knows how to make use of the CUDA processors available on a lot of the newer nVidia video cards. Those CUDA processors can off-load a lot of processing, rendering, scaling, etc from the main CPU(s), thereby speeding things up dramatically.

Unfortunately, given it's a Mac: I have to buy very specific types of video cards. They need to be EFI-enabled (vs a PC's BIOS-enabled). At this point in time, nVidia only makes 2 cards that can go into a Mac, and the cheaper of the two is $750(!)

Well, I fell prey to it and got one last week. Holy crap. The scaling and exporting from 1080p to 720p is less than real time now. Literally, a 20 minute video can be scaled and exported in 13-15 minutes. One of my new experiments is to have 2 cameras in the car with one pointing behind me for the "rear-view mirror" effect. That picture will be PiP'd into the lower right corner of the main video. Scaling that PiP is another horrendously computationally expensive task. The nVidia card did it in real time, literally.

Expensive? Yep. But it saved me from buying a new machine; given my love of Macs that would be $4K or more which I haven't got right now. And now I can stretch this "old" machine a little longer. :)

jas

Pierre!
09-20-2011, 07:29
The right equipment for the right job... always works better!

$750 is steep... but the time you recovered - You know time - the ONLY un-renewable resource you have - is gonna be worth the $$$...

Enjoy!
Patrick