Mixing Light Color Correction Podcast Series

New System Or GPU Upgrade & GPU For RED Debayer?

January 16, 2015

In this From The Mailbag, we cover two GPU questions. Should you upgrade your system or GPU & does GPU debayering for RED footage work?


Episode 20: From The Mailbag

Time For A New System Or Just A New GPU? & Does GPU RED Debayering Work?

In our first MailBag of 2015 and we’re talking hardware!

Specifically, both questions we’ll cover in this episode have to do with GPUs.

As someone interested in color grading, you know that GPUs or the graphics card(s) used in your computer are a key hardware component to get high quality, real-time playback of complicated grades.

Remember, if you have questions that you’d like to get an opinion on please use the contact form. Your questions can be aesthetic, technical or even client related. We’d love to hear from you, and your question might make future episodes of From The Mailbag.

Buy New Machine Or a New Graphics Card?

First up we discuss a question from Mixing Light member Simon Tingle who asks if he should consider getting a new computer or just upgrade his GPU.

This is a question that many people have these days – especially on the Mac.

As you’ll hear, our resident equipment longevity expert Pat has some sage advice on the subject including a few litmus tests in order for him to get an all-new machine.

We’ll also discuss why new all in one, non-upgradable machines like the new Mac Pro’s and iMacs can be scary investments since GPUs can’t be upgraded and how a Windows machine in combination with an older Mac i a powerful combination.

If you’re on the fence about a new machine or just getting a new GPU be sure to check out Part 1.

Ditching The RED Rocket For GPU Debayering

Next up, we get a question from member Dan Diaz about getting RED Rocket type performance from a GPU.

It used to be that if you were doing a lot of RED work a Rocket was almost a prerequisite, but recently RED has opened up their SDK to allow other software to de-bayer RED footage on GPUs.

As GPUs have become faster and faster performance has increased in a big way and as a group we think that yes, you can get near Rocket performance from GPUs.

Additionally, we discuss how the Render Cache in Resolve 11  can also help with RED performance and how fast CPUs can help in a big way.

Enjoy the Mail Bag

– Team Mixing Light

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Homepage Forums New System Or GPU Upgrade & GPU For RED Debayer?

  • Bouncing on what Pat says à 13:00 in Part 1, I’d like to ask Robbie: ‘What’s the Windows machine I need to get, from a colorist point of view?’. Because I’ve dropped Windows OS a long time ago, and wasn’t planning to come back to it ever. But like Pat is saying, I can’t jump on the Mac Pro tube until we have at least 2 points of data in time to see where Apple goes with it.

    And really, I’m fed up with mobile GPU solutions Apple is putting in its MBP/iMac lines that are clearly lacking power for what we’re doing. It has become inadmissible that new iMacs ship with graphical power that can compare, at best, with mid-class PCs from 2 or 3 years ago, because these were shipping with desktop – not mobile – GPUs.

    ProRes is the issue though. Some more questions for Robbie about what he says at 8:10 (ProRes ‘dongle’) : is the hero machine you are grading with the client a windows base system, and once you export the .drp file to open on your Mac Pro, has Resolve ever brought problems when dealing with cross-platform (win & mac) projects? Also, how are you dealing with your plugins: some companies like Red Giant are cross-platform, but some aren’t, which can really prove to become expensive to keep both systems up-to-date. Finally, some guys like recent MixingLight’s guest Rich Harrington seem to trust Cineform on Windows (see for example here http://bit.ly/1FxCMre), so have any of you had experience with Cineform codec?

    Sorry for that many questions, but again the main one is ‘which Windows machine should I get if I were to switch’. Thanks.

  • Robbie Carman

    Hey Christophe!

    Great questions. First not to pass the buck but tomorrow or saturday I’ve an insight coming out on my switch to a windows machine – actually this is the first article in a two part series so I’ll hopefully answer more of your questions there.

    But for now let me give you the gist.

    I got a HP Z840 with 2 12 Core 2690 v3 Processors running at 2.6 ghz. 128GB of RAM. While slightly more expensive then a top end Mac Pro this machine runs circles around that computer. The best part I have windows running AND Linux on a separate drive. so I can easily switch between. Of course to get the linux license of resolve you have to have the control panel – but this is one way to get around the ProRes problem.

    As for my comment about ProRes Dongle. Exporting the DRP and relinking media is one way in my shop though we have a shared Resolve database and shared storage so everything is shared and I don’t have to move anything around. So when I need individual ProRes renders I just open up on the Mac and Render. If I need just a single clip of the entire project I do a real time playback to my HyperDeck Pro (which also lets me use a hardware leaglizer) or ScopeBox.

    Cineform is really good. I find it be quality wise equivalent to DNxHD or ProRes. Just not as common – but now that Adobe is pushing it – it’ll probably grown in popularity.

    Regarding Plugins – I hear ya. I’m not that big of a plugin guy but the ones I have common are Neat Video, Film Convert.

    Here is the configuration link for a z840. For many people the z640 is probably good too just not as expandable.


  • Note that I’m not in a hurry to go back on a Windows platform. But if I’m forced to, I prefer to have some ready-to-rock solutions in my pocket. That’s why your experience is very valuable. So thank you for your answers Robbie, and I can’t wait to learn more in the forthcoming two-parts series you mentioned. 🙂

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