upgrading CPU helps?

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Larry Li

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upgrading CPU helps?

PostTue Jan 24, 2017 6:34 am

Hi

I am currently running Davinci resolve 12.5 with a 5 years old machine with below config.
Gigabyte GA-Z77-D3H mother board
Core i5-2400S CPU
nVIDIA GTX970 with 4GB memory
32GB DDR3 RAM
Plextor 512GB M8PeY PCIE SSD

Working mainly on UHD 30P footage from Panasonic G7, with some simple color correction and sharpening to output. I tried to output to some compressed format, and the performance is poor.

Now I write my output to uncompressed 4:2:2 8 bit UHD, the output speed is average 11fps.

after checking the CPU and GPU usage, I found that it is always the CPU maxing out at 100%.

GPU is around 60%. Disk is around 50%

Now I am thinking of upgrading the CPU to i7-3770K. From CPUBENCHMARK score, it shows the i7 is getting 2 times score than my i5.

so, how much can I expect from this upgrade? would it be sufficient to get a real time output at 30fps?
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Jay Turberville

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Re: upgrading CPU helps?

PostTue Jan 24, 2017 10:59 pm

Resolve uses the CPU primarily for decoding and encoding media. Also, I'm assuming that you are placing MP4 or AVCHD media directly on your timeline instead of re-encoding to an intermediary format. MP4 and similar file formats present a large decoding load to the CPU. Now add to that the need to encode to the file - and you are trying to do that with only 4 cores running at 2.6Ghz pegged at 100% utilization. So yes, a faster CPU would probably help in this situation.

You might want to look in the manual under Optimized Media and explore that feature for better overall performance when working with MP4/AVCHD/h.264 media. Either that, or convert to an intermediate like ProRes or DNxHR before editing.
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alexoreman

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Re: upgrading CPU helps?

PostTue Jan 24, 2017 11:58 pm

Your choices of processor will be limited with the older motherboard and chipset/socket.

The 3770S which is a quad core version of the proc you have is running for 450$ new since it is "out of print" if you can find it used it may be worth it.


May be worth looking at a new CPU/mobo combo in the future, you could probably get a new mobo and CPU for less than the 450$ these days and get better performance.
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Larry Li

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Re: upgrading CPU helps?

PostWed Jan 25, 2017 2:21 am

thanks for the advice

I have been generating optimized media for smooth editing, though it is taking much time to generate before I can start working on it, the editing experience it ok.

only when I add text to the timeline, the playback become lagging.

I did a test with the optimized media at full resolution uncompressed 10 bit, and then render the output with optimized media. I expect this can skip the decoding load of CPU, instead it shift the loading to the SSD. However, the SSD is still too fast to be saturated, CPU is still at 100%, I got minor improvement at 12fps.

I see i7-3770K from taobao.com at around USD250.

the dilemma is it is difficult to foresee how much it can improve in each case. I know building another machine should work great. if upgrading the CPU can give me more than 20fps, I think the computer will be just fine to work for another 3 years (until the UHD 60P becomes common).
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Jay Turberville

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Re: upgrading CPU helps?

PostWed Jan 25, 2017 6:45 am

I recently put together a few dual x5670 machines using either used HP z600 workstations or a SuperMicro X8DT3 motherboard. I also purchased used server RAM for these machines. The average cost per machine was less than $500 for the core machine (motherboard, RAM, CPUs, CPU Coolers, Power supply and OS). Drives and graphics cards added to the end cost. For a budget edit system, I would advise going in a similar direction or going with a modern 6-8 core i7 that runs at a higher clock speed (4Ghz plus). I think spending money on a four core processor - while attractive in the short term for the simplicity and low cost - will be disappointing in the long run.

On price/performance, the x5670 is the sweet spot with LGA 1366 Xeons. You can find them regularly on ebay for less than $150 a pair. These aren't the most modern of processors. Newer processors will do more work per clock cycle. But you get 12 real cores operating at more than 3 Ghz. That's about twice the CPU horsepower of the i7 3770. That's a lot of processor power for a very little bit of money.

The server motherboards that use these CPUs are known for being very reliable and can generally be had for about the same $150. You can probably find 24-32 GB of RAM for $75 or less. That's the core of a system that will make a very decent DR edit box for a very small amount of money. Why so cheap? Apparently a lot of enterprise servers got upgraded and a ton of these and other Xeons have been dumped into the used market.

There are better CPUs, but the motherboards increase the cost substantially. They would be the way to go if you are looking to spend a few thousand dollars. A lot of people here speak highly of the HP z840 as a base for a system that can support more high-power GPUs comfortably and reliably. The z600s I have don't have the power supplies to feed more than one decent GPU.
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Michael Del Papa

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Re: upgrading CPU helps?

PostWed Jan 25, 2017 1:24 pm

12 physical cores on the cheap! Great idea. One thing nagging me though, that SuperMicro board only supports SATA2, correct? Does this effect performance, or do you run SAS drives? Just wondering as that can significantly complicate a set up.
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JPOwens

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Re: upgrading CPU helps?

PostWed Jan 25, 2017 2:55 pm

Michael Del Papa wrote:that SuperMicro board only supports SATA2, correct? Does this effect performance, or do you run SAS drives?

Interesting question.

Don't know if the individual interface would have as much influence on the overall bitrate throughput as the access time per drive. Even slower drives can make up for rotational lag when you RAID several spindles.

Probably moot for SSD, since most of the sustained delivery issues are not as significant anymore.

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Michael Del Papa

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Re: upgrading CPU helps?

PostWed Jan 25, 2017 4:12 pm

But it is bit of a drag (no pun intended) plugging a sata3 ssd into a sata2 port. Low end ssd's have been fully saturating sata3 for a while now.
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Jay Turberville

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Re: upgrading CPU helps?

PostWed Jan 25, 2017 9:54 pm

Michael Del Papa wrote:12 physical cores on the cheap! Great idea. One thing nagging me though, that SuperMicro board only supports SATA2, correct? Does this effect performance, or do you run SAS drives? Just wondering as that can significantly complicate a set up.


I haven't run anything particularly demanding on the SuperMicro. I've just done some simple 1080p editing. The drives on that machine are simple/primitive. On the z600, I'm running two inexpensive 256 GB SSDs in a RAID 0 setup. I seem to recall the read throughput being 500MB/s or so and that is also an SATA II system (I'll run a speed check tonight to verify, but that seems right since SATA II is 300MB/s per port.) I simply plugged them in and ran software RAID 0 under Windows. Easy peasy. This was more than fine for doing a Multicam edit with one stream of UHD and two streams of 1080p footage at ProRes 4:2:2 HQ.

It is actually far faster than I need. But if it weren't, SATA III PCIe cards are not particularly expensive (some less than $50). Furthermore, I suppose you could install a PCIe SSD if you really needed something even faster.

Budget machines always represent significant compromises. I think a dual x5670 system will be a generally better compromise than a more modern four core i7 base system for DR editing and also as a general graphics workstation. But a modern 6-8 core i7 system might be an even better compromise because the single core performance will be superior and the I/O on the motherboard will be more up to date. What is best for any one person/situation depends on things like their budget, willingness to fuss with hardware, and other uses for the machine. One size will not fit all.
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Larry Li

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Re: upgrading CPU helps?

PostThu Jan 26, 2017 5:07 am

thanks Jay

your advice is awesome, now I am researching on the local market to see how much to get such setup.

seems very promising and economical, and will be good for another 5 years of usage.

I may get a pci-USB3 card also to give good connectivity to external storage.

never thought such a powerful machine, performance is still excellent, and can be that cheap.
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Larry Li

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Re: upgrading CPU helps?

PostThu Jan 26, 2017 12:46 pm

oh yes, one more question, is the free version of davinci resolve support dual CPU usage?

I know it can only use one GPU, but not sure if there is the same restriction for CPU also.
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Jay Turberville

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Re: upgrading CPU helps?

PostThu Jan 26, 2017 11:04 pm

Larry Li wrote:oh yes, one more question, is the free version of davinci resolve support dual CPU usage?

I know it can only use one GPU, but not sure if there is the same restriction for CPU also.


There is no restriction on number of CPUs. I'd be careful about making predictions about five years of future use. What the system I described should do is make a decent system for editing HD and less demanding UHD projects.

BTW, I did check on my little SSD RAID 0 last night. It uses two inexpensive 256 GB cards. The z600 SATA controller supports RAID, so I may have set up the RAID using the controller and not software. I'm not sure. The RAID benchmarked at 492 MB/s - so right around the 500 MB/s I recalled. It is plenty fast for many editing functions. And actually the single SSD I was using initially was fast enough on its own. I just got a deal on the second drive and wanted to "play."
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Re: upgrading CPU helps?

PostFri Jan 27, 2017 1:02 pm

Jay Turberville wrote:The RAID benchmarked at 492 MB/s


That sounds about right for sata2. Two sata3 ssd's striped will give close to 1 GB/s. PCIe ssd require PCIe lanes. That gets tough when running multiiple gpus and a BMD card for CM.

But to me, the really interesting question when contemplating an upgrade since the release of the nVidia 10xx series is should one pile money into a cpu or gpu?

Here is the scenario. If someone is running an overclocked 4-core i7 (i.e. non-Xeon and non-Extreme, but not an i5) and an older gpu, should they focus on upgrading the gpu or cpu?
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Larry Li

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Re: upgrading CPU helps?

PostFri Jan 27, 2017 6:07 pm

Michael Del Papa wrote:
Jay Turberville wrote:The RAID benchmarked at 492 MB/s


That sounds about right for sata2. Two sata3 ssd's striped will give close to 1 GB/s. PCIe ssd require PCIe lanes. That gets tough when running multiiple gpus and a BMD card for CM.

But to me, the really interesting question when contemplating an upgrade since the release of the nVidia 10xx series is should one pile money into a cpu or gpu?

Here is the scenario. If someone is running an overclocked 4-core i7 (i.e. non-Xeon and non-Extreme, but not an i5) and an older gpu, should they focus on upgrading the gpu or cpu?


I think it depends on the CPU and GPU utilization. it the old GPU is constraining the overall performance, then it will need to be upgraded. I feel that GPU technology is advancing in a much faster pace than CPU.

New powerful GPU is becoming much cheaper. While the those newer generations i7 got slight improvement at the same price.
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Jay Turberville

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Re: upgrading CPU helps?

PostFri Jan 27, 2017 10:30 pm

Michael Del Papa wrote:
Jay Turberville wrote:The RAID benchmarked at 492 MB/s


That sounds about right for sata2. Two sata3 ssd's striped will give close to 1 GB/s. PCIe ssd require PCIe lanes. That gets tough when running multiiple gpus and a BMD card for CM.

But to me, the really interesting question when contemplating an upgrade since the release of the nVidia 10xx series is should one pile money into a cpu or gpu?

Here is the scenario. If someone is running an overclocked 4-core i7 (i.e. non-Xeon and non-Extreme, but not an i5) and an older gpu, should they focus on upgrading the gpu or cpu?


If you intend to run dual GPUs, the dual Xeon x56XX system using a 5520 chipset, and a four core system are questionable IMO. It comes down to PCIe lanes.

The modern i7 four core CPUs only have 16 lanes. They do happen to be PCIe 3 lanes, so you could actually run dual GPUs at 8x and the various benchmarks seem to show that there will be little or no performance hit even with current 10XX Nvidia cards. But now you don't have lanes for anything else. So realistically, you are limited to one GPU.

The older Xeon 5520 chipset systems have 36 PCIe 2 lanes and 4 PCIe 1 lanes. Those older PCIe 2 lanes are half as fast as PCIe 3. So you really do need 16 lanes for each GPU. That only leaves you with 4 PCIe 2 lane and 4 PCIe 1 lanes for other cards. So that's kinda tight if you want to run two GPUs. So this probably won't work well or at the least will require lots of juggling in order to optimize card installations.

Modern i7 CPUs with 6 and more cores usually have 40 PCIe 3 lanes. You can make that work effectively with two GPUs - maybe even 3 if you use few other items that eat up PCIe slots. But odds are you are going to have configuration problems if you add more than two GPUs. So you probably want to start looking at more modern dual Xeon systems if you want to use more than 2 GPUs for Davinci computing.

I'm not convinced that a lack of CPU processing power is very frequently a real issue with systems using only one or two GPUs. Though maybe there are cases when the CPU is processing raw video that it really matters. My modest dual x5670 system never manages to pull much more than 50% CPU utilization while running DR while I can easily find ways to fully use my GTX 970's GPU. Upgrading to a GTX 1070 or 1080 would clearly be my best bet. So until and unless you find yourself needing more than a single GTX 1080 GPU (which, BTW, will be hurt slightly by a PCIe 2 x16 slot), there isn't much need to worry about your CPU capability.
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Re: upgrading CPU helps?

PostSat Jan 28, 2017 1:51 pm

i think not really helpful but you might give it a go. I'm processing GH4 footage with X99, 5830K, 48g ram, GTX960 4g vram, c drive; cache and media all independent SSD. still not having 25fps with couple node. and my cpu not reaching 100%. prores/DNxHR still the way to go if you wanna max you pc hardware with resolve.
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Larry Li

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Re: upgrading CPU helps?

PostSun Jan 29, 2017 6:54 am

bought a dell precision 5500, with dual X5690 processor, 12GB RAM inside. Around USD360.

will plug some SSD and the GTX970 in and see how it performs. :D
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Larry Li

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Re: upgrading CPU helps?

PostThu Feb 09, 2017 5:01 am

bought 72GB RAM and installed.

the rendering time for UHD is now 27-30fps, which is very good for the money I spent.

investigating the CPU usage, GPU usage and disk active time, I cannot see anything near 100%.

I assume the bottleneck could be in the memory speed or bus speed, which can only be improved by overclocking (however I will not be doing it unless I am going to work a lots on UHD 60fps footage in the future)
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Jay Turberville

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Re: upgrading CPU helps?

PostThu Feb 09, 2017 8:16 pm

Larry Li wrote:bought 72GB RAM and installed.

the rendering time for UHD is now 27-30fps, which is very good for the money I spent.

investigating the CPU usage, GPU usage and disk active time, I cannot see anything near 100%.

I assume the bottleneck could be in the memory speed or bus speed, which can only be improved by overclocking (however I will not be doing it unless I am going to work a lots on UHD 60fps footage in the future)


If you are working with native h.264 footage, the bottleneck is DR's ability to decode or encode it efficiently.
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Re: upgrading CPU helps?

PostThu Feb 09, 2017 9:12 pm

Jay Turberville wrote:If you are working with native h.264 footage, the bottleneck is DR's ability to decode or encode it efficiently.


I concur, ffmpeg is much faster, because it can tap into the Nvidia video api. It would be a big improvement if DR 13 took advantage of the api like ffmpeg does.
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Larry Li

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Re: upgrading CPU helps?

PostFri Feb 10, 2017 2:01 am

CPU is not getting near 100%, that's why I assume the CPU is not the bottleneck at my setup.

let me try transcoding the h264 footage and render again, see if there is any performance gain.
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Jay Turberville

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Re: upgrading CPU helps?

PostFri Feb 10, 2017 8:04 am

Larry Li wrote:CPU is not getting near 100%, that's why I assume the CPU is not the bottleneck at my setup.

let me try transcoding the h264 footage and render again, see if there is any performance gain.


Sure. I'm just not sure that means that the RAM is the bottleneck. My personal guess is that it has something to do with the fundamental architecture of DR.
UHD h.264 on the timeline plays back jerky on my systems while using about 38% of the CPU.
Playing an empty UHD timeline in DR takes about 10% of the CPU?!?

Meanwhile, Media Player classic will play UHD h.264 full frame on a 1080 monitor and use 15% of the CPU power while PotPlayer will use only 10% while also playing the video perfectly smoothly.

It takes DR almost 2 minutes to transcode one minute of UHD h.264 to DNxHR HQ
But if you feed it a ProRes stream of the same video, it only encodes about 15 seconds faster.

So no matter how you look at it, the actual load to decode h.264 simply isn't all that much. So I figure that the problems with h.264 and DR probably comes down to an architectural issue with how video frames are served to the timeline (and how well these things are multi-threaded) and that this probably stems from DR's heritage not as an editor, but as a color grading system.

As much as I like the idea of using DR's internal Optimized Media option for its convenience, I've concluded that with UHD, things actually work smoother by encoding externally to DNxHR using Convert V4. It is marginally faster on the encode, and the clips generated play smoother on the DR timeline and put less load on the system.
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Resolve 12.5.4
SuperMicro X8DT3 w/ 2x 5670 Xeon 20GB
GeForce GTX560 Ti 1GB
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Resolve 12.5.4
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Larry Li

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Re: upgrading CPU helps?

PostFri Feb 10, 2017 11:10 am

used the DR Media Management to transcode a clip to DNxHR 444

the rendering time is no different than the clip on H264.

However, I am observing GPU almost saturated for most of the time, GPU-Z says the PerfCap Reason is VRel, will need to take a further look on this.

but the 24fps I am getting here is already satisfactory for my usage.
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Re: upgrading CPU helps?

PostFri Feb 10, 2017 5:47 pm

Jay Turberville wrote:I've concluded that with UHD, things actually work smoother by encoding externally to DNxHR using Convert V4. It is marginally faster on the encode...
Question:

I was under the impression that Convert V4 was a 'front end' for FFmbc, which in turn is a customized version of FFmpeg for broadcast and professional use. I was also under the impression that FFmpeg was very fast at transcoding due to being able to use the NVIDIA Video API.

So I am wondering why Convert V4 is only "marginally faster on the encode" compared to Resolve. I would have thought it was screamingly faster.
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Re: upgrading CPU helps?

PostFri Feb 10, 2017 6:07 pm

Convert V4 is a front end for FFmbc and FFmpeg. I do not know if FFmbc and FFmpeg are in pipeline and in which direction.

I think the NVIDIA video API (NVENC) is not used. Maybe, the result with the CPU is better?

I've done tests with FFMPEG / NVENC and it's so much faster (with Nvidia GPU) but not all options can use harware acceleration (https://trac.ffmpeg.org/wiki/HWAccelIntro). Too bad because there are hardware accelerations for decoding.
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Jay Turberville

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Re: upgrading CPU helps?

PostFri Feb 10, 2017 10:06 pm

Blake LaFarm wrote:I was under the impression that Convert V4 was a 'front end' for FFmbc, which in turn is a customized version of FFmpeg for broadcast and professional use. I was also under the impression that FFmpeg was very fast at transcoding due to being able to use the NVIDIA Video API.

So I am wondering why Convert V4 is only "marginally faster on the encode" compared to Resolve. I would have thought it was screamingly faster.


Convert V3 defaulted to using ffmpeg, not ffmbc - though ffmbc was included in the distribution. I think you can configure Convert V3 to use ffmbc, though I forget how exactly. Convert V4 defaults to ffmpeg as well. Why it isn't using the NVIDIA Video API if available is beyond me. It appears that all I made to do is to locate the right ffmpeg binary with that feature enabled and replace the copy that Convert V4 is using. I'll try that this weekend.
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Resolve 12.5.4
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