December 30, 2013

Just How Fast Are the New Mac Pros? (Hint: They're Mind-Blowingly Fast)

Mac ProWe already know that the brand new Mac Pros are impressive machines, both in terms of raw specs and design. However, until this point it's been unclear just how fast these new computers are in comparison to older versions of the Mac Pro, as well as in comparison to some spec'd-out iMacs and MacBook Pros. We here at No Film School have taken the time to pull together the first round of speed tests and benchmark tests from a few tech sources around the interwebs, and not surprisingly, the new Mac Pro is an absurdly fast computer. Stick with us to see just how fast.

In our first, and most telling look at the capabilities of the new Mac Pro, we turn to Macworld. They tested an impressive build of the new machine that featured an 8-core 3.0GHz Xeon E5 processor, 512GB of flash storage, 32GB of RAM, and dual AMD FirePro D700 graphics with 6GB of video memory for each card. Here's how Macworld conducted their basic tests.

Macworld Lab uses a Speedmark 9 score that’s an indicator of how well a Mac performs overall. We take the performance results from the 15 individual tests that make up Speedmark and boil them down to a single number.

Here are the Speedmark scores for the late 2013 Mac Pro:

Mac Pro Speedmark Scores

Not surprisingly, the late 2013 Mac Pro is the fastest computer that Apple has ever built. It absolutely wipes the floor with its predecessor, the mid 2012 Mac Pro. However, in comparison to the other modern Macs, the spec'd-out 27-inch iMac and the 15-inch MacBook Pro, the new Mac Pro offers only a mildly higher score. In fact, the new machine only offers an 8% higher score than the new iMac.

While the overall performance of the a system is definitely important, that's not where the new Mac Pros shine the most. As you might have guessed, the new machine's performance in regards to the recently upgraded version of Final Cut Pro X is mind-blowing. As we know, the new version of Apple's video editing software was optimized for the new Mac Pros. However, what this optimization would mean in terms of pure performance was not yet known.

Here are the Final Cut Pro X benchmarks for the new Mac Pro, which were determined by how well the tested computers could import 60 seconds of 4K video and then render said video with multiple instances of filters and color correction plugins applied to the footage. Background rendering was turned off.

Mac Pro Final Cut X Benchmarks

These are the results that are most pertinent to filmmakers. It's clear that whatever Apple did to optimize Final Cut Pro X for the new hardware was wildly successful. The import times are leagues ahead of everything except the new spec'd-out MacBook Pros, but it's the render times that are truly the most astounding part of this test. The new Mac Pro offers an insane performance boost over every other computer that Macworld tested, which is likely due to the dual AMD graphics cards with 6GB of memory each.

Beyond these results, the folks at Engadget have reported that they have seen the new Mac Pro do some incredible things with 4K video:

We've already seen it play back 16 simultaneous 4K streams in the new version of Final Cut Pro, with zero waiting time as effects were applied to the original footage.

With the new machine only having been available for two-ish weeks, it's likely that we're going to keep seeing reports of mind-blowing performance from the new Mac Pro, and we're certainly going to keep you guys updated with the latest.

If you'd like to see a whole bunch of individual program benchmarks for the new Mac Pro, head on over to Macworld and click through to the second page of their write-up. There you can see how the new machine performed in programs like Photoshop CC, Aperture, and Cinebench.

What do you guys think? Are you surprised by how well the new Mac Pro performs in comparison to other powerful Mac computers? How about the incredible performance of FCPX? Let us hear those thoughts down in the comments!

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109 Comments

And how many "real pros" actually use FCP X ?

December 30, 2013

1
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Juhan-i

me

December 30, 2013

-1
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Me too.

December 31, 2013

0
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scot

Me Three. It's the future, get used to it.

December 31, 2013

0
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I, along with everyone in my circle, have all turned our attention toward Adobe.

December 31, 2013

0
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Josh

Adobe cc for me too, got on as a student for $19.99 a month.
For photoshop, premiere, muse, lightroom, bridge, after effects, speedgrade, audition.
new big updates all the time, its worth it for me.
And honestly, i don't respect many of apple's decisions since Jobs passed. i'm not going near FCPX

where is the nvidia option on the apple store? why can't mac play a blu-ray?
why do i have to use terminal to get osx 9 on my backup ssd, instead of it auto installing over my working os?
i could go on. there are work-arounds, but i'm tired of the sand box. give us freedom

i have protools and MC7, @ $300 student pricing, collecting dust.
taken classes on both avid suites, but after using photoshop for 13+ years
i think these are terribly unintuitive, and i would sell them if i could.

premiere trumps all IMHO ...for now

January 3, 2014

0
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Me too. No way I'm going back to v7! Love it! Why? Because I took time to learn it and understand the philosophy behind it instead of just opening it and closing it after five minutes because it looks like iMovie. It's actually a great editing software.

December 30, 2013

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Robert

Please, stop that "you are only a pro if you use XYZ Software" … getting really tired of this.

December 30, 2013

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Andy Kaczé

I agree 100 percent with you. Its not the software... its the editor.

January 20, 2014

-1
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Me too. What Robert said.

December 30, 2013

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I use fcpx.

December 30, 2013

1
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Josh

I also use FCPX and I think it's just the fastest NLE out there.....if only DavinciResolve could unfold compound clips....

December 30, 2013

0
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jesuan

Ditto

December 30, 2013

-1
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I suppose all of those deposits in my bank account for the "pro" work I've done in FCP X isn't "real".

December 30, 2013

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swisteed

"real pros" using FCPX" ? that is so 2011. I bet you yell at kids to get our of your yard.

December 31, 2013

0
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me too

December 31, 2013

1
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maz

Me ........seventeen? Sorry man I'm sure everyone was not trying to make you look like an asshole, you kind of did that on your own

January 2, 2014

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Ricky

me too

January 2, 2014

0
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stanperry

@Juhan-i - None, only hobbyists.

January 2, 2014

0
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Razor

Why even try, Razor? Believing you're right doesn't make it so.

January 2, 2014

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Swissted

I try to pick the best tool for the job at hand.. I love FCPX.

January 2, 2014

0
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Brenton

Still waiting for comparison with real world PC "AND" Premiere use. Of course, from independent parties.

December 30, 2013

0
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*this*!

December 30, 2013

-1
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Oh well, instead of buying a Macbook Pro Retina, I'll grab this Mac Pro and a tiny 7" iKan IPS monitor :D Working on location will truly be a breeze!

December 30, 2013

0
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Would love to see some comparisons based on Adobe Premiere and After Effects.

December 30, 2013

-1
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As would I. Some Premiere and Avid benchmarks would be fantastic. However I doubt the performance improvements will be as drastic as they are with FCPX.

December 30, 2013

0
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avatar
Robert Hardy
Writer
Cinematographer / Editor

Hard to get that much performance increase when you already dominated 4k import with 1080p / 720p all on same time line with effects galore. FCPX had a long way to go so its all relative. What we need is the end result comparison between them.

December 30, 2013

-1
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Bc

For Adobe Premiere the dual W9000 gives you almost the same performance as the single GTX titan:

http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Adobe-Premiere-Pro-CC-Professi...

Since the D700 is a lower spec'd card than the W9000 I doubt it will be better. So if you are using Adobe Premiere get either a TITAN (or 2 780s for even faster performance at the same price) and stick with hackintosh or Windows.

December 30, 2013

2
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don hogfan

For PC users hang tight - faster cheaper will be with us very soon.

http://www.techpowerup.com/mobile/196158/intel-core-i7-haswell-e-to-laun...

December 30, 2013

0
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Greg egan

The CPU in this Mac Pro can be swapped out / upgraded.

You could simply but the $3000 base Mac Pro, pay $1000 to upgrade the GPUs, upgrade the CPU next fall and still have the fastest machine available.

December 31, 2013

-2
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Josh

this is the way to go

January 3, 2014

0
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Anything that runs on OpenCL will benefit from the AMD configurations. FCPX was meant for this, no big surprise here..

As for the rest of us in need of CUDA, we can't even upgrade to 10.9 without losing support.

I'd like to see some Adobe CC OpenCL figures.

December 30, 2013

-3
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Lcky

December 31, 2013

0
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Dennis

interesting, makes me wonder how OpenCL could perform on my 4gb gtx760 using 10.9, still lose some RT options in select programs and would have to keep 10.8 around.. anything to shave off time from a 16 hour+ render!

January 2, 2014

0
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Lcky

There is an excellent article here comparing FCPX against Premiere. Good read. As for "real pros" using FCPX, that meme is getting old. bit.ly/1eAtlel

December 30, 2013

0
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^ This.

December 30, 2013

0
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Go on the cow forums and discuss fcpx being a pro platform.....I am not saying you can't use it, it has come A LONG WAY, however you will find that most pros say it still is not up to snuff, but this recent change might sway them, we shall see. They are still upset with how apple screwed them over releasing this when it was a year away from being primetime.

December 30, 2013

0
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Bc

Apple released it prematurely, but how did that force anyone to use it?

January 2, 2014

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Zan Shin

Lots of pros use FCPX, including the post house Light Iron https://vimeo.com/74681700

If you run adobe cc, I would not buy this mac I would wait until the open cl support is stronger for premiere or just build a really fast PC.

I personally can't wait to cut on this machine.

December 30, 2013

0
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For the price this is a waste, I rather build a pc for cheaper and better specs

December 30, 2013

0
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Andrew

December 30, 2013

1
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For the article in your link:
"It’s also worth noting that you have the option of using cheaper graphics cards, too — instead of paying $3400 for a FirePro W9000, a couple of Nvidia Quadro or GeForce cards would be thousands of dollars cheaper, and could yield better performance in CUDA-optimized apps."
And thats in the case the graphics card is the same as the $3400 FirePro W9000.
This is very important because I saw many articles claiming this. From the $9500 you spend $7000 on just the graphics cards. If I didn't have money to burn, I would get a dual cpu machine that would perform better in most demanding programs.
Never compare specs but the actual performance of the program that you use.

December 30, 2013

1
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don hogfan

Interesting. So could someone please settle the perceived advantage in going with the more expensive cards ?

December 31, 2013

0
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Saied

Well if you're doing medical imaging or engineering you need the absolute accuracy of the workstation cards...but IMO it's pointless in film making since if there's an error, you'll either see it and it's a problem, or you won't see it and it's not a problem. It's not like it'll screw up someone's brain surgery.

December 31, 2013

-1
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Gabe

Most NLE's nowadays use OpenCL or CUDA. What that means is basically that a lot of your editing work has been put on your graphics cards rather than a CPU. For most editors, today, the GPU is way more important than a machine's CPU.

December 31, 2013

0
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Josh

You can't. Price out the parts for PC or Mac and you will not be able to build a machine for less. The base Mac Pro would be over $6000 if you tried to build it as a PC.

January 1, 2014

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Seth

What's the deal with the new macpros and this site? Don't you have anything better to report? I guess you enjoy the traffic of mac haters/lovers.

P.S. I wouldn't call mind-blowing result the 2x times render decrease over a laptop with half the cores.

December 30, 2013

0
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don hogfan

Erm, the new mac pro's are kind of a big deal for video professionals. Why would they not give them significant attention?

December 30, 2013

0
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Brian

From the article: "With the new machine only having been available for two-ish weeks, it’s likely that we’re going to keep seeing reports of mind-blowing performance from the new Mac Pro, and we’re certainly going to keep you guys updated with the latest."

This is not a report, this is a promotion.

December 30, 2013

0
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don hogfan

Well in that sense, this hasn't been the first product to be "promoted" on this site so why should the Mac Pro be excluded? It is sort of a big deal for some since there are virtually only 2 options to use to edit with Macs or PC's. This deserves to be here since its clearly a fact that people are interested in it.

December 30, 2013

-1
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