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Contributor
vudoo
Posts: 20
Registered: ‎11-12-2010

Current MBP with smoke ???

10 Views, 11 Replies
10-31-2011 06:59 PM
I checked the system requirement and it says early 2011 MBP are compatible. Has anyone tried the current crop of MBP ( 15.4inch: 2.4 Ghz ). Thanks
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Contributor
Chris Palazini
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎10-13-2011

Re: Current MBP with smoke ???

10-31-2011 07:25 PM in reply to: vudoo
I have used this configuration in demonstration environments, with Promise Tech drive array tied with Thunderbolt.

Generally the performance is good enough to perform many Smoke functions, but it's not officially recommended due to some GPU based graphics limitations.
Christopher Palazini
Area::smileyfrustrated:moke for Mac Forum Assistant.
Owner/Editor
Sonar Editorial
Fairfield, CT

Smoke on Mac version: 2012.1, Smoke Advanced Linux
(All depends on where I'm working)
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Contributor
vudoo
Posts: 20
Registered: ‎11-12-2010

Re: Current MBP with smoke ???

10-31-2011 09:44 PM in reply to: vudoo
Is there a MBP where the graphic card is powerful enough to run Smoke ??? or all MBP are meant for basic off line work ?? Thanks
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BKM
Posts: 3,415
Registered: ‎07-22-2003

Re: Current MBP with smoke ???

11-01-2011 04:52 AM in reply to: vudoo
I haven't fully tested my setup out with my MBP. But under basic timeline editorial so far so good. I haven't gotten into heavy GPU tools like Lens Flares and Rays. I'll report back when I do.

Senior Flame/Smoke Editor WTHR-TV
Check out the Premiumbeat Smoke Blog
http://www.premiumbeat.com/blog/category/smoke-2/
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Contributor
vudoo
Posts: 20
Registered: ‎11-12-2010

Re: Current MBP with smoke ???

11-01-2011 02:56 PM in reply to: vudoo
Brian,

Can you post your MBP config ??? I'm looking to buy a new or refurb MBP and hope to find a model that will run Smoke as close to a desktop as possible. I guess it has to be at least Thunderbolt as the Peragus seems to be the only affordable TB array solution that can rival non portable raids. Thanks
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BKM
Posts: 3,415
Registered: ‎07-22-2003

Re: Current MBP with smoke ???

11-01-2011 04:34 PM in reply to: vudoo
I have a MBP that was not bought to be a system for Smoke. So bear that in mind. I fact I didn't buy it at all. It is a work computer.

Macbook Pro 8,3
i7 Processor 1 CPU 4 Cores.
2.2 gig CPU
4 Gig Ram

ATI 6750M video card - only does 4x HWAA in Action
1440x900 max res.

I don't have storage, no Pegasus or anything. The MBP does have Thunderbolt.

All in all it runs pretty well. Framestore is a folder on the system drive. (I know...)
I have done some small tests with it. I think with a fully functional storage, it could be a very good system.

The keyboard shortcuts are a bit of a pain, as they aren't designed for smaller keyboard layouts.
But the MBP is unsupported at this time.

Senior Flame/Smoke Editor WTHR-TV
Check out the Premiumbeat Smoke Blog
http://www.premiumbeat.com/blog/category/smoke-2/
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Distinguished Contributor
arichards
Posts: 555
Registered: ‎05-12-2011

Re: Current MBP with smoke ???

11-02-2011 11:36 AM in reply to: vudoo
I have the same MacBook Pro as Brian but with 16gb of Ram (Smoke never uses anywhere near that on mine, but I can run other software and also not worry about rebooting too often).

I also have the 6tb version of the Pegasus that runs as RAID5. I used to run it off the system drive but since I've been using the Pegasus I've found that I can easily run multiple streams of HD 444. The raid reads about 600MB/s and around 440MB/s for writes. Although I don't have Brian's Linux/HP/Quadro config, I find it to be very responsive and I can place a few things in action and move things around in space. Of course while Action comps don't play back smoothly until I render, I have a feel of pretty transparent interaction when dragging things around, orbiting, etc.. All other modules work really well and colour correction plays back almost in realtime on HD1080 footage. I also have a 24 inch Apple monitor so the interface is in full 1920x1200 and then I use the macbook pro screen for the fullscreen output (or vice versa if I want). I've also plugged it into a plasma screen and used that for DVI output.

I also purchased a 256gb SSD drive last week and installed that in the system drive bay. I also removed the DVD drive (don't use it very much at all anymore) and placed the original 750gb drive in that. So now it boots off the SSD. From turning the power on it takes around 14 seconds for the mac desktop to appear. It then only takes around 35 seconds for Smoke to boot up. So while I used to find "booting" Smoke to be the most frustrating thing (before the Pegasus RAID became my main framestore), now with the SSD Smoke starts up even faster and also closes down faster. While it used to feel like a major expedition to start Smoke up it now take no time at all from turning the computer on. I also use the SSD as a framestore now when I can't be bothered to lug the Pegasus around. It reads at around 500MB/s and writes at 220MB/s, so its not that much slower than the RAID at reading, though of course it is a lot smaller. It just feels weird to be playing back two streams of Uncompressed 444 HD on a laptop without the RAID plugged in.

The one complaint really: although hard imports and renders play back beautifully (with the RAID and/or SSD), as do ProRes and RED footage, I find Canon H264 and MXF files play back pretty choppily. I was hoping that MXF would speed up with my RAID but it looks like these files really are too processor intensive to play back as soft importson, at least on this iteration of the MacBookPro. Here I wish that Autodesk would work more on the decoding algorithms for some soft imports . I know that it is targeted as a finishing system that works in most properly on hard imports (and since buying my RAID, I totally see this and see it the more and more I use it), it still would be great to play back footage in some other formats as well as Avid or FCP do. I tried the same MXF footage on our MC at work and it played back really smoothly. Still given a choice I would obviously choose to work in Smoke any day at the cost of transcoding to uncompressed.

So with these four main additions (16gb, 24 Monitor, Pegaus R6, SSD) to the base MacBook Pro Smoke feels like a very responsive "machine". All of this obviously with the proviso that I have not used the Smoke Advanced/Linux system.

Cheers
Tony

P.S. You can obviously plug in an external keyboard if you like and the future looks like offering faster LightPeak/Thunderbolt and so graphics cards will become modular add-ons a little like a RAID. So although the graphics card in the MBP is relatively weak (but its still pretty responsive), it's only a short matter of time before the graphics bus folds seamlessly out into the outside world. Modularity is the future?
Mac Pro late 2013 with 6 Cores, dual D700 graphics and 512GB PCI-SSD. Thunderbolt Promise R6, AvidArtist MC-Color & MC-Transport, Intuos4 medium, 24in Apple Mon. Also late 2012 MacBook Pro with Nvidia graphics.
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BKM
Posts: 3,415
Registered: ‎07-22-2003

Re: Current MBP with smoke ???

11-02-2011 12:19 PM in reply to: arichards
Action doesn't play in real time on any system Linux or Mac. Once you start loading in layers and lights, it doesn't play but a few FPS a sec. I would love to get a Pegasus Thunderbolt system. :smileyhappy:

I would imagine that the h264 and mxf would be further improved as time goes by. But Proxies are your friend with those files. h.264 5D files are painful and slow for me as well. But I am coming from USB drive.

Senior Flame/Smoke Editor WTHR-TV
Check out the Premiumbeat Smoke Blog
http://www.premiumbeat.com/blog/category/smoke-2/
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Distinguished Contributor
arichards
Posts: 555
Registered: ‎05-12-2011

Re: Current MBP with smoke ???

11-02-2011 01:11 PM in reply to: vudoo
Yes on some previous advice from you a while back I have been using some proxies and since buying the RAID I really see this unlocking my use of the software. Before I was always worried and forever worried about how much space I was using; how much space I have left. So proxies plus creating versions of things before then chucking them away, is really helping me learn Smoke in a much better way than before. You really need these speeds and space to get a grasp of how you Linux and MacPro people can use it with your posh fibre channel systems. My only remaining worry however is that I still have not totally got my head around releasing space by dragging down (timeline, desktop and library). Sometimes I find that the files are still in the framestore after doing this so worry about a buildup of unwanted 'deposits'. I imagine this is where 'Lost+Found' that I spotted should come in? Most of the time the space is released but there are some things that I must be doing that means it looks like I delete a render, hard-import (dragging down to reveal recycle sign) but then not actually. Again its the complexity and 'world' of Smoke that takes some acclimatising, to take this slightly off-topic.

on H.264s and MXF. In FCP7 H.264s also play back very badly. You really have to transcode to ProRes422(LT/HQ) for that package (via Compressor/MPEGStreamclip) to play it smoothly and manipulate it in any way at all (dissolves take hours to render in 264 in FCP7). Apparently Premiere CS5 plays it back well by some 'live' juggery-pokery. Also I tried it in FCPX when I initially bought it and H264 played back well there. But then I insisted on getting my money back because I really hated the software, and not simply because you could not open old projects or export xml or multi cam. It's just horrible/patronising software. So I think that H.264 is just fundamentally difficult to play back due to its compression/colourspace. I don't think you can play ProRes422 on Linux, if I remember?

On MXF, I think Autodesk, as you say, really should work on improving their reading. On a piece of dead software, as I've mentioned here before, called Liquid (eol around 4 years ago by Avid) MXF-HD files playback really smoothy. I tried it a few months ago and I almost fell of my chair to see my poor Core2Duo work pc playing back MXF footage better than Smoke. SD-MXF footage also used to play back when I used to use it on a Pentium 4 (!) a few years ago. So Pinnacle (who updated Liquid well for a while) had their algorithm locked when it came to playing back compressed formats. You could even play back multiple formats/sizes and even different native frame rates in the timeline in realtime (on a pentium 4!). Autodesk should get hold of their old decoding algorithms and fold them into Smoke. So "sad' they're just in the metaphorical dustbin. Again I do know that Smoke is for uncompressed (is best) but playing back these hard files without CPU overhead wouldn't hurt?

On this last point I am thinking really of my students. I am fine with my Pegasus, but if they are to use Smoke on their laptops and learn it well, I feel for their use of their precious laptop or iMac hard drive space. It would be great for them if they only had to render what they need to render and leave some other things as hard-native? Perhaps as a learning layer to Smoke, a hard-file workflow might be a really good thing? I know this next point is perhaps sacrilege, but wouldn't it be good to render pro-res internally as well as import and export (in latest, which I don't have:smileysad: ) . So for professionals with space and quality in mind uncompressed dpx, but for students might it not be better to be able to choose rendering internally in a lossy/compressed format? They could then online later in uncompressed?

Cheers
Tony
Mac Pro late 2013 with 6 Cores, dual D700 graphics and 512GB PCI-SSD. Thunderbolt Promise R6, AvidArtist MC-Color & MC-Transport, Intuos4 medium, 24in Apple Mon. Also late 2012 MacBook Pro with Nvidia graphics.
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Contributor
vudoo
Posts: 20
Registered: ‎11-12-2010

Re: Current MBP with smoke ???

11-03-2011 06:30 PM in reply to: vudoo
getting back on the MBP, it's decision time!

$ 1950 for refurb 2.3 Ghz with 6750 graphics or

the latest 2,4 Ghz with 6770 graphics for $ 2250.....would i notice a difference between 6750and 6770 for smoke ???? I will be getting the Pegasus R6 as well.
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