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2013 Mac Pro: CaptureOne Pro: CPU vs GPU on D800E Raw to JPEG

Last updated 2014-04-21 - Send Feedback
Related: Macs, Mac Pro, workflow, Nikon DSLR, Mac

Get Mac Pro at B&H Photo. See also MPG’s computer gear wishlist as well as diglloyd-recommended performance packages for Mac Pro.

A big thanks to Other World Computing for loaning MPG the upgraded 2013 Mac Pro! Ditto for B&H Photo for loaning the 6-core Mac Pro. 64GB memory kit for 2013 Mac Pro provided by OWC.

Introduction

Support for a fast graphics processor (GPU) holds huge potential.

PhaseOne CaptureOne Pro delivers on that promise. However, it also uses CPU cores as well, and so there is an interplay between the two.

UPDATE April 21, 2014— according to Lionel Kuhlmann, R&D Manager at Phase One, a future (2014) version of Capture One will fully utilize all the installed GPUs in the system, whereas version 7.2.1 of Capture One Pro utilizes only 1 GPU, so the results on this page can only get better in the future version.

Results

See the test machine configurations.

WOW! The 2013 3.5 GHz 6-core shows a 63% reduction in runtime—a ~2.7X speed difference with “hardware acceleration” enabled (what PhaseOne calls the GPU). It’s not clear if both GPUs are being used. The 8-core sees a ~58% reduction, which makes sense, since its CPU performance is faster than the 6-core, and both machines have the D500 GPUs.

While the GPU gains are large, the stunning disappointment is that the D700 and D500 GPUs offer essentialy no gain over the entry-level D300 GPUs.

This suggests that there is some gating factor with regards to GPU usage. The “feed the beast” requirement might not be met, so that a GPU 50% faster cannot be supplied with work quick enough. That’s one possibility, another is a graphics driver inefficiency, but only PhaseOne can really diagnose this properly.

For CPU-only, observe that the 8-core 3.3 GHz offers a modest ~13% reduction in runtime over the 6-core 3.5 GHz. Were the 8-core Apple’s stock 3.0 GHz, the difference would be negligible and the 6-core might even win out.

The 2013 Mac pro systems trounce the 2010 Mac Pro. However, observe that the 2010 Mac Pro also benefits hugely from its dual-GPU ATI Radeon 5870 video card. A higher performance video card might do even better, and bring it to the level of the 2013 Mac Pro.

With the GPU, each 36-megapixel raw file is converted to max quality JPEG in a lightning-fast ~1.5 seconds (versus 4.2 seconds)! Sure to please any harried photographer.

On the MacBook Pro be sure to disable Automatic Graphics Switching, or the performance will be impaired.

2013 Mac Pro performance: Raw to JPEG in CaptureOne Pro
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