assurance-tunnel
assurance-tunnel
assurance-tunnel
assurance-tunnel

Best hardware setting on Mac Pro 5,1 base



  • Hello Guys,

    a customer of mine is thinking about buying two exact same machines for running only Izzy on it.
    As I had bad experiences with Isadora on a Windows machine the last time, I would prefer the fastest possible Mac Pro 2012(5,1) (As the new 2018 Mac is still in the stars), with an upgraded GPU an SDI inputs.

    Would you agree to the Mac vs Win or tell the opposite?

    Do anyone know and/or have experiences with state of the art GPUs like GForce 1080ti or Titan / TItan X?

    Which GPU would be your preferred decision if money isn't a factor?

    Which GPU would be your preferred Price/efficiency balanced?

    Which SDI input would you choose?

    What would be your preferred all in all setup?

    Thank you for your help!
    Dill



  • Or would you even prefer a total different approach, if Money isn't a factor!?

    I should tell what the goal is! I would like to have a machine with as many as possible (6+1 ?) Full HD outputs and at least 4 SDI inputs.



  • Personally I would go for a dedicated Windows PC if you need that many outputs :)



  • @DillTheKraut 

    While you may have had a bad experience with Isadora on PC in the past, things are pretty different now. Power users like @Fred and others have sung the praises (and power) of Isadora on a PC. You certainly get more bang for your buck in terms of GPU power. Our own @DusX uses only PC and has done some very complex shows. (He can tell you about it.)

    So while I can't speak to from _personal_ experience, you should at least consider a PC.

    Best Wishes,
    Mark



  • Thanks @mark,

    I appreciate your personal advise to this! I would be happy to revert my view about Izzi and Windows, but

    actually the bad experience is not that far back, as it was last summer.
    To be honest I could not find the real issue and it was not a lot of time to test, as it was a rented PC. Isadora used to crash heavily while using the Decklink Duo2. Anyways, the PC itself seemed to be ok, as Resolume as well as Watchout ran fine on it. Still I don't want to blame Isadora for the issues.
    My concern is, that the endless possibilities of the Windows hardware world could have to many compatibility issues and would need to be tested in every aspect, maybe resulting in a not instantly working system.
    Instead the chances for a Mac system running safely, seem much higher.

    Last but not least, it used to happen for a project with the same customer and it will be difficult to tell him why I would change my mind about the hardware base.

    Another aspect is the environment the machines will be working in. As there will be a lot of network connection with the audio environment, which work on MacBooks/MiniMacs mostly.

    But anyways I would be interested in @DusX  and @Fred actual or used before setup/s.

    Best
    Dill


  • Tech Staff

    @dillthekraut

    The range of PC I have used it pretty broad. I have installed shows on $200 mini pcs, and run shows on fairly powerful systems.
    Many of my projects recently have had to run on mid-grade consumer pc laptops (lowest end machines available with dedicated graphics).
    The complexity that Mark mentions really comes from the integration with 3rd party hardware and custom programming.
    @Fred is the user I know that has the most experience with higher end PC setups.

    I am testing a system currently that we plan to make Isadora run perfectly on (so far it looks great). 
    Its powerful, but maybe less than what you are specifying and compact so few internal changes can be made.
    Lots of IO (DisplayPorts x3 , HDMI, USB3.1 x2,USB3 x2, USB2 x2 and more) I expect it will provide more than enough for 90% of users.

    An note worthy option for PC and not Mac, are MST hubs. These will turn a Display port into 'upto' 4 displays (like a matrox triple head, but simpler) https://www.startech.com/faq/m...

    @Skulpture has built a rack mount system for Isadora. A power house, he may be able to give you additional feedback also.

    Audio support is still not on par with Isadora's audio support on the Mac, but has been improving.
    Using Voice Meter Banana (virtual routing and mixing), I have been able to accomplish everything I have needed to.



  • ALL of the problems that I've had with Isadora on PC have been due to using unreliable codecs in the video files. Thanks to @DusX for helping me figure that out.



  • Thanks @DusX,

    But for extending outputs I would rather use a datapath fx4, more expensive but with many more benefits like pixel exact edge blending, scaling, slicing, etc. But anyway, if I'd like to spare the bucks and use MST or would need the benefits of Izzy Windows Audio, I could install Bootcamp on the machine and have both worlds.

    Anyway I see the benefits of a PC system, especially at the budged site. But there is one point I'm not sure about, the PC hardware could have a benefit. I recognized that patches with complex use of calculators and especially generators are very CPU intense. Regarding to the 'old' CPUs and controllers in the old Mac Pro's setups, newer PC systems would be a big difference, wouldn't it?

    But to brake it down, in most use cases the main part is the GPU. And as this is (in most cases) regardless of the OS/ Hardware base.

    This leaves us with the question which would be the best choice for the GPU?



  • Hello @citizenjoe,

    in my case the issue appeared even without playing any video at all and just choose the video input of the deckling capture card. But this might all be a single problem I would not put to much weigh on for argumenting against a PC Base.



  • probably nobody tested this, but could the controller/CPU part be a bottleneck for live input to output streaming?



  • @dusx said:

    Voice Meter Banana

     I see, I got you wrong. You meant audio is better off at OSX than Windows!? I didn't use the audio function of isadora itself for a long time, so this is good to know. But I meant more the surrounding environments in the projects disciplins, like OSs, network, audio, midi, etc.



  • @dillthekraut said:

    but could the controller/CPU part be a bottleneck for live input to output streaming?

    Only if the frame rate drops below the frame rate of the camera because of the actors.

    Remember, the video camera may introduce 1-2 frames of delay depending on your camera. The capture card introduces at least one frame (and probably far more) frames of delay. Finally, the video projector will also introduce one or two frames of delay 

    So with no delays in the software at all, at 25 fps, you can expect at least 3 Frames/120 mS of delay – and much more likely, to 6 Frames/240 mS – even if there were no latency in Isadora at all. But maybe you're talking about something bigger than that.

    (I don't know how to measure the latency from the Blackmagic -- it's really only possible to measure the difference from to the final output in Isadora.)

    There's a useful discussion about latency in this thread from the Blackmagic forum, which I suspect was written by @Fred who you know from this forum.

    Best Wishes,
    Mark


  • Beta Gold

    @dusx said:

    I am testing a system currently that we plan to make Isadora run perfectly on (so far it looks great). Its powerful, but maybe less than what you are specifying and compact so few internal changes can be made.Lots of IO (DisplayPorts x3 , HDMI, USB3.1 x2,USB3 x2, USB2 x2 and more) I expect it will provide more than enough for 90% of users.

    I hope this system has Thunderbolt too: good solution for capture (Blackmagic Ultrastudio mini, for example) and for fast external SSD communication



  • @mark

    thank you for these explanations, I'm aware of the general delay issues regarding the different components.
    Indeed, what I meant is a different impact. The capture data coming from the PCI (USB, TB, etc.) needs to be send over the PCI Bus and the communication controller, influencing the whole system and maybe slowing it down for other data. I don't know enough about data throughput definitions, and if every PCI slot connection get its full reserved connection, or if there is some sharing needed for all BUS Data. At least there should be a limitation to the RAM communication.

    On this point there comes another question to my mind. Is Isadora capable of using the advancements of a dual CPU?


  • Tech Staff

    I've switched from Mac to Windows. And yes I have a monster of a machine at work, it's still not finished but its a <£10,000 build. 

    GTX1080ti, 64 gig of ram, m,2 SSD and raid 0 media SSD's. i7 quad core 3.6GHz. IN custom flightcase with all the trimmings; back up PSU, WIFI access point, switcher and custom rear patch panel.



  • @dillthekraut I am using a reasonalby high end system (rackmount and in a pelicase for touring). I would not worry about the endless variations you can get for a PC. To be honest most of the variation is a lot of low end junk. You are going to end up with a GFX card (one of two brands supported by OSX also), a CPU (as used in macs) a motherboard (mac motherbaords are manufactured/ designed in part with motherbaord makers you can use for a PC- make some good choices here and dont buy cheap stufff with over the top magic extras, ram (same chips and factories as a mac), chipset etc. There is no differrence and windows 10 runs perfectly. Dont install random crap software, dont install cracked software.

    ?Another aspect is the environment the machines will be working in. As there will be a lot of network connection with the audio environment, which work on MacBooks/MiniMacs mostly." I am not sure what you are saying, windows has more flexible and better notworking in my opinion, and will easliy send and receive any netowkr packet to/from a mac.

    Renting a PC for something like Isadora is kind of random, of course with any hardware you should keep a close eye one what you are using, I have no idea why your rented machine was crashing, but macs crash too with Isadora and this has been due to a lot of things, mostly fixed by point releases of Isadora. 

    In the end you can pay around 4k for a pretty amazing PC based Isadora setup with some serious throughput (raided SSDs for media, 1080ti, 4x 3g SDI input m2 drive for OS etc). For this money in mac world you can barely buy the bottom of the line 5 years out of date trashcan that you can never upgrade.  After that you will need to enter dongle and peripheral city just to connect to anything, let alone 4x SDI inputs.

    The thing you do have to do is put the time in researching hardware and understanding a bit of computer architechture to make the right choices. Of course there are some great high end gaming or workstation systems from windows based providers that come with great warranties (they will send a service person to your location for a repair fast, unlike booking an appointment 3 weeks in advance in the genius bar to then make a repair apointment a week or two later), that also have high specs and normal pricing and remain upgradeable in the future.



  • @fred thank you for this detailed view of yours!

    initially I shouldn't hide that I'm coming from the IT, originally, trained as a system admin. This helps a bit to understand the pitfalls of IT in general (or doesn't at all😝). Not only because of this I totally agree with you about

    "Dont install random crap software, dont install cracked software. "

    This should be considered for all systems, (even on private computers, and yes there is Crap Software for OSX too!).
    And we also don't need to talk about the trashcan as well (even though I had pretty good experiences with it in several projects!)
    "In the end you can pay around 4k for a pretty amazing PC based Isadora setup with some serious throughput (raided SSDs for media, 1080ti, 4x 3g SDI input m2 drive for OS etc)."
    Actually, 4 - 5 k is the price, round about a self BTO  Mac Pro 2012 with dual 8Core Xeon CPU, high end 1080ti and 1TB 1500Mb/s PCie SSD!
    Ok, to find this with the right components commercially with warranty, is not easy to find.

    But I did!
    http://create.pro
    No, I'm not connected to this company, but I'm just pretty amazed!

    12 Core 3.46GHz X5690 (2012) 3 week build time
    48GB (6 x 8GB) 1333Mhz DDR3 ECC
    Operating System:
    macOS 10.12 Sierra (Recommended
    Nvidia GTX 1080Ti 11GB (3584 CUDA Cores) (OS X 10.12+) (New) (Bootflashed!)
    Samsung 1TB 960 Pro NVMe (not bootable) (10.12+) (1,500MB/s)
    Sonnet USB 3.0 PCI-e (4 x USB 3.0) (SON-USB3-4PME)
    2x 256GB Angelbird SSD wrk for Mac with TRIM
    4TB Desktop class hard drive (7200RPM)
    incl. shipping to EU / GB, excl. VAT
    incl. 3YEARS WARANTY
    €3,775.83 £3,283.33 $4,432.50

    The only worry I have for this setup, is the kind of outdated RAM Speed with 1066Mhz, But I guess the dual Xeon RAM share will help compensating this.



  • @fred said:

    Renting a PC for something like Isadora is kind of random, of course with any hardware you should keep a close eye one what you are using, I have no idea why your rented machine was crashing, but macs crash too with Isadora and this has been due to a lot of things, mostly fixed by point releases of Isadora. 

    To be clear, we don't talk about a random PC here! The System came from a media/event tech rental company and was a dedicated Watchout Display machine! Watchout and Resolume ran fine on it, even with the Decklink. The main Reason it wasn't a Mac, was the impossibility to find a reasonable 5,1 system for rent and not at least Apple, leaving us with the trashcan.
    I would have no doubt that a well tested windows machine (never change a running system) is the best bet for price/performance balance. But out of the Box, the limited components and well tested drivers, (Mainly the combination of CPU, RAM and Mainboard!!! ) in the mac world are the bit of higher safety!
    I already used MacPros 5,1 with Isadora (One even was a 4,1 with a GF120, extreeme slow, but rock solid! 😁) , so I know (not a 100% though) it works!

    But to get back to Base, this wasn't meant to be a Mac vs. Windows thread. Both worlds have there pitfalls and advances. God to talk about it though.

    Considering your majority answers preferring windows before Mac, do I have to worry you dropping OSX development in the future ❔😆







  • @fred said:

    ?Another aspect is the environment the machines will be working in. As there will be a lot of network connection with the audio environment, which work on MacBooks/MiniMacs mostly." I am not sure what you are saying, windows has more flexible and better notworking in my opinion, and will easliy send and receive any netowkr packet to/from a mac.

     I talk about native file sharing, and easy to configure network settings. I really can't agree about Windows being easy at this and even more telling about struggle with it! But I talk as well about small things like in-system midi over Ethernet, virtual audio in/outs config, etc.
    And in this special case an all in all homogenized Operating environment.



  • @dillthekraut said:

    do I have to worry you dropping OSX development in the future

    No, as a huge percentage of our user base is Mac. But I can tell you as a developer, the way Apple kills perfectly fine programming interfaces all the time is a massive pain in the you know what; it results in a tremendous amount of work for no substantially good reason, and rewriting code has means the potential to introduce new bugs that weren't there before. On the other hand, Microsoft never does that... stuff  written for Windows 3.1 _still_ runs on Windows 10!

    Anyway, I do suspect we'll be recommending PC machines for top-level professionals in the future, i.e., people that want to do 4K with lots of outputs. We're testing a machine now, as I indicated previously. 

    Best Wishes,
    Mark


 

Looks like your connection to TroikaTronix Community Forum was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.