New Video Shows Mac Pro’s Afterburner Card Play Back Unrendered, Full Quality ‘System Breaking’ 16K Footage Effortlessly

Dec 17, 2019
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If you’re familiar with video editing software, you’d know that to experience a smooth workflow, you’ll have to equip your system with powerful and expensive hardware. If not, then you’re definitely looking at a performance crippling session. Most high-end systems fail to playback 8K ProRes RAW video without stuttering and dropping frames, suggesting that their CPU and GPU is bottlenecking considerably. In comes Apple’s new Mac Pro, which chews through 16K video playback like it was nothing. However, the Mac Pro’s ability to play back 16K video has more to do with that Afterburner card than anything else. Want to see exactly what we’re talking about? Then read on more to find out.

YouTuber Stacks Four 4.5K ProRes RAW Footage in a Single Timeline on the Mac Pro, and the Afterburner Card Handles the Rest

Continuing with his coverage of pro-grade hardware, Jonathan Morrison is back with another video where he decides to spice things up by using the Mac Pro’s optional Afterburner card. For those that don’t know what this $2,000 card is capable of doing, Apple has a small description given below that you can check out:

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“To get even better video performance for the most demanding workflows, consider upgrading your Mac Pro with Apple Afterburner, a PCIe accelerator card that offloads the decoding of ProRes and ProRes RAW video codecs in Final Cut Pro X, QuickTime Player X, and supported third-party applications.

If you purchase Afterburner for your Mac Pro, it will come preinstalled in PCI Express slot 5 (x16) to enable maximum performance.”

So what Morrison did here was first create nine 4.5K ProRes video streams on separate windows, and with the Afterburner card installed, it didn’t even stress the machine as those nine videos were running smoothly. Keep in mind that he’s pulled out one AMD Radeon Vega II MPX module during the time of filming this video, meaning the Mac Pro is running just one GPU at this time. He does this just to see if one GPU can have any effect on timeline performance, and so far, it doesn’t.

Next, what he decides to do will certainly make people envious who own machines that can’t playback 8K video properly. He stacks the four 4.5K video streams onto a single window, effectively turning it into one 16K clip with a resolution of 15360 x 8640. So does this resolution have any playback performance drop? None whatsoever and the impressive part is that the CPU isn’t being stressed at all because most of the work is being done by that Afterburner card.

This means that customers who are in the video production business can even purchase the base Mac Pro for $5,999 and order that $2,000 Afterburner card and it won’t break a sweat on resolutions such as this. One videographer who shoots in 8K also praised the new Mac Pro, stating that purchasing this new machine has simplified his workflow to a point where even his fully decked out iMac Pro was struggling to keep up.

Also, even if you purchase the base Mac Pro, you can still upgrade the memory and storage down the road, which iFixit pointed out in its latest teardown. As for Jonathan Morrison’s video, you can check it out below, give him some love and also let us know down in the comments on what you think about this latest feat.

News Source: YouTube (Jonathan Morrison)

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