Video Editing HARDWARE (video card) for FCP X and RESOLVE

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Jun 8, 2015
Asus x99 Deluxe
i7 8 core 5960X
gtx 980 oc
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
HACKINTOSH SYSTEM: OSX Yosemite on Solid State, Asus X99 Deluxe, i7 3.0ghz 5960X (8 core) processor, 32g Crucial DDR4 RAM, Nvidia Gforce GTX 980 (4g ram), Asus Thunderbolt 3 PCIe card, Thunderbolt 3 4 bay RAID0 striped in OSX utility (no 3rd party RAID controller software)

Please forgive my rantings of a madman to start this discussion but it's all relevant. I should warn you now this is more theory and troubleshooting the issues from a pro video editing and 3D animation point of view than a hackintosh space. Aslo note I am not nice to the machine. When I say sluggish it is because I am running a lot of layers, filters, grades, high codec data rates, etc. Big Boy graphics rendering and workflows.

My Hackintosh loves me most days but like my wife she can be very temperamental. I have had a stable system (95% uptime) running for about 3 years now. OSX Yosemite with Clover to flag bootloaders, etc. It is not without it's quirks. Clover wont boot the machine unless I specify it as an older mac pro and not the newer "trashcan" model. The on board audio never worked but I use an M-Audio I/O so no need. The "about this mac" section says Unknown 3.0ghz processor. I hope this is cosmetic only. The Thunderbolt 3 devices are not hot swap plug n play, they have to be plugged in at startup or they wont be recognized by the system and need rebooted. The network ports are more hit than miss but they do go out? I have gotten used to WIFI. Occasionally the video card will go haywire and have a red "outline" tracing the image on 1 of my 3 computer monitors but this is better than 2 years ago when all monitors would have a bad sort of atari or early nintendo glitchy unusable image across all monitors and require a reset. This was usually during prolonged RESOLVE 11 usage. Now with RESOLVE 12.5 the issue seems to have gone away so it was prob a software issue. I cannot upgrade to RESOLVE 14 because I do not want to upgrade the OS and dive back into that nuthouse. It took me months to get this build working all those years ago. (mostly turned out to be properly copying kexts if I remember).

Upgrades over the years: The thunderbolt 3 card took a lot of trial and error to get installed. I think it turned out to be an incorrect lane assignment in the BIOS that fixed that. I was able to clone my OS from a 256g Solid state onto a 500g solid state after the first year. It wasn't as easy as making a copy but I only had to reboot from the USB stick with "something"beast once with the bootloaders to get back into os x and set up clover properly on the new SSD. The entire system fried at 1 point after leaving it off for a few months last year. I turned it on 1 day and it just gave me a CPU overheat error and I couldn't get past the BIOS and then suddenly couldn't even get it to post to get into the BIOS. After replacing the watercooled CPU heastsink with no luck I then sent all parts back to ASUS and INTEL (their warranties were great even years later) I got it back up.

So here I am today and this is why I am listing the help of you fine folks. VIDEO CARD! I would like to upgrade my system. I am looking for faster performance in FCPX, DAVINCI RESOLVE and CINEMA 4D. Now all of my research over the years says these programs are GPU intensive.

Let me backup. After fighting every bit coin miner within a 100 mile radius I have found some GTX 1080 Ti's. 11g RAM for $1000 and Im all set right? WRONG!

I have used several different monitoring apps over the years the latest of which is iStat. The CPU reading are great but the GPU is not like GPU-Z on windows. It tells you in frames what the GPU is doing and my readings are so low I am not sure if it is even working. I switched from another app because it was also saying virtually 0% GPU usage so I am assuming it's correct though.

In some cases under OSX neither the CPU nor the GPU is being used to their fullest (Cinema 4D). In other cases (FCPX and RESOLVE) even though I have sluggish real time performance or rendering the CPU is maxed out (all 16 threads) but the GPU isn't being used hardly at all. As in 1-3 FPS at all! This tells me a $1000 11gb video card upgrade will most likely do nothing for me. The bottleneck has to be the CPU right? Somehow the 8 core i7 5960X is too slow even though these apps are GPU intensive??? Yes I understand that certain codecs have to be debayered by the CPU bla bla but the GPU is at almost 0% something is amiss.

Furthermore, when I boot the machine up in windows 8 (YUCK) and run the same tests in RESOLVE there, suddenly the CPU is at 50% and the GPU (all 4 gigs of ram) is being 98% fully used? Wait what?

So the same CPU is not too slow in WINDOWS? The same video card takes more of the load? Ok so it's a driver thing or a hackintosh clover thing right? I make sure OSX Yosemite is using the Nvidia web drivers and I double check in "about this mac" section it recognizes the card GTX 980 4g RAM. I have gone through clover but all my research says the injectors and what not are not needed on newer cards. I also properly have the CUDA selected in RESOLVE WTF?


1. I can build a whole new hackintosh. Not likely. I loved this machine. It got me the performance of a $12K mac pro for 25% the cost 3 years ago but I NEVER want to go through the nightmare of bootloaders and flags for every piece of hardware again. It took me 3 months last time to get it working. Additionally every time some software/hardware glitches I have to ask myself is it the hackintosh? I never really know. I cannot simply upgrade the OS which is a necessity at least 2x a year in todays pro video world. Thankfully I have gotten my business to the point where stability outweighs cost savings. ie I would rather pay more if I dont have to have a computer science degree every time I need to upgrade the software/hardware for my new apps or cameras or cards or codecs or whatever. I just need it to work so I can do the work and bill my clients.

2. I can upgrade the the CPU or GPU or both in my hackintosh. At this point it seems the CPU is the better upgrade. I just have a problem upgrading my already powerful CPU to a more powerful CPU to be used in a bunch of apps that are supposed to be using the GPU. Does this mean after I upgrade the CPU suddenly the GPU will get more usage? It's only 4 gigs GTX 980. It is tech too small for what I want to do with it. Will I quickly find I need to upgrade the GPU after? Why does WINDOWS seem to use the CPU handoff to GPU properly but not OSX? Same program.

3. I can upgrade Yosemite to then be able to upgrade to RESOLVE 14 and see if that fixes the non GPU usage. I dont think it will as C4D and FCPX (open CL?) also both are hardly using the GPU in OSX.

4. I can turn it into a WINDOWS machine. Even though the stats show the GPU is being used I need to run some apples to apples render outputs in resolve and C4D to see if its faster. If it is, I can then upgrade the GPU operating at 95% to an 11g 1080 Ti and I think it will be even faster. I can also upgrade all the software with no fear of wiping out the operating system. This seems to be the right answer but GOD I HATE WINDOWS!!!!!!!!!!

I am just hoping someone out there understands the architecture of CPU hand offs to GPU in Pro Video and 3D apps and can give me some guidance. I am a bit lost. I am currently looking at WINDOWS, HACKINTOSH, OSX, LINUX, GPU's, CPU's, dual CPU MoBo's, GPU SLI, more RAM, faster HDD's, MAC PRO's, iMAC PRO's, iMAC 5K's, XEONS, TITAN's, HIGHER END GPU's, etc. Its spinning me around.

WHAT I DON'T WANT: I do not want to spend $1,000 - $10,000 on a new solution only to find I am still getting poor playback in RESOLVE and/or slow renders in C4D and FCPX.

UPDATE: I turned on the macjine today at the office and im getting 50%ish CPU and the processor on the GPU is actually working. I am getting 10-20 FPS instead of 1 or 2. The only diff is Yosemite defaulted back to the OSX drivers for Nvidia instead of the web drivers? It is currently set to render a timeline from RESOLVE at just under and hour instead of the 1:20+ it took last week.

I will manually turn the web drivers back on after this render to test, I will also try the Nvidia drivers from this website as well and test the same export on all and report back.

Here is a screen shot of istats with the apparent osx default driver enabled (again it did this on its own)


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