Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Interesting Article on the Rise of the GPU on Redshark News

RedShark News posted an interesting article a couple of weeks ago about the rise of the GPU. It's an interesting (if basic) overview of how GPUs have become more important over the years.

It's a fairly glossed over history of events, but as we all now know, having a high-power GPU is becoming more and more necessary in the Post Production world. For instance, I recently upgraded my GPU to an AMD 7970 3GB card in my aging 2008 3Ghz 8-core Mac Pro in order to speed up real-time performance in applications like Resolve and Smoke, which is has, hugely, when compared to my old Nvidia GTX 285. As an added bonus, when using Adobe Media Encoder to render an h.264 version of the feature film I'm currently editing, my render time has gone from about realtime (1hr 45min) to about 1hr 15min. That's a half hour savings, just from changing my GPU… now imagine if I had a newer Mac Pro! It's because of this kind of compute power that Apple decided to go with dual AMD GPUs in their new Mac Pro trashcans. They're now using OpenCL to accelerate their Pro Apps and with software like the Creative Cloud suite, Scratch, Smoke and REDcine-X all moving to give stronger support of OpenCL, it makes a lot of sense for creative types such as ourselves, to get a graphics card with a lot of OpenCL muscle.

For those interested, I picked up my AMD HD7970 used on Amazon for about $130. That's a whole lot of processing muscle for not a lot of money. It's a fairly easy card to get a deal on, since it's been replaced by the Radeon R9 280x (which is essentially the same card) and since it's a popular card with bit miners, there's lots on the used market. By the way, the AMD D700 cards in the new Mac Pro are also essentially 6GB versions of the 7970 on a custom board...

Anyways, I digress… read the RedShark article here: http://www.redsharknews.com/technology/item/1965-the-incredible-rise-of-the-gpu