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BARE FEATS LAB - real world Mac speed tests

Fast GPUs are Great... Sometimes

November 15th, 2019 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

In recent testing, we showed how a fast GPU can speed up on-the-fly noise reduction looping playback in DaVinci Resolve. But a faster GPU won't speed up every function.


Vega 64 + Dual VII = iMac Pro's built-in Radeon Pro Vega 64 (16GB HBM2 memory) and Dual Radeon VIIs (16GB HBM2 memory each)
Dual VII = Dual Radeon VIIs (16GB HBM2 memory each)
Vega 64 + VII = iMac Pro's built-in Radeon Pro Vega 64 (16GB HBM2 memory) and Radeon VII (16GB HBM2 memory)
Radeon VII = Radeon VII (16GB HBM2 memory)
RX 5700 XT = Radeon RX 5700 XT (8GB DDR6 memory)
Pro Vega 64 = iMac Pro's built-in Radeon Pro Vega 64 (16GB HBM2 memory)

TEST DETAILS: Test unit was a 2017 iMac Pro 3.2GHz 8-core Xeon, 32GB of ECC memory, 1TB flash storage, running macOS 10.15.1 Catalina. The VIIs and 5700 XT were installed in eGPU boxes from Other World Computing.

DaVinci Resolve 16.1
Looping playback of Candle 1080p project while rendering 3 nodes of Noise Reduction. (HIGHER Frames per Second = FASTER)

Looping Noise Reduction in DaVinci Resolve

DaVinci Resolve 16.1
Trans-code 5K RED project to ProRes 4444 XQ. (LOWER Time in Seconds = FASTER)

Trans-coding R3D to ProRes in Davinci Resolve



A faster graphics card will speed up some things in pro apps like DaVinci Resolve but not everything.

As demonstrated above, adding a faster GPU (or multiple faster GPUs) will speed up noise reduction but will NOT speed up the RED trans-coding.

Before you invest in a faster GPU (and eGPU box), you need to define your work-flow bottlenecks. A starting place is to use the CPU History and GPU History panels in Activity Monitor to see which is stressed the most during your key functions.


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Funding of 2019 Mac Pro test unit for BareFeats Mad Scientist on his 75th Birthday

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copyright 2019 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"