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How bad is the Mac Pro 2013 in 2017.

So we recently got our hands on Dell’s Alienware Alpha R2 its a $950us/$1500au console sized PC the same footprint as a Mac Mini but a gaming orientated machine. As we all know by now “gaming” can also translate to a good compute unit so we though we would go head to head with the Mac Pro 2013 a 4 year old machine Apple still retail for $3000us/$4900au workstation. Its a machine that shouldve been upgraded around 2 years ago.

Dell Alienware Alpha R2 v Apple Mac Pro 2013 – Compute – Davinci Resolve – Adobe Benchmarks

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CPU

AMD Zen – Codename RYZEN

First benchmarks are in and put the 8-core Zen only marginally faster than the 6900k

Blender; benchmark, Zen @ 3.4 Base clock, and no boost matches i7 6900K at stock clocks 3.2 GHz/3.7 Turbo.
Handbrake; it transcodes 5 secs faster than the 6900K. 54 secs vs 59 secs.

The main factor is RYZEN is 95w and the 6900k is 140w. AMD is also rumoured to have Thunderbolt Technology in the next gen of ZEN.

Lets hope AMD is right and we will see some stiff competition for Intel.

 

CPU

Cores vs Clock – Blackmagics Davinci Resolve & Adobe Premiere Pro

You can watch our YouTube video on the topic below;

Cores vs Clock Video Editing – Davinci Resolve, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Cinema 4D, Geekbench.

So the age old long debate on clocks v cores are on plenty of forums and everyone seems to have a conclusion but we couldn’t find a definitive answer on it. So we decided to test it ourself and have our own opinion on the matter. Below are the 2 specs of the machines we tested.

In both we used the new NVIDIA GTX 1080 8gb GDDR5X, Which we feel is still not limited by the quad core in our testing of the GTX Titan X Pascal the 6700k saw little improvement over the 1080 but there was a considerable difference between the GTX 1070 and 1080 enough to make me think and feel the CPU was not limiting the performance.

We ran some Synthetic tests below; Geekbench 3 & 4 and Cinebench

Clearly the higher core counts would win the multi cpu tests and the single core would edge out the single tests. We knew that for synthetic but how would they translate to real world use was our main interest.

Now to some more “Real World” test; Blackmagic’s Davinci Resolve and Adobe Premiere Pro

Here we see some interesting results, While some of the synthetic tests saw more than double the score that doesn’t mean we see double here. Premiere Pro with RED 6k and H.264 we see the Dell finish 8min faster but in Davinci Resolve we see just how poorly coded H.264 is the same files take upto 4 hours to finish…

Moving to some DNxHR files and we see some better numbers from Davinci and its faster than premiere this time round.

Now we took a look at some smaller exports 2min to 3min files and here the 6700k with its higher clocked core is only slightly faster than our 24 core machine.

Now to some more “Real World” tests and also Playback and Debayer; Blackmagic’s Davinci Resolve and Adobe Premiere Pro + Cinema4D and Photoshop

In testing some CPU rendering with Cinema4D we see the Dell the clear winner here as expected 5x faster than the 6700k. In Adobe Photoshop we see the 6700k winning this is due to it being heavily single core dependant.

Now this was always something i was wondering with the Cores v Clock argument and how would it effect playback. Well it doesn’t. We see the exact same Frames no matter what.

Conclusion;

While we dont see double the encoding speeds i feel anyone working with 10min+ exports should be moving to a higher core count machine. Thats not to say its impossible to work on a Quad core but time is money and if your pushing out projects a multi cpu machine will do it faster no doubt. I feel that without any loss in playback performance you have so much to gain. Thats my opinion anyway.

As always thanks for reading & watching