NVIDIA Quadro K4000 Review
Category: Production and Creator
Published: Wednesday, 05 June 2013 01:33
The NVIDIA Quadro K4000 Kepler based cards are a nice step up from the previous generation Quadro 4000 Fermi based cards. This card is in the sweet spot of workstation performance and is a solid choice for users considering a single slot design in the $800 price range.
The Quadro K4000 has upped the CUDA cores by 3x to 768 and 1GB of memory for a total of 3GB of GDDR5 memory. Most impressively perhaps is the reduction in power consumption. This single slot design now has a maximum power rating of 80W. This made a huge difference in our workstation with quieter and better overall system performance.
The K4000 can drive multiple displays but in most cases we find ourselves driving 1 large display, such as a 30inch at 2560x1600, versus multiple displays. This gives us lots of real estate and detail without shifting our eyes back and forth. Most of the creative houses we work with have artists in front of 1 large display with the occasional video reference monitor, of course. However, we mostly used just 1 display with the K4000. For advanced high-end visual computing needs or video walls you can drive multiple displays using DP 1.2 resolution of 3840x2160.
In our working environment, noise and sound are an important consideration. We don't have the luxury of an isolated workstation we access remotely in the edit suite. Our test Supermicro workstation does not have the interior space or optimized workflow that a Dell or HP workstation benefits from. It’s tighter inside the Supermicro case and requires more active cooling from the mid-plane fans. Our test system was fully populated with 1 SSD and 7 HDDs. We also used every available slot for sound, DSP, SATA III and either eSata or legacy firewire cards, all generating some heat.
This system is primarily used to run the Adobe CS6 suite, the Sony Creative suite, Grass Valley Edius, Combustion and myriad utilities, effects plug-ins and compression apps. We’re still waiting for Apple to unleash its new Mac towers so we can test the Quadro K5000 Mac version with Smoke 2013. However, for now we’re very pleased with the performance of the K4000 in our Windows 7 workstation. We like that NVIDIA is active in the pro video community and actively working with companies such as AJA, Blackmagic Design and Matrox to further utilize its designs and improve performance and workflows.
We ran this system continuously from the time we got the Quadro K4000. It's been about three months and it’s been rock solid. All of our creative suites run butter smooth and benefit from fast render times when using codecs that exploit the extra CUDA cores. Premiere CS6 and its Mercury engine love the K4000. We like the instant previews, real time editing and general performance that feels more like pure hardware. The H.264 renders in Vegas under specific settings were very fast but the software doesn't always take advantage of the GPU for rendering.
The previous Quadro 4000 was hot to the touch after extended use and occasionally our system fans would cycle up and down as needed to keep the system running cool. The Quadro K4000 runs warm to the touch and our system fans do not cycle up and down. Because the Quadro K4000 consumes less power and produces less heat it’s less taxing on the system overall.
With better performance and less power consumption in the same single slot footprint the K4000 is a worthy upgrade over the previous generation Quadro 4000.
Visit NVIDIA for more information and all the specs on the Kepler line of Quadro workstation cards.
HitFilm 2 Ultimate Review
Category: Production and Creator
Published: Thursday, 31 January 2013 23:39
HitFilm 2 Ultimate is an easy to use effects and compositing tool that offers outstanding value under $400. With the latest release just yesterday of Vegas Pro 12 being more stable we’re looking forward to integrating HitFilm 2 Ultimate into the work flow.
We’ve been primarily testing HitFilm 2 Ultimate in standalone mode and it takes a little getting used to the XML GUI. We’ve certainly grown accustomed to more traditional Windows programs. However, once you start to play with the software a bit and understand the flow it quickly becomes addictive.
HitFilm 2 Ultimate has a lot of useful presets and offers infinite ways to tweak and create new ones from scratch. Be prepared to spend hours and hours experimenting and playing. It’s fun.
HitFilm 2 Ultimate offers a decent NLE workflow making it possible to complete an entire project without round-tripping to other apps. However, this is better suited toward tweaking an edit versus building it from scratch. Hang on to your preferred NLE of choice.
We were hoping that HitFilm 2 Ultimate would allow us to export a codec optimized for editing such as AVID DNxHD but the software currently has limited export options. In spite of that, HitFilm 2 Ultimate offers a very good value compare to other popular effects software and is certainly worth a download to test for you.
Visit HitFilm for all the specs and to download a trial version.
Glyph Technologies GT 062E External RAID Review
Category: Production and Creator
Published: Thursday, 22 November 2012 08:17
The 6TB version of the Glyph GT 062E external RAID can be configured as JBOD, RAID 0 or RAID 1. We tested it in both the RAID 0 and the RAID 1 configurations and were generally pleased with the performance.
Glyph Technologies created a solid box with an internal power supply to house the two internal 7200 RPM SATA drives. The GT 062E starts up quickly and creates just a bit of white noise. We placed it on the desk in the edit suite and it was barely audible. Placing it a few feet away or in a rack and the sound of the GT 062E will be masked by other equipment in the room.
The case includes a cooling fan that sucks in air through the nicely designed vents in front and out the back of the unit. After prolonged periods of use the case never appeared to heat up much. This is the opposite of passive designs that rely on the case as a heat sink. Over time this could become a noise issue once the fan starts to fail but we like the peace of mind knowing the drives are being ventilated properly.
The Glyph GT 062E performs best in RAID 0 mode. We primarily used it with Avid DNxHD files and native P2 formats such as AVC Intra-100. However, in RAID 0 mode the GT 062E takes much longer to be recognized by the system when first connected. Whether using USB, eSATA or Firewire modes the RAID 0 configuration can cause some frustration. We connected it to a couple of workstations with the Sonnet E4P card installed and experience the same slow initial behavior. When we change the configuration to RAID 1 we didn’t experience any strange delays in the drive being recognized and ready for use.
We don’t find the Glyph Manager software very friendly or useful. It reports the status of the drive but doesn’t seem to have much functionality other than changing the RAID configuration.
We’d primarily use the Glyph GT 062E as a backup and transfer drive between sessions and vendors versus an online array. It’s great to have a rugged, portable drive set in RAID 1 with nearly 3TB of usable capacity and a built in power supply. Firewire 400/800, eSATA and USB 2.0 offer plenty of connectivity although USB 2.0 is really a turtle for large amounts of data. USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt should be included in next gen products to keep pace.
Visit Glyph Technologies for more information and all the specs on teh GT 062E