While I’ve been running DaVinci Resolve for the past three months at home (never thought I’d ever hear myself say that), and lugging my Resolve CPU back and forth from my home office to my client suite in NYC’s Chelsea district, I finally got sick of hefting my 45 lb (with drives & cards) Mac Pro back up to my 4th floor walkup, and upgraded my suite machine.
As I mentioned to one of my colleagues at Twitch Post (where my suite is located), this is the first time in years that I’ve stuffed every single slot and bay of a tower absolutely full. In this case, it’s a 2010 8-core Mac Pro. In the image at top you can see, from bottom slot to top, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 285, GeForce GT 120, DeckLink HD Extreme 3D, and RED Rocket. I moved the bootup drive into the unused optical slot (using Noiseblocker X-Swing drive brackets from OWC), and filled all four drive bays with 2TB Western Digital RE4 enterprise class drives, striped into a whopping 8TB array.
In other words, I turned the machine into a space heater (just in time for winter!).
After a late Friday night shakedown (conforming and lightly grading a RED spot I graded earlier in the year), all’s well and everything’s working. Updating Nvidia’s CUDA drivers via their System Preferences panel seems to be down at the moment, but downloading the newest CUDA drivers directly from Nvidia’s web site for installation did the trick.
Eventually I’ll investigate a PCIe expander chassis—the only reason I’m running an internal RAID is because there’s no extra slot for external accelerated storage—at which point I’ll probably invest in something like the Sohotank ST8. However, the Blackmagic disk speed test application claims that my internal array is getting just a bit over 500 MB/sec performance (which I have a hard time believing so I want to retest using other software), and in any event disk performance is completely fine for the ProRes and R3D-based projects I ordinarily work on.
So that’s it. New kit is always fun, and especially so when the upgrade is so painless. The system runs either Color or Resolve, but the truth is that I’ve migrated most of the client work I do over to Resolve at this point given the faster render speeds and RED Rocket integration.