Apple has recently updated the 16″ MacBook Pro with a flashy, new AMD Radeon Pro 5600M graphics card with 8GB of HBM2 Memory. This new upgrade is offered for an additional $700 at the point of sale. Despite the incremental name change, the 5600M is around 50% faster than the 5500M, the previous MacBook Pro graphics champion.
The extra speed means that this system might just be enough to handle 8K post production in real-time, but is that extra resolution worth the additional premium? Film gear review expert Max Yuryev takes a look at the fastest MacBook Pro to date; comparing it to several previous generations and a maxed-out, high-end iMac Pro.
Check out this fantastic breakdown before you start editing your next big budget, Hollywood feature on the go or maybe the couch.
Rather than go over these charts in nauseating detail, I’m going to summarize things for you – It’s faster.
It’s surprisingly about 50% faster than the previous MacBook Pro with the 5500M. That is thanks in part to the incredible HBM2 memory inside the 5600M which is capable of speeds at 394 GB/s, and the 40 cores! The 5500M is only capable of 192 GB/s and has 24 cores.
Running these systems through test after test, the 2020 16″ MacBook Pro always comes out the winner. This graphics card is a serious beast, and that means day-to-day video editing performance should be off the charts for a laptop.
In FCPx that increase in performance becomes abundantly clear because FCPx, like most NLEs today, utilizes the graphics card for video rendering. Check out these numbers.
And this quickly brings us to the point of our little chat. Can the top-of-the-line 2020 MacBook Pro 16 be used to edit 8K video?
To test this, Max creates an 8K timeline in FCPx and fills it with 4 streams of 4K ProRes footage. Quickly we see he is pushing the system to its limits. The 16″ MBP’s CPU is running at 97% trying to keep up, and the graphics card is running at 70% but it is doing it!
There are no real visible frame dropouts but this is definitely the top limit of this machine. This is solid proof that the 2020 MBP 16 can edit 8K ProRes footage natively, especially since 4 streams of 4K is actually more render intensive than 1 stream of 8K footage.
We made it. Finally, there is an Apple laptop that is powerful enough to edit the top-of-the-line footage at a quality large enough to print on a billboard. But at this point, the CPU and GPU are almost completely maxed-out.
If you’re a power user that is applying tons of effects to raw 4K footage, rendering lots of graphic elements, and finishing projects for clients who demand the crème de la crème then the update to the 5600M graphics card is totally for you. When the clock is ticking, the faster rendering time will really add up.
But if you’re not pushing this sucker to the limit, you’re going to be wasting all of that extra performance and would probably be completely content with the best previous model, the 5500M.
When you’re filming projects in 8K, you should be using a camera that generates proxies or you should be creating proxies as part of your ingest process. Unless your turnaround times are ridiculously fast, you can ‘waste’ the extra time prepping things before you start.
This computer is fast enough to work with the best of the best footage. Imagine how incredibly fast it must be at editing 1080P ProRes Proxy files? Why push your computer to the limit if you don’t have to? You’ll save tons of time zipping through lower resolution material that is less demanding on your system then you can revert back to full resolution as part of your final finishing process.
Nothing is worse that a computer that lags. This system is definitely fast with desktop-class performance, and as cameras shoot higher resolutions with more bit-depth in the future you’re going to be glad you paid the extra cash for the updated graphics.
[source: Max Yuryev]
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Apple 16″ MacBook Pro (Mid 2020, Space Gray)
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