7 Replies Latest reply on Nov 19, 2013 2:04 PM by ssedlmayr

    GPU requires display for Mercury?


      Hi, I'm gearing up to build a new workstation for my wife who does video editing in Premiere Pro. Currently we are on CS5 but will be upgrading to a CC subscription. The system I'm currently planning is:


      i7 4960x

      64 GB Corsair Dominator Platinum... 32 GB for actual use, 32 GB ramdisk

      OCZ RevoDrive 3 x 2 SSD... for OS and apps

      Samsung 840 Evo SSDs for storage

      Rampage IV Extreme Black Edition

      3 x Geforce GTX 780 Ti

      2 x Corsair AX 1200i

      Windows 7 Pro


      I've researched extensively about the Mercury Playback Engine and I understand that for export, it will utilize all GPUs. The question I have is:


      Does a GPU have to have a display connected to it for Mercury to recognize it and utilize it? Or can I have a 'headless' GPU simply plugged into an available PCIe x16 slot?

        • 1. Re: GPU requires display for Mercury?
          shooternz Level 6

          My guess...cant see why it needs a display connected.  I have 2 cards in my system and one has no display.


          Why three? What is your expectation here...


          3 x Geforce GTX 780 Ti

          • 2. Re: GPU requires display for Mercury?
            ssedlmayr Level 1

            shooternz, thanks for the feedback; it's odd that I can't find an official source for this particular detail online. It seems like what they are saying is that yes, all GPUs will be utilized, but they never mention the headless issue specifically. I just want to be sure before I spring for that 3rd card.


            I'm using 3 cards simply because I want to get the most out of my motherboard's capacity for rendering. For the Mercury engine, the more GPU the merrier is what I understand. She only has 2 monitors, so the 3rd card would essentially be a render-only card. The reason I'm going with 3 and not say, 4, is that the RIVEBE only has 4 PCIe x16 slots, and one will be taken up with an OCZ RevoDrive PCIe SSD, so that only leaves the 3 open.


            The other thing to note is that this is not simply a workstation; if that were the case * and * we had the budget for it, I would probably go with an Asus Z9PE-D9 WS Dual with dual Xeon 2687Ws and a Maximus setup for rendering. Unfortunately the Xeons cost 2K a piece, and the Maximus setup requires a Tesla K20, which costs 3K, so that's 7K total which is almost my entire budget. However, we are also gamers, and on the benchmarks I saw, 3 GPUs seemed to be the sweet spot: significatly better performance than 2 GPUs, and almost as good as 4. For normal use, content creation, and low end gaming, she will have one monitor each connected to a separate card with the third headless for export; for high end gaming she can simply plug monitor 2 into the 1st card and turn on SLI. She also might be playing with Blender; I'm not positive, I haven't researched it yet, but I believe most 3D modeling apps support multiple GPUs. Blender is CUDA accelerated and in benchmarks the Titan, the 780 Ti's predecessor, comes out on top.


            The reason I went with a gaming board as opposed to say an Asus X79 Deluxe is because the RIVEBE seems to have most of the features of the Deluxe board and then some (the audio is almost as good as Asus' high end sound cards and DACs), seems to be the best board for X79, and is easy to overclock. I intend to set up a moderate, stable overclock either just to leave on for daily use or to turn on just for high end gaming and video editing/rendering. I'm going X79 because it beats Z87 and Haswell hands down in productivity benches and performs almost as well for gaming. Also, the RIVEBE has maximum spacing between the PCIe headers which allows for ample space for cooling, whether for air or water blocks (I'll be water cooling).

            • 3. Re: GPU requires display for Mercury?
              Jim_Simon Level 9

              [Moved to Hardware forum.]

              • 4. Re: GPU requires display for Mercury?
                cc_merchant Level 4

                Read Harm's articles on disk setup, raids, balanced systems and much more here: Tweakers Page


                Also look at Planning a NLE System


                There is a lot of information that defuses some of your assumptions, like the GPU use during export.

                • 5. Re: GPU requires display for Mercury?
                  ssedlmayr Level 1

                  cc_merchant, thanks for the help, I'll take a deeper look at these articles. I did take a quick skim; I couldn't actually find anything about a correlation between export using MPE and number of GPUs, headless GPUs, CUDA cores, et cetera. The only thing that comes close to a mention is this:http://ppbm7.com/index.php/news/planning?showall=&start=4 ...from the NLE article you linked. He seems to be saying that, at least for After Effects, multiple GPUs would indeed be the right way to go. I should point out though it's a little dated; it dates December 2012, almost a year ago.


                  I did look at the Do's and Dont's article and I agree/disagree with a number of the points he makes there. For instance when he says not to use UAC... well, I mean if you want to get hacked and give someone elevated rights to everything on your system, then sure by all means turn off UAC. Unless there is another means of creating password protected accounts without UAC I don't know about; I guess you could make a BIOS password.


                  Also, he says not to install any apps or games not NLE related. Thing is, this is a general-purpose machine. While she will be using it for NLE in a professional capacity from time to time, she will also be using it for a variety of other things. I realize this may limit the optimal performance of the machine for NLE somewhat (although I would be surprised if it impacted it a lot), but that's OK. We can't really afford to build her two high end systems: one for NLE and one for games/everything else. If she were doing 16 hours of freelance movie editing for a production company every day, then sure I would say build a purpose-built rig just for NLE; but that's not the case.


                  The other thing he mentioned was regular defrags. Please for the love of god, if you are reading this and you have an SSD * DON'T * defrag * EVER *. The first thing you should do when you install an SSD besides making sure that the correct drivers are installed and your are running properly in AHCI mode is to disable defrag scheduling, indexing for the drive, and SuperFetch if it is your boot drive. If it's and HDD we're talking about, defrag away.


                  Point is, his guide has a lot of educational points of which I will take note, but every situation is different; there isn't a master list one can just apply to every build.


                  I'm pretty confident about most of the build; the one thing I'm still unsure about is the GPU situation. I'm leaning now towards a Quadro K4000 for the main card; I've seen builds on YouTube with that and a 780 headless for CUDA, which seems to answer my question: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhkJLF3oyI8. My question now is whether I can switch between a Quadro and a 780 to drive a monitor.

                  • 6. Re: GPU requires display for Mercury?
                    JEShort01 Level 4

                    You can with CC most certainly gain the benefits from multiple GPUs and a monitor does NOT need to be connected.


                    You are building a rocking box for your wife! (Sounds like for you a bit too)


                    Yes too for the water cooling.


                    You did not ask, but a big NO on the choice of EVOs for storage. They are slow. Suggest 256GB 840 pro for boot/OS/programs and however many 7200 rpm drives (get 64mb cache models) you handle in a big RAID 0.





                    • 7. Re: GPU requires display for Mercury?
                      ssedlmayr Level 1

                      Jim Thanks! Yeah, the build itself, the research, et cetera is definitely all for me; but I do have specific goals, which makes it even better because it has some justification . She's such a power user though that I will mostly be drooling at it once she starts using it. Anyway, I can't complain, I have the original RIVE and a 3930K, which is still consistently at the top of most productivity benchmarks behind the 4930k and 4960x.


                      I thought water cooling was just for overclockers until I saw the performance differences that can be gained between air cooled and water cooled, especially on the CPU.


                      For the boot SSD I'm probably going to go with a PCIe solution; leaning Mushkin Scorpion Deluxe atmo. I was going to go OCZ RevoDrive 3 x 2, but it seems a little expensive and the Mushkin is faster on most benches; I'm also planning on using Asus' RamDisk. The latter points to locations of apps and data on a drive you specify and loads them into memory at startup, which I'll do for the suite, which is about 10 GB; and you can also just create drives out of RAM, which she'll use for a scratch drive. Check out these benchmarks: http://www.overclock.net/t/1381131/ramdisks-roundup-and-testing.


                      I'm definitely steering away from the EVOs now, although they seemed to bench fast? The biggest they go is 1 TB and are $560 a pop at that size. And then I took a look at the sizes of her projects - so far just 5-10 mintue YouTube videos - and even at that size they weigh in at 10 GB a pop! She currently shoots once a week and will probably shoot more than that in the future in addition to doing longer videos, so she'll chew through that first TB within the year. So I understand now why editors go for size over speed for storage. Thinking about these in RAID 10: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FQH7MQ2/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pd_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=32R0JCDS HGX23&coliid=I230I4ZZTSXRGN ...which will give me 8 TB of fast, reliable storage, plus 2 more standalone drives for internal backup.