BruceX: Try this new Final Cut Pro X benchmark

To help people work out which Macs work best with Final Cut Pro X, it is useful to refer to a standard speed test.

All but one of the MacBook Pros with Retina configurations do not have dedicated GPUs. New Mac software is depending more and more on GPU power. Editors want to know if the integrated Intel Iris and Iris Pro Graphics GPUs are powerful enough to run professional software well.

Early testing shows that Iris Pro graphics are better than many expected. Take a look at a new post at Bare Feats:

In the past we sneered at the integrated GPUs and their puny performance. Not any more. The Intel Iris and Iris Pro are every bit the match or master of discrete NVIDIA Mobile GPUs — at least when it comes to OpenCL acceleration.

Although it is great news that integrated GPUs are getting better, many are worried that the MacBook Pros should be avoided until Iris Pro has improved a little more.

A speed test proposed by FCP.co was to time the render of Final Cut Pro X’s built-in ‘Far Far Away’ title on a 23.975 1080p timeline. This test puts enough pressure on main memory and GPU memory to separate older generation Macs from more recent computers.

Over at the the FCP.co forum, qbe asked me to do the ‘Far Far Away’ test on my new late 2013 MacBook Pro 15″ using only the built-in Iris Pro Graphics and also on only the Discrete GeForce GT 750M GPU which I included in my BTO Mac.

It turns out that the test wasn’t tough enough to show a difference between the two GPUs:

MacBook Pro late-2013 Discrete GeForce GT 750M 2GB 18.8 seconds
MacBook Pro late-2013 Intel Iris Pro Graphics 1GB 19.2 seconds

I’ve come up with a test that shows the differences between these GPUs and other Macs…

The BruceX benchmark

BruceX is a small Final Cut Pro X XML file that you import into Final Cut Pro. It creates a very short timeline at the highest possible standard resolution that Final Cut can handle: 5120 by 2700 (at 23.975 fps). It uses standard Final Cut generators, titles and transitions. As it uses many layers of complex content, it requires lots of GPU RAM.

The benchmark is based on timing how long a Mac configuration takes to export the project to disk.

To use this import the XML file at

http://Alex4D.com/BruceX_Test.zip

…and time the export of a 5K master file from the timeline.

1. Have both QuickTime player and Final Cut Pro X open at the same time.

3. In Final Cut Pro X, go to ‘Final Cut Pro:Preferences…’ – in the Playback tab make sure ‘Background Render’ is off.

3. Use the ‘File:Import:XML…’ command to import ‘BruceX Test – 5K.fcpxml’ to create a very short but complex 5K project.

4. Click the new ‘BruceX Test – 5K ‘ timeline (this makes the Share command selectable)

5. Export the QuickTime movie by choosing “File:Share:Master File…’

6. In the dialogue box that appears, click the ‘Settings’ Tab

7. In the ‘Video Codec’ section choose a flavour of ‘ProRes’ (this instruction used to require H.264 but this selection caused exports to fail in OS X 10.9 – the version of OS X require by Final Cut Pro X 10.1 and the late 2013 Mac Pro)

8. In the ‘Open With’ section, choose ‘QuickTime Player’

9. Click the ‘Next’ button in the bottom-right of the dialogue box

10. In the Save sheet, choose a name and location for the export – export to your fastest drive connected using your fastest connection.

11. Get your stopwatch ready and time from when you click ‘Save’ until you see the movie open up in QuickTime Player (some testers report that the movie plays as black in some setups – this is likely to be the player having problems with 5K H.264, the movie is probably fine and will work in other players such as VLC)

12. If possible do the export at least three times. Your configuration’s BruceX Score is the average export time in seconds.

BruceX Final Cut Pro X benchmark

These results include those posted at the FCP.co Forum and from BareFeats.com.

The results show that BruceX tests processor power, but also shows that Iris Pro Graphics has some way to go to match a discrete graphics GPU in the new MacBook Pro 15″ with Retina

MacBook Pro late-2013 2.6 Ghz Quad Core i7
16GB 1600 MHz
1 TB SSD
Discrete GeForce GT 750M 2GB GPU
OS X 10.9.0
88 seconds

MacBook Pro late-2013 2.6 Ghz Quad Core i7
16GB 1600 MHz
1 TB SSD
Iris Pro Graphics 1GB GPU
OS X 10.9.0
163 seconds

( To choose which GPU to use for the test on my MacBook Pro, I used gfxCardStatus by Cody Krieger – a Shareware app downloaded from gfx.io )

If you post results in the comments below, I’ll update the graph.

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42 comments
  1. 15-inch, Mid 2012 MBP
    Processor 2.6 GHz Intel Core i7
    Memory 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
    Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M 1024 MB

    My result after the average of three exports: 135 seconds, exporting to a 5400rpm external drive via Thunderbolt. Seems to be right about where it should be according to the other findings, given the drive speed.

    Interesting test.

  2. 53 second average
    Late-2013 27-inch iMac 14,2
    3.5gHz i7
    Memory 32GB 1600 MHz DDR3
    Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4096MB

  3. Ross Hunter said:

    27inch iMac, mid 2011
    3.4ghz Intel i7
    16GB RAM
    AMD Radeon HD6970M
    average time 49:39

  4. qbe said:

    Hackintosh
    Ivy Bridge 4.2GHz
    32GB RAM
    AMD 7970
    time 30.5

    From results two instances are noted. Hack with 660Ti took really long, acording to specs it should be way more powerful than 750m, but that is a hack and i for one know, cannot take it as general rule/basis without broader specimens.

    The second instance worth noting is performance of previous rMBP (early 2012), 750m should be only little faster than 660m, the big difference here is amount of VRAM. This reason is, by my opinion, also hindering Iris Pro in this particular instance, as the test is really complex for GPU and as shown in Anandtech test, when Iris Pro is set on higher detail or resolutions (in games, DirectX or OpenGL, but i assume behaviour should be same in OpenCL), it starts slow down rather fast due to low amount of VRAM (or the whole igpu shared ram system to make things worse)

    As there are no other test except one very easy and one very complex, i assume that for basic stuff with FCP-X Iris Pro is sufficient, but for heavy lifting or other apps nvidia 750m is actually very handy.
    I only assume though, but will wait for more tests (barefeats), as i would love one of the new machines, but I need it only for easy stuff in FCPX, i have desktop for all the heavy lifting. Previous generation rMBP become viable alternative though, which makes the decision harder.

    Thanks for the test and your time Alex4D, much apreciated!

    ps: sorry for my english

  5. qbe said:

    correction in coment above this:

    …750m should be only little faster than 650m,…

  6. Markus Metz said:

    175 sec average on a

    Mac Pro 2 x 2,26 GHz Quad Core (early 2009)
    12 GB RAM
    ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB

  7. MGM said:

    MacbookPro e2011 17″ 16GB NO SSD + THB Display + WD THB Raid

    134sec not so bad..

  8. kulishka said:

    44 seconds
    Mac Pro (Hackintosh)
    Processor 3.89 GHz Intel Core i7
    Memory 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST 20
    Software OS X 10.9 (13A603)
    Intel SSD drive 180GB
    FCPX 10.0.9

  9. Johnny said:

    Wow. Is there something wrong with my Mac?
    Took 1hr 14m 03s to complete!

    15″ MacBook Pro 2.4 i5 (mid 2010)
    8gb 1067 ddr3
    750gb internal hdd (5400)
    Mac OS X 10.7.5 (11G63)
    FCPX 10.0.8

    My ram is maxed out, other than adding an ssd, looks like I need a new Mac, right?

  10. Tim said:

    27″ iMac 2.66 i5 (late 2009)
    16 Gb RAM @ 1067 MHz DDR3
    ATI Radeon HD 4850 512 MB
    HDD 1Tb (270 Gb free space)
    Mavericks OS
    FCP X 10.0.9

    Time: 3 minutes 2 seconds

  11. animatola said:

    Here are my results, all with Mavericks 10.9.0, FCPX 10.0.9 and rendered to SSD.

    MacPro 2008 8x 2,8GHz
    20GB RAM
    NVidia GTX 570 2560MB
    Time: 110 seconds

    MacBook Pro Early 2011 i7 2,3GHz
    16GB RAM
    ATI 6750M 1024MB
    Time: 160 seconds

    Old Hackintosh Intel i5-760 3.8GHz
    8GB RAM 1600MHz
    ATI 6870 1024MB
    Time: 93 seconds

    I tested my new Hackintosh with different GPU configurations:

    Hackintosh Intel i7 4770K 4,3GHz
    32GB RAM 2133MHz

    Internal Graphics Iris Pro, Intel HD4600:
    Time: 138 seconds

    Intel HD4600 + ATI R9 280x (single and dual)
    Time: 53-62 seconds

    Single ATI R9 280x (HIS IceQ Boost Clock) Internal GPU disabled
    Time: 26 seconds

    Dual ATI R9 280x (HIS IceQ + Gigabyte Windforce 3x OC Rev.2) Internal GPU disabled
    Time: 22 seconds

    Interesting to see that FCPX doesn’t scale very well with multiple GPUs (yet). Especially with enabled Intel HD everything is bottlenecked by the internal graphics (at least on my Hackintosh). LuxMark on the other hand scales much better:
    Scene: Sala (Medium Benchmark)
    1x ATI 2260-2440
    2x ATI 4670
    2x ATI + Intel = 4900

    But I guess that’ll change with OSX 10.9.1 and FCPX 10.1 with support for the new mac pro.

  12. Interesting…
    Working with a Hackintosh
    Intel 4.2 GHz Core i7
    32 GB Ram 1600MHz DDR3
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 2048 MB

    Time: 68 seconds
    *however* the output file is just a blank black video….

    Any thoughts on what may be happening here? I was wondering if there any settings I may have missed…
    Generally runs well but I’ve felt that the render of the regular vids I’ve been working on has been slow… That said they are still coming out perfect, so I am scratching my head why the BruceX vid is blank

    Any help or suggestions is always appreciated.

    Dr George

  13. Ben said:

    iMAC 27″ Late 2012 (3,4 GHZ Intel Core i7 “Ivy Bridge”)
    Mavericks 10.9.1
    FCP 10.1

    RAM: 32 Go 1600 MHZ DDR3
    GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX 2048Mo

    on LaCie 7200 RPM (FW800): 75 seconds
    on internal drive (Fusion SSD 128 Mo and HD 3TO 7200 RPM): 74 seconds

  14. Ben said:

    The test doesn’t work with H.264 export (error message from FCPX, whatever the player is)
    Works with PRORES 422

    • Terry said:

      The same happens to me. I googled for the error code (-12348) but nobody has an answer.
      On ProRes 422(HQ) 1 min 24 sec.
      iMac 27″: 3,4 GHz Intel Core i7; 24 GB 1600 MHz DDR3; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX 2048 MB
      external HDD : LaCie 3TB, 7200rpm, Thunderbolt.

  15. Yep, it really seems like AMD cards have a massive advantage on OpenCL. I have a GTX 670 and it also seemed very slow compared to some very similar cards on the AMD side (I’m thinking about the 7950, maybe 7970, which are about as fast as the GTX 670/GTX 760. I went NVIDIA because of CUDA acceleration in AE and other 3D stuff and mostly due to better support with Hackintoshes. I always knew OpenCL on AMD was WAYYY better, but I’m still quite shocked by the result..

    My specs:
    4.2 GHz i7 3770k
    16GB 1866 MHz RAM
    Samsung 840 EVO 500GB
    Zotac GTX 670 AMP! 2GB (this card is one of the best 670s, quicker than a lot of 680s. Also a bit faster than the GTX 760)

    Time: 65 seconds

  16. So to make a closer test the mac mini’s tested should have a 7200rpm drive or SSD, I believe and this is an educated guess that part of the disparity in the graph above isn’t JUST the video card but also writing the render results/cache to disk on a 5400 rpm drive

  17. sandro said:

    iMac 2009
    Core i7 2,8 GHz
    8 gb Ram
    ATI Radeon HD 4850 512 Mo
    HDD intern

    Time : 216s…

    OUCH ! Time to get a new Mac Pro ;)

  18. Twig said:

    Thanks for this test! Unfortunately I’m echoing what Ben said, for me this export won’t work in H.264. I can get it to work on PRORES 422 with no problem but that doesn’t help me judge against every one else’s benchmarks.

    I made sure other projects will export on H.264 and trashed and reloaded the BruceX XML file and tried again but got the same results:

    “Share Failed”
    The share operation “Master File” has failed.
    The operation could not be completed because an error occurred while exporting (error -12348).

    Shucks. This was exactly the test I was looking for. If anyone has any suggestions I’d love to hear them.

    MBP 17in, Early 2011
    2.2 GHz i7
    16 GB 1333 DDR3 RAM
    AMD Radeon HD 6750M 1024 MB
    Mavericks 10.9
    FCPX 10.1

    For what it’s worth I went through a dozen threads on how to fix export problems. As far as I can tell this is project specific as I can export other H.264 projects.

  19. tonykambo said:

    Mac Pro Quad Core 2 x 2.66 GHz (2006 model)
    16 GB RAM
    ATI Radeon HD 4770 1024 MB
    3 x 500 GB Striped RAID Set (Blackmagic Disk Speed Test reports 150.7 MB/s Write and 167.8 MB/s Read)
    Final Cut Pro X
    Mac OS X 10.7.5 (can’t upgrade!)

    3 minutes 9 seconds

    My MacBook Pro 15″ Mid 2009 2.7 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 8 GB RAM and NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT 512MB wouldn’t even render it out, Final Cut Pro X would stop after 20 seconds and report an error.

    Time for an upgrade?

  20. Moridin said:

    I tried to run this on the newest Mac Pro late 2013, maxed out with 12-cores, 64 GB’s of RAM and 1 TB SSD + D700 and I got an error. FCPX was at the newest version too.

    Ideas?

    • Alex said:

      Thanks for trying – it is a bug in 10.1.1 – people who have upgraded have been exporting as ProRes instead

  21. Moridin said:

    I’m guessing exporting to ProRes is not comparable to H.264?

  22. Moridin said:

    Got my buddy to run it on a Hackintosh:

    i7-4770K @ 4.6/4.5/4.4/4.4 (1/2/3/4 cores) GHz
    32 GB RAM
    Asus R280X
    2x Kingston HyperX 3K 480GB in RAID 0

    25 secs.

  23. Moridin said:

    I ran it on my iMac too:

    iMac11,1 (late 2009)
    i7 2.8 GHz
    12 GB RAM
    Kingston HyperX 240GB

    • Moridin said:

      Dammit forgot the result.

      2 mins, 26 secs = 266 secs.

      • Barry said:

        146 seconds.

  24. I’m getting this error.. The operation could not be completed because an error occurred while exporting (error -12348).

    • Alex said:

      Due to bugs in 10.1.X concerning H.264 BruceX results are for ProRes export for now.

      • Apple ProRes 422 HQ – 27 seconds –

        Apple Mac Pro 6 core / D500 / 512Gb SSD / 32Gb ram

  25. Flokoloni said:

    150 seconds. 2 mins and 30 seconds on Macbook Pro Retina 13 Inch, Late 2013, 16gb Ram. For me good enough!

  26. kic said:

    2010 Mac Pro 3.33 GHZ 6 core, 12 GB RAM.

    Geforce 680 (4GB RAM): 1 minute 47 seconds
    Radeon 7950 (3GB RAM): 41 seconds
    Dual R9 280X (3GB RAM each): 28 seconds

    Not too shabby for an old machine. Definitely not as fast as the hackintoshes with 280Xs, but I’m not complaining.

  27. 2013 Mac Pro
    Processor 3,5 GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon E5
    Memory 32 GB 1867 MHz DDR3 ECC
    Graphics AMD FirePro D700 6144 MB
    Software OS X 10.9.2 (13C64)
    G-Raid 8TB Thunderbolt

    11 seconds :))

    Better than hackintosh….

  28. rarus@talktalk.net said:

    3930K @ 4.5Ghz
    32GB RAM
    GTX 770 4GB
    HyperX SSD
    OS: 10.9.2

    80 Seconds! Very disappointed.

  29. Richard said:

    17.04 Seconds. Hackintosh

    4930K @ 4.5Ghz
    R9 280X x 2
    32Gb Ram
    10.9.2

  30. Russell said:

    27-inch Mid-2010 iMac
    Processor 2.93 GHz 4-Core Intel Core i7
    Memory 12 GB 1333 MHz DDR3
    Graphics ATI Radeon HD 5750 1024 MB
    OS: 10.9.2

    Used Internal 2TB 7200RPM Hitachi for export

    71 seconds

  31. Ryan McIntyre said:

    2009 Mac Pro
    Processor 2 x 2.26 GHz Quad- Core
    Memory 8GB 1066MHz DDR3
    Graphics: 2 x Geforce Gtx 560ti 1024MB each
    OSX: 10.9.3
    FCP 10.1.1
    Wrote to SSD

    Average Time: 100 seconds

  32. Custom Built Hackintosh dual Radeon 7950 3GB I7-3930k OC to 4.4

    20.48 sec

  33. woolooo said:

    Hello !
    Testing my new Hackintosh i7 3770k@4.4ghz + MSI R9 280x 3Gb
    OSX 10.9.3 – FCPX 10.1.1
    export ProRes (tried with two different ones, same results)
    time : 29 seconds !

  34. 2008 Mac Pro (3,1); 2 x 2.8 GHz Xeon, 16GB RAM, twin Radeon 5770’s
    FCP 10.1.1, OS 10.9.3
    Export to SSD
    38 secs

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