Ryan E. Walters, Cinematographer

Cinematic Excellence at 24 Frames a Second

Getting The Most From CS6, DaVinci, & Your Mac Pro


Would you be interested in a more powerful setup then the Quadro 4000 and saving $221? How about not having to spend $4,750 on a Red Rocket Card to play back your Epic or Scarlet footage in real time? Well, then this little quick tip is for you - you really can have your cake and eat it too ...

[UPDATE - 07/31/2012 - At the bottom of this article you will find: How To Use With After Effects & OS 10.8 Update.]

With Apple's non-announcement and failure to update their lineup of Mac Pro's on June 11th, it is time to make sure your are getting the most out of your Mac Pro. I was turned onto this very helpful and affordable upgrade by my editor friend William Schultz - so I have him to thank. For a long time, I've had my eye on the Quadro 4000, and also on the Red Rocket Card, but as I really only use my Mac Pro for my personal projects, and my Tutorial Videos, I have never been able to justify the cost. So I have been looking for a solution that will allow me to get the most out of my Mac Pro at a price point that is more in keeping with the work that I do on my computer. Besides, the heavy lifting should be left to the pro's in the edit suite- that's what they get paid for & why they are there.

If you follow these steps, your system will have 480 CUDA cores, which is almost double the 256 cores in the Quadro 4000, and you should be able to play back a 1/2 res debayer of your Epic & Scarlet footage in Adobe CS6 without much effort. (No need to spend almost $5k on that extra card that only works with one file type.) And if you are grading using Davinci Resolve you should notice a performance bump. (I appreciated the increased speed I go over my default graphics card.)


Here is what you need to make this happen:
- Mac Pro 2008 or later. (Model 3,1 / 4,1 / 5,1 or later, running OS 10.7.3 or later)
[HIGHLY Recommend 4,1 / 5,1 or later as Resolve's performance is limited by 3,1]
- Nvidia GTX 570 & GT120 Package From MacVidCards ($589)
- Nvidia Driver for 10.7.4
- OpenCL Fix, which is on the front page. (I'm not super geeky, so I used another workaround explained below.)

Here is how you make it happen:
- Remove you original graphics card, and install the GTX570 & GT120 according to the handy instructions provided by MacVidCards. (They are helpful guys. :) )

- Update your drivers to the latest version.

- Now you are all good to go for DaVinci. But you need to do a couple more steps for CS5 / CS6.

- Navigate to where Premiere is installed on your hard drive and Right Click. Then choose "Show Package Contents"
(This is the non-super geeky way of doing it. Thanks again to William Schultz for showing me how. If you're into typing code, then follow the link to the OpenCL Fix. Best of luck to you- it is beyond my understanding.)  

- Using Test Edit, open the file "cuda_supported_cards.txt" in the folder "Contents". Now add the following cards to the list: GeForce GTX 570, and GeForce GT 120. Then save and close the file.

- Now when you launch Premiere you should have the following option to use the Mercury Playback engine.

Life just got a whole lot quicker, and easier. All for less money! That is a great way to start the week. :)

I should also note, that these two cards are not officially supported by Adobe CS5 / CS6. That doesn't mean that they don't work, just that this configuration has not been tested and certified by Adobe. So use at your own risk. I have been happily using this setup for a couple of weeks without any issues, but your milage may vary.

UPDATE - 07/09/2012 - OpenCL Fix for OS 10.7.4:

Please read all the steps all the way through before attempting. I make no promises, or guarantees. This has worked for me, but your milage may vary.

With the update from OS 10.7.3 to 10.7.4 Apple disabled the GTX 570 (thanks Apple ...) from being recognized as compatible with OpenCL. What this means is that if you have updated to 10.7.4, you will find a lack of performance in programs that take advantage of that architecture. Fortunately people WAY smarter then I could ever hope to be, have figured out a work around. Unfortunately, their jargon, and a lot of basic assumptions on basic knowledge is beyond my understanding, so the first time I looked at their solution, I passed on it as it was over my head.

Having been motivate by Jason Wingrove, I have since returned to that endeavor to squeeze everything I can out of this setup. It took me about half a day to figure this out and get it working. Hopefully this will help you make quick work of the OpenCL Fix. If you are very technically inclined with software, then you can just skip straight to the directions on this site. But for those of us who need a little more, I've taken those steps and included screen shots below:

- Download the following Apps & Drivers:
- OpenCL Demo (An app to test out OpenCL - not needed to install the workaround. There may be better testing apps out there. This is just the first one I came across, more about it here.)

[UPDATE 07/11/2012- I have been informed that some of the links are not working any longer to some of the programs above. (Even though they worked a couple of days ago ...) If the link is not working for you, you can download the Applications Here. You will still need to visit the Nvidia site to get the latest drivers.]

- Make sure you are on 10.7.4, and that you have downloaded and installed the Nvidia drivers linked to above prior to continuing any further. (As stated by the original article, this is important to do.)

- Navigate to: /System/Library/Extensions/GeForceGLDriver.bundle and then drag a copy to your desktop. (Hold down the Option button as you drag.)

- Right click on the bundle on your desktop and create a duplicate copy of this file. The copy will be your backup / original file. So DO NOT LOOSE IT, or delete it. If things go wrong, you'll use this file to replace the one we are modifying.

- Right click on the original bundle (The one that does NOT have copy in its name) and choose Show Package Contents.

- Navigate to Contents/MacOS/GeForceGLDriver

- Launch HexEdit, and navigate to the GeForceGLDriver that you just found in the step above. (Make SURE this is the original file, not the copy you made.) Click Open.

- Once open, go to Find, and then choose Find & Replace. In the find box enter: EB A8 83 F8 02 . In the replace with box enter EB A8 83 F8 03 . In the matching area, choose Hex, and then hit Replace All,

- Then save the file and quit out of the program. This might generate a GeForceGLDriver~ file. If it does, drag this file to the trash and delete it. You can now close the finder window that contains your now modified file.

- Before continuing any further, I offer this warning that I have pulled from the original article: "If you are convinced that this is beyond you, I predict that you will find a way to mess it up, despite being clever enough, the subconscious is a scary thing." It is my hope that this tutorial will help you navigate everything easily. But you are playing with important files. So proceed with caution. :)

- Now launch Kext Helper and drag your modified bundle into the main window / box. Enter in your admin password and click Easy Install. A popup asks you to confirm that you want to install the kext(s) - click OK. And after it does it's thing, a confirmation window will appear letting you know it was successful. You should now be able to quit the application. However, it doesn't always like to close, so you may have to force quit.

- Before you restart, you need to repair permission, which you can do using Disk Utility, selecting your main hard drive, and clicking on Repair Disk Permissions. After this is complete, you can restart your system.


- If you ran the OpenCL Demo at the start of this process, you can now run it again, and you should see a marked improvement, and the ability to access the 570. It should be noted, that there does seem to be some inconsistency with the test / demo results, and it is not known why this is - even though everything is working. Now Resolve is working a lot better on my system thanks to this "fix".

As I previously stated, I am not a software guru. The extent of my knowledge on this "fix" has been laid out here to benefit you and I know nothing more then what I just shared. I know just enough to be dangerous ... If you are having problems with it I recommend checking out the original article to see if there is any further help or asking the people on those boards for guidance. Now we'll just have to wait and see what happens when OS 10.8 is released. Hopefully, Apple will be more open and not automatically lock out other graphics cards - but I'm not going to hold my breath ...

UPDATE - 07/31/2012 - How To Use With After Effects:
I have to thank Kevin Dooley for passing along this tip. :) If you want to get the same performance boost out of After Effects, you need to "Show The Package Contents" of After Effects and modify the raytracer_supported_cards.txt file by adding your cards to the list just like I described above. Once you have done this, After Effects will now use your newly installed Nvidia cards.

UPDATE - 07/31/2012 - Updating to OS 10.8 (Mountain Lion):
I tend to be very conservative when it comes to upgrading to the latest OS. (I only upgraded to Lion back in April of this year.) So my general guidance is to wait and let all of the bugs get sorted out, and let everyone get their drivers up to date before installing. However, for those of you who are much braver then I am, here is what you need to do to get CS6 and Resolve to recognize your cards in Mountain Lion (OS 10.8). (While I have not tried this solution on my own machine, I know it works after having helped some people trouble shoot the issue and get it working on their machines.)

For CS6 & Resolve
- Update the NVidia Driver to 5.0.17 (Or the latest driver that supports 10.8)

For Resolve
- If you had Resolve version 9 installed prior to upgrading to 10.8, you will need to reinstall it after you upgrade. Otherwise you will get the error "Failed to initialize Digital Powerhouse with the configured number of decoders.". It seems that this is not a new occurrence, as it happened when Lion came out in July of 2011.

SIDE NOTE:
I've heard anecdotally that there is a big performance difference between the 2.5gb and 1.2gb version of the 570. I have, and I recommend the 2.5gb version - everything is humming along very smoothly with this card.  

Until Next Time, Get Out There And Shoot!
Ryan E. Walters, Cinematographer



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