New Computer for 6 x projectors

Hey,

I'm looking for a strong computer and hardware setup which is capable of running 2 x 1080p projectors, 4 x 720p projectors and possibly an operator screen for running the show with Millumin.

Content likely on 1080 resolution on as many layers as posibble.

All frame syncked and hopefully on smooth 60fps. System also needs to be steady as it comes for a live event with long performance period.

What would you recommend?

Macmini with eGPU or/and Datapath? New MacPro? Something else?

Thank you for your responses!


Comments

  • Hello @Pixel,

    If you want 6 x framesync outputs, the best solution is to buy a MacPro 2019 (or build a Hackintosh) and use 2 x Blackmagic Decklink 8K Pro synchronized together via external sync-signal (with Blackmagic Sync Generator for example).
    We hope to share out testing about Decklink 8K Pro soon (it takes a lot of time to run so many tests and optimizations).

    About the MacMini + eGPU + multiple FX4 : I wrote an article about it here.
    This requires more testing but we had very good results.

    Best. Philippe
  • edited May 8
    Hey Philippe,

    Thank you for your response. Do you have any experiences on different graphic cards Apple is offering for MacPro? At the moment I'm thinking about AMD Radeon Pro W5700X, but the computer is starting to become pricey.

    Blackmagic Decklink 8K pro sounds very interesting. I could possibly develop this set up towards it. Still at the moment cables are cat6 with extenders and VGA. I also have Datapath HX4. Maybe that could be useful?

    Previously I've had some issues when plugging projectors with different resolutions to one computer but I still hope to use these older 1280 x 800 projectors as they offer nice possibilities combined with new 1920 x 1200 ones.

    Best regards.
  • edited May 10
    Hello @Pixel,

    Since you did not provide info about the budget, I gave my advice about the "best" solution.
    Yes, the MacPro is pricey, despite this is a very good machine. Keep in mind that you can upgrade it yourself : for exemple, you can replace the GPU by another one, such as a Radeon RX Vega 56 that is very affordable and powerful.

    But there is another approach that is far more affordable : Thunderbolt 3 chassis.
    For example, you could use a Decklink 8K Pro inside such a chassis : however, the maximum outputs you can get is 2 x 4K@60 because of the Thunderbolt 3 bandwidth (instead of 4 x 4K@60 in a MacPro 2019 or Hackintosh). But this is already enough for your usage.
    The Datapath HX4 is HDMI only, so not very useful with the Decklink 8K Pro (SDI only). You would rather need a Teranex Mini 12G-SDI to Quad SDI for example, to split one SDI-12G into 4 x SDI-3G.

    Best. Philippe
  • Hey Philippe,

    "Best solution" is something I'm also looking for so MacPro sounds actually very good option.

    Radeon RX Vega 56 seems to be out of stock in most of the places. Any other GPU recommendations? (budget hopefully below 1000€)

    Decklink 8K Pro could be useful for live cameras as well?

    Best regards


  • If I'll get Radeon Pro 580X with MacPro when buying it will I have any use for it with better GPU bought separately? Could it run the operator screen for Millumin for example?

    Best regards
  • Hello @Pixel,

    I did not test the Gigabyte AORUS Radeon RX 5700 XT 8G, but I should do in the next weeks. Your can get it for around 500€.
    Note it has 6 outputs :
    - 3 x DisplayPort 1.4 (enough for 4K@60)
    - 1 x HDMI 2.0 (enough for 4K@60)
    - 2 x HDMI 1.4 (at max 4K@30)


    The Decklink 8K Pro can output, as well as capturing : each 12G-SDI port is bi-directional.


    Lastly, about using multiple graphic cards : this is something we do not recommend, because of hardware/technical limitations. More info on this post.

    Best. Philippe
  • Hey Philippe,

    Any thoughts about recent news about mac changing processors?

    How was the Gigabyte AORUS Radeon RX 5700 XT 8G?

    Best regards
  • Hello @Pixel,

    I tested the Gigabyte AORUS Radeon RX 5700 XT 8G, and it worked fine on a eGPU. However, it requires macOS Catalina 10.15 minimum to get proper drivers on macOS.
    The performances seem to be a bit above the Radeon RX Vega 56 but I did compare the 2 cards with Geekbench yet.

    About Apple going ARM : it's too soon to get the whole picture.
    So far, it's not a surprise, and since Apple developed a very high expertise in ARM chips, at least from a pure technical point-of-view, it looks very promissing. Indeed, the latest iPad Pro embed a A12Z which is very powerful while staying heat efficient. If Apple brings such advantages to Mac in comparison to less efficient Intel chips, it's a good thing. Let's wait and see.

    Best. Philippe
  • Hi Pixel, just want to share some experience.

    I have been using millumin for theatre AV work, on a production with 4 x 1920x1080 on a HP8300 hackingtosh with nvidia 1050ti on sierra..  we where on tight budget :-)  but I was so surprised how well all worked.  and we used pro res Lt codec. 
    very nice workflow that we could export timeline and use Millumin as a video render option to keep artistic process open without to much hassel when things need to be adopted. I could have let more video edits run live but since there was not much live manipulation of content  i like to play it safe and render most edits for later playback only -and not stress the "old hack to much" 

    Comming production i got an HpZ620 6 core xeon 1650v2 (64Gb ram) used sale at 300 euro im running catalina with an Asus matrix 7970 i have run tests using 8 projectors total resolution 15360x1080 on that card using 4 dualhead2go . playing from hap codec at very low cpu ussage.  its not frame sync, but for many applications i don't find it a problem i don't see any flamming... maybe because lots of my content is rendered as one big resolution that is sliced onto many projectors later on.

    A new killer machine will run really well I can imagine.. when an old machine can perform as i experienced :-)

    cheers jeppe c.



  • Hey Philippe, 

    Following the thread I have the following doubt: For the next project I need 4x 4k outputs reproducing 4 layers of 4k + 4 layers HD with the best possible quality ( I understand that I will use ProRes) , and 1 output 1920x1080 for control. I am considering the following setup: 

    Macpro 2019: 
    Xeon W 12 Cores 
    48GB Ram
    1x Radeon Pro W5700X
    1x 256 GB SSD ( for system )
    1x Sonnet’s M.2 4×4 PCIe Card + 4x Samsung EVO 970 M.2 SSDs ( for media ) 

    This configuration will work well ? 
    If I connect the 4 4k outputs to the direct outputs of the W5700X will they be frame sync with each other? 

    Thank you very much for your advice. 




  • Hello @ibox,

    This is just my opinion, but I do think this setup will be sufficient. For info about how the displays can be connected, see this note from Apple (in brief, you can connect up to 6 x 2160p60 displays).

    If you really want to use ProRes-422, the AfterBurner card may help to decode such moviies better. But the codec HAP would be a good alternative (the AfterBurner will not help to decode HAP, since it is only useful for ProRes family).

    However, frame-sync is no guaranteed as specialized hardware is required for this purpose. But this setup may be frame-sync 99% of the time : if you have some time to test this out, thank you for sharing the results here. On my side, I had very good result with an eGPU Radeon RX Vega 56 (I filmed with a
    For guaranteed frame-sync, I think the best option is to use a Decklink 8K Pro (SDI outputs). The latest drivers feature an option to synchronize the 4 SDI outpus all internally (no need of a Blackmagic Sync Generator any more). Please contact us know if you go this way, we will send you a special version with this option activated.

    Best. Philippe
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