Review: Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 Mercury Playback Engine NVIDIA CUDA Acceleration - Quadro 4800 Mac

LAFCPUG by David A Saraceno

The Mercury Engine That Could
The performance of any engine is dependent on the sum of its parts. Nothing proves the point more clearly than the engine that powers Adobe’s Premiere CS5 Macintosh. A rebuilt, but familiar Premiere CS5 coalesces three key technologies into the Adobe Mercury Playback Engine to facilitate a powerful editing environment for today’s demanding video codecs. As a 64-bit application, Premiere can access as much RAM as you throw at it. It leverages this 64-bit support and a multi-core, multi-threaded Macintosh to provide native real time editing in a multi-codec timeline. And it utilizes a qualified NVIDIA video card to accelerate encodes, real time previews, and many commonly used filters and plug ins.

I edited native DVCProHD, AVCIntra 100, 1080/60p from a Panasonic TM700, and AVCHD and RED footage at full resolution and without dropped frames in the same timeline -- an impressive feat for those that regularly have this workflow. That’s the good news.

CS5 Premiere Pro Mac ships as a component of the Adobe Production Bundle and less expensively when separately bundled with CS5 onLocation and Encore, Adobe’s DVD/blu-ray™ authoring application.

Mercury Playback Engine. The Mercury Playback Engine (MPE) is not a separate component of Premiere Pro CS5, but represents the sum of its individual parts: 64-bit OS and application, multi-core/threaded hardware, and a NVIDIA GPU utilizing CUDA acceleration.

1. 64-Bit Support. Video editing requires fast, high capacity hard drives and system RAM to hold video frames in memory while editing. These twin demands grow exponentially when you add high definition to the mix, especially for demanding codecs like AVCHD and h.264, and large image sizes like RED. A 64-bit Premiere Pro Mac provides the pipeline to all your system RAM. This frees the other components to do the heavy lifting in the editing process and provides a more stable workflow, especially for large images. 2010 MacPros users will experience the largest performance gains because these desktops support up to 64 GB/s of RAM. Old MacPros with at least 12 GBs of system RAM will also benefit from Premiere’s 64-bit support. Remember, however, that a 64-bit boot of Snow Leopard to required to access these capabilities. Newer 2010 MacPros default to a 64-bit boot, and older MacPros require a manual boot.

2. Multi-core/multi-threaded Macintosh. Premiere Pro CS5 is multi-core aware. It also supports hyper-threading, which allows two video processing threads to run simultaneously on each, actual Mac processor core. Up to twenty-four virtual cores firing on all cylinders are available on some MacPros to uniformly distribute video processing tasks. read more...

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