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Will your creative software run on the Mac Pro 2013?

Neil Bennett | June 12, 2013
Featuring a radical design, new CPUs and – especially – new graphics chips, the likes of Adobe, Autodesk and The Foundry will need to update some of their tools for the new Mac Pro.

Non-post-production-specific tools such as Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign et al are not affected.

The Foundry's NukeX 7.0, which adds GPU acceleration to the standard Nuke edition, requires an Nvidia card. Again, we've reached out the The Foundry and will update this story when they respond, Some GPU-accelerated third-party plug-ins, such as GenArts Sapphire, also require a CUDA-supporting Nvidia graphics card.

The Foundry has also used the launch of the Mac Pro to announce a Mac version of its Mari 3D painting application, due later this year.

For the other key Mac-based editing systems, Avid's Media Composer 6.5 - and the forthcoming 7 - and Autodesk Smoke 2013 use OpenGL only, while Apple's own Final Cut Pro X uses OpenCL for GPU-accelerated effects (so works with both AMD and Nvidia boards).

For 3D artists, certification seems to be the only issue. Autodesk's Maya 2014 is certified on the Mac for NVidia Quadro cards only - but AMD chips, such as those in the 2011 MacBook Pros, do work. While Maya can tap CUDA for specific tasks - such as to accelerate rendering - this isn't core to the product.

Cinema 4D includes no hardware brand-specific functionality.

Where companies will have to expend more effort to optimise their software for the new Mac Pro is in that it has two graphics chips. For example, while Premiere Pro CC's Mercury Engine can tap both GPUs for video encoding and output, it can't for real-time video effects. We will update this story as more information becomes available.


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