OSX update kills Mercury Engine

NVIDIA logoSince I'm running Adobe's Premiere Pro as a part of Production Premium CS5.5, I bought an nVidia Quadro 4000 to make sure I take advantage of the CUDA technology and Adobe's Mercury Engine. My platform is a Mac Pro 8 core 2.4GHz with 24GB RAM, which came with an ATI Radeon card that is not supported by Adobe. Apple does not allow upgrades in their custom-built [sic] towers, I had to buy it separately and install the card myself.

I'm shooting DV and HDSLR footage, for which Premiere Pro CS5.5 is a great solution (especially when reading the horrorstories about FCPX) for native editing of both. I shouldn't complain about performance when I can edit HDSLR on this system as if I'm cutting DV footage on a slow pc, but still I'm kind of underwhelmed by Premiere's and nVidia Quadro 4000's performance on this very pricey Mac. But more about this in a later post.

Now, Apple updated OSX to 10.6.8 last week, killing my Quadro's multiple monitor capabilities in one fell click of the magic mouse. After some quick (and admittedly frantic) googling I found out that nVidia had posted new drivers for the card itself and CUDA support. I was surprised that there was no way I was informed automatically about the updated drivers, I think I registered my product with nVidia. Ok, fine, I'll be Dora the intrepid explorer and find out this kind of essential info unguided.

With both drivers freshly installed, I fired up Premiere and started setting up a new project for a little homevideo I did for one of my closest friends of his 7 month old daughter playing and gurgling. I checked all the settings and suddenly discovered that there was no hardware Mercury Engine support. nVidia's forums were no help. I found one post of somebody describing the same problem, but no replies from either nVidia or anybody else. So I posted as well, describing the problems I am experiencing. I kept on searching because I wasn't holding out much hope with regard to the forum and found nVidia's Customer Care Twitter account. I tweeted my troubles at them like a young bird begging for a worm from mama bird.

Today I found out that there is no e-mail when you get a reply on nVidia's forum. Nice. So I didn't know that more people are experiencing the same issues. I did get a tweet back stating "We are working with Adobe to determine the cause of this.". No timeline, no info on how they'll publicize a solution. I'm kind of worried by all of this. nVidia is talking to Adobe about their card not being recognized in Premiere after an update by Apple's OSX. Somehow that just seems wrong. I'm starting to think that maybe, after much deliberation and finally, after years of doubt, deciding upon a Mac Pro, I bet on the wrong platform. Please prove me wrong and get this fixed a.s.a.p.?


Did Apple do this on purpose to try and put Adobe in a bad place?
Because they can see how many are moving over to Adobe Premiere 5.5, it looks like an easy code to just destroy parts of the support for Adobe and make them look like a "no-go" on a mac.

I smell corporate warfare and Apple shooting their own foot again.
Would love some insider to spill the beans on this thing, would become a nice little fleshy story on top of this FCPX shit.

Marcus Moonen's picture

Actually Chris, I've had thoughts along the same lines. I'm usually not one for conspiracies, but the way things are playing out with FCPX, I find myself entertaining these conjectures for a few moments.

I do however doubt that Apple would purposely do something to harrass specific Adobe users, you have to realize, we're only talking about Premiere Pro users that have a nVidia Quadro card installed. It seems too specific to be anything nefarious on their part.

Lots of people edit on other graphic boards, it seems to be specifically nVidia cards that are affected. Although I've heard from @richlackey that because of the nVidia dependency Da Vinci Resolve also is affected. To me this just signals bad communication between Apple, Adobe and nVidia. If there's animosity between those three I don't think it goes much further in terms of effects on users than occasional f-ups like these. =)

Nvidia and Adobe are investigating this.

We'll keep folks posted on this thread:

We've also seen reports that other programs, such as Davinci Resolve, are affected by the 10.6.8 update.

Marcus Moonen's picture

Thank you Todd for the quick reply. Very nice to see you guys are at least pro-active in letting users know what's going on. Hope you figure out what is causing this soon!

Build a PC with Windows OS. Problem sovled...

This is always been trouble Marcus. That's why your Mac goes crazy when you go to YouTube.. flash is a Adobe thing.

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