There's been a lot of anecdotal evidence on various discussion forums about the Avid Pro Tools Video Engine's (AVE) performance on Mac OS-X versus Windows, particularly with BlackMagic hardware.
For my recent view of the Non Lethal Applications Video Slave 2, I borrowed a BlackMagic Mini Monitor Thunderbolt to use with my MacBook Pro.
This gave me a great opportunity to compare the Avid Video Engine performance using this hardware on Mac OS-X, with the equivalent hardware on Windows, and also to compare the Avid Video Engine performance with other video playback software.
The Hardware - Windows
My Windows rig is running Pro Tools 12.4HD on Windows 10 Pro, outputting through a BlackMagic Mini Monitor PCIe, with driver version 10.4.
The Hardware - Mac
My MacBook Pro is running Pro Tools 12.4HD on OS-X 10.10.5, outputting through a BlackMagic Mini Monitor Thunderbolt, with driver version 10.6.
Using identical media on both platforms, these were the results...
OS-X 10.10.5 With Pro Tools 12.4HD
I have to say this is pretty appalling, and much the same as earlier Pro Tools Expert tests with this hardware.
- Sync 4.2 frames / -168ms
- Drift - 1.82 frames
Windows 10 With Pro Tools 12.4HD
This is much better, and backs up my own experience to date.
- Sync 0.2 frames / +8ms
- Drift +0.21 frames
All BlackMagic's Fault?
However, the real shocker was when I closed Pro Tools on my Mac and fired up Video Slave 2 (by Non Lethal Applications). These were results playing the same media through the same hardware and drivers as Pro Tools.
- Sync 0.35 frames / +14ms
- Drift +0.35 frames
As you can see these are far better, and more in line with the Windows rig performance, and indeed AJA hardware on OS-X. However Video Slave 2 does not yet support AJA hardware, so I couldn't do that test.
Is that Black Magic Missing?
So, does the Avid Video Engine on Mac have an issue with BlackMagic drivers?
This test would seem to indicate that it's not BlackMagic's drivers to blame, as has been often said. The fact that non Avid software can seem to work with the BlackMagic drivers without the issues users of the Avid Video Engine encounter, would seem to back this up.
Maybe it's an issue with Thunderbolt? I've previously had good results with a BlackMagic Mini Monitor PCIe on Pro Tools 10HD OS-X, but am not able to replicate that setup here. But it is the same hardware and same Thunderbolt connection using the Video Slave 2 as with the Avid Video Engine, so maybe it's an issue with Avid and Thunderbolt?
What have you found?