As part of the launch of the new Mac Pro, Apple introduced a piece of hardware called Apple Afterburner that could be added to the configuration.
Afterburner is a card for the new Mac Pro that is designed for use in video production. Rather than relying on the processor or graphics cards for some tasks, the Afterburner takes over for some tasks, specifically those relating to video processing between formats, freeing up the rest of the system components to perform other tasks.
Afterburner includes over a million logic cells, allowing it to process up to 6.3 billion pixels per second.
The card is built to accelerate ProRes and ProRes RAW codecs, namely the encoding and decoding of the codecs, which is a processing-heavy task in most cases… The card is capable of handling up to three streams of 8K ProRes RAW video simultaneously at 30 frames per second, making it extremely useful for video editors working at the highest possible level. On less demanding video specifications, it is able to work on up to 12 streams of 4K ProRes RAW video at 30 frames per second, or at 4K ProRes 422, up to 16 video streams.
As Afterburner is highly specific in what it can do, the only potential buyers of the card are those in the video editing field… There is also little need to get the card if the user does video editing, but doesn’t use the ProRes or ProRes RAW codecs.
MacDailyNews Take: The card is programmable, meaning new uses could be introduced for it by Apple (think new codecs, perhaps) over time. Craig Federighi more than hinted at such during his interview with John Gruber for The Talk Show this week at WWDC.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]