I have just started examining Red's software, in advance of a camera purchase, and was curious about ProRes transcode times, as I've read so much, often negative, commentary on this. I spend my professional life examining Mac OS X apps, and I have to say I have been very pleasantly surprised.
I did this short examination based on my particular work-flow needs (using ProRes422 rather than 422(HQ) for example) so it is an entirely selfish study. Your mileage and the relevance of this to you might vary.
I absolutely have to be able to transcode 4K to ProRes422 in the field, and bought the fastest MacBook Pro I could, the optional 2.93ghz 17". The OS is currently 10.5.8 and is installed on the stock 7200rpm 2.5" drive.
Alongside the MBP, I've build a small portable RAID that is connected via the Expresscard slot. This consists of two chinese made enclosures branded Supabox, which have a build-in RAID chip-set. These allow me to RAID 0 two drives in each and then RAID 0 both of them together, effectively allowing me to RAID four 2.5" drives on one two-port eSata card without needing a port replicator (everything I am doing is geared towards a set-up that I can hike into the Himalayas, Andes etc., so every little box and doodat, every power supply (and a redundant copy of each) needs to be thought about.
I'm going to need to work at extreme altitudes and I'm just not liking the performance stats that I am seeing from many SSDs right now. That will improve over time but for now I am using 80GB 5400rpm Seagate EE.25 high altitude SATA drives. These are the only rotational 2.5" drives that are currently made for extreme altitudes and conditions, and I have successfully used them at 17,100ft (which is actually above the stated rating).
Using AJA's System Test, and benchmarking the disk Read?Write with a 2GB 2048x1556 10bit RGB simulation, I get a stable 160MB/s write and a slightly slower 150MB/s Read.
For my first transcode test (and please be kind, because this is my first test and my first post - no warranty implied) I took the 4K .R3D file from here: http://www.ramjetfilms.com/peter/BIL...01_1125JE.RDC/ placed it on my portable RAID and performed a standard ProRes422 transcode using v.21.0.0 of Red Alert.
I was very surprised at how well this system performed. It's a small 10 second clip of course but it chewed through it in a touch over 2 minutes. Time is money of course but I was expecting much, much worse on anything less than a RED Rocket™™ equipped 8-Core Nehalem.
This was so much better than I though, that I can't help but think I must be doing something wrong. I'd be grateful for any feedback or questions. I'd also be grateful for access to any larger test files, so I can do some more tests.