I would like to purchase a 2010 Mac Pro for FCPX. Any suggestions in what I need? at DVinfo.net

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Old February 17th, 2014, 03:33 PM   #1
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I would like to purchase a 2010 Mac Pro for FCPX. Any suggestions in what I need?

Would you recommend eight or twelve cores? Is the speed that important? How much memory? I read so much conflicting information. Sites that say anything over eight cores isn't worth it. Or you should only use six out of the eight memory slots. Or a single 3.33 quad core is better than 2.4 with eight cores.

I know I will probably need to buy a newer video card, any recommendations?

I will be editing 1920x1080 60p either 35Mbps MPEG4 or 28Mbps AVCHD. Typically a single camera. Rarely a multi camera shot.

I have read the minimum requirements for the software. But I know it is better to talk to people that actually use the product.
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Old February 17th, 2014, 06:38 PM   #2
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Re: I would like to purchase a 2010 Mac Pro for FCPX. Any suggestions in what I need

For FCPX, the more cores the better when exporting finished projects or optimizing incoming footage. The program will take advantage of all the processors however there is a point that for you it might be overkill. Compressor can really take advantage of the cores if set-up properly a so if you are expecting to use it often then eight or twelve cores will really save time. Otherwise more than eight cores is a waste and the price jump from eight to twelve cores is high.

More than the number of processors, you should be looking into the video card that comes with the 2010 MacPro. This will really make FCPX shine. With the right video card you will probably be happy with just four cores.
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Old February 18th, 2014, 02:41 AM   #3
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Re: I would like to purchase a 2010 Mac Pro for FCPX. Any suggestions in what I need

William is pretty expert in these things but I'd like to put a plug in for the graphics card. The computer you're talking about should be a good workhorse for quite some time. These are beautiful machines - a Jaguar V-12 comes to mind.

Graphics card thoughts:

1. Give some thought if two monitors will be in your future.

2. More memory on the card is to err on the side of the angles but obviously comes at a price

3. This thread really extols the benefits of the AMD Radeon HD 7970 3 GB graphics card: FCP.co Forum :: Topic: Best graphics card upgrade (1/2) - fcp.co then see post #37383 (about 1/2 way down). After reading this, all I can say is, this would be a very nice card to have.

If time is money then this might be a good investment.
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Old February 18th, 2014, 04:27 AM   #4
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Re: I would like to purchase a 2010 Mac Pro for FCPX. Any suggestions in what I need

My thoughts...

I recently purchased a 2.2GHz 8-core 2010 Mac Pro with 32GB RAM. Coming from a fast Intel i7 Windows desktop, I immediately noticed the Mac Pro was slower/more sluggish in a lot of general-use situations (e-mail, browsing, opening apps, etc). However it REALLY flew through video rendering tasks.

My understanding is that a lot of apps only take advantage of 1 or 2 CPU cores, so in these situations the lower clocked 8/12 core CPUs won't do so well. But for rendering (which takes advantage of multiple cores) the 8/12 core CPU will really shine.

Based on these observations, I'd recommend the 3GHz 6-core model. It's a good compromise between single/multi-threaded performance. Then again, if you only care about rendering, more cores is definitely better.
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Old February 18th, 2014, 06:26 AM   #5
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Re: I would like to purchase a 2010 Mac Pro for FCPX. Any suggestions in what I need

This experience is reflected in the difference between an iMac (or MacBookPro) and the older MacPro computers. In average FCPX use, these "lower quality" computers can outperform the tower MacPro in many common editing tasks but then fall behind when called upon to do power rendering. It really depends on a person's time requirements to complete and deliver a project. Unlike the old FCP, FCPX uses the graphics card heavily for real-time playback and is optimized for the cards that Apple puts in their hardware. Yes, my 2011 4-core MacBookPro can sometimes render effects slightly faster than my 2009 8-core MacPro but when I have to deliver ten different 90 minute programs on BluRay later this month, the MacPro makes these in half the time. The same goes for rendering DCP files for movie theaters. I need to get those out as fast as possible so a MacPro is ideal. Which is why I am impatiently waiting for my new MacPro this month.

My conclusion is, if you can get a six to eight core 2010 MacPro for a decent price and the graphics/video card is already good for FCPX (Apple has a list on their site) or an upgrade card isn't too expensive, plus you are interested in adding eSATA drives or some other PCI slot upgrade, then go for it. Otherwise your money is better spent on a top of the line iMac, a second monitor and some external drives.
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Old February 18th, 2014, 10:37 AM   #6
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Re: I would like to purchase a 2010 Mac Pro for FCPX. Any suggestions in what I need

I would max out the memory as soon as possible. I got the biggest bang for the buck there. GFX card is also a good place to go.
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Old February 18th, 2014, 11:09 PM   #7
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Re: I would like to purchase a 2010 Mac Pro for FCPX. Any suggestions in what I need

That Radeon 7970 definitely looks like the way to go on video card. Just have to figure out if you need to buy the mac version of it.

So William do you think a six core 3.33 GHz would be faster than an 8 or 12 core 2.4 GHz for my purposes? If I were to add a fast video card like the Radeon 7970 to whatever I buy?

What do you know about using six memory instead of eight? I have read that those filling last two slots make little difference. So what is a good amount to have 12 GB, 24 GB, or 48 GB? Where does memory come into to play? Is it how many streams you are editing or is it while rendering?
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Old February 19th, 2014, 03:08 AM   #8
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Re: I would like to purchase a 2010 Mac Pro for FCPX. Any suggestions in what I need

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenlee Brittenum View Post
That Radeon 7970 definitely looks like the way to go on video card. Just have to figure out if you need to buy the mac version of it.

So William do you think a six core 3.33 GHz would be faster than an 8 or 12 core 2.4 GHz for my purposes? If I were to add a fast video card like the Radeon 7970 to whatever I buy?

What do you know about using six memory instead of eight? I have read that those filling last two slots make little difference. So what is a good amount to have 12 GB, 24 GB, or 48 GB? Where does memory come into to play? Is it how many streams you are editing or is it while rendering?
I like this analogy:
Think of RAM as the immediate space around you at your desk. It is covered with documents that you can access very quickly, but there isn't room for much. When the desk runs out of space, any new documents must go in your filing cabinet (the hard drive), which is slower to access but can hold a lot more documents.

So the more RAM you have, theoretically the more apps, videos streams, and documents you can have open at any given time. The operating stores data that is currently being used in the RAM, as it is very quick to access. Once your RAM is full, data must then be swapped out to the hard drive which is a lot slower to access and can cause the system to become sluggish.

Hope that makes sense.

I personally think 32GB is plenty, although if you're doing 3D design work and that kind of thing, more could be useful.
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Old February 19th, 2014, 02:40 PM   #9
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Re: I would like to purchase a 2010 Mac Pro for FCPX. Any suggestions in what I need

Thank you Jody. I do understand the nature of RAM.

However, my question was how and when does FCPX use it? And the issue of using the forth slot in a bank.
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Old February 19th, 2014, 05:08 PM   #10
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Re: I would like to purchase a 2010 Mac Pro for FCPX. Any suggestions in what I need

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenlee Brittenum View Post
Thank you Jody. I do understand the nature of RAM.

However, my question was how and when does FCPX use it? And the issue of using the forth slot in a bank.
My apologies, I misread your post.
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Old February 19th, 2014, 10:49 PM   #11
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Re: I would like to purchase a 2010 Mac Pro for FCPX. Any suggestions in what I need

Strange RAM slot issues I have heard of but not investigated so I can't help you there. I know that when using Compressor or Motion, memory is very important for power use of the applications. For average use you should start at 16Gbs and work up. Multicam is very dependent on drive speed for more cameras. You certainly can get away with four cameras with a FireWire800 drive. After that it is a variety of factors that will throttle you Multi-cam experience. AVCHD file formats can bog down your CPU before the RAM is used up. This is why FCPX allows you to optimize footage at any point during your edit. Optimized footage (it's ProRes format) takes up lots of drive space but is very easy on the CPU.

A six core 3.33 is plenty fast but is not faster than the other computers you mention, in specific instances. In average use, the eight core might feel slower as some programs will only access one CPU or in other words only four cores, the twelve core I don't know. If you buy third-party plug-ins for FCPX you might find that some are not Multi-processor aware and will run slower on the eight core than the six core. In the long run you might not experience much of a difference during a typical edit session. You really should look into the dual CPU models only if you expect to do lots of Motion or Compressor work. The Radeon card will definitely make your life better.
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Old February 20th, 2014, 07:25 AM   #12
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Re: I would like to purchase a 2010 Mac Pro for FCPX. Any suggestions in what I need

Thank you William for your insight it is very helpful.

I am beginning to think I may come out cheaper buying a new 2013 Mac Pro. Then trying to get a good deal on an older model and upgrading it. I was hoping I could get a nice setup for around $2000. But it is looking like I may have been way too hopeful.
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