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Old May 16th, 2016, 12:48 PM   #1
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Current state of mac hardware

My PowerMac 2009 is on the old side but still does what I need but I was thinking of upgrading the video card. I've research the compatible cards for my system my only question is what will it actually improve the speed of. Btw I already have solid state drive. I mainly do simple cuts, transitions, exposure adjustments, exports, etc. I've notices when I'm working with a long timeline and I'm doing audio adjustments and lots of chapter markers it can get sluggish. I'm wondering if a faster video card will make much of a difference since I don't use effects.

I was also curious about the hardware options are since they've discounted the powermac line and gone to the garbage can design which I'm not to crazy about. I know there are iMac but is that a step down from a powermac even though the processor are newer.
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Old May 16th, 2016, 04:54 PM   #2
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

To answer your question, no. What you can run on that Powermac is a single-threaded variety of NLEs, and none of which could really take advantage of a GPU. In fact, any GPU you could possibly add to a Motorola chipset based Powermac will probably not be much of an upgrade.

It will help you in rendering, but if you want to continue using old software, you will be on El Capitan with a new Mac and that might make staying put software-wise difficult.
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Old May 16th, 2016, 05:09 PM   #3
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

It's an Intel quad core
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Old May 16th, 2016, 05:11 PM   #4
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

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Originally Posted by Pete Cofrancesco View Post
It's an Intel quad core
I don't think you know what a PowerMac is.

Quote:
The Power Mac G5, the last model of the series. Power Macintosh, later Power Mac, is a line of Apple Macintosh workstation-class personal computers based on various models of PowerPC microprocessors that were developed, marketed, and supported by Apple Inc. from March 1994 until August 2006.
So you have a Mac Pro tower from 2009. Not at all what a PowerMac is.
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Old May 16th, 2016, 09:03 PM   #5
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

I have an 8-core MacPro from 2009 still running fine with a better than average video card in it but definitely not a top of the line card. I don't use it for tough jobs anymore although I do run FCPX in it for easy editing work that needs finishing in BluRay or DCP. Perhaps an even better card would charge it up a bit but I have the 2013 MacPro to do my main work. And I am very, very happy with it. In both computers, the video card is taking care of the filters and color corrections and the transitions so you would see an improvement of sorts with a better card. The audio waveforms, which can slow the program down, are done with the CPU and the memory so perhaps more memory would help if you have less than 8gbs.
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Old May 17th, 2016, 01:21 AM   #6
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

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Originally Posted by Pete Cofrancesco View Post
It's an Intel quad core
In 2009, I bought a refurbished 2009 single quad core
2.66Ghz Mac Pro. For quite a few years, it was a good
workhorse. Lately, I have been looking at what to upgrade to.
And I found out my Mac Pro was one of the last Macs which
could be upgraded. So I put in some SSD drives. A internal
Blu Ray burner. Upgraded the CPU to a six core 3.46Ghz (you have to
perform a firmware 'flash' but it's easily done by a downloadable
script.) Lucky for me, the single quad core model is really easy to upgrade
the CPU in....none of the problems with removing the heat sink, that you
get with the dual quad core version of the same computer....it's seriously
a matter of about 5 minutes to perform the upgrade.
Installed a 6GB 980Ti GPU. This Mac Pro can accept recent GPU's which
is a big advantage over the trash can. You have to download the Nvidia
'web driver' but it works great. Now my computer rips through pretty much
anything I throw at it. And I'll probably have it for quite a few more years.
Pretty good buy, considering I spent $2000 on it refurbished, way back when.
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Old May 18th, 2016, 12:26 PM   #7
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

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Originally Posted by Pete Cofrancesco View Post
I'm wondering if a faster video card will make much of a difference since I don't use effects.
That depends on what video card you have now (you didn't say).

I have a 2008 Mac Pro 8-Core that I put an ATI Radeon HD 5870 in and it cuts through editing tasks on FCP X quite well. It's not only used for effects. It's also used for decoding and encoding video.

If you still have the original NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 in your Mac Pro, I'd say that a new GPU like the ATI Radeon HD 5770 or HD 5870 will be a big improvement.

~jr
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Old May 18th, 2016, 12:30 PM   #8
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

Thanks everyone.

I have NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 video card so maybe I could upgrade that for starters.
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Old May 18th, 2016, 12:39 PM   #9
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

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Originally Posted by Gabe Strong View Post
I bought a refurbished 2009 single quad core 2.66Ghz Mac Pro.
Upgraded the CPU to a six core 3.46Ghz (you have to
perform a firmware 'flash' but it's easily done by a downloadable script.) Lucky for me, the single quad core model is really easy to upgrade the CPU in....none of the problems with removing the heat sink, that you
get with the dual quad core version of the same computer....it's seriously a matter of about 5 minutes to perform the upgrade.
Installed a 6GB 980Ti GPU. This Mac Pro can accept recent GPU's which is a big advantage over the trash can. You have to download the Nvidia 'web driver' but it works great
where did you get the cpu? Is it mac specific? I did a quick search on ebay looks to be around $200. Do I need a new heat sink or reuse my current?
.
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Old May 18th, 2016, 12:46 PM   #10
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

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Originally Posted by Pete Cofrancesco View Post
I have NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 video card so maybe I could upgrade that for starters.
Oh yea. Here the comparison for:

Radeon HD 5770 vs GeForce GT 120 Mac

and also...

Radeon HD 5870 vs GeForce GT 120 Mac

These cards are like night and day from what you have. Look at the raw performance section towards the bottom. The 5870 is 2x as fast as the 5770 which is 15x faster than your card. Either of these cards should give you a significant boost.

~jr
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Old May 18th, 2016, 09:27 PM   #11
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

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Originally Posted by Pete Cofrancesco View Post
Thanks everyone.

I have NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 video card so maybe I could upgrade that for starters.
I can tell you from experience, that card is causing your slow-downs. Move up to the ATI cards mentioned here first and you'll see a big improvement.
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Old May 19th, 2016, 12:10 AM   #12
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

Ok I'll upgrade the video card.
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Old May 20th, 2016, 10:46 AM   #13
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

I purchased a used Radeon HD 5870 on ebay for $160. I wanted to get a newer card but my research kept leading me back to this card because it uses OpenCL which FCPX uses where as Nvida cards use Cuda and it provided the biggest bang for the buck. I'm a little nervous how much power it consumes hope it doesn't kill my psu.

There is a big price jump to newer cards in this line AMD Radeon 280X and HD 7950 Sapphire are $400-$500+ No point of getting greedy.

Overall I'm surprised how slowly hardware has progressed but may be that's good that my 2009 mac is still viable 7 years later.
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Old May 20th, 2016, 10:47 AM   #14
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

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Originally Posted by Pete Cofrancesco View Post
Overall I'm surprised how slowly hardware has progressed but may be that's good that my 2009 mac is still viable 7 years later.
The 2009 Mac Pro is still a very good machine, and can be made to compete with the trashcan with a proper video card and CPU upgrades. Only downside is lack of Thunderbolt.

I foresee a new Mac Pro in my future if Apple refreshes the hardware, but they'll have to do it this year, otherwise I'll have to go with another option.
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Old May 20th, 2016, 11:34 AM   #15
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Re: Current state of mac hardware

Thunderbolt sounds nice but the peripherals either too expensive or not available or necessary especially since old style mac is self contained.

Apple has really made a mess of the mac pro. Unlike a laptop, phone, or music player no one really cares about the size or weight of their work station since it's not a portable device.
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