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Final Cut Suite
Discussing the editing of all formats with FCS, FCP, FCE


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Old September 1st, 2007, 12:35 PM   #1
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About to purchase system: a few questions

I would appreciate your learned advice as I finalize a system purchase for use with FCP. A little background: I am not new to Macs but am new to video and have been dabbling with IMovie on an old powerbook with broken CD drive. I'm a professional educator and make short videos for training purposes, though I'm not paid specifically to make films. I'm using a Canon HV 20 for now. No I haven't tried to work with HD on the old powerbook; I imagined that to be too frustrating but I will move into HD with the new system

Here's what I've settled on so far and would appreciate comments, particularly if I've overlooked something:

1) Mac Pro with 3 gig quad core. My research suggests this will save time on some processes and I frustrate easily waiting for tasks to complete.
2) 1 gig of Apple ram. I'll add more (probably 4gig) from 3d party seller.
3) 500 g HD. Best I can tell all of FCP will take up close to 200 gig. I'll add additional drives from 3d party sellers
4) RAID card: don't see the need right now and price is steep.
5) 23 inch Cinema display

I'm stumped on the video card. The options are:
NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT 256MB (single-link DVI/dual-link DVI)
2 x NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT 256MB
ATI Radeon X1900 XT 512MB (2 x dual-link DVI)
3 x NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT 256MB
4 x NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT 256MB
NVIDIA Quadro FX 4500 512MB, Stereo 3D (2 x dual-link DVI)

I'm pretty simple minded when it comes to display cards. What do I need? I don't see the point in two cards since an individual card can run two displays.

Did I miss anything or make any fundamental errors? I want to get this correct from the start.

BTW: those considering a major Mac purchase should see if they qualify for an educational discount. They have the FC suite for $699.

Thanks
Bob

Last edited by Bob Kerner; September 1st, 2007 at 12:49 PM. Reason: typos
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Old September 1st, 2007, 01:03 PM   #2
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Your system will be great. A couple thins:

#3) FCP2 doesn't need 200gb. The specs. mention 55 gig if you install all additional media items and 4 gig total for the actual programs. 500 gb is a good size for the system drive though as add you add more programs you'll appreciate the space.

#4) Take a look at the Firewire RAIDs from LaCie. You won't need the RAID card and you'll get plenty of performance for editing HDV.

Video Card: The NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT 256MB (single-link DVI/dual-link DVI) will be fine. You may or may not see any practical speed improvement in the faster cards and if you do it probably won't be significant. Put the additional money toward a card like the black magic that will let you get real time output of HDV.

The only thing missing is speakers. Can't give you and opinion on those.
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Old September 16th, 2007, 11:08 AM   #3
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Updating my own post

For anyone searching the forums with questions similar to those I had a month ago about system configuration, I offer this update.

I purchased the system listed above. For those hesitant to buy aftermarket RAM and drives, don't be. I installed the ram and a second drive in 5 minutes. It was no problem and I saved a bunch of money. The MacPro is probably the most user serviceable computer I've ever had.

It flies through encoding tasks that took my G4 laptop over an hour to handle.
No problems with the 20 in Cinema display. Love it!

If you can, wrangle yourself an educational discount, either as a student or teacher.

Bob
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Old September 16th, 2007, 03:03 PM   #4
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Hmm... why purchase the 23" cinema display? They're nice, sure, but so expensive. You're going third party on everything else you can. I'd recommend the same for that, unless you just want to pay more for the brandname one :p
(and the firewire/usb hub and power button... those are nice, I admit. I'd like one, but not for those prices.)

The rest looks great.
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Old September 18th, 2007, 09:12 AM   #5
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If you are going to use Motion or Color a lot, you might benefit from the extra memory on the Ati X1900 card.
For Final Cut Pro, the NVidia 7300 will be ok.
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Old September 18th, 2007, 06:29 PM   #6
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Winfried is right Bob, I'm getting more and more interested in Color and am being advised to upgrade to the ATI graphics card accordingly.
I have to disagree with Daniel, i really love my 23 ACD and consider it a bargain, particularly since i only have room for one display. Its the jewell in the crown of my edit suite and far better than the 2 20 inch displays i have at work.
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Old September 18th, 2007, 06:37 PM   #7
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If you've got the money to spend, they're great. No argument there.
Just that there are off-brand ones that will work nearly as well, or just as well, depending on how much you spend (either way, less than apple).
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Old September 19th, 2007, 09:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dom Stevenson View Post
Winfried is right Bob, I'm getting more and more interested in Color and am being advised to upgrade to the ATI graphics card accordingly.
I have to disagree with Daniel, i really love my 23 ACD and consider it a bargain, particularly since i only have room for one display. Its the jewell in the crown of my edit suite and far better than the 2 20 inch displays i have at work.
Absolutely right on the ATI graphics card suggestion. I know it's too late for Daniel, but for anyone else who might be interested it's definitely an added cost that is worth every penny.

We have two 2.66GHz quad core Power Macs here at the office, both with 3GB of Crucial Ram and both running FCS 2. The only difference between the two systems is one has the ATI card and the other has the NVidia card. The ATI card runs Color and Motion excellently while the NVidia equipped unit struggles in some tasks. It's not night and day, but it's enough to notice.
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