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Old April 5th, 2008, 05:00 PM   #1
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Should I bother with more RAM?

I shoot in HDV, downconvert to SD and then edit and deliver SD.
I edit on FCP5 on a PowerMac G5, dual 2.3.
2.5 GB of RAM...
ATI Radeon 9600 video card with 128MB.

I want to add a 2nd monitor to edit with and make this sucker a little bit faster. Should I only bother with adding more RAM, upgrade to a higher-end video card... both?
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Old April 5th, 2008, 06:46 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Blake Cavett View Post
I shoot in HDV, downconvert to SD and then edit and deliver SD.
I edit on FCP5 on a PowerMac G5, dual 2.3.
2.5 GB of RAM...
ATI Radeon 9600 video card with 128MB.

I want to add a 2nd monitor to edit with and make this sucker a little bit faster. Should I only bother with adding more RAM, upgrade to a higher-end video card... both?
I have the same machine and I added some more RAM and it is definitely faster when having several apps open. Here's what will tell you whether you'll benefit from more RAM. During your normal workflow, have Activity Monitor open (/Applications/Utilities/). Select the "System Memory" tab and look at the "Page outs" numbers. If you see it's paging out it means you'll benefit from more RAM. Also, look at the pie chart next to the numbers. It will tell you how much free, active, inactive memory you have.

The thing with the video card is a sad story. There's basically no cards around anymore. The only viable good option was the ATI X800, but it's not being made anymore due to huge technical problems. The only cards still available are Radeons 9200 (slower than what you have) and the 9600/256, same card as yours. but with more memory; I was considering getting one of those in the hope that Motion would be faster. However, some technical reviews claim it won't be any faster than the 9600/128 because its graphics processor is unable to move data around as quickly as necessary. That's where the modern cards come in - which are only available for the last generation of G5s and MacPros. In this light, the 2.3 G5 is a dead horse. Personally, I've decided (after adding more RAM), that I'll leave this machine as it is and start saving for a MacPro.
One lesson I learned from this is that in the future, I'll be buying Macs with a more expensive/powerful graphics card option because it looks like 2-3 years later you won't be getting any cards anymore.

Hope this helps
Dino
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Old April 5th, 2008, 07:12 PM   #3
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I sold my nVidia 6800 GT on ebay for not a lot less then what I paid for it. its a much better card then the 9600. I current;y have a ATI X800 which is basically 5-10% faster then the 6800 it replaced. the 6800 is a full length slot card that also covers the next PCI slot, the X800 is 1/2 length and does not cover the next PCI slot, and I needed all 3 slots. go poke around ebay and upgrade the video card as its seriously poor in performance compared to the X800.

at 2.5 G of ram you should be ok, but given ram is cheap again, adding another 2 1G modules for a total of 4.5 is a pretty good spot to be in, especially if you want to have different apps running at once.
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Old April 5th, 2008, 11:34 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Steve Oakley View Post
...I current;y have a ATI X800 which is basically 5-10% faster then the 6800 it replaced.
So, are you happy with the X800? I've read so many bad reports and stories about people who had to get 3 replacement cards until they got a working one.
And for some reason, ATI stopped producing them just a few months after it finally appeared on the market again last fall.

It just scared me although I'd love to get a faster card... like I said, this is currently the main reason why I think the G5 is quickly becoming obsolete - both Motion and Aperture 2 are just painfully slow.
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Old April 5th, 2008, 11:39 PM   #5
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G5 was obsolete a year ago, but that doesn't mean its not more then fast enough for at least SD work, it all depends on what you want to do. yes I want a intel 8 core box, but its not yet been a critical factor until recently with all the HD work I am doing which really puts the G5 back a bit. I plan to use the G5 for capture and layoff, and use a intel machine for primary work.


as for the X800, plugged it in, and started up and it worked. no magic. you know the net, if 1 in 100,000 people have a problem, guess who's post you read..... works fine.
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