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Old December 9th, 2003, 01:58 AM   #1
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Can a G4 450 mhz still do the job?

Hi,

I've shot a lot of DV tapes over the last 3 years and now want to start editing them on my G4 450 mhz using Imovie and FCP (3 or 4). I only have 256 mb internal memory and 40 gb storage memory. I'm aware I have to expand them both but what about the mac itself? Will he be a lot slower than the G4 1GHz models or the cheapest G5? Is it best to buy a newer mac or is an upgrade of my G4 justifiable?

Cheers,
Dirk
Belgium
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Old December 9th, 2003, 02:50 AM   #2
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Dirk,
I hate to say it but I would just replace that Mac with a newer model. It's really not up to the task, certainly not with FCP.
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Old December 9th, 2003, 10:22 AM   #3
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It'll work. I'd stick with FCP 3 on that machine, though. I had that same Mac for a long time (though with a bit more RAM) and it worked fine. It's a bit slow in OS X, so try using FCP3 in OS 9 and you should be very happy, if you're not looking for blazing speed.

Be aware that if you get a newer Mac you'll be stuck in OS X. That's not a bad thing, but a lot of people still work in OS 9 and they are not aware of this. If you can get a new Mac, though, do.
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Old December 9th, 2003, 11:36 AM   #4
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Well, there you have it: two opposite opinions! <g>

Actually, Ted is correct in that FCP will run on the machine. But you will need to beef-up your memory to at least 512Mb to make it a practical venture. Also, as you know, you're going to need some additional disk space. You should note, however, that FCP 3+ has a built-in minimum threshhold of 500MHz processors for its "real time" effects without rendering.
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Old December 9th, 2003, 11:49 AM   #5
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Thanks so far for the replies. Would it make a lot of difference if I would buy a G4 733 mhz or a 1Ghz?

I thought the greatest differences where in photoshop and not in dv editing.

Cheers,

Dirk
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Old December 9th, 2003, 12:06 PM   #6
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Photoshop (Adobe) has long touted its use of the G4's Altivec (sp?) processor to speed-up certain image processing tasks. And it's true. But DV editing requires a great deal more all-around processing power since it's working with many images per (timeline) second, not just one.

I can't speak to the 733 model but I can say that I have an older G4 dual 500MHz Mac (running OS 9.2) side-by-side with a G4 dual 1GHz Mac and the difference in overall performance is very significant.

Since the G4's are being superceded by the G5-based systems you may find a good deal on a good G4. But you don't want to find yourself in a tough spot in, say, 2-3 years when the G4-based systems might not be as readily supported. Consider, if possible, getting a G5 system for its longer-term usability.
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Old December 9th, 2003, 01:02 PM   #7
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If you invest now (actually in January, after MacWorld SF) in a G5 you can almost count on 3+ years of usability of a current G5. You'll get longer if you get the anticipated new G5's. An older G4 will need to have the ram upgraded at the minimum and you may be stuck in a dead OS with an outdated program (FCP 3.x.x).

You can save money buy sticking with what you have. However, your frustration level, may increase significantly. Why? Lack of RT support, long delays for renders, dropped frames from slower speeds etc.
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Old December 9th, 2003, 01:13 PM   #8
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iMovie is very good when it works. Some people at my school who used it got burned when their large projects got corrupted or something (their media files disappeared). iMovie was not designed for large projects (large as in lots of edits and transitions). I don't know if you'll have issues with it, but I suppose you can try crashing it to check stability.

With FCP3 you will need at least 500MB of RAM or FCP will be sluggish (I used to use a Yikes DP500 G4).

If you're doing cuts and dissolves it shouldn't be too bad. A lot of classic films only use cuts and dissolves so you aren't missing out on much. You don't need a single filter to make a nice film.
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Old December 9th, 2003, 03:26 PM   #9
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You totally have enough power to do what you want to do. I use a g4 400mhz, 512mb ram running fcp4 and after effects 5.5. You might have to wait a bit longer for things to render but it'll get the job done. You can check out my work at:

http://www.terraform.tv/

corey
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Old January 25th, 2004, 11:24 PM   #10
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Dirk,

I would agree with most others that you can get the job done with your current machine if you bump up the RAM a bit and add a dedicated hard disk for your projects (80GB or 120GB is good).

Another option is to upgrade the CPU. Even a newer 800MHz 7455 G4 chip could serve as a decent holdover and speed up rendering a bit.

Just remember that your objective is to make the machine a practical holdover until you can afford a more current G5 system (if you're planning on sticking with Macs).
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Old January 25th, 2004, 11:49 PM   #11
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<<<-- Originally posted by Ken Tanaka : I can't speak to the 733 model -->>>
Well I have an older G4/733 with 768MB RAM, and have run FCP3 on it for several years. It really works just fine (but faster is better of course). I run under MacOS 9.2 however. I also used to run FCP on my 667mhz Titanium PowerBook with 512MB RAM. It was also quite acceptable there.

<<<-- Originally posted by Ted Springer : Be aware that if you get a newer Mac you'll be stuck in OS X. -->>>
I still see the G4/1.25Ghz single processor listed at some places. This is actually the last machine that Apple made which will boot into MacOS 9.2. I have one of these with 1.25GB RAM, and it seems about twice as fast as my 733 (faster bus, bigger cache, etc). I ran it under MacOS 9.2 for awhile as I worked on a big project, but after that was over I made the switch to MacOS X and have not gone back since.

So I guess the bottom line is that you should get the newest, fastest machine you can afford. But at least in the case of FCP 3 you can still be quite productive with an older slower G4 if needed. I would think twice however about putting very much money into upgrading an older Mac, it might be better spent towards the purchase of a new one.
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Old January 27th, 2004, 06:04 PM   #12
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I'll weigh in here and say yeah, a G4 450 will do okay with FCP 3 or 4.

The first thing that is the most important is the max out the memory you can have in your machine. If it's a sawtooth you can put 1.5 gigs of RAM in it. That helps a LOT.

Make sure your system drive is nice and big and have plenty of other disk space too.

A couple of things you can do to speed your machine up a tad as well is look over on www.macosxhints.com to see how to make a program the top priority in CPU usage. This is something you need to do when you fire up FCP and if you restart you have to do it again.

You can also go into the program Directory Access in your utilities folder and switch off Rendezvous and Appletalk if you don't use them. If you don't have Bluetooth check to see that that stuff is disabled as well.

These things make a nice difference in a G4.

If you have a pile of memory it will make the most difference and yes, it won't be as slick and smooth and fast as a 1 ghz machine but it will get you by for now.

if you look around I've seen Dual G4 450 processors on the web for around 199.00. That's probably the best upgrade I've seen. be careful though because if you have an older board or a pre-sawtooth it might not be able to handle a dual processor.
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Old January 29th, 2004, 06:43 PM   #13
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Actually, under OS X, a Sawtooth (450-500MHz) G4 will max out at 2,048MB (2 GB) RAM. That's what I'm running in mine, with four 512MB PC-100/133 dimms. Apple will not tell you this information.

Under OS 9, however, only 1.5 GB will be recognized, no matter how much RAM is installed. That extra 512MB just won't show up.

Quicksilver G4's had only three RAM slots for some strange reason, so even if you are running OS X you are *physically* limited to 1.5 GB.

Later MDD G4's went back to four slots, thus allowing 2GB ram once again.
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Old January 30th, 2004, 11:48 AM   #14
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Thanks Craig, I got that mixed up.

I remember when I paid several hundred dollars for a 20 MB hard drive and had 32k of memory....

kinda wacky to have 2 gigs---- but it helps.
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Old February 3rd, 2004, 02:32 AM   #15
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Take it from a guy who just edited a 4 hour project (with 100's of filters and transitions) using a Pismo G3 500mz, 384mb ram and an ext. 80gig fw drive with fcp 2. Unless fcp 3 is actually less efficient than 2, you shouldn't have any problems. I can't even say that rendering was all THAT slow (a regular dissolve took me about 10-15 seconds for a full res render)

Cheers from Vancouver

P.S. Check out this monday's dealmac.com for some nice deals on proc. upgrades from OWC:

http://dealmac.com/sections/upgrades.html
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