Potential Psystar Users: Caveat Emptor at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Apple / Mac Post Production Solutions > Final Cut Suite

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


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old May 8th, 2009, 10:28 AM   #1
Go Go Godzilla
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Scottsdale, AZ USA
Posts: 2,739
Images: 15
Potential Psystar Users: Caveat Emptor

Before I say anything more, this thread is NOT about the viability of Psystar as an entity or their current litigation proceedings.

Simply put, if you're considering purchasing a Psystar unit (Open Pro) for use with Final Cut Pro, don't.

The lure of an "affordable" MacPro in these challenging times is obvious and logical, exactly the selling point of Psystar's campaign. However after brief testing of their Open Pro unit (thanks to G-ManCA) with the latest version of FCP shows several serious compatibility issues with GPU's, eSATA and Fiber RAID cards and other must-have software/hardware combos.

The Psystar site goes out of it's way to make sure you understand they don't support any software or third-party devices that *they* haven't tested or doesn't ship with their machine but considering most FCP users would be dead-in-the-water without various external devices and software plug-ins that means any Psystar CPU a non-starter.

If you're looking for a cheap Mac-tower don't put your mission-critical system - or business - at risk with a Psystar unit, instead look to the various forum sponsors for deals on used or refurb machines.
__________________
Producer/CEO
Reel Lane Films LLC
Robert Lane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9th, 2009, 03:08 AM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 628
Robert,

You've managed to erk me with this post. I rely on your wisdom 99% of the time but you're off base on this.

Have you tested an OSx86 system? I'd love to see G-ManCA's findings.

I've built a system modeled after the Open Pro (same motherboard, ram, video card) and your data is incorrect - the statements made are blanket. My system is a stable FCP workhorse.

I don't want to debate whether a "hackintosh" is ethical, merely that it can be and is compatible, stable and significantly cheaper than Apple's Mac Pro's - with effort.

It's the effort part that deters most people from building their own mac.

The key is selecting the components. Components that are compatible with OSX and I have respect for Psystar for doing the heavy lifting with hardware, posting fixes the common OSx86 problems and for hopefully lower Apple's prices.

Look, until you try an OSx86 system and make money on a OSx86 system, you're probably not going to be convinced, so I won't try, but please refrain from making statements like "FCP shows several serious compatibility issues with GPU's, eSATA and Fiber RAID cards". This is plain bullocks.

My system is running the Matrox MXO 2 and BlackMagic Intensity Pro cards flawlessly.
I've also tested the AJA LHe - Flawless.

I have an internal RAID0 hardware (RocketRaid 2300) with Uncompressed HD capabilities.
My system currently has an Apple Fiber card in it (connected to a Facilis Terrablock server) and works flawlessly with reads and writes identical with my Mac Pro.

So please, ask a question about compatibility and "other must-have software/hardware combos." There are others here, like myself, who contrary to popular belief, are extremely happy with their OSx86 systems.

But about Psystar: Simply put, If you buy an Open Pro it will run FCP - prove me otherwise.

-C
Christopher Drews is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9th, 2009, 06:25 AM   #3
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK
Posts: 3,445
The Psystar Open Pro isn't really an alternative to a Mac Pro is it? It's a fast machine that I am sure runs Final Cut pretty well but it's not a dual processor Xeon workstation & will never be able to handle the same workload as a genuine Mac Pro. It's actually plugging a gap in the Mac product line of an expandable dual/quad core processor in a tower case.

I have built several Hackintosh systems & even run OS X on an MSI Wind netbook (another gap in the Mac product line) but feel that the extra money for a proper Mac Pro is money well spent. My Mac Pro is a dual quad core with 16GB of RAM which is an unobtainable configuration with a Hackintosh.

I too would be interested to hear exactly what problems Robert found with FCP on the Psystar machine. There are usually some little niggles that prevent a Hackintosh quite being exactly the same as a proper Mac e.g. it won't enter a sleep state or if it does sleep then it cannot be woken with a mouse click like a proper Mac. These problems if the system is well put together are normally minor & not serious compatibility issues with GPU's, eSATA and Fiber RAID cards and other must-have software/hardware combos.

BTW Psystar aren't doing the heavy lifting with hardware they are just taking what the OSX86 community have done & making a buck out of it without acknowledgement to the guys like netkas who actually figured out an EFI emulator to enable regular Windows PCs to boot OS X.
Nigel Barker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9th, 2009, 10:47 AM   #4
Go Go Godzilla
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Scottsdale, AZ USA
Posts: 2,739
Images: 15
Your results may vary

Since 2005 I've been sharing our independent tests on various things from hardware to software and the process has always been the same; we *never* rely on third party information for *our* test results. The OpenPro we tested was loaned to us from one of our vendors who wants to remain anonymous.

The reason we were given the system to test in the first place was that our vendor had complained that their OpenPro's were not stable and wanted to be sure it wasn't human error, so a demo system was sent to us to put it through it's paces.

The tested system was a 2.83Ghz Core2Quad Q9550, 9800 GTX GPU.

What we found specifically was:

- Any FxPlug filter crashed FCP on render
- Our ATTO 42ES card drivers would not load or communicate properly
- Compressor hung or crashed often
- eSATA drives would not mount reliably
- Software Update didn't always initiate on command...
and a few other buggy behaviors.

We did several things to drill-down the cause of the issues from making a clean OS reinstall, swapping RAM, using a different GPU matched to the system and a few other normal diagnostic routines. There are several things that could be causing the problem, from inconsistencies on EFI firmware to CPU thread collisions... the list is endless.

Personally I feel the core of the problem is miscommunication between front-side bus and PCIe interfaces - something went wrong on the MB manufacturing or the firmware is improperly written.

Considering Psystar is a brand-new company with a very tenuous foundation and in combination with our tests results I felt it prudent to share the info. Any company can produce a lemon, even Apple is guilty of that in the past.

I also consider any "hacked" or Mac-clone system to be experimental at best. Yes, there are hundreds of these machines running just fine, but they've also been put together by people with a greater-than-average understanding of computer hardware. In fact I loaded Windows 7 RC on my MacBook Pro with Boot Camp, but just because it's running smoothly now doesn't mean I'd rely on it for a mission critical task. (Actually it's only 98% solid, there's still an issue with sound drivers not working with the built-in speakers - it's experimental!)

Chris: The majority of users do NOT have the level of computer hardware tweaking that is required to fully understand a "hack-intosh" type of system. You and I know trying to troubleshoot odd behavior on an Apple-branded system can be a time consuming and brain-wrecking venture at times, how much more difficult would it be for the *average* user on a hacked system?

And that's the main reason for my post: If you enjoy delving into untested waters and tweaking hardware then "Caveat Emptor" with a Psystar purchase and go for it. But if you're an average computer user wanting to purchase a system for your business needs and hoping to save a buck then a "hack-intosh" isn't a smart choice.
__________________
Producer/CEO
Reel Lane Films LLC
Robert Lane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9th, 2009, 02:26 PM   #5
Go Go Godzilla
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Scottsdale, AZ USA
Posts: 2,739
Images: 15
Greater Implications

There are greater implications to purchasing a Psystar that are not-so-obvious. Here's a direct quote from the Psystar website:

"When you purchase an Open Computer or OpenPro you understand that you are not purchasing a computer made by Apple Computers, Inc. You understand that Apple Computers does not support the Open Computer or OpenPro in any capacity and that they may not approve of your usage of the Open Computer. In the same token Psystar does not guarantee that each and every program and feature will operate correctly as the Open Computer and/or OpenPro is not supported by Apple Computers. Psystar does not develop the OS X operating system. All copies of OS X sold by Psystar are legitimately licensed and purchased from Apple Computers and are not pirated in any way. Psystar does not guarantee that any of your peripherals, Apple-related or not, will function correctly. Psystar will not be responsible for your usage of the Open Computer and/or OpenPro in any way. Psystar is not responsible for any legal repercussions brought upon you due to your use or involvement with the Open Computer and/or OpenPro."

In plain english, you're operating the entire system at your own risk and with ZERO guarantees that anything will work properly. That's not the case with Apple-branded products, not by a long-shot.

Here's another way to look at the supposed cost-savings of purchasing Psystar:

- You cannot take it to an Apple Store Genius Bar for any help, software or hardware related.
- No Apple-authorized service center will support it.
- You cannot purchase an AppleCare warranty (albeit Psytar offers their own 3-year limited warranty)
- You cannot purchase a Pro Applications Support contract for Final Cut Pro installed on a Psystar.
- No Apple-branded software you purchase will be supported by standard complimentary 30-day telephone support offered by Apple. This applies to the OS as well.
- You cannot submit a bug report to Apple in your troubleshooting efforts.

Basically ownership of a Psystar means you are completely out in the cold and on your own for all your support options - with exception to Psystar supplied hardware that fails within the warranty specifications. But ZERO software support by either Psystar or Apple - or anyone else for that matter.

As I say, if you're an expert with computer hardware and can troubleshoot and fix all your problems that may (and will) arise and willing to be your own tech-support for a new machine then by all means take the plunge. However for the bulk of computer users this isn't an option and they're the ones who need to fully understand the risks associated with an "open" computer.
__________________
Producer/CEO
Reel Lane Films LLC
Robert Lane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9th, 2009, 07:23 PM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 628
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane View Post
As I say, if you're an expert with computer hardware and can troubleshoot and fix all your problems that may (and will) arise and willing to be your own tech-support for a new machine then by all means take the plunge. However for the bulk of computer users this isn't an option and they're the ones who need to fully understand the risks associated with an "open" computer.
I'm no expert but I do have a background in computer repair (now I'm an editor/filmmaker) but that background still required me from utilizing resources in the OSx86 community. A community that has always shared what works and what doesn't.

I'd like to reiterate my point: If you have the desire to build a OSX system from the ground up, much like the Psystar Open Pro, you can be successful and you can depend on it.

The hardware you mentioned is identical to my own.
I haven't tried the FXplug Filters, so I cannot comment on them.
Compressor has never crashed on me (I use it daily).
My updates from Apple work perfect.

As for the other things, you are absolutely right.
Apple won't support OSx86.
Vendors won't support OSx86.
Your warranty is your own.
But I have a sense of pride in my system.
As silly as it sounds, when you see the DOS prompt turn into the Apple load screen, it feels good (at least to me), knowing that some pre-thought had to go into making that happen. I like shopping for components on Newegg. It's sad that it's normally a PC only experience - but I feel that is changing with OSx86.

Anyway, I do respect your viewpoint Robert, its not for everyone.

-C

PS: About ATTO Tech, I have many of their products, off the bat they don't work with OSx86 (aside from their eSATA and SAS cards) because of the onboard BIOS. It took one call to make one of their controllers work with my OSx86 system- I realize that most people wouldn't want to make this call, even on the phone the tech said he wouldn't support this new BIOS he was giving me. I guess this is a good example of what people should expect.
Christopher Drews is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9th, 2009, 07:36 PM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 628
Here is a quick picture:
It's mounted in a server case, something that a Mac Pro can't do.
You can barely see the 4x 1.5 TBs and the 2x 1 TB drives.
-C
Attached Thumbnails
Potential Psystar Users: Caveat Emptor-chris_osx86.jpg  
Christopher Drews is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 10th, 2009, 04:35 AM   #8
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK
Posts: 3,445
Robert & Christopher, you are both in the right.

Robert, you are right to warn people off buying a so-called Open Computer from Psystar. These guys are parasites feeding off the OSX86 enthusiast community by selling overpriced computers claiming with a nudge & a wink that they are just as good as a real Mac but much cheaper. As you have demonstrated they cannot deliver on the promise of cheap alternative to a real Mac. They are cheating Apple which is why they are being sued & they are cheating their customers with fraudulent claims of compatibility.

Christopher, you are also correct that an enthusiast with research & experience can build a good computer at a good price that will run OS X almost perfectly. Almost. If you are prepared to commit the time to the project & prepared to put up with mostly small inconveniences then you can get a warm feeling from knowing that you have got yourself a cheap alternative to a real Mac. It's also fun figuring it all out. However it's not a real Mac Pro, not even close. I have been building & upgrading computers for 20 years & I have never seen an equivalent build quality to the Mac Pro in anything other than in specialised UNIX workstations that make the Mac Pro look a cheap buy. I have built four Hackintoshes from parts & got OS X running well on another four pre-built systems two of which were laptops. I will probably do it again in the future just for the fun & the challenge but for real work I will stick to my Mac Pro & use a MacBook Pro as my portable.

Cheers

Nigel
Nigel Barker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 10th, 2009, 04:42 PM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 628
Yeah, I am a huge Apple supporter. I have an 8-Core Pro and a MacBook Pro, all of which are used for editing in addition to my OSx86. But I do make money on all my systems, including my OSx86. I'll be using the OSx86 for live, one set Pro-Res recording on the my next feature. It's essentially why I built it in the first place. Needed something that wasn't as expensive as my Mac Pro, with tons of RAID1 capabilities. It was accomplished on all counts.

I'd say the need necessitates the computer and adding OSx86 to the arsenal is a good thing. Overall, I do hope Apple realizes that people want different products. Something portable like the MSI Wind, Something Rack-Mountable, like this computer I built. Something better than the Mini, that's not an iMac. Well, you know what I mean.

-C
Christopher Drews is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 18th, 2009, 11:48 AM   #10
Tourist
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 1
Atto tweak

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher Drews View Post
PS: About ATTO Tech, I have many of their products, off the bat they don't work with OSx86 (aside from their eSATA and SAS cards) because of the onboard BIOS. It took one call to make one of their controllers work with my OSx86 system- I realize that most people wouldn't want to make this call, even on the phone the tech said he wouldn't support this new BIOS he was giving me. I guess this is a good example of what people should expect.
Christopher,
Could you share the tip ATTO Tech told you regarding the bios mod?
I too have the Atto Celerity FC-42ES, but can't get it to work in OSx86.
Thanks,
Eric
Eric Pardee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 26th, 2009, 02:39 PM   #11
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada
Posts: 3,637
Psystar Files Bankruptcy, Stalls Apple's Case | TMO Scoop | The Mac Observer
__________________
Tim Dashwood
Tim Dashwood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 29th, 2009, 08:01 PM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 628
Apparently they owe their shipping companies a ton of cash and weren't making enough profit on each box sold.

Methinks there is a void forming that some vender is going to fill- especially with the community expanding / ultra portables coming.

-C

FYI - Now running 10.5.7 without a hitch.
Christopher Drews is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 1st, 2009, 01:06 AM   #13
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 628
Goodbye Psystar, hello Quo Computer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher Drews View Post
Methinks there is a void forming that some vender is going to fill- especially with the community expanding / ultra portables coming.
Sooner than I thought. They are even opening a retail store!

New Mac clone maker to open retail store in Calif. | Apple - CNET News
Christopher Drews is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Apple / Mac Post Production Solutions > Final Cut Suite

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:52 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network