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Old August 6th, 2009, 04:06 PM   #1
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Buying a Mac Pro / Sufficient?

Hello all, it's definitely been awhile since I've posted here.

I've got a really old system that's sufficient for SD editing, however I am looking to venture into editing HD soon and my Dual 2.0 G5 won't cut it :-)

My old system is a Dual 2.0ghz G5 Power Mac with 2Gb of RAM. I've edited using Final Cut Studio and have used Motion and so on in smaller projects sufficiently.

The Apple website has the following specs for the "base" Quad Core Mac Pro at $2500:

One 2.66GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon "Nehalem" processor
3GB (three 1GB) memory
640GB hard drive 1
18x double-layer SuperDrive
NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 with 512MB

For those of you who have this system, do you find it sufficient in editing 720p 1080p video in FCP? Motion graphics with Motion or After Effects?

Mind you, I don't have the budget to buy a dedicated video capture card or any additional bells and whistles on hardware if I were to get a system like this. I have a "crossgrade" for my version of FCP5, but the Final Cut Studio upgrade price is pretty nice also (since I own FCS1).

Any advice is great appreciated. Thanks, everyone :-)
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Old August 6th, 2009, 04:13 PM   #2
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What type of HD codec will you be editing? If you are editing something like HDV you will be fine.
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Old August 6th, 2009, 04:23 PM   #3
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Iīm on the previous Mac Pro, 2,8 octo core and 10 Gb RAM and the original video card.
So far FC only utilizes 4gb of RAM any way though.
I use it to edit XDCAM HD footage, 720P and 1080P, sometimes HDV as well. The MP have no problems with editing that and I really donīt think the new one will either although itīs a quad, not an octo. Will maybe render a bit slower thatīs all.
Iīve used Motion a bit, but not a lot so I canīt promise how it will work for you, but I havenīt had a problem yet.
Good luck
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Old August 6th, 2009, 04:42 PM   #4
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Hi Chris. Unfortunately, I don't know much about any high end codecs. On my current Mac I was generally capturing via Firewire for miniDV projects and outputting files to DVD.

I would like to do realtime editing (rendering effects would be acceptable, but not too much). At work I noticed a coworkers Mac and ended up (randomly) capturing with ProRes 422 (which avoided dropped frames on another codec, which was probably an uncompressed capture). That incident had me looking up Apple's latest and greatest.
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Old August 6th, 2009, 07:26 PM   #5
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That system will be fine for up to 10 bit 422 full HD and go pro res 422 for all material that is imported, you also need to stack some esata drives in the box and start getting real fast drive access times.
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Old August 6th, 2009, 09:12 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Gary Nattrass View Post
That system will be fine for up to 10 bit 422 full HD and go pro res 422 for all material that is imported, you also need to stack some esata drives in the box and start getting real fast drive access times.
Gotcha.

Gary, are you referring to RAID setup? Would a minimum 2 drives be alright for that?
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Old August 7th, 2009, 01:33 AM   #7
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I just bought that EXACT system a week ago off Apple's refurb store.....if you don't
mind buying a refurb, you can get them for about 2 grand......with the economy
being what it is and all, that was all I could swing.

Now, I'm coming from an older machine than you (G4) but this thing flies!
I tried to choke it....dropped a very intensive filter configuration I made up for
testing....it took 20 hours to render on my old G4.....took 5 minutes on this computer.
Next I tried to choke the computer by taking some standard DV video....downsizing it
to 25 percent and stacking it on top of other DV video clips that were also at 25 percent
size to see how many I could stack before I made it 'render' I never found out, I was up to 11 layers of DV video stacked on each other and it was still grey....not even a green realtime render bar! At that point the whole screen was covered in the small video layers.

I freelance for the local PBS sometimes....they have a Sony HDW 750 HD cam as well
as some F 355s that they shoot with. They edit everything on an old dual processor
G5. Their TV manager was totally drooling over my system although he hopes to
get a Octocore when he finally has the money to upgrade. Just for your info, this
computer is 'hyperthreaded' which means it kind of acts like an octocore. Each
core can address TWO threads....when I set up a computer 'cluster' in Compressor
it sees EIGHT cores that you can use....(of course the new Nehalem 'octos' sees
SIXTEEN cores here). This makes it closer to a last generation 'octo' core
than a last generation 'quad' core in my opinion. It also has 'turbo boost'
which means that if all cores aren't being used....the one or two that are
will be 'overclocked' to 3GHz instead of 2.66. If you look at benchmarks, it is actually
faster than the last generation octocores in a couple things...mainly having to
do with memory throughput or something if I remember right. Here's one article/review
on the computer...:
Quad-Core and Eight-Core Mac Pros (2009 editions) Review | Desktop | Macworld

Now to be fair, you have to look at other sites that have benchmarks that take into effect
programs that use more cores, and then you will see the 'octo' pull away in some tests.
But, regardless of that, I think that this computer is still a great buy and will serve
you well.....and will probably be even faster once FCP is redone in Snow Leopard (I
am making an assumption here of course). Now if you have the money, an 'octo'
core is probably more 'future proof.' But if you don't, this one may not be as fast as an 'octo'' core, but I think it will get the job done just fine. It is very fast in it's own right,
and will certainly 'blow the doors' off the old G5 you have been using. If you have
any questions, feel free to ask....
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Old August 7th, 2009, 01:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Wong View Post
Gotcha.

Gary, are you referring to RAID setup? Would a minimum 2 drives be alright for that?
You CAN create a RAID 0 setup by adding 2 internal drives and just using Disk Utility to set
it up (No expensive RAID card needed). It won't give you the benefit of backup,
but WILL give you very fast speed. And then, I suppose, you could add a fourth drive
in the fourth bay to back up your RAID.
You can also add a blu-ray burner as it has a second optical drive bay free. It's a nicely
setup workhorse for editing and such....I mean I assume that's why they make
these things. I can't for the life of me see paying 2 grand for a computer if you
are going to use it for email and surfing the web....my old powerbook works fine
for that. This thing is made to get serious work done.
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Old August 8th, 2009, 12:48 PM   #9
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Thanks Gabe, that's a lot of very good/useful information!!! :-)

The refurb one disappeared just the other day, so I'm sure stock rolls in and out. I'll keep an eye out. Cheers!
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Old August 8th, 2009, 02:38 PM   #10
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I'll sell you my system if you want... :)

Details can be found here:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/private-c...ro-system.html
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Old August 8th, 2009, 07:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Wong View Post
Thanks Gabe, that's a lot of very good/useful information!!! :-)

The refurb one disappeared just the other day, so I'm sure stock rolls in and out. I'll keep an eye out. Cheers!
Yes it does, I always keep one eye on the refurb store when I'm looking for a computer,
and I've been looking to buy one for quite awhile so I have been watching the refurb store
for over a year. It seems they have a lot of laptops, and not that many Mac Pros.
Every time they had a Mac Pro that I liked, I was waiting for clients to actually get me
money (ya....I had a lot of THOSE clients that thought it was fun to wait for 6 months
to pay me.) FINALLY got a check at the same time there was a Mac Pro in the refurb
store that I could afford.....I'd say there are changes as often as once a week, so keep
looking......
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Old August 8th, 2009, 08:39 PM   #12
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A MacBook Pro should be fine, too, though I hear a 15.4" 2.66 GHz will really shine. I'm working on a 3.06 GHz 17" MBP that's kicking serious butt. Also, consider getting a Matrox MXO (2 or mini):

http://www.matrox.com/video/en/products/mxo2/

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Old August 9th, 2009, 03:02 AM   #13
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Bryan: It's a nice setup you have but I can't afford that package for now. Thanks for the offer :-)

Gabe: Good to know, thanks.

Heath: Is the MXO2/mini praised by a lot of users in the community here? I hadn't thought about breakout boxes of sorts just yet. It looks solid though.
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Old August 9th, 2009, 09:16 AM   #14
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@James: I used the original MXO two+ years ago and had a lot of great experiences with it, and the new MXO 2 is fantastic.

BUT, you need either a 17" MacBook Pro with ExpressCard/34, or a slightly used 15"/17" that still sports one. OR a Mac Pro.

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Old August 11th, 2009, 10:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heath McKnight View Post
@James: I used the original MXO two+ years ago and had a lot of great experiences with it, and the new MXO 2 is fantastic.

BUT, you need either a 17" MacBook Pro with ExpressCard/34, or a slightly used 15"/17" that still sports one. OR a Mac Pro.

heath
@Heath:
The MXO2 mini looks good for my needs for now. My concern is that its propietary? Unless I can capture at uncompressed (and can throw the footage to other systems)? Or I have to re export footage/clips to something like H.264 after?

Thanks for everyone's advice on the Mac Pro. One ships soon ;-)
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