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Old May 25th, 2005, 09:00 AM   #1
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Please help in choosing a power mac G5

Hi all
I am new to Editing. I am about to order the final cut pro package suit and a power mac G5 computer which has been recommended. The power mac G5 price range is between 1500$- 3500$.
I will be using it to edit wildlife documentaries on a daily basis. I attach the link to bhphotovideo where a few power mac are listed. please help me in choosing one as I am a newbie to the field.
Thanks!

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...rch&Q=&ci=6488

Last edited by Ido Levy; May 25th, 2005 at 09:06 AM. Reason: mistake at the link at te bottom
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Old May 25th, 2005, 05:03 PM   #2
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Ido, you'll need to tell everyone your preferred format before you can get much advice on a machine. Will you be shooting in DV or something else?
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Old May 25th, 2005, 05:32 PM   #3
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Actually the base prices of the G5's top out at $3,000 but of course that can go much higher when you customize them with different graphics cards, extra ram, a second hard drive, etc.

General wisdom - buy the fastest machine you can possible afford, assuming you want to keep it for awhile. As Zach says, a little more info about your plans would help. Do you just want to shoot DV? HDV? DVC PRO HD? How about other applications? Do you plan to use Motion - the graphics card is an issue with that software.
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Old May 25th, 2005, 05:51 PM   #4
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I wouldn't buy the fastest machine you can possibly afford unless you edit professionally (in which case, the added productivity justifies it). Why:
A- It's cheaper to upgrade more often. Computers double in speed about every 2 years (dubbed Moore's Law).
Similarly, your G5 will lose value due to obsolescence. Its cost will be half in about two years.
B- You hit increasingly diminishing returns as you go higher on the performance ladder. The top two "rungs" are generally way overpriced.
C- You may not even need all that speed. For documentaries, you're probably doing cuts and dissolves and very titling or compositing or special effects work which need muscle for rendering.

2- How much storage do you need?
If shooting DV, it's 13GB/hour. Knock 10% off the advertised capacity of your total storage to get an idea of how much footage your system can handle.
i.e. 80GB + 250GB = 22-23 hours.
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Old May 25th, 2005, 06:42 PM   #5
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Guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one Glenn :-) Maybe I should have said "comfortably afford"? Or maybe it's just me. I've bought lots of Macs... lots! To generalize, when I've bought less than I could have afforded I've regretted it later. I remember wishing I'd bought the Mac IIci instead of the Mac IIcx for example. Using your same example, in two years 2.5ghz will indeed seem slow, but 1.8ghz will seem even slower. Apple also intentionally cripples the lower cost models such that you have to accept performance compromises, like slower busses, slow graphics cards, less RAM slots.

Now I certainly do agree on a couple points though. First, realistically define your needs, both present and future. And remember, cool new software is constantly coming along and it typically demands a lot of horsepower for video and graphics. But a dual 2.7 G5 would be overkill for cuts-only editing; an iMac could handle that.

I also agree that you pay top dollar to get that last ounce of performance from Apple. Same as it ever was. The best bang for the buck is usually one model down from the top in their product lines.

Also, it would be wrong to buy the top of the line and then not have enough money left for hard drives, good screens, lots of memory, a good graphics card and the right software. So consider the whole ball of wax.

For starters, here's a thread worth reading:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=40732
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Old May 25th, 2005, 07:22 PM   #6
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Well Boyd if no one here disagreed this board would be boring! :)

Anyways... I took a look at Apple pricing and you don't see quickly diminishing returns like you do with PCs.

Another way to look at things is to find a balance between:
A- Productivity gains. If you edit all the time for a living, then the top or second-best machine can definitely make sense.
B- Pure value in terms of price/performance. One way to guestimate this is to divide the CPU's clock speed by the price.

Of course, also make sure you spend enough money on other things like storage. And if you need to edit something other than DV, then you may need PCIX slots in the higher models for capture cards.
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Old May 25th, 2005, 07:35 PM   #7
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I'd put it this way. If you plan to make MONEY using the machine, spend as much as you can now. You will make up the cost quickly.

If you are just getting started and are not sure how far you want to take this, go for the lower G5s.

Dual 1.8: just not enough RAM, HD and the video card is sub-par... you really have to have an extra drive to do your editing on, external FW HD maybe?

Dual 2.0: decent RAM, good sized HD, you may still want an external FW drive for editing on. but can start editing with this out of the box.

Dual 2.3: the most upgradeability... in this case PCI-X slots, larger HD.

Dual 2.7: top of the line...

For all though, you should really edit on a separate drive, internal or external...
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Old May 25th, 2005, 11:03 PM   #8
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If this is your full time profession, Buy the biggest, fastest most feature packed Mac you can afford.
Diminishing returns be damned. Professionals don't run out and buy new gear every six months, it's stupid, leave that to the consumers. Mac's don't get upgraded as often either. If you don't buy 4 gigs of RAM in your computer when it's new, the chances are extremely good that you never will. By the time the upgrades become affordable (or at least more affordable) they are old news and who want's to spend money on old equipment when you could just hold out for the next newer one.
Of course you will probably never need more than 2 gig of RAM so don't worry about it (my Powerbook has 2 gig and it works fine). If you buy the best now it will last you MUCH longer. I have an old Dual500 G4. When I bought it new I spent about $10,000 on the whole system. Filled it with every bell and whistle I could find, maxed the RAM and stuffed in 4 of the biggest, fastest hard drives I could find and added an extra graphics card as well. That computer still works as an editing workhorse 5 years later! Granted, I've added to my collection since then but the point is, I spent the money on the best I could get and it never let me down. That machine has made me MANY, MANY, MANY times more money than it cost, so I think it was a wise investment. AND! Today these computers are so fast and reliable, I'm trying to hold out for a Dual 3Ghz but I may not last, I really want to try Tiger and FCP5 and I will buy it on a new machine with a new FCP Studio license.

If I were buying today, it wouldn't be anything BUT the Dual 2.7Ghz and either the 23" or 30" screen. You can buy your memory and hard drives online for cheap so don't sweat those but I would rather have the ATI Radeon card over the Nvidia (it's just too big).

So there's my opinion. Dual 2.7 $3K - 30" monitor $3K - 4Gig RAM from Crucial $500 - G5Jam and extra drives $600-$2600 (up to 4 extra 400GB drives internally) plus the 2 you can order with the G5, that's 6 hard drives INSIDE the BOX! and don't forget the Studio Bundle which will set you back another $1200. So there you go, pretty close to $10K and you never touch it again other than to work with it and you've got a possibility of almost 2.5TB of internal storage.
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Old May 26th, 2005, 09:38 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Sloan
Dual 1.8: just not enough RAM, HD and the video card is sub-par...

Dual 2.0: decent RAM, good sized HD
Be careful about comparing Apples to Oranges (sorry ;-) There is the new dual 2.0 and the old dual 2.0. The new dual 2.0 has all the same limitations which you describe for the dual 1.8 (which has been discontinued). It's the bottom of the line - the bus is slower, only 4 RAM slots, cheap graphics card. If you can still find one of the old dual 2.0's then that will probably be a pretty good value. It was the middle of the line product which has been discontinued and replaced with the dual 2.3. It has the fast bus, 8 RAM slots and better graphics card.

If you can find a dual 2.5 anywhere (also discontinued) you might get a pretty good deal also. Might also be worth checking prices at the Apple Store on certified refurbed dual 2.5's. I don't see any there right now, but they come and go.

Also, regarding the stock hard drive sizes, personally I think this is a non-issue. You don't want to capture or edit video from the startup drive anyway. Unless you have a vast amount of applications and other stuff, that startup drive doesn't need to be huge. At the very minimum you will want to add a second internal SATA drive which you can easily do yourself for a couple hundred bucks, maybe less. Those other solutions for cramming additional drives into the tower are made by third parties. They look like clever hacks, but personally I'm not interested. I have about 7 external firewire drives which suit my needs fine for editing regular DV. If I needed to edit uncompressed or HD I'd buy an external array.
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Old May 26th, 2005, 12:20 PM   #10
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Yeah. I meant to say, of the new lineup...
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