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Old January 6th, 2010, 08:46 AM   #1
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Upgrade my G5 Quad?

I've been happy with my current setup (G5 Quad, 3,5 gig, OS X 10.4.11, FCP 6.05, Matrox MXO, Apple 23' & Dell 2407 in addition to a MB Pro 1.83 ghz) and saw no reason to upgrade.
Now lately I've been shooting a lot with my EX1 for assignments, as opposed to the Z1 I continued to use for web-video assignments. (HD is overkill for the work I do and SD works much faster. (I shoot HD for my docs) Lately I have started to shoot 720P for SD delivery, basically because I want to shoot more on my EX1 and because I want to shoot tapeless. I have not been able to properly view my EX footage because I need a newer computer.
I'm looking to see if I should upgrade my machine and move to FCS3. I'm still not unhappy about my current setup but I would like quicker encoding of h264, for instance. Also, viewing EX1 material thru the MXO on my Dell monitor can only be realized by a software update on the MXO- which will only work under Snow Leopard.
Also, my G5 Quad may still get a good price at this point.
That said, the new mac Pro's seem to be very expensive for what they offer, at least so I read... (I don't do a lot of FX but I understand Compressor makes use of all those cores.) Maybe for my purposes I should get a (used) Intel Xeon Mac Pro?

I realize I'm asking a very hard question but can you all throw me some advice, pro's and cons, based on the info I gave?

Thanx. Jeroen
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Old January 6th, 2010, 09:05 AM   #2
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I'll keep it simple:

Wait until your workflow changes to the point that you *need* to upgrade. Getting into a properly configured Mac Pro with the associated software updates will put you well over $10k (Assuming you intend on configuring a machine that will stay with you 5 years or more). In this economy most small businesses don't have that kind of cash to throw around so I'd wait for the business need to be so great that you have no choice.

Your G5 really isn't worth that much on the used market these days simply because there's already a flood of used Mac Pro's, so it's not like you're sitting on a gold-mine of used-value right now.

No doubt that having newer software/hardware would speed up your workflow exponentially compared to your current setup, but I'm just not seeing a compelling reason for you to dump a load of cash *right now*.

In fact, I'd wait (if you can) to see what happens with the next iteration of FCS. If Apple fully adopts Blu-Ray and makes other all-too-important fixes and updates to the video suite then that would be the perfect - and compelling reason - to get out the wallet. However if the next FCS doesn't come loaded to the gills with newer and more competitive technology then again, it's "wait for business needs to dictate" the upgrades.
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Old January 7th, 2010, 04:30 AM   #3
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I think you have a good point that upgrading should be a matter of absolute necessity, especially in these times. But plus 10K for a new setup?

I've never spent 10K on a new configuration, probably because I don't see the necessity of upgrading everything all at once. My screens will last another few years and one of them has been with me for 6,7 years.
A new Mac Pro costs 3K, an upgrade of FCS is 300,- I have a RAID system which will do fine for the next few years, I have about 8 terabyte for storage and I will buy extra storage for scrap when needed.

As far as blue ray is concerned, I don't see the big deal. I don't see a compelling use for businesses like ours. It's all webvideo. And for the rest: tapeless and discless is the future, right?

Let's say I wanted to go the second hand route so I can upgrade my FCS-suite and get some extra crunching power & be able to view EX footage. What would be the best machine for the money at this point?
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Old January 7th, 2010, 12:55 PM   #4
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I recently got the 2.26 8-core MacPro and I am very, very happy with it. For $3300 you get enough memory for FCS and substantial increase in computing power for your renders and DVD burns. Set up a local cluster and making a 2-pass DVD becomes faster than real-time. A recent job called for an internal 2.5TB RAID which cost very little (compared to a few years ago) and was easy to install and format. I upgraded from a dual G5. However you can use the new quad iMac to watch EX files as well and it's $2000. Depends on your set-up and need for disk space. An iMac with a few external FW800 drives is a very decent system. Renders are slower for DVDs but not for a lot of FCP filters.
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Old January 7th, 2010, 07:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen Wolf View Post
My screens will last another few years and one of them has been with me for 6,7 years.

Let's say I wanted to go the second hand route so I can upgrade my FCS-suite and get some extra crunching power & be able to view EX footage. What would be the best machine for the money at this point?
A screen that old is no longer color-correct; I can guarantee it's shifted either red or green and you wouldn't notice any difference unless you had a new one to do a side-by-side comparison, so I would definitely *at least* get one new LCD.

There really is no special configuration for XDCAM; the more RAM/CPU clock cycles/HDD space you can throw at any HD codec, the better. Chances are you can find a screaming deal on eBay or even Apple refurbished on a "gently used" recent Mac Pro and not pay brand-new prices.
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Old January 8th, 2010, 05:38 PM   #6
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I'd recommend an incremental upgrade. If you have 2-3k to spend, then start with the computer.

MacPro: starts @ $2.1k refurb to $3.3k 8 core

iMac 27": i5 quad @ $2k

OSX86: i7 quad @ $1k (quirky, tricky to setup, not really a valid option unless you like to tinker and can put up with the quirks)

I upgraded from a dual g5 to quad Nehalem. You really notice a huge speed jump encoding in Compressor every where else its not a big difference.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 02:49 PM   #7
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Rumor has it that Apple's going to come out with a new 12-core Mac in late January or February.

Mac Pro Buyer's Guide - Mac Guides

We're opening a new company and need to purchase a new MacPro, so instead of buying one of their current towers that are currently about the same speed as the new i7 iMac, we're going to hold out and hope that the rumors are true. (hope so!)
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Old January 11th, 2010, 01:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Cofrancesco View Post
OSX86: i7 quad @ $1k (quirky, tricky to setup, not really a valid option unless you like to tinker and can put up with the quirks)
I'm glad someone besides me said it.
My hack i7 quad screams and FCP7, BlackMagic and Matrox all play lovely.
Even my Highpoint RAID card and genuine Apple Fiber Channel card are confused. ;)

I'll add also that it is *much* easier than you think...

-C
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Old January 11th, 2010, 10:36 AM   #9
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Yup the hacks can be quite robust... once you get them working but you can't expect to upgrade them like a normal Mac. In the name of video production simplicity they are a very questionable purchase. For a tinkerer with a rebellious hacker streak, well.... it ain't legal.
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