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Old January 9th, 2010, 07:22 PM   #1
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Buying a new Mac question

Let me know if this post should be posted elsewhere. Basicly I am looking to move over to a Mac Pro computer from a Dell. I would like to find a turnkey system so all parts fall under the same warranty and I know everything is tested to work together. That include hardware, Drivers and software. I would appreciate advice/ thoughts on a few issues all related to this upgrade or if I should even upgrade. If I don't upgrade my Dell then I am going to get a new Macbook Pro notebook 15 or 17" model.
Here is some background on what type projects I have been working on and some of my issues....

Most of my projects are shot with a Sony FX7 HDV camera. I am using Premiere Pro CS3 and Photoshop CS3 Extended. My last project was a multicam project editing only DV content. (2) 1.5 hour videos and I used the multicam feature to create one video. I also had a separate sequence of another (2) 1.5 hours DV footage as described above. I also made some single person Highlight videos that were about 10-20 minutes in length. I outputed this video using Videodub to an AVI file then I imported that file into Encore and created custom DVD menus. First, I finally figured out 2 or so problems that had me pretty frustrated and pulling my hair out for a couple of waisted days. These are...

1) When I would output to the AVI file the audio portion of the AVI file was all choppy. I finally figured out that if I rendered the time line first, the audio was ok.
2) After creating the AVI file I tried playing the file in Windows Media Player or similar external player to see that the transcode was OK. That absolutely would not play correctly. It sounded like the streaming just was not fast enough. I though for a long time it was a problem with the encoding of the file. Then I just said to heck with it and tried importing the file into Encore and creating the SD DVD this worked just fine no problems playing the DVD and no problems playing the timeline in Encode.

Other thing I don't like about Windows XP/ Premiere Pro....
Premiere Pro crashes on me at least 6 times maybe more in the course of creating a 2 week long project. I have finally got this down to only crashing once in a while and at least that allows me to get some work done. I also hate having to spend all the time researching and then disabling services in Windows XP.
I have an Iphone and also an Apple time capsule router and both of these devices just plane work for me. Sure some people have problems but they work so much better & simpler than the Window counter parts.

My Dell is currently configured this way...

3.0 Ghz xeon dual core CPU
4GB RAM
3 internal HDDs (1 for programs and OS) the other two are setup as RAID 0 for capturing Video.
Adaptec Esata RAID card (RAID is disabled at the moment) I use it for an Esata HDD for the Scratch disk.
2 24" Dell monitors
Nvidia Quatro 3500 graphics card (that may have been overkill at the time I bought it)
Blackmagic analog capture card

What I am looking to achive....
Less crashing of Premiere Pro
Shorter rendering time or realtime rendering if that is not out of the question.
Just a computer that all around work smother and lets me concentrate on editing.

I still need a analog capture card for some VHS and older video camera captures.
I am thinking of something like this type setup....

Mac Pro with Snow leperd 64Bit
6GB RAM
Nvida or AVI graphics card
one or 2 intenal HDDs and a RAID extenal case with option to add up to 10 HDDs if needed.
I know full HD takes 7-10 7200RPM drives. For HDV I probably could get away with 4 RAID 0 Drives. I wonder if adding 2 RAID 0 drives. One for capture and one for Rendering files/scratch disk would help much?

Thanks,

John Gerard
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Old January 9th, 2010, 07:50 PM   #2
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My first suggestion is to find out why your XP system is crashing CS3 so often. There's nothing inherently wrong with that combination which would lead me to believe that you've either got a software bug or, something in the hardware might be less than 100% stable. (A bad RAM module for example could be the root of the problem)

My next suggestion is that you should seriously rethink changing up platforms; I think the sticker-shock alone of getting everything you'd need will make you rethink jumping ship.

Currently Apple has nothing compelling to offer you that can't be done equally as well on a PC - in fact if not a tad bit easier on a PC, especially when it comes to certain types of data-connectivity types and HDV/XDCAM workflows.

That may change later this year (I say *may* change; there's a lot in the rumor mill about what Apple is *expected* to be doing both with Final Cut Studio and their hardware, but Apple has had a solid 3-year history of disappointing it's users from expected updates so nobody is holding their breath anymore) but for now you've got a really good platform to do your work.

I think you would be far better served by sorting out the issues with your system (look up an NLE specialist in your area who can help you troubleshoot your problems) than abandoning ship and reinventing the wheel with a totally new platform. It's a much bigger headache - and drain on your wallet - than you realize.

Lastly, use the "Taking Care of Business" category here on the forum; post a "need help" request for someone who lives in your area that can help you suss out your troubles.

Trust me, going all Apple isn't going to solve your problems and make life easier; you're only going to trade one set of problems for a completely different set, nothing more.

You can find an equal number of people - both PC and Mac based - who hate their setups and are always talking trash about them, and those who totally love what they have and can't imagine "crossing over". It's not the hardware that makes or breaks how well things work, it's all about the knowledge YOU have and how well you implement that information.

Chew on those thoughts for a while.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 05:58 PM   #3
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See if you can fix your system first before getting into the MacOS world. It sounds like there is some sort of data bottleneck going on that can account for the program crashes as well as poor playback of large AVI files. Perhaps a board is no good. And is 4GB of RAM enough for these programs?

Unless I am misunderstanding your workflow, you really don't need any RAID drives for HDV. HDV requires about the same (sometimes less) drive bandwidth as DV. You could set up a very nice and cooperative multicam HDV edit system with a couple of FW800 external drives and an iMac.

A cheap A/D converter (like from Canopus) will take care of your analog capture needs.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 09:46 PM   #4
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The line between PC and Mac continues to blur, especially for professional users (I still think the Mac is better for beginners).

I've found that good system maintenance is the best tool for preventing crashing. I can tell you a number of easy things to do on the Mac, but I don't have a clue about what to do on a PC. Things like system hard drive maintenance and permissions repairs. I've become a sort of IT guy at our office and those two things fix the majority of the problems my co-workers have with their Mac's. The "trick" is to fix the problem before it goes terminal. For me, when ever applications crash or when the overall system starts to feel sluggish, I restart and spend 10 minutes doing some system maintenance. Or at least I do it at the next available opportunity.

Now if you just wanted to switch to a Mac because they are so much cooler.....that I could support. hehehehehe

My $0.02. :)
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Old January 11th, 2010, 12:42 PM   #5
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Yes, I already have a Canopus external A/D converter. In the past it was pretty unstable with my Dell computer. The problem I am having now is the same problem I was having with the Canopus unit. My camera connects via firewire 400 has a hard time being recognized and this is frustrating when I need to get a project done. If I unplug, reconnect, turn off/on camera eventually my computer will recognize the camera. It works great from then on. This keep happening with the Canopus unit since it connects via firewire also. I finally gave up on it and bought a Blackmagic Analog capture card because I got to darn frustrated. In doing research lately I have discovered that others have the same problem/bug with there cameras being recognized by Windows. I don't know what the solution is yet. One person thought it was a bug where Windows did not like going from a 6 pin to a 4 pin setup.
Quote:
Originally Posted by William Hohauser View Post
See if you can fix your system first before getting into the MacOS world. It sounds like there is some sort of data bottleneck going on that can account for the program crashes as well as poor playback of large AVI files. Perhaps a board is no good. And is 4GB of RAM enough for these programs?

Unless I am misunderstanding your workflow, you really don't need any RAID drives for HDV. HDV requires about the same (sometimes less) drive bandwidth as DV. You could set up a very nice and cooperative multicam HDV edit system with a couple of FW800 external drives and an iMac.

A cheap A/D converter (like from Canopus) will take care of your analog capture needs.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 01:58 PM   #6
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This is pointing to a problem with the Dell that may be solved with an entire reinstall of your operating system, but you can not rule out a hardware issue. Also I keep my video program Windows XP computers off the internet, download needed upgrades to another computer and install manually, solves a lot of problems. Have you done any drive maintenance lately? Defragment?

The missing pins in a 4-wire FireWire cable is raw power, no data so it's unlikely that the problem is there.

Some cameras also have a recognition problem in the Mac OS world so it's not a Windows only problem. However the Canopus A/D products I've used always work on Macs or PCs which is why I think there is a significant problem on your computer.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 02:22 PM   #7
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First off my camera is not recognized by Windows XP most of the time time. In researching the issue it seems to be a bug in Windows XP if I try connecting disconnecting and reconnecting etc. it works eventually. I have checked control panel and my camera is recognized when this happens except for the last time where it was not recognize and I just decided what the heck and I tried to install any camera listed in Windows in the ad section of cameras and scanners and somehow after that it worked. I have yet to see if this fix the problem. I don't know if that helped or not. My camera doesn't have specific drivers for Windows XP. Windows XP is just supposed to recognize the camera when it is connected. Others on the Internet while doing research have this same problem so it's not a problem with my computer in particular it's a problem with Windows XP. One person suggested that it might be a problem going from a six pin connector to a 4 pin connector on the camera, something with the extra two pins screw it up. I don't know if that is the problem or not someone tried to get a computer card that only had a four pin connector on it instead of six pin and that seemed to help his issue.
Looking back I should have probably gone with the turnkey system or similar computer that has all these issues worked out for example I didn't realize when I bought my Dell 490 that Premier Pro is tied tightly to the drivers for the video and audio cards. I have subsequently found out that you really have to go to Adobe and make sure you have a certified driver installed on your computer and are using certified hardware for best performance. This one thing helped me to cut down the amount of crashing. I also should have not tried to upgrade my computer myself that induced a lot of my problems. Installing certified drivers made my computer go from unusable to at least a usable state. Apple computers aren't perfect and they have their problems at least when running Premiere Pro and FCP.
I still think that Apple computers work better in my opinion. Case in point, when I first got my FX7 camera I tried it on my sisters old G4 Mac. This is probably a 10 year old computer that has dual 500 MHz CPUs 1.5 GB of RAM and one hard drive I don't even know whether it is a 7200 RPM drive or not. I tried a test HDV capture in Imovie 6 and this worked quite well and Imovie6 told me that it was capturing at 1/4 real-time it appeared to be so from the preview I was watching. From the research I have done on the net the consciences is that you cannot capture video especially HD or HDV less than real-time that is why you need so many hard drives in a raid zero configuration is to capture the video. People have stated that everything else from rendering etc. can be done on a slower computer. Even rendering the final output files. It just takes longer. I don't know the inner workings of how Imovie6 works but that's another topic I would like to discuss on this forum. But if this is true what Imovie6 was telling me on the screen then this is one of the few small things that I like much better about the Apple computers and other devices then the Win/Intel counterparts. Also if this is true why can't FCP or Premiere Pro be able to also do this. Since PCP is an Apple product what can't the development team use some of the same code that is in Imovie? Also, my camera was detected right away with none of the problems as I have under Windows. It is little things like this that make Apple computers and products just work better for me. My time capsule Apple router just works better and easier than any Windows based solution out there. I have tried most of them. Another case in point...
To reset a Win/Intell type wireless router when it stops working these are the steps involved in the process of restarting the router. This is the same basic procedure for Dilink, Netgear, Linksys to just name a few...
1) Turn off your computer
2) Turn off your Router
3) turn off your Internet modem.
restart procedure
4) power up modem. Let it come up to speed
5) Next power up the router and let it come up to speed
6) Next, turn back on your computer

Next it the procedure to reset an Apple router
1) unplug the router
2) wait maybe around 10 seconds
3) plug it back in.

That's it.

I also estimated that the new computer is going to cost me about $6000 US. This is for a quad core 2.93 GHz CPU 6 GB of RAM and about seven hard drive, including upgrading my software and either an ATI graphics 512 MB card or Nvidia card.
I just bought about 1-2 months ago Windows 7 the 3 user license version and I wanted to upgraded my Dell Computer to Windows 7 64bit until someone on the net told me that going to the 64-bit version of Windows 7 was not a good idea unless I had more than 4 GB of RAM what do you think? I wanted to upgrade to Windows 7 for these three reasons...
1) Windows 7 is supposed to manage memory much better than Windows XP.
2) Windows 7 is supposed to work with multi-core processors better.
3) Windows 7 is supposed to not install service that I don't use.
Windows XP was supposed to do something similar when you first installed Windows XP. But it never worked very well. I wanted to install Windows 7 64bit so I didn't have to reinstall it later and I thought maybe it would be a little bit more efficient on memory as well.

John Gerard
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane View Post
My first suggestion is to find out why your XP system is crashing CS3 so often. There's nothing inherently wrong with that combination which would lead me to believe that you've either got a software bug or, something in the hardware might be less than 100% stable. (A bad RAM module for example could be the root of the problem)

My next suggestion is that you should seriously rethink changing up platforms; I think the sticker-shock alone of getting everything you'd need will make you rethink jumping ship.

Currently Apple has nothing compelling to offer you that can't be done equally as well on a PC - in fact if not a tad bit easier on a PC, especially when it comes to certain types of data-connectivity types and HDV/XDCAM workflows.

That may change later this year (I say *may* change; there's a lot in the rumor mill about what Apple is *expected* to be doing both with Final Cut Studio and their hardware, but Apple has had a solid 3-year history of disappointing it's users from expected updates so nobody is holding their breath anymore) but for now you've got a really good platform to do your work.

I think you would be far better served by sorting out the issues with your system (look up an NLE specialist in your area who can help you troubleshoot your problems) than abandoning ship and reinventing the wheel with a totally new platform. It's a much bigger headache - and drain on your wallet - than you realize.

Lastly, use the "Taking Care of Business" category here on the forum; post a "need help" request for someone who lives in your area that can help you suss out your troubles.

Trust me, going all Apple isn't going to solve your problems and make life easier; you're only going to trade one set of problems for a completely different set, nothing more.

You can find an equal number of people - both PC and Mac based - who hate their setups and are always talking trash about them, and those who totally love what they have and can't imagine "crossing over". It's not the hardware that makes or breaks how well things work, it's all about the knowledge YOU have and how well you implement that information.

Chew on those thoughts for a while.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 02:51 PM   #8
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buying a new computer

Hi,

Even with my comments I am considering what you and others are saying. I just wanted to add other issues I have been having. One is that if I don't render the time line in Premiere Pro before exporting footage then the audio is all messed up. It took me two full days to figure this one out. And there are a couple of other similar issues in Premiere that really frustrate me. Because it waists a lot of time that I don't have. The latest issue I started a new project HDV. Imported my footage captured with VirtualDub, and created the timeline.
I then created a parent sequence and added a color correction filter to it. I then Rendered the sequence. The render time was about 3.5 hours for about 1.5 Hours of video. Half way through the render process Premiere Pro keep crashing. I then went to the internet and looked up services I should and should not disable. I spent a few hours going through Windows and Disabling or re-enabling services. Finally Premiere Pro finished Rendering the sequence. I have run the Dell Diagnostics on my computer but every time it say that nothing is wrong with my hardware.

John Gerard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane View Post
My first suggestion is to find out why your XP system is crashing CS3 so often. There's nothing inherently wrong with that combination which would lead me to believe that you've either got a software bug or, something in the hardware might be less than 100% stable. (A bad RAM module for example could be the root of the problem)

My next suggestion is that you should seriously rethink changing up platforms; I think the sticker-shock alone of getting everything you'd need will make you rethink jumping ship.

Currently Apple has nothing compelling to offer you that can't be done equally as well on a PC - in fact if not a tad bit easier on a PC, especially when it comes to certain types of data-connectivity types and HDV/XDCAM workflows.

That may change later this year (I say *may* change; there's a lot in the rumor mill about what Apple is *expected* to be doing both with Final Cut Studio and their hardware, but Apple has had a solid 3-year history of disappointing it's users from expected updates so nobody is holding their breath anymore) but for now you've got a really good platform to do your work.

I think you would be far better served by sorting out the issues with your system (look up an NLE specialist in your area who can help you troubleshoot your problems) than abandoning ship and reinventing the wheel with a totally new platform. It's a much bigger headache - and drain on your wallet - than you realize.

Lastly, use the "Taking Care of Business" category here on the forum; post a "need help" request for someone who lives in your area that can help you suss out your troubles.

Trust me, going all Apple isn't going to solve your problems and make life easier; you're only going to trade one set of problems for a completely different set, nothing more.

You can find an equal number of people - both PC and Mac based - who hate their setups and are always talking trash about them, and those who totally love what they have and can't imagine "crossing over". It's not the hardware that makes or breaks how well things work, it's all about the knowledge YOU have and how well you implement that information.

Chew on those thoughts for a while.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 02:54 PM   #9
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buying a new computer

Hi,
As I talked about in another note has anyone on the PC side tried Windows 7 yet? If yes, how you like it? How does it work with Premiere Pro.

John Gerard
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