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Old February 6th, 2010, 04:19 PM   #16
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I have an early 2008 MacPro 2.8gHz 8 core and I will echo Andy's comments. NEVER had a problem with it. And it is quiet as a mouse to boot. No regrets.
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Old February 6th, 2010, 05:00 PM   #17
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I don't know that this is a kosher suggestion, but if you check out lifehacker.com they have a how to on building a mac(hackintosh). It is pretty cheap and the results (in my experience) are on par with some of the more expensive used mac pro's out there.

Of course if you can afford it the apple branded hardware is awesome. But if you're holding out for a new one this isn't a bad stop gap.
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Old February 6th, 2010, 08:25 PM   #18
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Sort of kosher but since a rabbi hasn't certified it, not completely kosher. My consulting work once brought me into contact with a quad-core "hackintosh" tower and here's my observations.

1) Fast and responsive 3.5 quad-core. There isn't a comparable MacPro since Apple has never released a 3.5 quad-core for some reason although they now have a 3.3 quad. Every standard Mac program seemed to run properly. Took a bit longer to boot than any Intel Mac I've worked with.

2) The quality of the hardware on this particular machine is lower than a MacPro. USB data transfers can actually be heard in the headphones. The FireWire 800 port failed at some point which required a new card in a PCI different slot. There is some issue between the OS and the hardware making a second monitor unwise to activate even though the video card is supported by 10.5.

3) System updates are a problem. It can choke up on re-booting which requires a full power down including unplugging the tower for a moment. Also it won't take 10.6 at all.

4) Adding internal drives turned out to be a problem as well. They had to be initialized in Windows first and then reinitialized in Mac although I don't know if it ever really worked. I decided to not recommend any course of action with the machine.

5) The box is rather ugly and stealing technology is ugly as well.

The person who owned it eventually decided that an 8-core MacPro was the way to go for robust video editing and they re-purposed the hackintosh to a Windows/Linux audio station. The solid behavior of an Apple built computer made the person much happier although it cost more than twice as much.

My brief tests with FCP showed that the 4-core hackintosh was definitely faster rendering standard FCP filters than any 2-core iMac or Mac notebook out last year although the new 27" 4-core iMac probably gives it a good run, possibly beating it. I have never come into contact with a quad-core MacPro outside of an Apple store. The only other new Mac I have been able to compare it to is my own 2009 8-core 2.26 which is quite frankly faster even with processes that only utilize 4 cores. Whether that's due to Apple's "Turbo-Boost technology", the high quality of the components or something else I am unable to say.

Hackintosh at your own risk, legal and otherwise.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 01:33 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Shaughan Flynn View Post
I have an early 2008 MacPro 2.8gHz 8 core and I will echo Andy's comments. NEVER had a problem with it. And it is quiet as a mouse to boot. No regrets.
Both my wife & I have the same model as you an early 2008 MacPro 2.8gHz 8 core but I would never describe them as 'quiet as a mouse'. I have even removed the fans & fitted large passive heat sinks to the dual graphics cards in my wife's system but the there is still a fair bit of noise from the system fans. I have always attributed this to having an Apple RAID card which prevents the system going into sleep mod when idle.

However our older systems are not the current Nehalam-based systems that are being discussed with regard to alleged noise or overheating problems.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 05:50 AM   #20
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Just to clarify my 2.66Ghz 8 core 12GB RAM Nehalem Mac Pro 4TB is very very quiet even under pretty heavy load in rendering where the most I'll hear is "a very low level background purr". However, I opted to stay on 10.5.8 and FCS2 (I'm waiting for a "real" FCS software upgrade before Apple get any more of my money - i.e. one that can actually use some or all those cores in applications other than just Compressor). I'm not sure if being conservative has enabled me to avoid the fan/noise/overheating problems or not that others seem to wine about on geek Apple forums!

Regarding the original posters question, well yes expensive though it is, MY experience is that you get what you pay for and with a Mac Pro I got a stable, fast editing workstation which is faster than the 2.5Ghz 4GB RAM mid 2008 MBP and FW800 connected 2TB G-RAID3 system I also use for editing. Obviously, in video rendering the Mac Pro leaves the other system well behind but I've done some pretty big commercial jobs (well big for me!) on the MBP system, all with XDCAM EX3 1080p and it's more than paid for it's keep too, it's just that I'd plan my work to let it render overnight.

I think (and I'm no Apple expert) that the best "value for money versus performance Mac Pros" were the 2008 2.8Ghz 8 core's (us early adopters of Nehalem got stung big time, especially in the UK with currency devaluation) so if you can get a second hand one that would be a good route to consider. If Apple can get the the new iMacs glitches sorted soon, they also look a good choice (just look the Barefeats performance benchmark articles), as long as you're happy that you don't need the excellent flexibility for expansion that the Mac Pros offer.
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Last edited by Andy Wilkinson; February 7th, 2010 at 07:01 AM. Reason: clarifying 2008 point
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Old February 7th, 2010, 04:33 PM   #21
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That spoiler is more of a tease! When do you think the final review will be posted? I'm interested if the speed boost is worth the $500 or $800 extra.
Worth the extra money will come down to your individual workflow and how often you have to encode MPEG, Flash or H.264 finals for output. However, there's no debate as to the actual speed benefit - it's huge. The encoder shootout will be live on the review site by the time you see this; look for the link on the homepage.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 05:58 PM   #22
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Very interesting review. I would be interested in the outcome on an 8-core. Did you use the trial versions of Episode and Squeeze? If so, I'll try it on my set-up this week.

By the way I made the theatrical trailer for the re-release of the original Godzilla a few years ago.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 08:31 PM   #23
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Very interesting review. I would be interested in the outcome on an 8-core. Did you use the trial versions of Episode and Squeeze? If so, I'll try it on my set-up this week.

By the way I made the theatrical trailer for the re-release of the original Godzilla a few years ago.
Was it back in 2004 and there a fat guy wearing a dark-green shirt holding a model-plane that looked exactly like Godzilla minus the spine spikes walking around the studio? Gee, I don't remember seeing you there...(laughs) One of these days I'll get around to posting the clip that made Chris Hurd assign me the "Godzilla" moniker. Geez, how quickly you put on the pounds when you're stressed out...

I actually have full versions of both. I've no doubt I'll be working with Sorenson soon to try and suss out it's instabilities. I'd wait to try Squeeze until *after* we figure out why it's hiccuping with H.264 encodes. Right now it's too unstable to even finish the full review on it.

And post that trailer somewhere - we ALL want to see!
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Old February 8th, 2010, 09:43 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by William Hohauser View Post
1) Fast and responsive 3.5 quad-core. There isn't a comparable MacPro since Apple has never released a 3.5 quad-core for some reason although they now have a 3.3 quad. Every standard Mac program seemed to run properly. Took a bit longer to boot than any Intel Mac I've worked with.
I completely agree with you, the boot up time on my hackintosh, is extremely slow, up to a minute at times, I suppose technically it's booting additional processes so maybe that's it but yeah not great boot times. I'm currently running a 4.0 quad core which I like because it's been overclocked from a 3.0ghz, which unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) is something you can't do with a Stock MacPro.

Quote:
Originally Posted by William Hohauser View Post
2) The quality of the hardware on this particular machine is lower than a MacPro. USB data transfers can actually be heard in the headphones. The FireWire 800 port failed at some point which required a new card in a PCI different slot. There is some issue between the OS and the hardware making a second monitor unwise to activate even though the video card is supported by 10.5.
Again I agree, I think that on most hackintoshes the hardware will not be up to the same quality as on a MacPro mostly because if you were to try and build a mac pro the cost of the hardware would be even more then buying it from apple. That being said, I personally have had no issues with firewire ports, or hearing the data transfer in the headphones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by William Hohauser View Post
3) System updates are a problem. It can choke up on re-booting which requires a full power down including unplugging the tower for a moment. Also it won't take 10.6 at all.
I have heard of system updates problem, however on the lifehacker build that has not been an issue, in fact I'm running the most recent build 10.6.2, but again that may change with 10.6.3 it's really up to apple. I personally have had my apple branded computers die on me after a system update more times then the hackintosh (which isn't a very fair comparison since i"ve been using apple hardware for 10 years and the hackintosh for 3 months, but still no system update failures on the hack)

Quote:
Originally Posted by William Hohauser View Post
4) Adding internal drives turned out to be a problem as well. They had to be initialized in Windows first and then reinitialized in Mac although I don't know if it ever really worked. I decided to not recommend any course of action with the machine.
Again this may have just been the system you were on, I have installed numerous drives now and the only issue I had was 1) I ahd a seagate die on me, which was a real bummer, but I think that would have happened with mac/pc/or hackintosh. And I did have to use a Mac to create my operating system drive.

Quote:
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5) The box is rather ugly and stealing technology is ugly as well.
I agree that most boxes are ugly, and I bit the bullet and bought a thermaltake level 10 case, which I believe to be at least as pretty as a mac pro case and perhaps even cooler looking. As for stealing technology, I purchased all of my software and hardware so I don't feel like I've stolen anything, but I think it's ok to "hack" around with things and make them work to do what I need them to do, especially if I've purchased the items.

I have a couple of friends who have sold their old mac pro's to build cheaper faster hackintosh's however they don't make their living on those computers, neither do I. I think if it's a mission critical type of deal you probably do want an apple product, not that that means it won't fail but it does mean if a producer comes to you and says "why did this computer fail, why are we behind schedule and over budget?" You can say "because the computer I bought from apple failed" not "because the computer I built from this website that said build at your own risk failed"

I agree that is definitely up to the user's comfort level, but I will say that a lot of the issues that William faced I believe have been solved as the osx86 community grows more robust. Again I't probably not even fair to compare a 1000 computer to a mac pro, but I have been very happy with mine for what it's worth.
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Old February 8th, 2010, 11:21 AM   #25
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[QUOTE=Robert Lane;1481319]John,

Right now isn't the time to rush into purchasing any Apple-branded hardware; according to reports from the town-hall meeting Jobs hosted immediately following the iPad release they are about to launch major updates to their hardware lineup. Of course there are no exact details about when or what but it's a safe bet that if you purchased something *right now* that in just a month or two it will be replaced by it's newer successor. Hold off - if you can.

Understood there's no definite release date for the new Mac Pro. My question is what's the history of when the current models will go on sale in anticipation of the new ones. Does that happen when they're are announced or before it? And what's the typical saving?
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Old February 8th, 2010, 11:40 AM   #26
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Jase,

Indications (from past history) of stuff like that is easily found on the buyers guide page of the very well known mac rumors site. Google will easily find the URL.

Just remember, it's a rumour site so make any of your buying choices with that in mind!
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Old February 8th, 2010, 12:07 PM   #27
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Was it back in 2004 and there a fat guy wearing a dark-green shirt holding a model-plane that looked exactly like Godzilla minus the spine spikes walking around the studio? Gee, I don't remember seeing you there...(laughs) One of these days I'll get around to posting the clip that made Chris Hurd assign me the "Godzilla" moniker. Geez, how quickly you put on the pounds when you're stressed out...

I actually have full versions of both. I've no doubt I'll be working with Sorenson soon to try and suss out it's instabilities. I'd wait to try Squeeze until *after* we figure out why it's hiccuping with H.264 encodes. Right now it's too unstable to even finish the full review on it.

And post that trailer somewhere - we ALL want to see!
:: Godzilla ::

A couple of notes about it. Toho (the owner of Godzilla) wouldn't let us use any footage from the film without paying an exorbitant footage fee even though it was an official release! We came up with a trailer that used music, sfx and titles cards. Mostly made in After Effects and FCP on a 12" Powerbook! The result works very well I think and so did Entertainment Weekly in their trailer review section. It got an "A-" if I remember correctly. Toho was quite irritated that it worked that well but not irritated enough that they didn't copy it nearly frame by frame for a teaser for the last new Godzilla film a few years ago.
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Old February 9th, 2010, 12:05 PM   #28
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I have an early 2008 MacPro 2.8gHz 8 core and I will echo Andy's comments. NEVER had a problem with it. And it is quiet as a mouse to boot. No regrets.
The problem is quite real and Apple has finally and publicly acknowledged the issue:

Apple acknowledging, investigating Mac Pro problems? | MacNN
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Old February 9th, 2010, 01:24 PM   #29
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I think you quoted the wrong post there :)
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