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Old March 26th, 2010, 02:41 PM   #1
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Best MP for FC

2.66 - $2149 - 12 Gb ram $2600
2.93 - $2549 - 5 Gb ram $2620
2.8x8 - $2399 - 6 Gb ram $2560
3.0x8 - $2799 - 6 Gb ram $2960
2.26x8 - $2799 - 6 Gb ram $2799
(refurbs)

Need to get a comp ASAP (can only wait out one more Tuesday for the new MP)

Which would be the best bang for the buck in regards to performance and future FC upgrades?
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Old March 26th, 2010, 04:17 PM   #2
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From what I can tell, it doesn't look like we will see new Mac Pros until June, or at least after a new FCS maybe around NAB.

The problem I ran into was that the $3149 2.93 Quad MP was almost identical to the $2399 2.8 i7 iMac. I think I'm deciding on the iMac since my monitoring can be via mxo2 through the DVI port. I just didn't see the need right now for another $800 to have a tower with the same specs.

If you need faster external hard drive speed, though, the MP would be better.

I can tell you that the 2.26 (8-core) is slow for a lot of things until you render and I don't know if the 2.66 (8-core) is worth the money if new processors are months away.
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Old March 26th, 2010, 04:42 PM   #3
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"Bang for the buck" is very subjective. Since you didn't mention your work needs it's difficult to make a suggestion. The difference between a regular day-to-day FCP editing station and a station souped up for Color is significant.

If it's internal expansion (drives, card, memory) you are looking for, all of the MPs are good. The i7 iMac is certainly "bang" if external drives are sufficient for your editing needs. If you are interested in running Compressor faster, then the 8-core Pros are what you are looking for.
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Old March 26th, 2010, 08:04 PM   #4
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"2.8x8 - $2399 - 6 Gb ram $2560"

That's the system I'd go for.

If, and that's a big "if" since Apple historically makes only incremental updates to the hardware, if Apple's next iteration of the Mac Pro is significantly better in measurable and *usable* ways than what's currently available then that 2.8Ghz x8 system will still have almost 2/3rds of it's value in the summer (possibly more depending how the used market sorts itself out as the economy continues to fluctuate), which means you could sell it and have a nice chunk of cash to get into a newer Mac Pro - assuming it's worth the investment.

Time will tell.
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Old March 27th, 2010, 01:02 PM   #5
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I didn't mention an imac since I feel that counting on a single FW port for all your connectivity (HD's, capture, backup's etc.) cripples it for video. I understand how it may work for some, but internal speed is only a part of video requirements IMO. In short, what you get is what you've got, with a MP, what you get is only the beginning, it's much more capable from the start & you can grow with it if your needs should increase.

William - Over all functionality is what I'm looking for, what is the most "future proof", and what will deal best with future software updates. I understand most of the speed/core issues, but I'm pretty ignorant of the difference in architecture between the 08's & 09's and if this will be an issue in up coming years. I'm more of a "turn the machine on & get to work" kind of person.

Robert -
You hit the nail on the head of what I'm dealing with in regards to this purchase. the 2.8 x 8 is the comp I am leaning towards, but buying a "new" machine that is 2 year old technology is an issue. At least having 3 years of Applecare will help keep it's price up.
I do think the next MP's will be more than just a speed bump... Oh well...

Is the card that it comes with ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT a decent card for motion?

If they don't still have the 2.8 X 8 on Tuesday, I guess I'll get the 2.93 quad.
I can also return it in 14 days if they should come out with the new MP's.
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Old March 27th, 2010, 05:26 PM   #6
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The difference between the 08s and the 09s is significant enough that some PCI cards (eSATAs) will not work in 09s. Other then that inconvenience there is a difference in motherboard architecture that gives to 09s an edge over the 08s in speed even though the processors are about the same. I skipped over the 08s when I had a chance to get a new one at a good discount because of this. Now whether the difference works out in real-life I don't know but I'm very happy with the 8-core 2.26 2009 MacPro I have.

Future proof is as you surmised. A fully expandable computer is more future proof then an integrated iMac. I have a G5 tower that could be reved up into a decent HD edit station but I don't think I'll bother.
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Old March 27th, 2010, 07:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Hohauser View Post
The difference between the 08s and the 09s is significant enough that some PCI cards (eSATAs) will not work in 09s.

Other then that inconvenience there is a difference in motherboard architecture that gives to 09s an edge over the 08s in speed even though the processors are about the same. I skipped over the 08s when I had a chance to get a new one at a good discount because of this.
Not too concerned with eSATA as the internals should take care of all my needs.

As well as I can figure, as far as the 08-09 is that the 2.93 will be a fair amount faster in day to day FC use but that the 2.8 will be faster with compressor, though I guess this could change if the FC upgrade makes use of more cores.
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Old March 27th, 2010, 07:38 PM   #8
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At least having 3 years of Applecare will help keep it's price up.
I would not purchase the 3-year Applecare, chances are you'll be replacing that system way before the first-year of coverage is up.

However instead of Applecare you should get Pro Care, which you can only purchase from your local Apple retail store. What that does for you is far more helpful than an extended warranty: If your system needs repair it puts you at the head of the wait list and, if parts are required - and they're in-stock - they will be overnighted to the repairing store at no additional cost to you.

The real-world difference between having Pro Care and not, is that you could turn in a "dead" system under Pro Care and get it back fast, usually 48-72 hours (unless it's over a weekend) or unless it requires a ton of troubleshooting by the Genius Bar. By contrast without Pro Care you could wait weeks while your system is in the same general repair cue as the general consumer.

If your system makes you money then get Pro Care; it will pay for itself on your first visit (god forbid) to the Genius Bar.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 05:37 PM   #9
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Well it looks like I'll be ordering the 2.93 MP tomorrow as I believe it will run slightly better than the 2.8x8 with FCS3, has a faster GPU and if I should want to upgrade (doubtful at this point) they are rare as used machines.

The only issue with this machine that I have is it's ram capabilities. Should I bite the bullet & just get 12 Gbs (4Gbsx3 - $450) or start with adding 2Gbs ($70) in the open slot and run with 5Gbs (up it to 8Gbs in the future)

Mostly I am just running FC (believe it only uses a max of 4Gbs now), but sometimes I do have motion & Photoshop open as well (maybe Color also?). If I run Soundtrack or Logic, I usually run them solo.

Would I ever need more than 8Gbs? I'd hate to scrap perfectly good 2 Gbs modules if I needed more ram.

Robert - The closest Apple store is over 2 hours away in Nashville, We've always taken our macs to Mac Authority (in Nashville also) and they've done good work & turned them around pretty quickly. I do also have a MBP that I can use if need be. Is the procare $99 a year and you pay each year?
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