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Old July 11th, 2010, 09:28 PM   #1
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Final Cut Studio on Snow Leopard Server

Recently our office got a new Mac Mini Server to do some small scale web hosting and we have later found out the performance on several key tasks such as data transferring between drives, app launching, even plain web surfing is clearly superior to our latest 2.4 GHz 13" Macbook Pro with comparable specs. What is not really comparable is the hard drives. The Mac Mini Server has dual (software) RAID-0 7200-rpm drives while the Macbook Pro has only a plain 5400-rpm drive. Now we are just wondering if we could install the Final Cut Studio 3 suite, or maybe just the Final Cut Pro app part of the suite considering the machine's limited specs to allow efficient work on the other apps e.g. Motion or Color for instance, on this new Mini Server which runs on the server version of OSX SL.

We have googled and surfed the web for information about installing SL client version on the new Mac Mini Server and think it's really a hassle plus the additional cost of getting a new copy of SL client. We just want to have FCP on this new machine and get on to work while leaving its built-in networking features intact. Would this be possible? Will there be any performance hit as compared FCP running on SL client?
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Old July 12th, 2010, 10:37 PM   #2
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The MMS is not designed for high-end, high-bitrate data sharing over a network. That's why in all the sales literature you see consumer-grade apps being listed, nothing professional.

If you want server-based FCP capabilities that won't crash or overload the hardware you'll need hardware that can handle the heavy-duty loads. No way around that I'm afraid.

Contact Kenny Martin at DVServe.tv or the guys at OWC, ProMax or other service aggregators that have FCP Server experience.
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Old July 13th, 2010, 01:52 AM   #3
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The OP is not talking about Final Cut Server but about installing Final Cut Studio on the Mac Mini running OS X Server. As I understand it the question is that you are currently running FCS on a 2.4 GHz 13" MBP & because the Mini is faster with RAID-0 7200rpm disks your wondered whether running FCS on the Mini would be possible.

OS X Server is just regular OS X with a number of extra applications many of them concerned with management of mail, clients etc so it should be possible however it may not be desirable. If you are using the Mini as a webserver & for other background applications then these may slow down the system for FCS. The use of RAID-0 for your only disks in the Mini means that a single disk failure will result in total loss of all your data. RAID-0 is good for scratch & render disks where you can re-create any files in the event of disk failure but is not recommended for the system & only disk.

If you really don't need OS X Server & want to use the Mini just for FCS then you can install plain OS X which only costs $29. Do not use RAID-0 but use one disk for system & application files & the other for your working files. Ideally add an external Firewire 800 disk too. Then you will have a reasonable system for FCS. At least it will be better than the MBP but still rather underpowered for heavy use of FCS.
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Old July 13th, 2010, 04:54 AM   #4
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Thanks, Nigel and Robert. What I meant was as Nigel said, a plain FCP on SL Server version. I'll try asking someone at my local Apple dealer to see if using retail SL Client upgrade disks (the disk package which people buy to upgrade their system OS from Leopard Client to SL Client) is possible. I agree with both of you that the Mac Mini is hardly an ideal system to handle the typical FCS workload but it will be a godsend to move around in my two-level office and to my home where we already have firewire RAID storage (for data and scratch disk), monitors, keyboards and a few other necessary input devices in place. It will be just a matter of hooking up 2-3 cables. We have access to a properly set up Mac Pro system that can handle all the heavy duty work so the Mini is mainly to facilitate our workflow when the Mac Pro is tied up with something else.

Last edited by Wacharapong Chiowanich; July 13th, 2010 at 04:57 AM. Reason: key words omitted
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Old July 13th, 2010, 06:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wacharapong Chiowanich View Post
I'll try asking someone at my local Apple dealer to see if using retail SL Client upgrade disks (the disk package which people buy to upgrade their system OS from Leopard Client to SL Client) is possible.
Snow Leopard is only available as the upgrade kit & that same kit will also do a new installation as well as an upgrade from Leopard. You cannot do a 'downgrade' installation from Snow Leopard Server to regular Snow Leopard so will need to erase the disks on the Mini & do a fresh install.
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Old August 26th, 2010, 05:41 PM   #6
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I wound up buying a Mac Mini Server for our office. I was curious if it would run the Final Cut Studio suite so I loaded it all up and voila. Works for basic cutting/editing, however, I have noticed a few quirks with third-party hardware support. A few of the devices I normally hook up are not immediately recognized like they would be on a basic Snow Leopard installation. For example, I use an Edirol USB audio mixer - the Mac Mini Server does not immediately recognize this device. I then brought the unit to demo at the local Final Cut Pro user group in Seattle. We pushed the unit with multiple video tracks, effects, multiple formats and it handled very well. Then, when we hooked up a LaCie external Blu-ray, Final Cut would not recognize the burner in the "Share" tab as it normally does on MacBooks and MacPros. So, there ya have it. It works, but probably not desirable unless you want to install just regular Snow Leopard on the unit - which, I've also read in the Apple Discussions, may cause issues with the ethernet port and the SD Card reader. There are workarounds, but it's a bunch of code and probably not worth the time it would take to figure it all out. So while $999 may sound like a good price for the power, the Mac Mini Server is really built to be a server and not a video editor at a professional level if you need to hook up third-party hardware - for basic cutting/rendering/ingesting, it'll work fine.
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Old August 26th, 2010, 09:06 PM   #7
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Wow! Guy, what an enlightening find from you. I've decided not to risk it and bought a 2009 Mac Mini (Core 2 Duo 2.53 Ghz, 4GB Ram) with the regular Snow Leopard and it has handled light to medium tasks in FCP7 fine despite long waits for rendering. The heavy work continues to be run on a Mac Pro with the Mini being used more like a mobile unit.

Thanks again for the helpful info.

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