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Old October 7th, 2005, 05:50 PM   #1
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How much will decklink spice up an old g4

We have a g4 (Saw tooth, originally 400mhz) upgraded to a Sonnet 1ghz cpu... it has 1.2gigs of pc100 ram (fastest it can use) and a ATI 5200?? it's 128mb pc card flashed for mac.

We are noticing on FCP 4 that it is not really moving as fast as it could on RT previews once adding things like color correction and such... we really just started playing around with it as my partner is the mac fcp guy and didn't even KNOW you could preview things in RT (not sure HOW he worked like that)... he learned on FCP 1 in his defence.

So the questions is that since we are poor working folks trying to start up this biz and have a zillion things to buy which would be money better spent... selling the g4 and getting a g5, re-upgrading the processor to the best the sawtooth can handle (2ghz?), or is this decklink (the $299 model) like shoehorning a V8 in a miata as far as FCP goes... I know that the other upgrades benefit ALL aspects of the mac better but really FCP is the issue we are having (well after effects too but the decklink will help that too)

Sorry if this seems rather naive but I'm really a PC guy just getting his feet wet in the mac world as my partner is the artist and I'm the tech savvy bloke.
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Old October 7th, 2005, 07:11 PM   #2
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Decklink is just an I/O, and I don't think hardware acceleration exists for FCP. Decklink would be useful if you need to use formats that you can't capture and output over firewire, but it's not going to improve render times and RT performance - that's all in the CPU. You can search on the Apple forums or one of the Mac hack sites, but I doubt you'll find proof anywhere that an upgraded G4 can touch any dual-processor G5 for performance. Because FCP is software-based, I think the incentive is always there to upgrade to the newest hardware, which is a good reason why some people resent Macs. The difference in RT performance for me between a 1.2Ghz G4 and Dual 2.0 G5 was like night and day. If you're going to be doing anything but DV then I suggest that you put your money in to a G5.
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Old October 7th, 2005, 07:45 PM   #3
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Well I got my speculation from their site which says

---->
Real Time Effects with Final Cut Pro HD™

Many exciting real time effects are included with the DeckLink. These include Cross Dissolve, Non Additive Dissolve, Additive Dissolve, Fade in Fade out, Dip to Color, Sepia, Desaturate, Brightness and Contrast, Proc Amp, Tint, Gamma Correction and 3 way color correction. DeckLink cards are fully compatible with Final Cut Pro HD™ RT Extreme built-in effects for unlimited possibilities.
<----

And from another thread saying how much better FCP was over Vegas (what I use since I'm on pc NOTE: I'm not looking to start the debate I see both products as really nice and having their places) because of all the hardware support. I thought that discussion was essentially about doing dv (could be wrong), all we plan on doing is dv... I fully understand that I can't even dream of touching HD in either pc or mac with our current setups.
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Old October 8th, 2005, 11:27 AM   #4
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If you're doing nothing but DV then a Decklink card will be basically useless to you. It may come with some real-time effects, but I really doubt that the card handles processing for them. I don't think the card handles any processing except downconversion for monitoring. I guess if you're doing high-end audio to go with DV you could make use of the AES output, but then you'd probably be better off investing in audio hardware. 10-bit uncompressed capture over SDI will do you basically no good, and it would increase your storage costs by a factor of 10. Obviously RS-422 does no good for DV decks. The Decklink cards are designed for people who need analog capture, uncompressed from DVCPRO 50 or something like DigiBeta.

On a positive note, if you're DV-only then a G4 will do everything you want. On my G5s I can get full-res previews (not the low-res, grainy ones) of a couple layers of effects or several layers of simple motion graphics in DV sequences. On my G4 I couldn't get full-res previews of much of anything. But you'll be able to get preview quality for simple transitions, a layer of color correction or a filter or two. Maybe more if you put a 2Ghz processor in - I certainly never had that. I definitely work faster on the G5, but I was never displeased with my G4 for editing DV.
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Old October 8th, 2005, 03:59 PM   #5
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Thanks for the clarifications... I did think about it and thought that decklinks page would be making more out of acceleration if it really had it... mostly what they talk about is exactly what you are talking about importing and exporting other formats.

Right now we just have SO much more stuff to still buy to get all our gear up to the level that we would like so we don't really have the budget to spend in performance upgrades that aren't SUBSTANTIAL gains. We still need things like a better tripod, better mics, I want a compact flash audio recorder (marrantz with preamp mode from oade.com seems to be the winner there). I guess I was hopping the decklink would make a substantial difference and I would be able to use it in my pc with vegas if I needed a power boost and then when we get the g5 we could bring it with us but if there is no power boost then all of that is moot.
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