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Old January 22nd, 2003, 09:33 AM   #1
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How is this system?

I'm new to film editing, and I was considering buying the following equipment used. Could someone tell me if this setup is adequate to edit a feature length film that we shot on mini-dv last fall? I'm going to start off using Final Cut Pro 2 and plan to upgrade to Final Cut Pro 3 when I can get the money together. Are there any special video cards or anything I should have? Would anyone recommend that I NOT upgrade until I can afford a faster processor? Thanks a lot to anyone who can help me.

Equipment:
G4/500 Dual 256/20GB DVD-RAM ZIP 56K 17" Studio

PS. I was going to buy the equipment from www.macofalltrades. Would be interested to know if anyone has had any dealings with them in the past.
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Old January 22nd, 2003, 10:29 AM   #2
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Final Cut 2 ??? I haven't seen that around.
One thing you better do is get more hard drive. 20GB is nothing. I have 60GB and I just about used all of that one time. I plan on going to 80 or 100 plus if I can afford it.
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Old January 22nd, 2003, 10:58 AM   #3
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Yeah, I was planning to get an external hard drive. My plan is to start editing and add memory and things as soon as I can afford it. I guess my question is -- is this set up feasible or should I hold out a couple of more months and get a better machine? I'm really antsy to get started, as I've heard editing takes FOREVER and having those tapes just lying around taunting me is driving me up the wall.
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Old January 22nd, 2003, 11:15 AM   #4
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I've been hearing a lot of rumors about new PowerMacs coming out soon, and that would probably lower the price of all used PowerMacs for sale. If you can hold out a couple more weeks, you may be able to get more bang for your buck.

As far as the specs go, you can easily buy an 80GB 7200rpm internal HDD for around $80 or so, much cheaper than an external drive. You're really gonna need the room.

Also, the 17" Studio display... is that the LCD or the CRT? You can probably save a bunch of $$ if you go CRT.

But by far what you'd need the most is RAM. 256 is not great for editing. If you can afford it, go with at least 512mb.

Or, if you really don't have any more money, and need to edit NOW, buy the system, and you'll be able to edit your film, albeit in small quantities at a time, and not lightning fast. But it's better than having the tapes lying around collecting dust.

Best of luck!

Jaime
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Old January 22nd, 2003, 11:59 AM   #5
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I can't add too much to the comments thus far. I actually have a G4-500 dual processor (as the predecessor to my current G4-1Ghz). So I can say that it will work with Final Cut Pro. Here's a brief on my take:

Processor speed/configuration: OK. Certainly workable for non-professional workloads.

Memory: Far too low. Memory is relatively inexpensive. Get the memory up to at least512Mb. It's very simple to do on your own.

DVD-RAM drive: Relatively useless. It was a slow, clunky gizmo that never caught-on as worthwhile. It will work ok as a cd player. But, if you plan to keep the machine for a while, you may want to replace it with a Pioneer DVR-A04 CD/DVD burner. That's what I did with my G4-500.

Monitor: You can certainly get along with a 17" monitor, especially the Apple LCD which has a more appropriate aspect ratio for both editing and viewing.

Other: You've going to need some serious disk space. Plan on getting either a 2nd internal drive or an external FireWire drive right away if you are contempating caturing and editing multiple tapes worth of stuff.

Your question suggests that you're converting from a PC background, no?

Best quote of the day at DVInfo is hereby awarded to marcoleavitt for:
Quote:
"...having those tapes just lying around taunting me is driving me up the wall."
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Old January 22nd, 2003, 01:14 PM   #6
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I don't know if conversion is the right word exactly. I do have an aging Pentium II that is used basically as a glorified typewriter. I do like Macs a lot, but this is the first significant computer purchase for me in quite a while.
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Old January 22nd, 2003, 02:47 PM   #7
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I edit all my personal work on a Mac very similar to your proposed Mac. I use a dual processor 450. However I have 2 gigs of ram and 380 gigs of storage space. I recommend getting as much memory as you can afford and the largest internal drive you can afford. External drives are nice, but pricey. The internal drive will be cheaper and faster. FCP 2 is fine. You'll be able to upgrade to FCP 4 when it comes out.

The addition of more memory will greatly enhance your computers performance. I've had my 450 for over 2 years and I'm just starting to see a noticeable performance difference between it and the fastest Macs. My wife has an iMac 800 and mine runs rings around hers. I anticipate upgrading within the next year when new (faster) processors become available.

Jeff
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Old January 22nd, 2003, 03:35 PM   #8
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I have that system

I have the Dual500. I would definitely suggest upping the RAM. I have one gig in mine. I did see the post that stated someone has 2 gig in it. Although the machine will HOLD 2 gig, it will never see or use more than 1.5 gig. That is what Apple limited it to. (pretty stupid I think)
My only wish is for more screen space, I have the 17" Studio Display (the clear CRT one) and while it is a fantastic monitor with very accurate color and a beautiful picture I also have a second graphics card going to a TV for FCP use.
I have compared my Dual 500 in it's current setup and it is not signifacantly slower than even the newer machines. The reason is the internal RAID. In editing you are putting a lot of demand on the hard drive and even an ATA RAID made my Dual 500 faster than the Dual 800's I was working with at the office. Yes it is a great package and yes I use mine for production work. Below is a list of it's configuration for reference.

Dual 500 G4
1 Gig of 222 PC100 RAM
2x40 Gig Maxtor Fluid bearing drives (dual boot backup)
2x80 Gig Maxtor Fluid bearing drives (in a stripe RAID)
Acard ATA133 RAID card
AGP ATI Radeon 32MB
PCI ATI Radeon 32MB
DVD-RAM (great for backup but a little slow)
100MB Zip Drive (for swaping some non-networked PC files)
External Que Firewire burner
VST SmartDisk 20 Gig Firewire drive (for desperate backup and file portability)
17" Studio Display (CRT)
20" Sony WEGA TV for external viewing (most of my work is for corporate CD and web delivery so I haven't had need for a true NTSC monitor yet)
Klipsch THX 4.1 surround sound system

My point is that you can build a very decent editing system with what you have and later when you upgrade you can reuse a lot of the stuff. I am personally not going to upgrade until the 64bit processors come out because other than a few minor (to me) real time features of a faster system, mine is running just fine.
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Old January 22nd, 2003, 03:47 PM   #9
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My understanding and observations that under OS 10.x.x that the computer will recognize the 2 gigs but some programs may have trouble access more than 1.5 gig. This Apple Care Knowledge Base Document may help.

Jeff
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Old January 22nd, 2003, 03:50 PM   #10
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Thanks much

Thanks everyone for the incredibly fast responses. Man, this forum kicks butt.
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Old January 22nd, 2003, 11:37 PM   #11
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Thanks for your kind remarks, Marco. One more suggestion: look into the new, inexpensive Final Cut Express instead of FCP2. Express is affordable and you can upgrade from there when you're ready to FCP3.
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Old January 23rd, 2003, 12:25 AM   #12
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Thanks for the link Jeff, very cool! I noticed the new G4's can use 2 gig but I remember when I bought my machine there was an issue with it. It has 4 slots but would only recognize 1.5gig. Anyway I haven't had any problems running 1gig but it is nice to know I could upgrade (and choose to upgrade the processors too) in the future. Yes I run OSX.2 and the increase in RAM capacity is a nice surprise. Thanks for the heads up!
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Old January 23rd, 2003, 03:06 AM   #13
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<<<-- Originally posted by Chris Hurd : Thanks for your kind remarks, Marco. One more suggestion: look into the new, inexpensive Final Cut Express instead of FCP2. Express is affordable and you can upgrade from there when you're ready to FCP3. -->>>

Chris is that for sure about being able to upgrade from FCX to FCP3? I have heard both you can and you can't.
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