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Old May 8th, 2006, 08:33 AM   #16
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Steve what did you end up buying? How is it testing? Don't abandon this thread!
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Old May 8th, 2006, 12:40 PM   #17
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Evan, I ended up buying the Intel iMac 20" that was customized by Apple for sale at B&H to high end uers (upgraded ram, video card memory and HD etc.) I also bought a Sony FX-1 and some accessories (mics, batts etc...)

I went the iMac route because of the many people who have replaced the processor with higher/faster cpu's because it's socketed- and there's tons of posts on other computing forums describing how easy it was and the performance gains were considerable. The MacBook Pro is awesome but B&H didn't have the 17" in stock so I took that as another sign to get the 20" iMac.

I can't say much performance-wise as I haven't edited any video yet but it does play my older Sony FX-1 clips I had saved on a 500GB ext. fw hd perfectly and smoothly- even zoomed to 2X res- it doesn't skip a beat! I'm sure this machine will be fine for awhile (until I see the Intel G6 of course!!)

(Note: My Dual 2.5ghz G5 couldn't play 2x FX1 clips smoothly- it would stutter and jerk a bit between frames- so I agree these Intel Macs are more powerful and faster than even the current G5's- except perhaps the Quad Mac...dollar for dollar, the iMac seems the way to go for Mac users wanting to edit HDV footage, especially with it's extended video capabilities with an Apple 23" Cinema Display ~no regrest here!)

Now if I can find a DTE solution for capturing HDV clips onto a portable HD- that would be killer- all the current solutions are buggy with most users being disatisfied....I wish the Firestore units worked- but with m2t clips being captured it's not a good solution for Mac users as FCP can't work with muxed video presently. Let's see how that "Bella" unit works- seems interesting if it actually works!
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Old May 8th, 2006, 01:50 PM   #18
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2.0 intel imac is faster than dual 2.5? IT IS NOT POSSIBLE. You're comparing a scaling test between your dual 2.5 and the imac. This is a measure of the video card performance not computer processing. The new imacs are hard-wired PCI-e ATI 1600 video cards. That video card is a major step up from the stock Radeon 9600 you probably have in your G5. Drop in a Radeon x800 and you'll scale all over the place. And current dual core G5s have much more modern PCI-e nvidia 6600 cards. To test processing speed, do a rendering test or an export test or an mpeg 2 compression test and you'll see the speed difference. Also you can use Xbench. It is a mac benchmarking utility available for free and offers comprehensive benchmarking of macs. The benchmark scores are based on a dual 2.0 G5. So any score that is below 100 is slower than a dual 2.0 G5 and anything higher is faster. I'm sure you'll see higher scores for the video card part of the test and maybe in memory as well, but the processing section will show how much faster your dual 2.5 really is.

There's nothing wrong with getting an imac and it has great performance. (when running applications that are universal. Classic is also not supported. I don't think photoshop is currently available in a universal form. And if you don't have the universal version of Final cut get ready for much slower performance. See this review - http://www.macaddict.com/issues/2006/4/reviews/imacs) I'm glad you're happy with your purchase but I also don't want to give someone who might be reading this thread the wrong impression as they try to decide what's best for them. There are always trade-offs.

The imac core duos do not have a PCI bus, so you can't add RAID cards, capture cards, or any other cards. They do not have a AGP or PCI-e bus but have a hard-wired video card that cannot be replaced. You have learned youself with the scaling test you did how fast video cards become obsolete (your video card in the dual 2.5 was the hot thing just a year and a half ago and now it's getting its butt whipped.) The imac core duos can only hold 2 GB of Ram vs. 8GB in your G5 and 16GB in current dual core G5s. A G5 can hold 1 terabyte of HD space internally and will always be able to be upgraded with whatever new video card or PCI card solution comes along. Maybe you feel you'll never need any of this, but with an imac I can assure you that you won't be able to need it. SATA RAIDs can pump over 500 MB/sec off PCI cards. Decklink HD capture cards can connect you to professional video equipment and capture uncompressed video from the FX1 component HD outputs, and video cards dynamically gain speed each year. All of this will make your imac feel the slow down by this time next year. If you would've spend $300 on a brand new video card any stuttering would be long gone and I'm sure with all the extras you had to add to the imac (more ram, bigger HD) puts the price way too close to a brand new Dual core G5 with all the advantages I've listed above. Besides the fast that the new power mac G5 (or G6, whatever they call it) are due to come out very soon based on Apple's past release periods. You can also by a refurb G5 dual core direcly from apple for $1699 for a dual core 2.0. Available today.
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Old May 8th, 2006, 03:48 PM   #19
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Nathan it sounds like you know your stuff- so I wont go on and contest anything you've said. I was looking for an out of the box Mac that will edit the HDV footage the Sony FX1 outputs- and from all accounts written everywhere on the net- the MBP and iMac's are just about as good as it gets for Mac users. I'm sure all the fancy video card upgrades for the G5 as well as other cards, RAID's etc all add better function for the G5's but for normal HDV footage the current MBP and Intel iMac's are perfectly adequate and don't need much in upgrades other than perhaps some ram- having said that- I'm perfectly content with the iMac but will of course buy whatever tower Mac releases with an Intel processor for the very reasons you state.

I went to the Apple store today to buy an adapter for my Mac Mini for my daughter's room and did see an iMac hooked up to a demo FX-1 with footage running FCP.....I asked if I could "mess" with the project and the salesman said "sure" (it was randon clips someone there had captured and put in a timeline)... I played around with a few cuts and fast scrolls and I was super impressed- had I not known better I would have thought it was regular DV footage and not 1080i....my dual 2.5 ghz Mac doesn't feel that speedy when doing similar things....so I'm sure I made the right choice and can't wait to work on my own projects with that much fluidity.

I told the salesman I had the same iMac and camera and he said tons of customers ask about the camera- but he didn't have them in stock for sale...we spoke a little about FCP and FCP Xpress and I went on my way.

I can't wait to see what sort of performance Apple achieves with their Intel Tower Mac G6 (or whatever name they give it.)
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Old May 8th, 2006, 03:55 PM   #20
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Thanks for your feedback, Steve! Let us know your impressions once you've logged a few editing hours on your iMac!

Curiously,

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Old May 8th, 2006, 04:10 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Nathan Troutman
2.0 intel imac is faster than dual 2.5? IT IS NOT POSSIBLE.
Sure it is, depending on what you're testing. Remember, the "megahertz myth" cuts both ways, and the Intel Core Duo processor is a newer design than the G5 CPUs.

Check out this comparison:

http://www.macologist.org/showthread.php?t=2602

The G5s clearly led in some categories, but were behind the new iMacs in others.

"In general, the new Intel-based Macs are very impressive rigs—the overall performance of Intel CD-based iMacs and the MacBook Pro are on par with mid level G5 PowerMacs. "
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Old May 8th, 2006, 04:12 PM   #22
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No problem- I hope others contemplating similar options take into account my observances.


Note: The Apple Store guy told me FCP Xpress can't be run on the Intel Mac's currently- that's ashame for people wanting to run it on the Intel machines.
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Old May 8th, 2006, 09:35 PM   #23
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Hey Steve, I wasn't trying to rain on your parade. Like I said there's nothing wrong with going the imac direction but a new video card would've addressed you're snappiness needs. The intel imac is the newest and it does have the horsepower. I just know that people read these forums looking to make decisions about what equipment to buy, like I have many times. I just don't want to give someone the impression that the best and only way to go is to go out and buy an imac. People need to know the pluses and the minuses of either side. Everyone was happy to note the minuses of the G5 and only the pluses of the intel imacs. There are certainly minuses to consider for both.

To Kevin, thanks for the article link. It will be a huge asset for anyone reading this thread to do some research. A few notes on what I saw. There's only two real world tests and the photoshop test doesn't even show the results from any of the G5's but you can clearly see one of the big minuses to the intels. If you have the universal version of the program running on your machine you're going to run slow. So don't buy the imac if you already own Final Cut studio for a powermac because it's going to crawl on the intel. You must buy the universal version that just came out. Six months from now this probably won't be an issue but right now it is. And photoshop does not have a universal version right now. That's important for people to know.

The itunes test showed an equal result from imac to dual 2.0 G5. The xbench results are especially telling for processor performace especially the CPU tests. The comparable 2.0 G5 does come out on top except for the giant leap of the intels on the GCD loop. Also the Cinebench 9.5 CPU render is also a good indicator of sheer CPU power. Note the imac and a dual 2.0 G5 again score identical. With system memory and graphics processing as expected the intel does kick some butt. This is important but that gap closes a lot when compared with G5s that have a faster video card. And that's my other huge point. The intel's have the newest video card and this time next year it won't be the newest. Another year after that and you'll be where those G5s are now except you won't be upgrading, you'll be buying a new machine. With a G5 you can pop it out and drop in something faster. Being upgradable is a major thing to be able to keep up with changing trends.

My second machine is a G4 that began its life as a 466 G4 with an original radeon, that's right just radeon, this was before they even gave them numbers. It now has a dual 1.8 with a radeon 9800Pro and a highpoint RocketRAID SATA controller. The score for this machine is listed at xbench if you want to see how it did.

Finally, I was wondering if any of the G5's that were used for all of the benchmarking were dual core models? It just says PM G5/2.0 and lists the video card. I'm assuming none were because I don't see any Nvidia video cards listed (minus the Quad). They should run one of the dual core G5s through the tests. The dual cores have faster memory, a 1MB on chip cache, faster video cards, and a faster video card bus-PCI-e, much more similar hardware to an intel imac. If you really want to go even farther, slap in 16GB of ram and run some motion tests. The G5 is still a very useable choice. The pluses and minuses everyone has to weigh out and try to pick what fits their needs.

For me, I'd suffer with what you have for at least a year and wait for the arrival of the intel G5 (or G6). It seems the soon to be released revision to the G5 will not be intel. The intels will come with the next cycle. If you're looking for a deal to buy used make sure to get one of the G5s with the PCI-X or PCI-e busses because a select few of the G5s came with standard PCI which is dying out. Go to www.lowendmac.com to see all of the equipment on any G5 model out there to find the right models for you. When the new G5 comes out any older G5s that are being sold as refurbs by apple will drop in price. It's another way to save some money and they come with a full 1 year warranty and you can buy applecare to extend it.

Last edited by Nathan Troutman; May 9th, 2006 at 09:45 AM.
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Old May 9th, 2006, 11:41 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Dave Perry
Scott,

That's lots of space but it's not a very good idea to capture your media to your system drive as far as FCP performance goes.

Don't tell my single drive MBP that its not supposed to run FCP 5.1 faster than my dual 2.5 G5 Raid system. If it hears you say that it might slow down...
:-)

I keep saying, that when the new Quad core intel based Mac tower comes out, we are all going to be in for a treat. But for now, taking FCP HDV editing anywhere without ANY performance hit compared to my G5, is a MAJOR plus!
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Old May 9th, 2006, 12:36 PM   #25
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[QUOTE=Greg Bellotte]Don't tell my single drive MBP that its not supposed to run FCP 5.1 faster than my dual 2.5 G5 Raid system. If it hears you say that it might slow down...
:-)

Wow, now 5400 RPM laptop hard drives are out performing SATA RAID systems!! Once again pluses and minuses. With the MBP portability is it's main strength. Greg your laptop is awesome!! But maybe not exactly as much as you say, if you want to make an honest comparison and are trying to offer your experience as advice that will cause someone to spend $2700 on a piece of equipment.

Once again video card performace will affect your Final Cut performance. A radeon 1600 with 256 MB of ram will out perform a Radeon 9600 with 128 MB of ram all the time by miles. If we're all talking to joe shmoe out there who has some dough and wants to get a new computer, he'd be comparing the dual core G5s that have much faster GPUs so lets be fair and compare apples to apples. If you want portability go MBP. If you want an all in one go Imac. If you want upgradability go G5. If you want the best period hang around and see what apple's going to be releasing.

Let me also get this out, HDV runs at a data rate only slightly higher than DV. Hard Drive speed is not a factor. I can playback AIC HD files at full framerate from an ATA66 bus interface on an old G4. Any decent speed G5, G4 with upgraded processor, or newer imac, etc. will edit HDV without any problems. What exactly is this speed you talk about? And if your video card is old in your G5 it needs some processing love. Send it to retirement. Video cards have processors and memory all measured in MHZ and the faster the ratings the faster you go! Hope that answers the snappiness issue.

Fast to me is how fast my sequence renders, how fast I can export mpeg 2, and even better export H.264 HD. Have you tested any of these things out? These examples will show PROCESSING POWER not your video card power. Please 2+2 still equals 4 and 2.5 + 2.5 still equals 5. This isn't the old G4 argument where one is 64bit and the other is 32 bit so the MHz don't count. Apple had a hard time selling that line and it got Motorola fired from the job. I'm the first to say there's more to computer speeds that Ghz. that's what I'm trying to explain. It's memory, bus, video card, Hard Drives. Compare apples to apples, not citing video card intensive activities that compare the newest video card to an old one especially in a system that's greatest strength is the fact it can be upgraded with the newest video card.

Is there not some other Apple hardware expert out there that can please come to my rescue I'm starting to sound like a broken record.
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Old May 9th, 2006, 01:19 PM   #26
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Is there not some other Apple hardware expert out there that can please come to my rescue I'm starting to sound like a broken record.
Well, I consider myself one, but I can't come to your rescue, I'm afraid. Let's face the facts: the intel Macs all have an extremely high-performance system architecture with fast CPUs, large L2-caches, and fast front-side and PCIe busses. Graphics performance in the intel iMacs and MacBook Pros is wildly superior to anything but the most expensive GPU-options Apple has ever offered for the PPC-line.

The thread starter intends to use his system for HDV-editing, let's remember that. If you don't need gobs of RAM, don't work with uncompressed HD, and don't have the need for serious expandability, you can't go wrong with an intel Mac! Apple's never offered this much bang for the buck - period!

I own a Quad and have a Fibre Channel RAID attached, so I know what performance is all about. I decided to go for the Quad late last year because I will skip the first-gen Intel-based towers, thus avoiding the teething pains always associated with brand-new PC-architectures. But now that we know what the intel Macs can deliver, I would no longer go for a Quad if I could wait a few more months. And don't get me started on performance-per-watt. My Quad is a howling furnace!!

HTH,

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Old May 9th, 2006, 01:34 PM   #27
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But I have to agree with you on this, Nathan: I, too, would not have replaced a dual-2.5 GHz G5 with an intel iMac, but would have gone for a GPU-upgrade instead. This machine is nowhere near obsolete, and will handle HDV well once upgraded...

FWIW,

Ron
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Old May 9th, 2006, 08:32 PM   #28
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That's lots of space but it's not a very good idea to capture your media to your system drive as far as FCP performance goes.
In a time when folks are editing feature length movies on there laptops, I'm starting to think that mentality is falling by the wayside.

I just don't believe that is such a big deal anymore assuming you have a big enough internal drive.

Since computers are so fast now, what are the drawbacks? I don't see laptop users w/ externals hard disks either.
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Old May 13th, 2006, 07:00 PM   #29
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Greg your laptop is awesome!! But maybe not exactly as much as you say, if you want to make an honest comparison and are trying to offer your experience as advice that will cause someone to spend $2700 on a piece of equipment.
Well lets give you a few examples. Obviously, when capturing HDV over firewire the process is realtime no matter what your system. There are no dropped frames on either my G5 or MBP. Previewing the clips, scrubbing, and all the little tweaks of timeline assembly seem perform at the same speed and crispness on both systems. Applying a few RT filters seems the same. etc. etc.

Now when we get to rendering or printing back to HDV tape the true muscle starts to show. Rendering a HDV timeline to SD DVD (mpeg2) seems to be about 20% faster on the MBP. Maybe I should have just said Compressor is faster? Printing to HDV tape (or at least the preparing that happens before the actual tape writting) happens faster on the MBP, but the difference isn't alsways consistent for some reason.

Again, my MBP is 2.0 GHZ, 2GB ram and the 7200 rpm HDD. The G5 is a dual 2.5 GHZ with 2.5 GB ram, a 7200 system drive, and a four SATA raid for the video. At this point I dont think the video card difference makes much difference (128/9600XT vs 256/X1600) but I should have a good project for motion next month to see how that shakes out.

I would think there would be more difference (esp for the G5) if I was capping HD SDI, but that wasn;t the original goal of this thread.

All I was attemping to say, was that for HDV start to finish-the MBP rocks! Being able to shoot and edit on location, and hand the client a finished product on HDV tape, Mac HD DVD, or .TS on red DVD for the JVC player, etc. is really awesome. And MUCH more cost effective than some of the broadcast projects I work on.
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Old May 15th, 2006, 10:18 AM   #30
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Well since it's been a short while now using the Intel iMac and Sony FX1, I have a good sense of the performance I'm experiencing using FCP 5.1.

First I'll address the issue of the iMac having 1 firewire bus (2 ports on same bus) and the precaution of using external fw drives to capture media. I've been capturing raw HDV (no AIC encoding) to an external 300GB hard-drive in a generic Comp-USA fw case while having the FX1 connected to the other firewire port and have experienced ZERO problems. I see the fw hd activity light blink intermittently during capture signaling all is going well and the drive doesn't seem to strain at all during the capture. I'm not experiencing any dropped frames or any sort of data-throughput issues. I haven't worked on any very long projects but what I have worked with, seems problem-free. The "precaution" of the iMac having 2 firewire ports on the same bus and the avoidance of external fw drives as capture devices while capturing has been a non-issue for me personally. Until I notice any irregular perfomance I'll continue to use my external fw drives as my "primary" media source for HDV clips much as how I had the G5 setup.
I'd have to say my dual 2.5ghz G5 with 4.5 gb ram occasionally hiccuped during playback of full 1080i footage as where the Intel iMac has never done this. People have suggested this is a video card issue- perhaps it is and I'll defer that issue to them. I am driving a second 23" HD Cinema Display with the iMac and everything is working very well- no skips, jumps or hiccups of any sort. I would have to say using the iMac with raw HDV footage works just as if I were editing regular DV. I've maxed out the ram on the iMac to 2GB as that's all it supports- other than that, it's out of the box.
This has been my experience with the new Intel iMac and all I can say is that it's been absolutely perfect as an HDV editing machine running FCP 5.1 ($1299 ouch!!!) It handles the HDV footage as easily as normal DV and that's something I truly can't say for the G5. I'm sure you guys will ask about multilayered video and render times etc....I don't have the time put in with my simple projects to answer those questions, but I'll find out soon enough.
For now I have to admit the hype does seem to be real, the Intel iMacs are superb and are probably dollar for dollar the best you'll get in an editing HDV platform ($1899.)
I'm sure the Intel Tower Macs are going to push the performance even further and I'm sure I'll get one- but for now this thing just works great. I can't recommend one high enough- I'm thouroughly pleased and can personally attest to it's use.

I sometimes wish I had gone for the MacBook Pro as portablity would have been "cool" but in all honesty it wasn't important. The prospect of possibly upgrading the processor on the iMac is also a real draw (several websites document this and it's being done rather easily with good perfomance gains- so that's something to look forward to in a year or two.)

(Note: I actually have 3 300 GB drives on that single fw port with 1 setup as the "video" drive, the other is "audio" and the other is "digital photography" and this is the setup I've been using with the iMac without a single problem. I use the other fw port directly to the FX1.)

I hope this thread helps others who are pondering the same choices.
This has been my experience with the iMac, Final Cut Studio 5.1 and the Sony FX1. I've never smiled so much while being broke!
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