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Old January 11th, 2007, 09:56 AM   #1
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Mac Pro: 2.66 vs. 3.0

hey all-
I search for this first and didn't find my answer, so I apoloigize if this was already disussed. Anyway, seeing nothing really changing after the Keynote, I decided to purchase my Mac Pro now. The only real question I have is whether to get the 2.66 GHz for 3.0? A first I obviously want the biggest and baddest processor for editing HD and using FCP and Shake. That said, I started thinking how much better the 3.0 is and if it might be better for me to put that $720 difference into more RAM.

For a better picture, what I plan to buy from Apple:
Mac Pro
2.66 or 3.0
1 Gig RAM (buying more elsewhere) probably want 4 Gigs eventually
250 Gig HD (Again buying more storage elsewhere)
ATI Radeon X1900

FCP Studio
Shake

Thanks for helping :)
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Old January 11th, 2007, 10:55 AM   #2
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Alden, I pretty much got the system you outlined last month and it runs great. Every piece of advice that I had was not to pay the currrent premium for 3.0GHz and instead put the saved money into extra RAM (which even from Crucial, is expensive). I'm running on 4GB RAM, and I'm looking for the day that I can add another 4GB - high end apps eat RAM up for breakfast, as do any virtualization apps such as Parallels. The Radeon is a good choice too.

However, 8 core mac pro's are reputedly imminent with the new quad core chips from Intel plus possibly Blue-ray superdrives, and I'd strongly advise holding off unless you need the Mac this moment.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 04:03 PM   #3
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well I will be needing it up and running with all the kinks out by June. I figured I would buy it in Feb. Since there was nothing in the keynote about the "octo" I figured it isn't coming before June. Plus the Octo will be about a bigillion dollars...give or take a few bucks :P Although the Blu-Ray drives and HD-Drives is something i didn't take into account.

Greg, you said the above system is "Pretty much " what you got... what did you get that was different than mine?

Thanks
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Old January 11th, 2007, 04:22 PM   #4
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Usually the apple keynote only announces products that will be immediately available to the public. So I wouldn't be surprise to see an 8 core processor in the mac pro before June. But you're right, it's probably going to be expensive.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 07:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alden Miller
Greg, you said the above system is "Pretty much " what you got... what did you get that was different than mine.
As I said, almost identical - I got it to come with 2gb of RAM because the price diff between 1gb and 2gb didn't seem that much (can't remember what that was), and I immediately added another 2gb of crucial RAM. I also added 3 x 500gb SATA drives from NewEgg.com. If I were doing this again, I would have a 500gb root drive instead of 250gb (I guess I could swap this out now but I'm just too lazy). Also it came with dual superdrives, since it was only another ~$90 for an additional drive.

FWIW, I believe the quad chips have the same pinsets as the Duals, and I'm sure I read somewhere about someone upgrading their Mac Pro system - i.e. it's not the end of the world if you don't get an eight core machine, you may be able to upgrade later, if the need is there.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 07:22 PM   #6
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I'm new to the Mac, so I'm poking and prodding to see if I can break it [just kidding] One thing I have noticed, and I don't think its a secret I was surprised to find that FCP can only see 4GB's of memory which leads me to believe that its a 32bit program.

I think that even if the 8 core 64bit processors where available today I'm not sure I'd want to be the first in my neighborhood to upgrade.

Back to the original question, I didn't think the 10% in processor performance was worth the additional 30% in expense. So I ended up getting the system that you spec'd out.

Apparently the price of the RAM fluctuates quite a bit, I purchased 4GB's from my Mac re-seller for $720 and two WD500 GB hard drives for $169 each with an additional "superdrive" [the Pioneer DVR-111D].

Although I haven't done anything that complicated in Motion yet I have been testing and working in 32bit float and the performance is quite good. Truth is a lot of what I do I can get away with 8bit and there the X1900 screams.

Unless your going to do some large scale volumetric rendering or something like that I think the 2.66 is a better value.
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Old January 12th, 2007, 09:59 AM   #7
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Would you guys say that this config is good for editing HDV natively in FCP:

Mac Pro 2.66
4 Gig RAM
2 x 500 Gig HD
ATI Radeon X1900

Another question: Is editing HDV natively something you would recommend in the first place? --If the extra time and storage space required by non-native editing is not a problem.
Some people say that actually editing HDV using an intermediary codec would give better quality in the end. That editing natively gives a lot of artefacts etc. Is this true or just something people say when their hardware isn't powerful enough to handle native editing? I certainly would prefer to edit HDV like I edit DV, but I'd hate to make the investment and then run into quality issues.
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Old January 12th, 2007, 10:11 AM   #8
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Hi Alden,
Think I have about the same system you are thinking about. I also thought the price difference from 2.66 to 3 GHz was way too much money for very little difference. Apple tends to try to earn from those who just have to have the fastest (Americans?).

I had 2 GB RAM from the beginning but increased to 6 GB very soon. Even if FCP only uses 4 GB I have many other applications alive at the same time.

I started with the cheapest disk, 160 GB, and immediately ripped it out after installation for a 500 GB system disk.
I keep the 160 GB as a system and application backup just in case.
The 500 GB was a Maxtor and was non functioning at arrival so it was exchanged to a Seagate of the same size. Then added two more internal Seagate 500 GB in raid 0 configuration very shortly. They are nearly full now ... HDV eats HD.

The system runs wonderful, however FCP goes down about once or twice a day so the FCP has to be restarted but nearly never the computer.

Tricky question if you can wait and get an even faster computer before the summer. For HDV even a speed increase of 10 times should be usuable.

You probably better keep those USD 720 for a Blu-ray drive later.

Good luck whatever you do.
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Old January 12th, 2007, 04:08 PM   #9
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[QUOTE=Maukka Pasanen]Would you guys say that this config is good for editing HDV natively in FCP:

Mac Pro 2.66
4 Gig RAM
2 x 500 Gig HD
ATI Radeon X1900

It's more than fine.

I run FCP, (and often Motion and/or LiveType simultaneously) in a system precisely like this, except I only have 2 gigs of ram - and have absolutely no problems with anything.

Remember, HDV's data stream is roughly equivelent in size to the data stream for standard DV.

Sure, the processor has to do more work during the "on the fly" encode/decode during transitions - but any quad core MacPro will handle that without breaking a sweat.

You really don't actually need a HUGE killer system if you're just editing HDV or DV.
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Old January 12th, 2007, 05:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wes Coughlin
Usually the apple keynote only announces products that will be immediately available to the public.
Which is why they announced the iPhone, even though it has yet to be approved by the FCC.

;-p

Apple is notorious for announcing things loooooong before they are even ready to become available to the public.
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Old January 12th, 2007, 07:16 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Mike Barber
Apple is notorious for announcing things loooooong before they are even ready to become available to the public.
This is why I mentioned "usually" for the keynote speech of release dates. Because the new "iphone" is a little exception. I cant recall any other devices announced during the past macworld's that apple has put a hold on for a later release date. So I don't know how apple is "notorious" for this.
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Old January 12th, 2007, 08:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wes Coughlin
This is why I mentioned "usually" for the keynote speech of release dates. Because the new "iphone" is a little exception. I cant recall any other devices announced during the past macworld's that apple has put a hold on for a later release date. So I don't know how apple is "notorious" for this.
Oh how about the 3GHz G5?
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Old January 13th, 2007, 06:27 AM   #13
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I bought the 2.66, 1GB RAM, 250GB HD, X1900XT, MacPro and I have 0 complaints. 1080 video plays and edits like its a joke, plays any game I want at 100fps+, encodes 4x realtime most of the time, etc. I had a 30min video I wanted to compress to 320x240 H264, 300kpbs, 128kb/s audio, AAC, etc. and I went down stairs to let it encode thinking it would take a while, I come back upstairs later to find it only took like 8 minutes. This is the base model were talking here, besides the X1900XT. The 2.66 is the fastest machine ive ever used and the 3.0 is obviously better but its not like the 2.66 wont do what your going to want, I think it comes down to the amount of RAM you have, and the encoding times of the CPU's. The 3.0 with one 1GB RAM can't match the 2.66 with 2GB RAM, but thats just my take.

Expensive system, but fast as hell.

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Old January 13th, 2007, 03:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Spaulding
Oh how about the 3GHz G5?
I don't know? Maybe try overclocking?
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Old January 13th, 2007, 06:44 PM   #15
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@ the moment, I'd concider buying the cheapest processors, and upgrade them to quadcores within a year...

But that's only me.

I'd spend whatever i Could on RAM and a fast GPU, though.

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