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Old November 4th, 2005, 01:03 PM   #1
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BAD TIME to buy a NEW MAC for HVX200?

Hello all,

I'm in a situation that's been keeping me up at nite for a few months now...

If anyone has the time to answer this post seriously with a "what would you do in my shoes? response I'd appreciate it. I will be getting 2 HVX's soon and I will be finally forced to upgrade the systems.... so, O.K., here goes...

current setup is a G4 dual 800 & G4 PB 1ghz. (I can hear you all laughing... & yeah I've been stretchin' it! But for SD it's passed for now.)

Being a small business owner, I usually have to make dead on decisions in regards to gear purchases and reduce waste as much as possible to maximize profits. I am used to having 2 edit stations. One tower setup with large monitors and all & a Powerbook mobile setup as well that I use quite often. I don't have the luxury of deep pockets for trendy buys and so on. So, my question would be this...

Being able to only get 1 workable HD station for now, would you opt for the QUAD MAC or the latest PB! Before jumping in, consider this first...

ADVANTAGES OF PB: Portability, alternative of P2 in field for now, low cost of $2500-2800 and decent enough for getting by until the intel macs which I hope will be the King for HD for a relatively long haul.

DISADVANTAGES OF PB: Slow as hell, probably last rev until intel PB's, won't be optimal for HD editing.

ADVANTAGES OF QUAD: Fastest you can get now, FCP optimized for it soon, no worries about editing DVCPROHD on it.

DISADVANTAGES OF QUAD: pricey to get what I want ($3500-mac, $1500-2500 for LCD(S) etc..., probably the last rev until Intel and not sure If I want to invest BIG in a dying breed out of the box.

Help me! I'm about to get a camera that I won't be able to fully use until upgrading, but I just can't help but feel that now is an awful time to buy a new MAC if you're trying to invest wisely and get some mileage out of them! Anyone else feeling this?

Thanks everybody!

Rob
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Old November 4th, 2005, 03:15 PM   #2
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It's the classic ROI (Return On Investment) dilemma.

It sounds like on your last computers, you've felt that limping them along for 4+ years has been the best business decision. 4 years can seem like a short time for growing and running a business, but it's an eternity in computer time.

Normally, your question would boil down to how long will it take to recoup your investment. If, by moving into HD production, you will command higher fees and be able to recoup your hardware and software investment faster.

The fly in the ointment is Apple's announcement of future Intel processors, and recompiled software to go with. Since the roadmap on that is about 2-3 years to make the transition, you need to ask yourself where you see your business going in the next 2-3 years. You may be able to stretch yourself to 4 years, max. Then you'll be in much the same position you find yourself in now: outdated hardware and software, but still servicable. So, maybe one question is - was the investment in the dualie 800 G4 and the G4 PB a good investment in retrospect? Was it extravagant, stretching too much? Either way, you find yourself in a similar position today, just dealing in HD instead of SD.

If your ROI on this is 2 major jobs over a short period of time, I would say go for it. The computer you buy today is almost outdated by the time you've started making money with it. That's not going to change, Intel switch or no. If that expense means living on edge for the next 2 years, you may want to consider a used G5, just as a stopgap. Even a 1st generation dualie G5 will provide plenty of horsepower for even 1080p in a pinch, but should provide you NO problem in 720/24p. And just think of all those early adopters who are selling their early G5's to GET a quad.

I would say the new PB is the least attractive option. Why saddle yourself with a frustrating editing experience right out of the gate? It will just get more and more frustrating down the line, believe me. If all you're using the PB for is P2 field dumping, you could continue to use your current PB for that, maybe with a hard drive upgrade. If you really need the ability to edit on the go, even the current PB will be a less than optimal experience. Without true HD monitoring, what's the difference between editing real HD on a 17" LCD, or offlining a DV version you later finish in the studio on your G5? Again, you could use your current PB for that.

BTW, if you have nice monitors now, do you really need to buy new ones to run a new G5? By the time the Intel Macs are a solid, mature choice, we may have cheap 50-inch OLED's to buy, and your expensive LCD's will seem like folly.

I'd either bite the bullet on the Quad, and tell myself that I'm buying the best possible HD experience for the next 3 years, or buy a used G5 2 or 2.5 dual as a stopgap and set my sights (and future budget) on a top of the line, 2nd-generation Intel Mac about the time that the Quad starts to slow me down.

Take it for what it's worth. I'm glad I don't have to make your decision. It's a goofy time for Mac upgrades, and will just get moreso as Intel Macs approach.
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Old November 4th, 2005, 03:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Depew
ADVANTAGES OF PB: Portability, alternative of P2 in field for now, low cost of $2500-2800 and decent enough for getting by until the intel macs which I hope will be the King for HD for a relatively long haul.

DISADVANTAGES OF PB: Slow as hell, probably last rev until intel PB's, won't be optimal for HD editing.

ADVANTAGES OF QUAD: Fastest you can get now, FCP optimized for it soon, no worries about editing DVCPROHD on it.

DISADVANTAGES OF QUAD: pricey to get what I want ($3500-mac, $1500-2500 for LCD(S) etc..., probably the last rev until Intel and not sure If I want to invest BIG in a dying breed out of the box.
Rob,

I can appreciate your situation. You did a great job breaking down the pro's and con's for each. Only you will know what's best for you, but here's why I would get the quad G5 (after you buy your Panasonic).

2 of your 3 disadvantages for the Quad will be disad's for the Powerbook as well, leaving the only disadvantage the price.

I'm jealous of you, as I just got the dual 2.7 a few months ago (the day they came out), so reading about the quad was a bitter-sweet moment. Since you're going to want to edit DVCPRO HD, I'd go for the Quad without even hesitating. I love the speed of my Dual 2.7 (with 6 gig of RAM & nVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT DDL). Your other advantages are 100% right on as well.

I think the Quad would keep more options open for you in the future and give you plenty of time to let the new intels come out and get debugged instead of having to jump on the first one out of desperation. It sounds like your current desktop has been great for you for a long time. Personally, I keep my computers forever as well, but I usually get a new one once a year and always work primarily on the fastest one.

But I would wait until AFTER you buy your Panasonic HVX200 because prices may have come down slightly and/or there could be some newer upgrades added to the quad between now and then. That will also buy you a little more time to continue to think about it... although "thinking about it" may be the thing you want to stop doing most!

Last edited by Guest; November 5th, 2005 at 08:28 AM.
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Old November 4th, 2005, 03:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Depew
I don't have the luxury of deep pockets for trendy buys and so on.
My advice would be to wait a while to see what people think of the HVX200 after they buy it, especially in terms of memory cost and workflow issues. This is a good example of a "trendy" camera which may raise some practical issues for some users. After it's been out for a while and any kinks have been worked out, then you can make smart purchasing decisions.

As far as computers are concerned, I'm looking forward to affordable dual-core laptops sometime in the next year or so. When Apple might implement that is anybody's guess, but it's coming.
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Old November 4th, 2005, 04:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
My advice would be to wait a while to see what people think of the HVX200 after they buy it, especially in terms of memory cost and workflow issues.
It thought I'd add to the thread regarding the new Quad G5. I have pre-ordered the Quad G5 and the HVX200 on faith. With some luck they will be here about the same time - late Dec, early Jan. Meanwhile, what I'm selling off is my RevA Dual 2Ghz G5 Power Mac purchased in 2003 and my Canon XL2 purchased 12 months ago.

In my opinion, it is an awesome time to buy a new high end Mac, *if* you have time to float through 2 months till arrival, have faith in the two without hands on peer testing and reporting, and you have open ended patience for a PCIe SATA RAID solution. I'd say if anyone is waiting for the for the Intel transition, remember that this is potentially a peak of a very awesome design, and is a smart investment, and Intel may be still a long way off. I suggest buying what is available today, and personally, I would sell that dual 800Mhz G4 on eBay before it's worth even less.

If you are needing to get reports from others before diving in, I'd say you'll be waiting 3-4 months. Right now, 2Ghz dual G5s should sell used for about $1600, so I think that's an awesome price, if $3500+ is feeling too steep.

I will be posting in detail, my experiences with the Quad G5 and the HVX200 and a high end 35mm imaging setup. So stay tuned!!

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Old November 5th, 2005, 06:27 AM   #6
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Wow! Thanks Guys!

You all helped me more than you know. I guess sometimes it's just good to hear from others about their trials too.

I think I will blow off the PB since it was no major jump in speed, etc...
Hopefully, there will be dual core's soon enough and I'll squeek by with my old PB for a little longer.

Good point about the quad being at a peak rather than a new intel beta test situation.

It's becoming more clear on what to do now....each one of you had great points and I think I just might go quad now...

thanks again for your time and sincerity!

Rob
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Old November 5th, 2005, 08:30 AM   #7
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Rob and Steev,

I'm going to hold off on purchasing a new cam till I see some posts from you guys about your experiences with the HVX200's. I'm really looking forward to seeing some sample footage from your HVX200 - Mac (dual and quad) - FCP 5 workflow and hearing your opinions on everything as a whole.

Steev's work is great and Canon can thank him for helping them sell an XL2 back in June because of the footage I saw in these forums with the XL2. Hopefully the same will happen with the HVX200 as I would like to get into HD.

Last edited by Guest; November 5th, 2005 at 02:12 PM.
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Old November 6th, 2005, 03:50 PM   #8
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I am in a similar boat and I am fairly certain I will aquire the Quad --
The thing that holds me back from the Panasonic id the P2 Memory
Besides it being so costly, I am worried about recording 8 or 16 minutes at a time of 108024p
for the price of a few 8 Gig Memory chips, I might as well look into the Canon GL-HD1...Except that I hear it's not real 24p (important to me)
and these delemmas bring me back to the JVC HD100u
Though it is not 1080,
(and that's what I want the Quad for)
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Old November 7th, 2005, 12:38 PM   #9
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I'm a big believer in the "If you need something now, buy it now theory". That said, I would buy the Quad now. However, some sources that have been right on in the recent past with "Rumors", have stated that the first Intel Macs will be the Powerbooks. They've also said that they are coming in the first quarter of 2006, not the second. But, one has to live in the "Now", so it's a crap-shoot. If it were me, I'd wait a few months on the PB, but that's just me. I have to say, I've seen the new screen for the PB, and it is impressive.
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Old November 8th, 2005, 08:11 AM   #10
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doesn't matter yet

Quote:
Originally Posted by Claude Isbell
I'm a big believer in the "If you need something now, buy it now theory". That said, I would buy the Quad now. However, some sources that have been right on in the recent past with "Rumors", have stated that the first Intel Macs will be the Powerbooks. They've also said that they are coming in the first quarter of 2006, not the second. But, one has to live in the "Now", so it's a crap-shoot. If it were me, I'd wait a few months on the PB, but that's just me. I have to say, I've seen the new screen for the PB, and it is impressive.
no one has the hvx200 yet so who cares right now? this thread shouldn't be up until at least after the camera is released. and even then, many won't bother with the hvx200 until firestore releases their drive in march.
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Old November 8th, 2005, 08:43 AM   #11
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i've been following this thread with interest. claude makes a good point that one of the driving forces behind the intel switch is getting more power into smaller sizes--the mini, the powerbook, etc. their towers seem pretty powerful already, especially these quad machines. this is confirmed by rumor (is that a paradox?) at http://www.macrumours.com. if you're going to wait on a purchase, wait to see what the high-end powerbooks will be. meanwhile, a new HDV cam means a new computer (at least it did for me....). buy the quad.
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Old November 8th, 2005, 12:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Schober
no one has the hvx200 yet so who cares right now? this thread shouldn't be up until at least after the camera is released. and even then, many won't bother with the hvx200 until firestore releases their drive in march.
If all goes as planned, I'll have both the HVX200 and Quad end of next month, so I think this thread is relevant and constructive, since both of these products can be pre-ordered/ordered right now. They are just not shipping quite yet. Depending on your G5 purchase, you could have it even sooner.

On with the show! :)
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Old November 8th, 2005, 07:05 PM   #13
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I'm right behind you Steev,
I think I will aquire both as well, the only thing that holds me back with the HVX200 is my own inexperience with HD
and the P2 cards
(& I kinda want to see how the Firestore Solution is).

But I think that in the end I will end up with the same Purchase
I am jealous of the pre order - You must Promise to inform us of both in full detail
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Old December 7th, 2005, 10:35 PM   #14
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storing your footage

Steev,

What kind of setup are you going to use to store your captured footage to?
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Old December 7th, 2005, 11:55 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Derek West
Steev,

What kind of setup are you going to use to store your captured footage to?
I've been deliberating on this every day now. :)

I'm gravitating toward external SATA for sure. Of course the issue is the lack of PCIe SATA cards.

There is the HighPoint RocketRAID 2320:

http://www.highpoint-tech.com/USA/rr2320.htm
http://tinyurl.com/94dkv

But it's driver is in software, not in firmware. That means no ability to boot from drives attached to the card, and from what I hear, not as stable.

So I'm waiting for Seritek to come out with a PCIe version of their 4 port external card, and getting 2 of these:

http://www.firmtek.com/seritek/seritek-2eEN4/

Reviews:
http://www.amug.org/amug-web/html/am...firmtek/2eEN4/
http://www.barefeats.com/hard58.html

The power supply seems to be superior to that used in other enclosures by Granite Digital, MacGurus, or Cooldrives. I have a MacGuru case, and that type of power supply has burned out twice since last summer on me. No disrespect to MacGurus - they are an awesome resource and vendor. I just have to call it like it is. Fried power supply x2 in that short amount of time - could be coincidence. Could be that those power supplies suck. Seritek will be much more quiet (fan noise) than the others as well.

So with the SeriTek/2eEN4, I will be starting with the following most likely.

(2) Seritek 4 Bay w/PCI Cards + 4 Spare drive trays for additional drives I already have.
(4) 300GB Drives - 1.2TB
(4) 500GB Drives - 1TB x2

So I'd load 1 up with (4) 300GB drives for about 1TB of fast RAID. With SoftRAID, I can split that into 2 -500GB partitions.

Then the 2nd seritek case I'd load with the 500GB drives for backup of the first. 2 of those drives I'd keep offsite, and update them say once a week. So I'd have 1TB fast RAID, with double backup, 1 onsite, 1 offsite. I also plan to do some archiving to additional drives with spare trays.

So the question is, how does it scale? How do I go beyond 1TB overall storage. That's why I'm getting the hot swap bays. The options are decent. I could swap out with different RAID sets of drives, or upgrade to (4) 500GB drives for 2TB RAID main storage. Because I'm always thinking about backup, I'd then commit 4 drives (500GB) in the other bay as a backup clone. If I want offsite backup, I'd swap out the 4 drives in the backup bay to back up to my offsite backup drives periodically.

Starts to sound kind of complicated, don't it?

At this point, I start thinking about moving to Xserve RAID, Huge Systems, or Medea and doing RAID-5 to eliminate the need for onsite redundant backup. All this starts at about $5000 for 1TB for Huge - MediaVault Max 320. Medea at $4000 for 1TB. And Xserve RAID at $5000 for 1TB. I'd still want to factor in offsite backup (paranoia), so tack on another say $1000 on top of that. So $5000-$6000 for RAID-5 goodness.

However, my SATA cost is about $3500 for 1TB, double backed up 1 onsite 1 offsite. To scale, as I described to 2TB, add another $1500. So $3500 (1TB) - $5000 (2TB), Double backed up storage. That's 1TB or 2TB x2, so 3TB total or 6TB total, all at $5000 or under.

So, some may say, hmm, go spring the extra $2000 and make life easier. Then I'd say, my 1TB SATA RAID can live along side my computer, whereas the other systems, especially Xserve RAID would not. That belongs in a dedicated acoustically dampened case, or a server closet. So, the question is whether we're talking desktop solution, or jumping up to enterprise class storage.
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