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Old Oct 24, 2012, 02:48 PM   #1
nateo200
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Mac Mini for FCP X and heavier applications?

I might pick up a Mac Mini as my next computer with the quad core, throw 16GB's of RAM and use that as my primary machine for FCP X, After Effects and encoding...its tiny enough I could carry it with me to work and home if needed...I'll be editing primarily DSLR footage but I expect to be editing footage from RED Scarlets in the future at like 4K....Right now I use my 2010 13" MacBook Pro with a fricken Core 2 Duo...I was thinking the Mac Mini would be a good choice with the quad core and I could easily throw in more RAM in the future and with Thunderbolt future upgrade paths seam unlimited...heck we could have External CPU's to add on in the future! But my main interest is editing video without swearing at my computer...this is sort of a critical moment. Any insight? I gotta get onto the quad core to speed up rendering times...
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 03:01 PM   #2
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My insight is .... no. If you are even thinking of editing RED 4K then forget about it on a Mac Mini. You won't have an easy time managing complex projects with that footage. And the GPU will be an utter joke on that note. And I hope you plan on getting more than 1TB of storage. 16GB of RAM is cool but you are going to want that to supplement killer CPU and GPU to make actually doing this type of work doable. A maxed out Mac Mini will be sufficient for basic editing of DSLR footage but even then the GPU will cripple your experience once you start throwing lots of effects in the mix .. it can be done but will be slow, and forget about it on RED.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 03:18 PM   #3
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Across the board applications are using the GPU more and more so I wouldn't recommend a Mini as a 'go to' machine. If it's the best you can afford, it's the best you can afford and you'll have to make due, but a MBP or iMac would be a better option. Also, I don't think Mini's dissipate heat as well as the MBPs and iMacs which means the Mini could be in for a shorter life than you'd expect.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 05:04 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by LethalWolfe View Post
Across the board applications are using the GPU more and more so I wouldn't recommend a Mini as a 'go to' machine. If it's the best you can afford, it's the best you can afford and you'll have to make due, but a MBP or iMac would be a better option. Also, I don't think Mini's dissipate heat as well as the MBPs and iMacs which means the Mini could be in for a shorter life than you'd expect.
Yeah I figured the GPU would be the weak point....wish I could get away with just CPU power! Heat dissipation is important though...Id probably kill the Mini if I ran it as hard as I run my MBP...

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Originally Posted by Zwhaler View Post
My insight is .... no. If you are even thinking of editing RED 4K then forget about it on a Mac Mini. You won't have an easy time managing complex projects with that footage. And the GPU will be an utter joke on that note. And I hope you plan on getting more than 1TB of storage. 16GB of RAM is cool but you are going to want that to supplement killer CPU and GPU to make actually doing this type of work doable. A maxed out Mac Mini will be sufficient for basic editing of DSLR footage but even then the GPU will cripple your experience once you start throwing lots of effects in the mix .. it can be done but will be slow, and forget about it on RED.
Well 16GB's of RAM would be my initial purchase (not from Apple, can change RAM myself)...would probably go to 32GB at a later point. And uh yeah I'd be using well over 1TB of space over the fastest connection and probably RAID'd. What if I transcode RED 4K to ProRes though? I have no idea how REDCODE is in terms of natively editing compared to H.264, ProRes 4444/422 HQ, and Uncompressed 16-bit TIFF sequence....is it somewhere in between or do they have the RED Rocket because its so insane to edit for a reason! Haha. I mean I figure it'll be less painful editing on a maxed out mini than my current machine...I transcode everything to ProRes before I start working BTW, I mean I run it through MPEG Stream clip before I even import unless I need to be absolutely sure the timecode is preserved for multi cam editing (had a disaster once with that).
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 05:29 PM   #5
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Hi,
I'm in a similar situation as the started of this thread. I'm doing research before replacing my 2009 c2d mbp and in spite of having done some heavy math I neede help from people with more knowledge.

I'm running on a limited budget and I have to choose a machine that will do best at video rendering (Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro). My choices are:

Base 21" iMac with i5 2.7, 8 GB of RAM and 640M
Mid Mac Mini with i7 2.6, 16 GB (I can do that myself) and HD4000 - just like it is discussed before.

I know both have flaws, but do You think one will do considerably better than the other? The point is: does memory and CPU outweight GPU?

Thanks for Your help!
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 05:37 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mosiejczuk View Post
Hi,
I'm in a similar situation as the started of this thread. I'm doing research before replacing my 2009 c2d mbp and in spite of having done some heavy math I neede help from people with more knowledge.

I'm running on a limited budget and I have to choose a machine that will do best at video rendering (Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro). My choices are:

Base 21" iMac with i5 2.7, 8 GB of RAM and 640M
Mid Mac Mini with i7 2.6, 16 GB (I can do that myself) and HD4000 - just like it is discussed before.

I know both have flaws, but do You think one will do considerably better than the other? The point is: does memory and CPU outweight GPU?

Thanks for Your help!
Good to know someone else is in the same boat as me! I'm curious about the 2.3 vs 2.6Ghz upgrade though, obviously it'll help but Id like to see by how much...obviously grab the 2.6 for the extra 100 i believe it is. I mean I guess I could get a GPU in a thunderbolt enclosure later on but if the base iMac is better then I will look that way.
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 03:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mosiejczuk View Post
Hi,
I'm in a similar situation as the started of this thread. I'm doing research before replacing my 2009 c2d mbp and in spite of having done some heavy math I neede help from people with more knowledge.

I'm running on a limited budget and I have to choose a machine that will do best at video rendering (Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro). My choices are:

Base 21" iMac with i5 2.7, 8 GB of RAM and 640M
Mid Mac Mini with i7 2.6, 16 GB (I can do that myself) and HD4000 - just like it is discussed before.

I know both have flaws, but do You think one will do considerably better than the other? The point is: does memory and CPU outweight GPU?

Thanks for Your help!
For serious editing I'd go for the iMac, the jump to Ivy Bridge CPU and the discreet graphic card would lep you a lot more than an integrated CPU, with Premiere Pro and After Effects you can use GPU acceleration with your effects. Going from your current machine to a Mac Mini the biggest jump you would see would be in transcoding time but this jump wouldn't be too great, also once you begin editing long sequences with transitions and effects the mac mini would reveal how under power it can be. The biggest disadvantage of a 2012 iMac, or least the 21.5" one is that the ram is not user replaceable outside of that it's a great value.
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Old Oct 28, 2012, 03:56 PM   #8
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I just recently upgraded to the mid-level Mac Mini ( I have the ram on order) and I just installed FCPX and edited some DSLR footage. Is it blazing fast ? No. Is it good enough? Yes. I think the RAM will speed it up a ton but its all what you do with it. I dont think I would consider editing 4k on it but 1920x1080 is no big deal. I bet having a dedicated GPU would help certain things especially Motion/After Effects stuff.

My 2 cents...
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Old Oct 29, 2012, 08:00 AM   #9
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In some DIT cases its being used as a field system to wrangle data between RED SSD and RCXPro.
I would only use it for that period.
Of course you can also attach a Meizler Module and feed it ProRes but who has Spielberg money here :P
Ive been thinking of getting a Mac Mini for this reason:
http://www.sonnettech.com/product/xmacminiserver.html
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Old Oct 29, 2012, 12:24 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by nateo200 View Post
I might pick up a Mac Mini as my next computer with the quad core, throw 16GB's of RAM and use that as my primary machine for FCP X, After Effects and encoding...its tiny enough I could carry it with me to work and home if needed...I'll be editing primarily DSLR footage but I expect to be editing footage from RED Scarlets in the future at like 4K....Right now I use my 2010 13" MacBook Pro with a fricken Core 2 Duo...I was thinking the Mac Mini would be a good choice with the quad core and I could easily throw in more RAM in the future and with Thunderbolt future upgrade paths seam unlimited...heck we could have External CPU's to add on in the future! But my main interest is editing video without swearing at my computer...this is sort of a critical moment. Any insight? I gotta get onto the quad core to speed up rendering times...
I picked up the new Mac Mini with the soul purpose to test it for 4k editing using Smoke 2013.

Alone the Mac Mini would struggle. the configuration I ordered was the Mac Mini server with the 2.6 i7 ivybridge due to the dual hd. OWC(Other World Computing) has 16gb 1600mhz ram and the Extreme pro 6 SSD. Now my system is running 2x 480 gb ssd raid 0, 16gb ram, Magma Express 3T (Magma(dot)com) with a GTX690 running at 8x. Thunderbolt does not support 16x. Magma and Sonnet make PCIe card reader thunderbolt modules. Build up overtime and you can create a powerful system.

I got the idea to do this after looking at the blog by John Nack "Editing RED video on a MacBook Air" Its on 9 to 5 Mac http://9to5mac.com/2012/01/25/macboo...ow-it-can-die/

You will also need a separate Raid to hold your media. SAS or Pegasus will work great. I chose a sas by OWC because I can also use it on my PC if needed.

Thanks
Gabe

I love my Scarlet but there is a price reduction coming November 1, 2012
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Old Oct 29, 2012, 12:59 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by gabrielscindian View Post
Now my system is running 2x 480 gb ssd raid 0, 16gb ram, Magma Express 3T (Magma(dot)com) with a GTX690 running at 8x. Thunderbolt does not support 16x. Magma and Sonnet make PCIe card reader thunderbolt modules. Build up overtime and you can create a powerful system.

I love my Scarlet but there is a price reduction coming November 1, 2012
The price reduction (hoping) is on EPIC. I just picked up a BT Scarlet so I hope I dont have to deal with returning it for a new one.
Yea none of the Expansion options support GPU externally.
We have both Sonnet and Magma and both handled R3D from a RED MX great using a ROCKET card of course (Retina as host).
Now if we can only use a Quadro 4000 or GTX on them
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Old Oct 29, 2012, 02:30 PM   #12
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The price reduction (hoping) is on EPIC. I just picked up a BT Scarlet so I hope I dont have to deal with returning it for a new one.
Yea none of the Expansion options support GPU externally.
We have both Sonnet and Magma and both handled R3D from a RED MX great using a ROCKET card of course (Retina as host).
Now if we can only use a Quadro 4000 or GTX on them
MacPros on YouTube got the quadro running with driver edits. Same edits found on Hackintosh site from Tony Mac. The gpu cards only work with programs like premiere and after effects after u edit the gpu card requirements text found in one of the folder of the adobe folder. Also download the Cuba drivers.
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Old Oct 29, 2012, 02:43 PM   #13
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MacPros on YouTube got the quadro running with driver edits. Same edits found on Hackintosh site from Tony Mac. The gpu cards only work with programs like premiere and after effects after u edit the gpu card requirements text found in one of the folder of the adobe folder. Also download the Cuba drivers.
I would love to do this but it would have to be on my own personal gear.
There is no way my boss would let me hack our DIT Retina
Plus we dont use Adobe for anything other than After Effects on Motion workstations.

Thanks for the tip, Ill consider this in the future.
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Old Oct 30, 2012, 06:05 AM   #14
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If it's the new, updated iMac you're after, might have to wait a bit longer

http://www.macworld.co.uk/mac/news/?...pe=allchandate
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Old Nov 4, 2012, 01:29 AM   #15
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I might pick up a Mac Mini as my next computer with the quad core, throw 16GB's of RAM and use that as my primary machine for FCP X, After Effects and encoding...its tiny enough I could carry it with me to work and home if needed...I'll be editing primarily DSLR footage but I expect to be editing footage from RED Scarlets in the future at like 4K....Right now I use my 2010 13" MacBook Pro with a fricken Core 2 Duo...I was thinking the Mac Mini would be a good choice with the quad core and I could easily throw in more RAM in the future and with Thunderbolt future upgrade paths seam unlimited...heck we could have External CPU's to add on in the future! But my main interest is editing video without swearing at my computer...this is sort of a critical moment. Any insight? I gotta get onto the quad core to speed up rendering times...
I'm editing 4k files on my late 2012 mac mini.
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Old Nov 4, 2012, 10:08 PM   #16
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I'm editing 4k files on my late 2012 mac mini.
I see it hyper threads to 8 threads? I didn't think the Mac Mini Server could do that (as per the first picture and your signature). I see your editing 1.9:1 4K, is it off a RED One or Epic? Just curious how smooth it is...
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 04:09 PM   #17
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I see it hyper threads to 8 threads? I didn't think the Mac Mini Server could do that (as per the first picture and your signature). I see your editing 1.9:1 4K, is it off a RED One or Epic? Just curious how smooth it is...
It's off of the red scarlet. Debayer 1/4 res in Smoke 2013 beta release 5 realtime playback in the timline. When you add vfx you have to render that section. It is a speedy little machine
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Old Nov 6, 2012, 04:18 PM   #18
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It's off of the red scarlet. Debayer 1/4 res in Smoke 2013 beta release 5 realtime playback in the timline. When you add vfx you have to render that section. It is a speedy little machine
We did similar tests using RCXPro on a Retina/Sonnet Echo with and without REDROCKET.
R3D from RED MX plays decent on 1/2 and def full using ROCKET.
The files were on a Tempo SSD Pro (dual SSD drives RAID0).

I think some DIT set-ups are using Mini.
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Old Nov 24, 2012, 04:55 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by nateo200 View Post
I might pick up a Mac Mini as my next computer with the quad core, throw 16GB's of RAM and use that as my primary machine for FCP X, After Effects and encoding...its tiny enough I could carry it with me to work and home if needed...I'll be editing primarily DSLR footage but I expect to be editing footage from RED Scarlets in the future at like 4K....Right now I use my 2010 13" MacBook Pro with a fricken Core 2 Duo...I was thinking the Mac Mini would be a good choice with the quad core and I could easily throw in more RAM in the future and with Thunderbolt future upgrade paths seam unlimited...heck we could have External CPU's to add on in the future! But my main interest is editing video without swearing at my computer...this is sort of a critical moment. Any insight? I gotta get onto the quad core to speed up rendering times...
What about a used or refurbished Mac Pro tower?

I did try out a 2012 Mac mini as a potential replacement for my 2008 Mac Pro, but, to be honest, I didn't like it. Aside from the issue with the DVI going out sporadically, I was concerned that I would overheat the machine through constant rendering and transcoding. FCPX ran okay, but the lack of graphics performance was a bit too obvious. Maybe if I'd stuffed it with extra RAM...

Last edited by blackmoses; Nov 24, 2012 at 05:01 PM. Reason: More response!
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Old Nov 25, 2012, 01:38 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by nateo200 View Post
I might pick up a Mac Mini as my next computer with the quad core, throw 16GB's of RAM and use that as my primary machine for FCP X, After Effects and encoding...its tiny enough I could carry it with me to work and home if needed...I'll be editing primarily DSLR footage but I expect to be editing footage from RED Scarlets in the future at like 4K....Right now I use my 2010 13" MacBook Pro with a fricken Core 2 Duo...I was thinking the Mac Mini would be a good choice with the quad core and I could easily throw in more RAM in the future and with Thunderbolt future upgrade paths seam unlimited...heck we could have External CPU's to add on in the future! But my main interest is editing video without swearing at my computer...this is sort of a critical moment. Any insight? I gotta get onto the quad core to speed up rendering times...
Given that we're talking about a quad-core mobile version of Ivy Bridge, CPU-wise, it's a GOOD computer for those tasks. GPU-wise is where you'll really hate your life. Yes, the Intel HD 4000 is substantially better than the NVIDIA GeForce 320M in your Mid 2010 13" MacBook Pro, but for 4K RED footage, that would give me pause. That said, while external GPUs via Thunderbolt will likely be more of a regular thing, for now, it isn't. Thunderbolt, at best will only support 8x PCIe, though I'm pretty sure that it technically is only supposed to support 4x. Expect a later iteration of Thunderbolt to be able to do it. For now, just be glad that it is otherwise fast enough to not be the bottleneck for anything. But no, if you want to do RED and/or 4K, don't get a Mac mini, you will be happier than you are on your 13" MacBook Pro from 2010, but you'll still be unhappy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mosiejczuk View Post
Hi,
I'm in a similar situation as the started of this thread. I'm doing research before replacing my 2009 c2d mbp and in spite of having done some heavy math I neede help from people with more knowledge.

I'm running on a limited budget and I have to choose a machine that will do best at video rendering (Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro). My choices are:

Base 21" iMac with i5 2.7, 8 GB of RAM and 640M
Mid Mac Mini with i7 2.6, 16 GB (I can do that myself) and HD4000 - just like it is discussed before.

I know both have flaws, but do You think one will do considerably better than the other? The point is: does memory and CPU outweight GPU?

Thanks for Your help!
Mid 21.5" iMac with either the i5 or i7, CTO it with 16GB of RAM (as you can't upgrade from 8 to the 16GB maximum on your own) and the 650M. Also, with the Fusion drive. If you can't afford it, wait until you can as you won't like it otherwise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nateo200 View Post
Good to know someone else is in the same boat as me! I'm curious about the 2.3 vs 2.6Ghz upgrade though, obviously it'll help but Id like to see by how much...obviously grab the 2.6 for the extra 100 i believe it is. I mean I guess I could get a GPU in a thunderbolt enclosure later on but if the base iMac is better then I will look that way.
The cache is the same on both CPUs, so really it's a difference of 300MHz, which isn't anywhere near as substantial in 2012 as it was in 2000. Again, relying on an external thunderbolt GPU solution is not smart and doesn't save you much money.

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Originally Posted by MrPlayer66 View Post
For serious editing I'd go for the iMac, the jump to Ivy Bridge CPU and the discreet graphic card would lep you a lot more than an integrated CPU, with Premiere Pro and After Effects you can use GPU acceleration with your effects. Going from your current machine to a Mac Mini the biggest jump you would see would be in transcoding time but this jump wouldn't be too great, also once you begin editing long sequences with transitions and effects the mac mini would reveal how under power it can be. The biggest disadvantage of a 2012 iMac, or least the 21.5" one is that the ram is not user replaceable outside of that it's a great value.
Just max out the RAM at the time of purchase...than the fact that it isn't user-replaceable becomes a non-issue.

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Originally Posted by nateo200 View Post
I was setting up the ideal BTO iMac that I was going to hopefully get but now I see that the 21.5" iMac can't have its RAM upgraded but the 27" can? I think thats just ridiculous! Now they gotta go and gouge me up front...Then I was looking at the Mac Pro's and I figured I could take the low end model as I have a decent display already but it hasn't been updated at all...no USB 3.0 or even Thunderbolt! Oh well...I guess Ill go for the 27" with 8GB of RAM and look forward to the 16GB and hopefully 24GB I can throw in it at a later point...just need a faster machine.

I think Apple is indirectly making life harder for the power user >
Again, the bump to a 21.5" iMac with 16GB of RAM will be a price gouge, but not that bad of one. And once a 2012 21.5" iMac has 16GB of RAM in it, the no-replaceable RAM bit is a non-issue as it will be maxed. If you can do a 27" iMac, for what you're trying to do, that would probably be best. The Mac Pros are behind the curve on a lot of things. The Xeons still kick the crap out of some of the Ivy Bridge Macs out there now, but the performance gap is quickly closing.

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Oh I've read all about it I've just only started to feel it. Then I have people who think my needs for a faster computer are ridiculous. They think that video magically puts its self together when you open up FCP! The iMac getting its upgradability castrated is really what bothered me...Apple telling us what we need and don't need
The iMac always had its upgradeability castrated. 100% non-removable RAM is new, but best of luck replacing drives on that thing. It looks to be no easier with this current iteration.




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Originally Posted by nateo200 View Post
Well I don't edit H.264 directly at all. It all ends up in ProRes 422 so my Core 2 Duo doesn't barf 1s and 0s all over my lap... I'm looking at the 15" MacBook Pro the entry model with 8GB RAM (Going to put more obviously)....is this going to be sufficient or at least less painful for my tasks? Mainly looking for smoothing out my editing times, rendering times and actually have the power of a discrete graphics card for programs like After Effects. Also the Thunderbolt port is a welcome addition that seams to make the purchase even more future proof since you can plug anything from a hard drive to an external GPU to it!
The 2012 non-retina 13" and 15" MacBook Pros max out at 8GB of RAM. You can stuff 16GB in there and it'll recognize it, but if you have any problem with the machine any Apple Authorized Service Provider or Apple Store can attribute your problem to having more RAM than is officially supported and can deny you service or (if you're dealing with a real jerk) deem your warranty voided. It's really dumb, but there you have it. The 15" retina MacBook Pro can be configured to take 16GB of RAM, which is the actual maximum of the Ivy Bridge chipset and will give you a fighting chance at not hating your life when editing 4K/RED. Also, of note, the 15" retina screen is roughly 2K, so it'll look better with your footage.

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So I'm dead set on the 15" MacBook Pro...definitly gonna BTO the low end model and max out most of the stuff or just get the high end model for the 1GB or GPU RAM...will have to decide on that, as well as an SSD upfront or later on...if I start editing uncompressed video more often then an SSD will be in order. But...the MacBook Pro Retina 15" sounds interesting...I've heard its pretty fast....or do I have to worry about all those pixels needing to be driven?

Again, I'd go Retina here as you can have 16GB of RAM and have it be officially supported. As for the amount of pixels being driven, both the Intel HD 4000 and the NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M are each more than capable of driving that display. The problems that exist currently are with the OS's ability to suddenly display that many more pixels per inch on pre-existing visual assets. The GPUs can do it, but the OS is doing a crap job of doing what it needs. That could be a driver issue, that could be an issue with the OS itself. Which it is, I couldn't say. But many mistake it as an actual hardware issue and that's simply not the case.
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 07:19 PM   #21
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5 angle multi cam on mini

Hi guys. I have a 5-angle HD video editing project for FCPX I've been putting off forever because I don't have a powerful enough computer. Got a bunch of Thunderbolt drives, so that's not an issue. Ordered a maxed out mini. The middle one, upgraded to 16 GB memory and the 2.6 chip. Then cancelled it the next day when I came across some posts that said the mini wasn't up to more than very simple video editing projects. I am a relative beginner to video editing, so am not familiar with this RED video. I assume that requires a lot of power and benefits from a dedicated GPU. For my purposes, however, for a 5 view HD project, I am beginning to wonder (again) if I can get by with that maxed out mini.
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 07:24 PM   #22
simsaladimbamba
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Originally Posted by EddieT View Post
Hi guys. I have a 5-angle HD video editing project for FCPX I've been putting off forever because I don't have a powerful enough computer. Got a bunch of Thunderbolt drives, so that's not an issue. Ordered a maxed out mini. The middle one, upgraded to 16 GB memory and the 2.6 chip. Then cancelled it the next day when I came across some posts that said the mini wasn't up to more than very simple video editing projects. I am a relative beginner to video editing, so am not familiar with this RED video. I assume that requires a lot of power and benefits from a dedicated GPU. For my purposes, however, for a 5 view HD project, I am beginning to wonder (again) if I can get by with that maxed out mini.
If the footage from the five cameras is properly transcoded to ProRes 422 or ProRes 422 Proxy and the footage for each camera is on an extra HDD (or two cameras per HDD), then that will not be a problem, as the data throughput will be the limiting factor and not the CPU.

I could play back six or so streams of HD footage on my 2009 MBP in Avid Media Composer, and again, the limiting factor was the access to the external HDD and not the CPU, though I used DNxHD 36 as codec (a proxy codec to need less HDD space).

forgot to add:
Video Compression
Why It Matters & How To Make The Most Of It
which includes the following sections:
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 09:07 PM   #23
EddieT
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Thanks, simsaladimbamba. Yeah, not sure what to do. Might wait until I can get my school to buy me an iMac this summer. Thanks for your reply.
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