Besides RAM any addtional speed tweaks G5 dual processor?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by ronfab1, Nov 29, 2005.

  1. ronfab1 macrumors newbie

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    #1
    I have been editing DVCam footage for 2 years on an old G4 500MHz dual, and just bought & am setting up next couple weeks, a refurb G5 dual proc. 2.3GHz from the Apple Store. I'm purchasing 4.5 Gig of RAM intitially and this unit should scream in comparison to the old G4 with the DVCam format.

    However, in talking with a fellow videographer / other company I shoot for frequently yesterday, it appears the required change over to HDV equipment ("HD" on DV type cassettes) is literally only 3-4 months away for us. I know that the files will be much larger and the need for speed much greater, and hope I'm not back into the situation being frustrated by too slow rendering / processing when that happens.

    Would going to the max 8 gigs of RAM when the time comes go a long way to help with that or with Final Cut 5 (HD capable) is there a dimished return factor with the RAM at a certain size?

    Real newb question here....is any other memory such as cache upgradeable in these machines, or any other tweaks to make it perform with even more speed.

    Thanks for any thoughts.
     
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #2
    Cache is on-die so not ugradable (it's a physical part of the CPU). More/faster disks would probably be a big help. Striped RAID will give high speed but you will be taking a certain amount of risk as if any disk in the striped set fails you looks all data. Of couse you can have mirrored striped RAID but that's really expensive!
     
  3. eva01 macrumors 601

    eva01

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  4. Danksi macrumors 68000

    Danksi

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    #4
    Nice ...

    Second the 10K Hdrives - Raptor's should show some improvements.

    I'd love to see some PMac refurbs on the Canadian Apple site.
     
  5. ronfab1 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    Thank you. Can someone please elaborate the why and how of this? Would I set up Final Cut 5 (or what else?), since it seems so small, on that particular HD & then add as much RAM as possible when I get to the HDV stage? Any particular model #?
     
  6. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #6
    Personally I would use the fast disk (be it one disk or a RAID setup) to host the DV footage/scratch/render areas for Final Cut. No matter how much RAM you have you will never get the whole project in RAM so you want the fastest possible disk area to use to minimise the impact of swapping sections out of RAM and rendering to disk.
     
  7. SmurfBoxMasta macrumors 65816

    SmurfBoxMasta

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    #7
    Usa a 10k HD as your boot drive, then use 2 other HUGE, Fast HD's as 1) Scratch disk for FCP and 2) as a storage disk for the finished production.

    Do NOT ever use the boot drive as a storage or scratch disk, and NEVER install anything (other than formatting to HFS+ Journaled) on the other 2 HD's

    But still bump the ram as much as possible. OS X can use it all through it's advanced memory mgmt scheme, and IIRC, FCP can be assigned (at least) 2GB all for itself. It wont go to waste :D

    ps.....HD video will EAT HD space for lunch :)
     
  8. Danksi macrumors 68000

    Danksi

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    #8
    My DV home video eats Hdrive space, so I'd hate to think how much storage the "pro's" need.... :eek:

    At this rate I'll have a stack of ext. drives by the end of next year - kinda makes a mockery of those clean/uncluttered/wireless 'catalogue' pictures of the iMac! ;)
     
  9. Will Cheyney macrumors 6502a

    Will Cheyney

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    #9
    Agreed! Is there a general 'rule of thumb' for HD video yet? i.e. How many MB/sec
     
  10. ronfab1 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #10
    Well, it will be certainly eat more space than DVCam, but remember this is HDV, not uncompressed full HD spec. Right now on my older Quicktime platform with G4 and OS 10.2.8 I think, an hour of video takes 11-12 gigs. But from what I read about the Quicktime 7 platform and Mpg 4 the video will be higher quality and yet the files smaller, so I would expect the same hour in DVCam to take considerably less space, but don't know how much less yet. "HD" resolution on HDV is 1460 x 1080 (I think) and certainly more compressed than full blown D5 1920 x 1080. Would be curious to hear if anyone knows yet what an hour of HDV will eat with Mpg 4?
     
  11. ronfab1 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #11
    Please be patient with me :)

    Pardon my not properly inserting the questions in your text for easy reading....had hoped they would read with noticeably different phont. So instead put your statements in double ))

    And rather than keep coming back with more questions beyond these & wearing you and others out on this topic, is there any source or link anyone might recommend to help me better understand this relationship between the aftermarket hardware choices I make and their utilization to best get the most speed & efficiency out of my new setup for Final Cut Pro?

    As always, thanks very much for the help!
     
  12. wiseguy27 macrumors 6502

    wiseguy27

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    #12
  13. SmurfBoxMasta macrumors 65816

    SmurfBoxMasta

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    #13
    Use the 10K drive to install the OS and your applications (FCP) on. Then partition (divide) the 250gb HD into 2 seperate virtual drives, assign #1 (~50GB) as a scratch disk for FCP, where it will write it's temporary files to while you are working on them. Then use the larger portion #2 (~200GB) as a storage disk for keeping your completed projects on, but nothing else!

    The trick on the scratch disk is to keep it 100% defragmented by erasing it after each project is rendered to the storage disk.

    You prevent 99% of fragmentation on the storage disk by NOT constantly adding/removing files to & from it, and OS X will do some auto defragging too :)
    Thats why you dont want to install anything on it or use it as a storage disk, beyond using Disk Utility to initialize/format it.

    "HFS+ Journaled" is the preferred format for OS X drives, and will be one of the formatting choices in D/U.

    As for the RAM, the more you have, the better. Both for the OS, which will run better/smoother/faster. And FCP will be able to render more of your projects within the ram instead of the HD, which will make it run better/smoother/faster too....
    OS X's utilization/allocation of ram is very complex and very efficient too :D

    8GB may be a bit overkill today, but later on you will probably end up needing/wanting it anyways. So IMHO, start with at 4GB, and add more down the road :)
     
  14. ronfab1 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #14
    Thank you again. I'm starting to get the idea & have been doing some more research on line. Can you please help with a few more specifics?

    I'm still a little unclear if that 10K fast add-on internal drive will be used just for the OS & booting of Final Cut 5 or also I'm having to transfer OS booting of the whole array of software that comes with the computer? Would rather not as I'm still really taking baby steps with my knowledge of these things.

    How would this be.....? What if I kept the 250G drive that comes with the unit, as is, and just used it for normal files...iPhoto, gaming, Word, etc, etc, AND for the final products of my editing as you mentioned, to be periodically cleared for space for more recent projects? I'm assuming that would be the Quicktime self contained movies of each completed time line you're talking about?

    Then, what brand, small, fastest 10K internal drive, compatible with the dual proc. G5 2.3 would you recommend I install just for booting FCP 5? Is speed even an issue for this drive as far as affecting the overall speed of the system, or is the purpose solely to keep the OS and bootup of the FCP software separate from especially my scratch drive, to keep the renders & editing at highest speed, once I have either 4.5 or 6.5 Gigs of RAM?

    Then, for my scratch drive I was reading and came across on a search for "fast" drives, the external LaCie d2 Extreme with a SATA PCI card that I could plug into my G5 for the fastest connection, and use THAT drive or maybe there is ANOTHER BRAND someone considers better(?) solely for the scratch disk. Pricing seemed reasonable, around $215-230 for a 250G unit. Plus they can be arrayed together for even more speed & space, if and when I get to HDV.

    I'd like to be able to use the stock 250G drive pretty much as I please & not worry about it too much. Once the edited jobs are simply there for a period of time for access, there's no real need for max access speed with them, or am I not seeing the bigger picture correctly?
     
  15. killmoms macrumors 68040

    killmoms

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    #15
    I was under the impression that HDV, because it fits on normal DV tapes, runs at the same 25Mbit/s data rate that DV does, it's just a different Long-GOP MPEG-2 codec being used to compress the video down to that bitrate (part of why it looks so... well, bleh in anything but low-motion scenes). You don't need to upgrade your hard drives because these files will be about the same size and data rate as DV. It's the compression that kills the processing speed on 'em though, and that's why CPU matters. Even RAM won't REALLY help you here. 4.5GB of RAM will be MORE than enough.

    I mean, let's be reasonable here—a SINGLE stream of DV is 25Mbit/s, as is DVCAM, as is ANYTHING DV besides DVCPRO/50 (Panasonic's 50Mbit/s format).You're going to max out your CPUs decoding multiple streams of DV a fair while before you'll saturate a FW800 or internal SATA 8MB buffer 7200RPM drive's transfer speed. HDV is the SAME size because it's the same bitrate (unless you decompress it), and now that FCP5 works with it natively, will take up the same space on your drives. It's your CPUs that will be getting pinged, trying to decode that MPEG2 on-the-fly.

    The problem with HDV (and why I'm surprised you're using it in a production environment) is that it has already been compressed once. Compressing it out to something else is going to reveal artifacts much more strongly—it's why I don't consider it a production format, more of a hobbyist format. It's fine for home movies, but for broadcast HD? Now, if you're going to be downscaling these 4:2:0 HDV clips to SD, that's a different story. But I'm guessing you know all this anyway. :D
     
  16. ronfab1 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #16
    From what I know in a preliminary fashion about HDV, I think you are correct about file sizes being similar. Believe me if it were up to me I would be content sticking with the full size 3 1/2" chip Sony DSR 300A that I have been using for 4 years now. It's by far my favorite camera or camcorder that I have used in the past 20 years. Aside from being about 17 lbs, geared up with wireless receiver and a light & which is not a problem, it has just been a super, trouble free unit for me and the footage looks terrific transferred to DVD for the customer from DVCam format, probably a little better than DV can achieve. This is not for broadcast, but rather high end event videography. Weddings, parties, special events, etc. On my own, probably could hold off considerably longer before switching. But I also shoot for another company quite a bit which is doing really expensive high end stuff and is starting to get inquiries into HD. Of course we're not going out and buying HDCams for this type of work.
     
  17. ronfab1 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #17
    Still looking for confirmation what's best for FCP 5 Speed

    So for this dual proc. 2.3GHz G5, I'm closing in I think on my quest for best possible speed out of the machine for editing DVCam footage at present and HDV or maybe even DVC Pro HD within 6 months.

    6GB RAM from Data Memory Systems, total now 6.5GB. Great price at $594 for DDR 400MHZ.

    ATI X800 XT at equally great price to replace 9600. More for display quality and my pleasure than for editing speed, but maybe it helps there too in some way I'm unaware of.

    I think I'm doing the external 250GB LaCie SATA d2 Extreme with SATA card hookup for the Mac, to be used solely for the scratch disk. $235 for that kind of performance which I guess is close to identical (?) with the shipped internal 250GB drive seems pretty good to me.

    But I'm still not clear on what is being recommended above for only booting up the Final Cut 5 program. "10K" is mentioned. Are we talking capacity? Is that enough for the Final Cut software to boot and run with the system? Or, are we talking a brand/model? Because on searches for "fast 10K hard drives I also come across the "Atlas 10K" which is supposed to be very fast but seems to start sizewise at 18 Gig. Can someone please help me here for clarification? And is this "boot" drive for FCP software recommended to be external or internal?

    I plan to just use the regular 250 drive as it comes with all the software on it and normal functions. I will store final self contained Quicktime programs on it as well of my most recently edited jobs. But no scratch or work in progress on it.

    Thanks again for any help. I only have 2 more things to order, the scratch drive and the boot drive.
     

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