Best config of MacPro for Movie Editing?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by lieb39, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. lieb39 macrumors 6502


    Mar 17, 2005
    Melbourne, Australia
    Hello everyone,

    I've got a friend who wants to spend a max of $5,000 CDN on a mac pro (excluding the screen) for his video editing. He'll be working with HD video, but has a external 500GB already. I'm just not sure what is the best match for HD Video editing in Final Cut.. Anyone have any ideas?


  2. Lovesong macrumors 65816


    Sep 15, 2006
    Stuck beween a rock and a hard place
    Hmm...if I had 5K, I'd go for a 3.0 GHz, with the ATI 1900XT, 4 gigs of RAM, and a 500GB HD. He's likely to need the speed of the CPU and the VRAM, and 4 gigs of RAM should be more than enough to get him going. Also, RAM and HDs are the easiest things to upgrade (add on down the road), and are likely to go down in price. I'd probably wait until after tomorrow, in case the MPs go to quad core, but for editing HD video, that configuration would fly.
  3. combatcolin macrumors 68020


    Oct 24, 2004
    Northants, UK

    Theres a forth rule but you can guess what that is.
  4. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    What kind of HD? HDV, DVCPRO HD, HDCAM, etc.,?

  5. adamyoshida macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2006
    I would go with the base config (2.66 Ghz) plus the 1900XT.

    Ram - more is better. Adding after-market an extra two Gigs (for three Gigs total) should do in the short-term, he could always drop in more later.

    What he really, really, really needs if he's going to work with HD Video is more hard drive space - a lot more. I could easily see throwing three 750 Gigabyte drives into the remaining drive bays (after market ones, of course). 2.5 Terrabytes would be a fair starting figure for working with HD Video.

    Of course, there's a pretty good chance that tomorrow we'll see changes to the system - and changes to the pricing structure, etc.

    In particular, I think the odds are pretty good of a Blu Ray or HD-DVD BTO option.
  6. MovieCutter macrumors 68040


    May 3, 2005
    Washington, DC
    Base 2.66+x1900 and all the RAM and hard drive space you can muster mister.
  7. Jopling macrumors 6502

    Jul 14, 2004
    I went with the 2.66 4 gigs of ram the ATI card and 1tb of storage. It works pretty well for video editing, but not as well as I had expected moving from a 1.33ghz 17 inch pb.
  8. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Dec 12, 2002
    If he is only going to do basic video editing (Final Cut Pro,) stay with the stock GeForce. If he is going to do compositing and effects (Shake and Motion,) go for the Radeon, or, if you really want to go all-out, the Quadro. Why? Because, Final Cut Pro does *NOT* use video RAM, or the video chip. You will see ZERO difference in doing Final Cut Pro work between the GeForce 7300 GT and the Quadro 4500. If you are doing Motion work, though, it will be night-and-day.

    Likewise, for the actual EDITING, the stock 2.66 GHz processors will do just fine. It's only in the final rendering that moving to the 3.0 GHz chips will make any noticeable difference. And if he is going to keep the movies in their native HD format the entire time, even that won't matter.

    So what it all boils down to is hard drive space and RAM. RAM is good for video editing, especially HD video editing. But from what I've seen in my client's machines, you'll hit a wall at about 4 GB. Even then, you don't see much improvement from 2 GB to 4 GB. But, because of the ease of upgrading, adamyoshida's idea of adding an extra 2 GB has a lot of merit. It's not terribly expensive, and it will give you a decent performance boost over the stock 1 GB. As for hard drive space? Order it with the smallest hard drive (160 GB,) to hold the OS and applications, then get 750 GB drives aftermarket for the other three bays. (Or, if he can wait a couple months, wait for the 1 TB drives.) And, since I'm assuming this is for professional use, make sure to buy equal capacity of external drives for backup. And tell him to back up religiously.

    So, my chosen configuration will cost you $2704 from Apple, US $532 from Crucial for the RAM, (good high quality memory, Apple certified for the Mac Pro, exchange rate as of 12/18/06 at 4AM for calculations below.) That brings you to $3319 before the hard drives. Seagate's 750GB drives can be had at $458 from Tiger Direct. Three of those will run $1374, to put you at $4693. Tiger Direct also has a Western Digital external FireWire 800 1 TB (two drives internally in a RAID,) for $635, which, when combined with his existing 500 GB external drive, gives you 1.5 TB of external backup for a total cost of $5328. Just a touch over the $5k mark. Of course, this also doesn't include the $1500 Final Cut Studio. If he doesn't already have it, remove the external drive, and one of the internal drives. This also doesn't include a monitor. Take out one more internal drive to buy a nice third-party 24-27" LCD.

    If he doesn't have FCP or a monitor, this will only leave you with the 160 GB OS drive and a 750 GB data drive (plus the already-owned 500 GB backup drive,) but it should do until he can afford more hard drive space.

    That's about all you can do for CAN $5000. The Radeon is overkill at that price point. (Save the $300 for hard drive space.)
  9. comfycoxy macrumors newbie

    Jan 9, 2007
    Hi all, I'm new here, and thought would ask a few q's I have in this thread as its the sort of discussion I've been looking for a while.

    I am going to be purchasing a Mac Pro for video editing with Final Cut Studio this year, and also need some advice on the most important things to spend my money on.

    - I know the size of the graphics card is really important for video work so I was thinking I need to get a 512mb graphics card. I've heard ATI are better than nvidia? Would 2 x 256mb nvidia's be more effective than 1 x 512mb ATI?

    - How much hard drive space does HD footage take up? So I know how big hard drives to get. I don't currently shoot with HD so I don't know.

    - I really want to work with a dual screen set up for the editing, and ideally I want to go for twin 20inch Apple cinema displays. They are just so expensive. Is there any alternatives I could go for that would be cheaper but just as good?

    Many thanks for anyone able to give some advice.
  10. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    2 video cards in macs are only useful for multiple monitors, they cannot work together to make the graphics better, like with SLI. For 2 monitors, you only need 1 video card. Yes, there are other alternatives to apple cinema displays. Do a search, you will find a lot of posts. However, the major alternative is Dell. I just got a gateway monitor that I am very happy with though. But, the apple cinema displays might be upgraded today, so maybe they will become a lot better.
  11. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    If he's working w/HDV (which is the most likely choice) then the HD requirements are the same as they are for DV (13gig per hour). If he's using DVCPro HD then the storage space requirements go up a bit more (about 25gig or 50gig per hour depending on res and fps).

  12. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California

    I hate to just say "RTFM" but in this case you can download the FCP user manual and there is a chapter that explains hardware issues. One of the things in there is how to extimate how much disk space various video formats will take up AND importently how must disk SPEED you need based on the video format and the number of video tracks you are using.

    You can work yourself into needing fiber channel or SCSI arrays if you are doing some film formats.

    You don't really need to backup your video media files. If the disks crash you can re-import you tapes. It's the project files that need backup. This is explained in the manual too.

    Get two extra internal drives and set up a stripped RAID. this will be used for a sctratch disk. Keep the project files on another drive and all the system and software on the boot drive. get external drives or BETTER a backup sever.

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