2009 Mac Pro for video build

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by c2g, Feb 2, 2010.

  1. c2g macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2010
    Hi, I've been researching this forum as well as a few others. Quick background - suffered past 3 yrs with a buggy Dell 690 and now making the move to Mac. I'm primarily a webmaster, but I have a greater demand for video after producing an hour-long video that was shown to everyone in the company last year. I use the CS3 Master's Collection but will get Final Cut studio as part of the new Mac config. My IT support is only familiar with a PC environment, so they're basically leaving it up to me to recommend a system based on my needs. Here's what I've come up with (I already have 2x24" monitors and a 19" preview monitor):

    From Apple:
    2.26 8-core, 6 GB memory, 1 TB system drive, 2x Nvidia GeForce 120 video card = $3549.

    From other vendors:
    4 TB CalDigit HDElement RAID5 (incl. card) = $1499. (most people seem to agree that this is better than going with the Apple RAID card and $600 extra for 3x1 TB drives.)
    32 GB RAM from OWC = $1197.99.

    Total system price: $6200.

    They are OK with the price if this is something that won't give me a headache like my PC did for the last 3 yrs. I don't work for a big production company or anything. Would like to run FCP or Premiere, AE, and PShop at the same time, when needed. Majority of video will be for the web and some projects shown on big screens at corporate functions, but color isn't a major concern (no broadcast monitors). I store all archival footage on tape or external HDs, and I rarely work with massive amounts of raw footage at one time.

    Does this machine sound like something that will do the job for the next 4 yrs? My only concerns are: A. 2010 MP's coming out soon, but I figure I'll just end up going over budget trying to get something similar; and B.the "Audio Decoding KILLS MacPro (2009) green factor" thread - although I don't do a heck of a lot with audio and I could always listen to music from my ipod instead.

    Any advice on areas I could improve or don't need that stays under my current price is appreciated. Thanks.
  2. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

    Sep 12, 2007
    I would EMPLOR (sp?) you NOT to purchase a 2009 Mac Pro. You wouldn't buy a faulty car so why a faulty computer?

    Im assuming that video also means there is going to be some sort of audio, no? As a hour long silent video isn't great ;)

    If its mission critical, buy a 2008 Mac Pro 3.2Ghz Octo. Apart from the VT-x bug in virtualisation I *think* its a solid machine.

    The 2010 Mac Pro should be out around March time.
  3. c2g thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2010
  4. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Sep 24, 2008
    Boon Docks USA
    With the audio headache for the newer mac pro's, you will definately be better with the one you linked. I have the 2.8 version and its an awesome machine. Apple jacked up the prices on the new mac pro's and personally don't think they are worth it. I hate to see what they want for a dual 6 core system coming out.
  5. Cynicalone macrumors 68040


    Jul 9, 2008
    Okie land
  6. Chaos123x macrumors 68000

    Jul 8, 2008
    08 model is the most bang for the buck. Upgrade the video card to a 4870 or GTX285
  7. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    As others have indicated, the 3.2GHz '08 Octad is a better machine. It has fewer problems, and offers a better value.

    1. It's an EFI64 system, so you will continue to be able to upgrade graphics cards and OS X once it goes to K64 exclusively (not that far off).
    2. Cheaper to use a 3rd party internal RAID card with the HDD bays.
    3. It's faster than the 2.26GHz '09 Octad in both single and multi-threaded applications. For the same money. :D

    I'd stay away from CalDigit. It's slow as well, and pricey, given you can only use the HDElement enclosures. The drives used are consumer models (Hitachi), not enterprise units. They're also difficult to deal with in my experience (unstable, and dropped drives often enough, the data was gone). Supposedly this issue isn't what it was when I dealt with one, but I won't trust them again. Ever. There's also issues with them dropping support quickly for past products, which others have made note of (i.e. users left hung out to dry).

    You'd be better off with Areca IMO. They're faster, have models able to boot OS X (once flashed with EFI firmware, and not hard to do), have better features (especially for recovery), and aren't limited to one brand of enclosure and the consumer drives included in it. They're also a good value, as their closest true competitor is Atto Technologies, which is more expensive. Both companies I mentioned design and manufacture their own gear, unlike companies such as Highpoint, CalDigit, or Apple.

    OWC memory is fine. You might also want to go with a HD4870 (MDP and DVI ports) and a MDP to DVI adapter to drive a pair of monitors. Perhaps a Dual DVI to Single DVI splitter, if you want to run the 3rd monitor (since all are 24" or under).

    It's a much better card than the stock in the '08 or the '09 systems, and ATI has better drivers under OS X than nVidia's cards. If you can wait a bit, it's expected a 5xxx ATI model will release when the 2010 systems do, which is in the next couple of months or so.

    The above configuration would suit your needs quite well IMO.
  8. c2g thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2010
    Wow. Just when I thought I was getting close to submitting a proposal on a new machine, I feel like I have to go back to the drawing board.

    After days spent trying to put together a machine, I really wanted to believe the Apple rep when he told me he never heard of this audio decoding issue in the 09 MPs. I check that thread hourly now as it's got me really paranoid.

    After spending the last week on these forums, I can see why people recommend the 08 to the 09. I'm just not sure that's going to fly for me when I go to finance and tell them I want to spend $6K or so (with upgrades) on a 2008 refurbished machine that's replacing the machine we paid $9K for 3 years ago that never worked well from the get-go. Again, I'm coming from an all-PC environment. They like the fact that you can configure the MP with relatively few options (less variance, less potential for trouble, they would think) compared to a Dell, buy the 3 years of support, and then let me figure out the rest.

    Now I have to factor in the 2010s coming out next month. With this, I can only imagine marked up prices and new bugs/issues like any other year.

    PS - Anyone else have a bad experience with CalDigit? That really seemed like the easiest solution for me and got a lot of good reviews (at least, when compared to the Apple RAID). Looks like I have to look into this Areca RAID and a better video card.
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Put the time into researching the Areca's, as they're far better cards than Apple or CalDigit. ;) They're used in large data centers/racks of servers (i.e. widely used in the enterprise storage market). You'll NEVER see either Apple's or CalDigit's junk in such locations, as it's way too unreliable (as well as slow).
  10. joaoferro37 macrumors 6502


    Jul 31, 2008
    Vogon Planet Destructor
    The CalDigit RAID card is using much older RAID CPU vs ATTO, Areca and other manufacture are using the latest one. Why!!! CalDigit don't build the RAID Card their own. They had Accusys build the product for them and I believe you've never heard of this company.

    Using hdelement and caldigit raid card is the bad solution. You are tied in to their hardware only and there is no go around. That means, you are at their mercy.

    I totally agreed with Nanofrog, and yes they phased out their products once they discovered it's a faulty design. Again, why is that!!! They phase out their esata card, firewire vr, s2vr hd, s2vr duo on the 2008 which they launched on 2007.

    I am a apple consultant specialized in video and audio post. I sold quite a few of their products and I got no support after they phase out the product.
    They have sexy looking products and good tech support but their business direction is simply wrong and I will never want to deal with them for the rest of my life.
  11. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    There's more than just the differences in the processor or cache capacity. The features are different (more extensive), and in a totally different class. Partition Tables stored in the card's ROM, Remote Management, SMNP, DIMM slot to increase the cache capacity (on some of Areca's models), and NTP server support is a world apart from what CalDigit offers, or Apple's own card for that matter.

    If you're after a serious (proper) RAID card, then Areca and ATTO Technologies are the top of the offerings. Even over Adaptec, LSI or 3Ware (which none work on Macs).

    I've even heard CalDigit is no longer using Accusys, and the viablility of that card is in question (support). So who knows what would happen. :eek:

    They're just not in it for the long haul IMO, and I really can't stand the fact they only use consumer drives in the HDElelement boxes (Hitachi's consumer line, which don't have the best track record). :rolleyes: :( :mad:
  12. ekwipt macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2008
    I think you might be wasting your money on a mac pro why not just top model Imac, you most likely don't need Raid 5 (are you working with Hi Def files?)

    Imac config:

    2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
    8GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 4x2GB
    1TB Serial ATA Drive
    ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB
    8x double-layer SuperDrive
    Apple Magic Mouse
    Apple Wireless Keyboard (English) and User's Guide
    AppleCare Protection Plan for iMac - Auto-enroll


    One 2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    6GB (3x2GB)
    640GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
    ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB
    One 18x SuperDrive
    Apple LED Cinema Display (24" flat panel)
    Apple LED Cinema Display (24" flat panel)
    Apple Mouse
    Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad (English) and User's Guide
    Apple Mini DisplayPort - DVI Adapter
    AppleCare Protection Plan for Mac Pro - Auto-enroll


    everything bought from Apple

    If you need extra Hard Drives just buy them from you local computer shop

    By a good quality firewire enclosure, your done
  13. c2g thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2010
    - I already own the 3 monitor setup
    - We're only working with SD right now, but will be moving to HD eventually

    Wouldn't that link to the refurbished 2008 MP be the best bet? I'm definitely holding off on the 09 being an option until the audio decoding issue is addressed. What a time to switch. :confused:
  14. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

    Sep 12, 2007
    You can tell accountancy that the 3.2Ghz is 90% the performance of the 2.93Ghz Octo which is WAY more.

    So I think you should be able to swing that :p
  15. ekwipt macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2008
    We've used 09 Macpros in a professional television environment when they first came out last year, don't believe the hype and don't buy old technology.

    If you are sticking to SD for a while I'd stick to the Imac and upgrade if/when you start HD, you can still edit HD on a Imac anyway. and then the new macpros will be out,

    You can keep the imac for digitising tapes etc

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