2010 MP for Final Cut Studio - what to get

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by telequest, May 6, 2010.

  1. telequest macrumors regular

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    #1
    Like so many, I'm ready to pounce on the 2010 MPs whenever they finally get here. And who knows exactly what choices we'll have regarding cores, GHz, etc. Obviously more of both is better, but my video production business needs to focus on bang for the buck. We'll need 2 new MPs, with a budget of about $3K to 3.5K each for the basic machine from Apple before adding 3rd-party RAM and storage. Could bump the budget up somewhat if a really good reason to do so.

    We spend most of our time in Final Cut Pro (about 80 percent) with the other 20 percent in After Effects, Motion and PhotoShop. We currently run bigger Compressor jobs overnight. Our current dual-G5s lumber along working in standard def DVCAM, but choke on high def video. And we're ready to make the leap into HD once we have Mac Pros powerful enough to handle it. Source footage will come from Sony HDCAM EX1R (using a long GOP MPEG-2 full HD format) as well as some HDV, probably transcoded to ProRes422 for editing. Could be other flavors of HD down the pike.

    As you can guess from the fact that we're still working with the trusty old G5's, we're looking to make a long-term investment - to last at least the next 4 years. So we'll want to be able to handle not just the current versions of Final Cut Studio and CS5, but also the next couple of iterations.

    So when the announcement of new MPs finally comes, what mix of cores and processor speed should we zero in on? Might a single hex core with a high clock be the sweet spot? And what about graphics cards (a subject that especially eludes me ...)?

    Thanks.
     
  2. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #2
    from what ive seen, i dont think FCS is truely multi-cored, so higher GHz might be the better option. in saying that - in future revisions they may become truely multi-cored.

    i would go for more multi-cores if you are after longevity of the machine.

    dont forget at least 8GB of RAM for those puppies! :eek:
     
  3. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

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    #3
    Given the pricing of the current 2009 models, anything beyond a single-chip MP might not be realistic at that budget. An 8-core 2009 MP starts at $3,299 with 2.26GHz CPUs and upgraded CPUs add thousands of dollars. It's pretty safe to say the 2010 models won't be any cheaper (possibly even more expensive). Just something to think about...

    The OP will be using Compressor quite a bit too - in this case, having multiple cores is good.
     
  4. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #4
    If I was you, I would focus on a high clock quad or hex core. FCP, and most apps, require a balance between clocks and cores with more emphasis on clocks usually being the wiser move. Right now, a 3.3GHz quad core would be better than a 2.66 octo for FCP, but hopefully over time, that will shift but there's no point investing money in a machine that is a compromise today and hopefully will be more suited to your task next year. Buy what's best today because when next year comes, there will be something much better anyway.

    I have no problem running FCP on a 2.93GHz Quad with 6GB of RAM for full 1080p video.
     
  5. zedsdead macrumors 68040

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    Jun 20, 2007
    #5
    It really bothers me that Final Cut is not multi core aware. Apple has had these machines for years, and yet rendering or exporting still uses one core. It's really pathetic.

    I agree that at this time it is better to simply go with a higher clock cycle. Since you are using compressor overnight, it should be fast enough anyway.
     
  6. thedarkhorse macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    well compressor is one of the few that can actually use multiple cores, it just requires you set up a quick cluster in qmaster first.

    If your doing a lot of After Effects and plan to get the new CS5 then you might want to at least look at putting the GTX 285(mac version) graphic card in it, by the time the new ones come out they might also have the gtx 470/480 which would be faster.
    CS5 now takes advantage of CUDA cores in newer high end nvida cards, and it really speeds things up. Also the new davinci color grading program for mac takes advantage of CUDA cores so I can imagine even more programs eventually taking advantage of it. So it's probably not that bad of an investment.
     
  7. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    England
    #7
    If they do a 3.2GHz quad core for $2,999 I'd go with that and 8GB or 12GB of memory.
     
  8. telequest thread starter macrumors regular

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    #8
    I'll be upgrading to CS5 when we get the new Mac Pros. I understand that Motion also relies on the graphics card for speed. Would the GTX 285 be good for that as well? I've read elsewhere that upgrading from the base NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 to the ATI Radeon HD 4870 (add $200) is a good investment for Motion users ... wondering if the GTX 285 would be another good step up? Or if the HD 4870 would provide almost as much benefit. Of course some will depend what Apple offers as BTO options.
     
  9. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #9
    when i export using FCP i get all 4 cores (and 4 threads) being used up on my imac. :confused:

    hmm i donno...for the time being its the best option, but what if the next revision is truely multi-cored/multi-threaded?you would be kicking yourself for not going with the more cores.

    this is great news. and about bloody time! :mad:
     
  10. zedsdead macrumors 68040

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    #10
     
  11. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #11
    Wirelessly posted (nokia e63: Mozilla/5.0 (SymbianOS/9.2; U; Series60/3.1 NokiaE63-1/100.21.110; Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 ) AppleWebKit/413 (KHTML, like Gecko) Safari/413)

     
  12. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #12
    I'm a strong believer in buying a computer for work you do today, not the next version, or the one after that. Computers evolve and depreciate so quickly that future-proof computer is really an oxymoron.

    For example, right now a cheaper 2.93GHz Quad Core will kick a 2.26GHz Octo to the curb on Final Cut Pro (not to mention running all your other apps about 30% faster). One day, a version of FCP will materialize that makes a 2.26GHz Octo look like a good investment, but by that time, you could probably buy a 3.3GHz Hex core for only a small added investment after ebaying your Quad. And that 3.3GHz hex core would still kick the 2.26 Octo to the curb!
     
  13. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #13
    i guess - but the OP said it himself, they are planning on having the machines for longer then 4 years. you want to the get the most out of your money for the entire time.

    i think just the upgrade itself to hexa/double-hexa will be enough to impress them for around 2 years, which by that time a true multi-cored version of FCS will have been released, giving the machine another lease on life ;):rolleyes: :cool:

    that is always going to be the case - but do they want the benefits of the machine now, or later? i guess that is what the real question is..
     
  14. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    May 6, 2008
    #14
    There are a few exceptions, such as knowing the software's release cycles and what's planned for those versions (software out before the next system purchase).

    Otherwise, I'm in agreement here, as software development cycles are usually well behind the hardware.

    If it's known for an absolute fact that the software will in fact have full multi-threaded capability and release before the next system purchase, then Yes.

    If the software can utilize the existing cores, then Yes. But for software that's using a max of 4 cores, there's no need to go with a dodeca (12 core) system, as it's a waste of money. The cost differential between say a hex and dodeca can be better used by solving system bottlenecks such as RAM and HDD throughputs. And of course graphics cards, if that's where the usage is.
     
  15. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #15
    hi nano! hope you are well :)

    truth be told we don't know the cycle of the FCS suite, there are no known details about its functionality etc.

    im not actually sure of the current limits of FCP, but it maxes out mine when exporting using the compressor codecs/containers etc, i am fairly certain that it is truely multi-core. it depends on what the OP is doing, maybe their requirements are already all multi-core'd!

    i am not sure about exporting ProRes422.
     
  16. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #16
    That's my point. :p

    Software vendors tend not to stick to published deadlines (if anything's published at all), and the feature sets are fluid at best (again, if even announced prior to release, save the announcements that appear a month or two prior to release, such as the website created for CS5).

    Since most software is developed from previously existing code, features (and limitations), tend to carry over unless it's been specifically addressed (usually means more work and time, especially if the development tools have to be re-written). Multi-threaded operation is one such example of the tools needing to be re-developed or wait for a 3rd party to do the work for them.

    Some of CS5's applications are truely multi-threaded, but others seem to either have limits, or aren't at all (i.e. After Effects is, others seem to be stuck with a limit again - think code recycling here).

    The main aspect they seemed to address, was the code was compiled as 64bit code, and the compiler was updated to handle the Nehalem architecture (AE can utilize Hyper Threading).

    But they apparently didn't address all the issues user's would have liked. I don't think we'll know the details untill users post on the various applications (limitations, fixes of previous limitations,...).

    CS4 released back in Oct. 2008, and CS5 in Apr. 2010, so it's been a little over a year between releases. That's not that much time, particularly when you consider the fact it's multiple applications that make up the suite. :rolleyes: ;) So it's not unreasonable IMO that something got missed/skipped over due to time constraints.
     

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