Advice on Mac Pro Nehalem for video editing

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ETR Creasy, Apr 28, 2009.

  1. ETR Creasy macrumors newbie

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    Apr 28, 2009
    #1
    Hi guys, I'm totally new to the forum so please excuse my mac shortcomings :confused:

    I'm in the midst of taking the plunge with a Mac Pro and I have a bunch of thoughts and worries that I'd love to discuss with more technically minded people on here.

    First off, my main use for the system is for video editing and graphics. I will be primarily editing HDV, DVCAM and XDCAM footage. Just in case people are unaware, XDCAM is high-definition and a fair size larger than normal compressed DV or even HDV footage.

    Anyway, I am looking at the top spec Mac Pro and wondering if the price hike for processor speed really is worth the money? The options are:

    1. Two 2.26GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    2. Two 2.66GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    3. Two 2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon

    Is the 2.93 really gonna be worth the extra £2000? Is this just an option for those that always need the best, fastest processor, or should I really be thinking about the future and shelling out the extra money for this?

    With regards to the rest of the machine; I've decided to go with 16gb RAM from Apple, with their base 640gb HDD. an 4x NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 512MB graphics card. Then I think I'll buy a set of four 1TB HDD from Mac upgrades to install in the new machine.

    What I guess I really want to know, is if this a feasible setup for video editing and how much I should be worrying about the processor speeds?

    I already have an old Powermac G5 dual, which is still amazing tbh! I have dual cinema displays too, which I assume will be ready to go on the new machine.

    Thanks so much in advance, I really appreciate any advice. It's obviously quite a lot of money to part with, so I need all the help I can get! :confused:

    -Craig
     
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    #2
    NO! Buy it third-party! It's cheaper!

    THis is absolutely useless unless you are running eight monitors.
     
  3. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000

    Santabean2000

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    Nov 20, 2007
    #3
    Too true.

    Tallest, (no digs here), but you seem to post a lot on these forums, can I ask what do you do that allows you so much time to peruse these posts?:confused:
     
  4. opeter macrumors 65816

    opeter

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    #4
    He is a macrumors payed writer. ;) just a joke.
     
  5. ETR Creasy thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 28, 2009
    #5
    Wow, thanks for such quick replies. Tallest, I've had a quick look around regarding memory and haven't found it super cheap, or that much cheaper to be fair. I checked crucial and macupgrades.co.uk and it seems like as long as I keep it to 16gb RAM, I'll be better going straight from Apple, right?

    I take it you were referring to the 4 graphics cards being useless? And not the 640gb HDD, which is just the lowest I could get from Apple. I will be running two 17" Apple Cinema displays, just to confirm.

    So the extra graphics cards will only aid extra monitors, and do nothing toward rendering video or speeding up the editing process? So, is the option just to have one (with dual DVI input), or am I looking to get two still?

    Thanks again for the quick reply!

    -Craig
     
  6. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    #6
    That's absolutely right. If you need two DVI, get a Radeon 4870 and the Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter and run two displays off of that card.
     
  7. MIDI_EVIL macrumors 65816

    MIDI_EVIL

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    UK
    #7
    Correct, you won't see any performance gain using 4 graphics cards (unless run in SLI/Crossfire under Windows).

    OWC in the US and Crucial.com/uk are always cheaper than Apple with regards to memory.

    Which applications will you be using to edit?
     
  8. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

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    #8
    Which can't be done, of course. You can't do SLI with the GT 120, and he wasn't planning on the modifications necessary for two 4870 in Crossfire.
     
  9. MIDI_EVIL macrumors 65816

    MIDI_EVIL

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    #9
    Thanks, I didn't know that!
     
  10. ETR Creasy thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 28, 2009
    #10
    Thanks Tallest/Midi. That makes total sense now with regards to graphics cards. Wow, I could've really wasted some money there! :p

    I still don't totally understand the memory in the machines. I can see that they are DD3, which I'm guessing is pretty good :))), but when I configure them I can add a 16gb kit (2x8gb) for an extra £400. The only 16gb kit (which is also 2x8gb sticks) I can find on Crucial is £1170.69 inc. VAT!

    This is a total minefield for me and why I really appreciate you taking the time to help me out. do you still have to balance the memory out over the processors, or something along those lines? As Crucial also has a 24gb kit, which is obviously 3 sticks of memory. Is this something to do with the nehalem and the way it works with memory? On saying that, the 24gb kit is over £2000!

    Midi, I will be cutting with Final Cut Studio 2,with graphics and compositing in Adobe After Effects. I will be editing XDCAM mostly.

    I always think it's nice to know a little about everyone on here, so if anyone's interested, I put my first music promo on YouTube a few months back. That was cut on my current Powermac G5 with Final Cut Pro 4.5.


    HOPE Music Promo


    Thanks!

    -Craig
     
  11. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    Sep 14, 2006
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    England
    #11
    You've got confused in that Apple actually sell eight 2GB DIMMs and the crucial option you were looking at is two 8GB DIMMS which are obviously more expensive.

    Crucial don't have redundant invetory options so rather than having a 16GB kit from 2GB modules you buy four 4GB (2x2GB) £67.84 kits (£271.36).

    Nehalem's memory system is optimised for memory in groups of 3. Apple chose to put them in groups of four because having less would have meant less memory than the previous Mac Pro and having more would have meant a different case design.

    I'd suggest getting 12GB of memory to start off with and check activity monitor after using it a while and see if you actually need more memory.
     
  12. ETR Creasy thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 28, 2009
    #12
    Thanks for that Umbongo. I totally overlooked the fact that Apple were only offering 16gb via eight 2gb dimms. The four 4gb crucial kits look good, otherwise I noticed there are 6gb kits available (3x2gb) for £101. I guess my options are either 12gb of memory for £202, or 16gb for £271. Swings and roundabouts, really.

    So I'm right in thinking that if I get the two 6gb kits from crucial, then in a few months time i could just buy a 4gb kit, which will then give me 16gb (as they are all 2gb dimms?). Just out of interest, how many slots does the Mac Pro contain?

    Tallest
    , you mentioned the Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter, why is this necessary with the Radeon 4870, doesn't it already support dual monitors? Also, is this graphics card one of many or the best of the available bunch?

    One final question for the moment guys: is the £2080 increase worth it for the faster processor (2.93ghz as opposed to 2.26ghz), and how much will this affect my video editing in the long run?

    Once again, thanks to everyone for the help and please accept my apologies for the somewhat rudimentary questions :confused:

    Take care

    -Craig
     
  13. kellen macrumors 68020

    kellen

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    Seattle, WA
    #13
    4870 has a DVI and mini display port out, one of each. So in most cases to run two displays, you are going to need one through DVI and then the mini display port to DVI for the other.

    4870 is the nicest card available to order for the MP.

    I would go with the 2.93 if you can afford it and you make money from your work.
     
  14. kellen macrumors 68020

    kellen

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    #14
    For some benchmarks between the systems, try this forum in the mac pro section. Link
     
  15. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    England
    #15
    It has 8 memory slots. So with 6 DIMMs you get optimum performance (triple channel for each processor). Only add the extra two if you need more memory capacity as they will be accessed slower than the other 6.
     
  16. ETR Creasy thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 28, 2009
    #16
    Thanks for all of the great advice guys, much appreciated. The one thing I'm still kind of unsure about is the price difference between the 2.26 and the 2.93. I know I keep banging on about it, but for that extra £2080, I coul buy an excellent MBP for field use (ie dumping solid state footage, editing on the fly etc).

    I guess what it really comes down to is this: what does the difference equate to in the real world? So on the one display I have Final cut open with a pretty track-heavy edit playing. On the other screen I have After effects open ready to import the footage and start working on some graphics, whilst itunes plays in the background. Is this so much that I will need the 2.93? Or will edits just render quicker, programs takes seconds less to initialise etc...

    Thanks everyone :)
     

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