Debating which Mac Pro to buy with a brief introduction.

100Teraflops

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 1, 2011
616
0
Elyria, Ohio
I am on the ropes debating between a 6 core or a 2.4 8 core machine that will replace a 17" laptop. I wil buy an ssd 240/256 GB and use it as a boot drive, buy a 2TB HDD 7200 and use it as my backup drive, while utilizing the 1TB HDD included with the machine as my scratch disk. I will not use RAID, as I still do not understand how it works. Bad plan?

I am debating between 4 GB and 8 gb modules of ram. I prefer the latter and would like to buy two 8 GB sticks, but this may change depending upon which machine I buy. Furthermore, I plan to buy several progams that require a workstation or I think a workstation is required.

I have adopted a new personal philosophy to learn how to use as much software as possible. A student discount for software does not hurt either. :D I will utilize the free 30 day trial as an option for my contemplated software list, but I am not worried about spending a few hundred bucks on a quality program. Here is a list of software I will buy:

1. Adobe Master Collection
2. Office Mac Academic
3. Final Draft 8
4. Final Cut Express or the Pro version (in addition to Premiere Pro?)
5. Autocad (Mac or Windows based?. I know certain programs are Windows only and I assume that using Bootcamp does not count?)

The next list is software I am still contemplating:

1. Auto Desk Suite for Entertainment, which includes Maya and Mudbox for Mac, full suite for Windows.
2. Filemaker Pro 11 (still trying to figure out the use of this program)
3. End Note X4
4. Lightroom 3 or Aperture 3 (in addition to photoshop, bad idea?)

I am new to most of the mentioned software programs, so bare with me here. I want to create/edit video, learn the craft of photography/editing, mess around with mechanical engineering, and possess a better understanding of how video games are created.

I was lurking around this forum disguised as a guest for weeks. ;) I have learned a lot about Apple, computers, video editing, photography, cpu, gpu, memory channels, SATA drives, SSDs, iPad, and the iPhone. Just do not ask me about any configuraiton of RAID! :D

Now for some questions. Which machine is right for me? The trusty high clocking 6 core or the ram expandable yet low clocking 8 core? Have I overlooked something along the way, aside from a depleted bank account?

With my best British accent: "My apologies chaps, as this bloody thread is lengthy!" :D I enjoy being around the international community and this forum is very diverse! MacRumors' members rule and Thanks in advance!
 

MattDSLR

macrumors 6502
Jan 23, 2011
326
0
Canada
Both your choices will be good
also 4 core 3.2 will do as good as the other 2 systems you looking at
Max out your RAM
if you go with 8 or 12 core it will be alway cheaper to upgrade your ram
 

c:v

macrumors regular
Jan 20, 2010
160
10
Don't take this the wrong way, but why don't you invest some of that money you set aside for software to go to a class? If you are a student, you can get any Autodesk software for free for 3 years.

Maya alone will take many years to learn...
 

100Teraflops

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 1, 2011
616
0
Elyria, Ohio
MattDSLR: Ironcially, I thought about a 3.2 quad core machine. And yes, I understand you point regarding ram, you can never have enough.:cool: Thanks

c:v: I hear you and that the is the logical thing to do! I graduate in a few months though. :( I will investigate into classes for specific programs, Thanks! The info regarding autodesk's free download is helpful. I will check that out!

Again thanks for the advice!
 

goMac

macrumors 604
Apr 15, 2004
6,859
908
Yeah, you could spend years learning the Master Collection alone... Years.

I'd narrow that software down a bit. Someone who knows a few pieces of software well is a lot more valuable than someone who halfway knows a lot of software.
 

Transporteur

macrumors 68030
Nov 30, 2008
2,729
3
UK
Are you sure you need 256GB for boot and apps?

In most cases, even 120GB are plenty, even with large software suites.
 

GLS

macrumors 6502
Jun 26, 2010
348
78
1. Adobe Master Collection
2. Office Mac Academic
3. Final Draft 8
4. Final Cut Express or the Pro version (in addition to Premiere Pro?)
5. Autocad (Mac or Windows based?. I know certain programs are Windows only and I assume that using Bootcamp does not count?)

The next list is software I am still contemplating:

1. Auto Desk Suite for Entertainment, which includes Maya and Mudbox for Mac, full suite for Windows.
2. Filemaker Pro 11 (still trying to figure out the use of this program)
3. End Note X4
4. Lightroom 3 or Aperture 3 (in addition to photoshop, bad idea?)
I hope you have a lot of free time, or no social life, or whatnot....because with the packages you have listed here that you wish to learn....you are going to be stuck in front of that Mac Pro for a looooooooooooong time....
 

100Teraflops

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 1, 2011
616
0
Elyria, Ohio
Yeah, you could spend years learning the Master Collection alone... Years.

I'd narrow that software down a bit. Someone who knows a few pieces of software well is a lot more valuable than someone who halfway knows a lot of software.
That makes a lot of sense. I thought I would buy some software before I graduate and enter the job market. :D. Honestly, time is on my side, but I may not buy all the software. I am not bragging, but I can buy master collection for $599.99+ tax, so I figured what the hell! Yes, my software expectations are over the top ands thanks for making me realize this!
 

100Teraflops

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 1, 2011
616
0
Elyria, Ohio
Are you sure you need 256GB for boot and apps?

In most cases, even 120GB are plenty, even with large software suites.
I am debating between OCZ and OWC 120 GB, or an Intel 120/160. Upon further review I know you are right, as I would be throwing away money by not utilizing all the space on a 240/256. I am having a hard time deciding which drive to buy. The OCZ is cheaper, the OWC is more reliable(is this true?) and I think they both utilize sand force technology.

With that being said, I am considering an Intel ssd, because they are reliable, but not the fastest. I guess I have to decide between speed/ reliability or reliability/ speed. What do you think?
 

goMac

macrumors 604
Apr 15, 2004
6,859
908
That makes a lot of sense. I thought I would buy some software before I graduate and enter the job market. :D. Honestly, time is on my side, but I may not buy all the software. I am not bragging, but I can buy master collection for $599.99+ tax, so I figured what the hell! Yes, my software expectations are over the top ands thanks for making me realize this!
Yeah, even within Master Collection, most people pick a few apps and learn those well. Don't get me wrong, if someone knew all of Master Collection well, they'd be pretty valuable, but people spend years just learning a few of those apps. :)

If Master Collection is affordable, go for it, but just concentrate on a few apps first.
 

100Teraflops

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 1, 2011
616
0
Elyria, Ohio
I hope you have a lot of free time, or no social life, or whatnot....because with the packages you have listed here that you wish to learn....you are going to be stuck in front of that Mac Pro for a looooooooooooong time....
I hear ya and I am not sure if I have that much time! :D I am buying the software, because I am receiving heavily discounted prices and I will just mess around with the programs.

Do you folks prefer final cut express to adobe premiere for a noobie? I have some videos I can practice with and I will buy an entry level dslr as early as spring.

Also, I am not sure if I require the power of a hexacore MP. Will a quad core machine suffice, saying I buy at least 12 gigs of ram for the aforementioned programs?

I appreciate all of the feedback and this forum rules!
 
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100Teraflops

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 1, 2011
616
0
Elyria, Ohio
Yeah, even within Master Collection, most people pick a few apps and learn those well. Don't get me wrong, if someone knew all of Master Collection well, they'd be pretty valuable, but people spend years just learning a few of those apps. :)

If Master Collection is affordable, go for it, but just concentrate on a few apps first.
Sounds like a logical plan and thanks again gomac! Now I have to figure out which rig to buy! :confused:
 

goMac

macrumors 604
Apr 15, 2004
6,859
908
Do you folks prefer final cut express to adobe premiere for a noobie? I have some videos I can practice with and I will buy an entry level dslr as early as spring.
I prefer Final Cut, but this question frequently incites an application holy war. :)

Usually people switch between Final Cut and Premiere. My only advice is that Premiere is more technologically advanced right now, but a Final Cut update is right around the corner, and I far prefer Final Cut's UI and feature set.

If you work at a Windows shop, frequently this decision is made for you. :)
 

100Teraflops

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 1, 2011
616
0
Elyria, Ohio
I prefer Final Cut, but this question frequently incites an application holy war. :)

Usually people switch between Final Cut and Premiere. My only advice is that Premiere is more technologically advanced right now, but a Final Cut update is right around the corner, and I far prefer Final Cut's UI and feature set.

If you work at a Windows shop, frequently this decision is made for you. :)
I do not wish to start another "crusade" debating which software is better. I think I will wait and see if the new version of fce ships during the next month or so. I heard fcp is not for novice users, which rules me out.

I do not have a "shop," just say I am starting fresh. Also, when you say technologically advanced, do you mean it can utilize more than two cores?
 

goMac

macrumors 604
Apr 15, 2004
6,859
908
I do not wish to start another "crusade" debating which software is better. I think I will wait and see if the new version of fce ships during the next month or so. I heard fcp is not for novice users, which rules me out.
I don't feel that way at all. I started editing on Final Cut years ago. It's more complicated than iMovie, but it's certainly not hard to learn.

(Note: I do video/audio programming but I am not a pro video editor.)

I do not have a "shop," just say I am starting fresh. Also, when you say technologically advanced, do you mean it can utilize more than two cores?
Number of cores is a complicated question.... Generally Final Cut is limited to two, while Premiere can somewhat use all your cores.

This is something I would defiantly expect to see fixed in the new Final Cut.
 

100Teraflops

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 1, 2011
616
0
Elyria, Ohio
I don't feel that way at all. I started editing on Final Cut years ago. It's more complicated than iMovie, but it's certainly not hard to learn.

(Note: I do video/audio programming but I am not a pro video editor.)

Number of cores is a complicated question.... Generally Final Cut is limited to two, while Premiere can somewhat use all your cores.

This is something I would defiantly expect to see fixed in the new Final Cut.
Thanks for clarifying this goMac! Since I plan to buy adobe master collection, do you think it makes sense not to buy the current fce? I played around with it on a display model at an Apple
store, but that has no meaning, since I was mashing buttons and using the Apple installed video
clips etc.. A side note, I think iLife provides a lot of value even though I have not used it yet. iDVD and iMovie sound very cool.

Edit: did you learn with pro or express?
 

IceMacMac

macrumors 6502
Jun 6, 2010
390
17
1. Adobe Master Collection
2. Office Mac Academic
3. Final Draft 8
4. Final Cut Express or the Pro version (in addition to Premiere Pro?)
5. Autocad (Mac or Windows based?. I know certain programs are Windows only and I assume that using Bootcamp does not count?)

The next list is software I am still contemplating:

1. Auto Desk Suite for Entertainment, which includes Maya and Mudbox for Mac, full suite for Windows.
2. Filemaker Pro 11 (still trying to figure out the use of this program)
3. End Note X4
4. Lightroom 3 or Aperture 3 (in addition to photoshop, bad idea?)


-----

I feel well qualified to answer your question since I have and use 2/3 of these applications...plus After Effects, video editing, and several 3d applications including C4D and Vue.

-- Unless you are spending at least 25% of your time transcoding video, rendering images in 3d (not working in 3d...but rendering) you should NOT go for more cores...you should go for faster cores.

-- The future of high end apps is with the GPU(!!!!!!!!!) not the CPU. Set aside the money you'll save by going for fewer CPUs and be prepared for the next generation of graphic cards. This wave is just starting but its a tsunami. All the high end programs are starting to use CUDA and OpenCL...which tap into the GPU.
 

goMac

macrumors 604
Apr 15, 2004
6,859
908
Thanks for clarifying this goMac! Since I plan to buy adobe master collection, do you think it makes sense not to buy the current fce? I played around with it on a display model at an Apple
store, but that has no meaning, since I was mashing buttons and using the Apple installed video
clips etc.. A side note, I think iLife provides a lot of value even though I have not used it yet. iDVD and iMovie sound very cool.
If you plan on learning video editing, then go ahead and buy FCE.

Edit: did you learn with pro or express?
Pro, I learned back before Express existed. :)


-- The future of high end apps is with the GPU(!!!!!!!!!) not the CPU. Set aside the money you'll save by going for fewer CPUs and be prepared for the next generation of graphic cards. This wave is just starting but its a tsunami. All the high end programs are starting to use CUDA and OpenCL...which tap into the GPU.
This is only halfway true... There are some operations the GPU is very good at, and other operations the CPUs are really good at (like encoding.) The GPU is not necessarily a faster processor, it's a different kind of processor.

For video editing, get lots of cores. CPUs are very good at the sort of tasks you'll need to do for video.
 

100Teraflops

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 1, 2011
616
0
Elyria, Ohio
Thanks IceMacMac. I do not plan to work in 3d. At least not now. So the 3.2 quad will be an excellent option? However, there is something about the super fast 6 core that I like. The price difference between the 3.2 and the 3.3 is not nominal, at least I do not think so. Also, interesting information regarding the advancement of the gpu. I read somewhere that the nvidia quadro is Mac compliant. Is that what you are talking about?

goMac, you recommend an eight core?
 

goMac

macrumors 604
Apr 15, 2004
6,859
908
Thanks IceMacMac. I do not plan to work in 3d. At least not now. So the 3.2 quad will be an excellent option? However, there is something about the super fast 6 core that I like. The price difference between the 3.2 and the 3.3 is not nominal, at least I do not think so. Also, interesting information regarding the advancement of the gpu. I read somewhere that the nvidia quadro is Mac compliant. Is that what you are talking about?
NVidia has a Mac Quadro 4000 but I've heard nothing but bad things about that card.

goMac, you recommend an eight core?
I use an 8 core and have definitely been able to tap that power. I also have a 5870 in mine, so no problem doing GPU stuff either. 12 core might be a little overkill at present.
 

xparaparafreakx

macrumors 65816
Jul 29, 2005
1,273
0
3.2 6 Core. Since it looks like you have money, 24GB of RAM. The bookstores have a lower price on Master Collection and Final Cut Studio.
 

goMac

macrumors 604
Apr 15, 2004
6,859
908
3.2 6 Core. Since it looks like you have money, 24GB of RAM. The bookstores have a lower price on Master Collection and Final Cut Studio.
6 core would also be fine, I wouldn't go down to the 4 core though...

Just keep in mind a 6 core is a single CPU design, it would be more expensive to later upgrade to a dual CPU machine as it would require replacing more than just the CPUs.
 

100Teraflops

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 1, 2011
616
0
Elyria, Ohio
NVidia has a Mac Quadro 4000 but I've heard nothing but bad things about that card.



I use an 8 core and have definitely been able to tap that power. I also have a 5870 in mine, so no problem doing GPU stuff either. 12 core might be a little overkill at present.
yes, the 12 is overkill for me. I am not made of money. :D

3.2 6 Core. Since it looks like you have money, 24GB of RAM. The bookstores have a lower price on Master Collection and Final Cut Studio.
I plan to buy master collection at a my university's tech store. I am not sure if they offer Apple software at basement prices, but I will check! 24 gigs of ram would be nice! :cool: I hope I do not appear to be wealthy, because I am not. :D I stacked greenbacks in order to purchase a nice rig!

6 core would also be fine, I wouldn't go down to the 4 core though...

Just keep in mind a 6 core is a single CPU design, it would be more expensive to later upgrade to a dual CPU machine as it would require replacing more than just the CPUs.
Noted! I am still debating which machine to buy. Decisions .... Decisions. I prefer to have choices than to have no choice at all.

Also, thanks to all for the continued support. I am still searching for "the Mac Pro."
 

100Teraflops

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 1, 2011
616
0
Elyria, Ohio
Your nickname should be Mr. Matt "Ram" Module! :) Thanks for sharing!


Edit: I decided to wait for the refresh. There are numerous variables I need to consider and Thunder Bolt is a game changer, saying it migrates to the Mac Pro. If I do not like the refresh, then I can buy a machine from the current lineup at a discounted price or buy a refurb. Thanks to all for helping me through this process! It is greatly appreciated! :)
 
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