Geeky Student's questions about timing and whats coming next

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Rafalski24, Sep 27, 2009.

  1. Rafalski24 macrumors regular

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    #1
    Alright so first I will give you guys some background. I am a student at CU Boulder, planning on majoring in Broadcast Production. I do a lot of editing for both school and my own projects. I edit both HD (up to 1080p60) and SD content. I do some minor photoshopping and hope to get more into After Effects and Motion. I currently have a two and a half year old Macbook Pro which I never planned on being my sole editing machine through all of college, its decent but chokes up when attempting to edit HD content. I have around $2600 saved up as of now and plan to purchase a Mac Pro sometime in the somewhat near future. My questions- How likely is it that the next update will be much more than a spec bump ie. maybe usb 3.0 or fw3200 included? Do you guys think once I have enough money I should just buy one right away even if Apple hasn't announced anything? or wait and see... I will most likely get the 2.26 Octo with 8GB ram and the 4870 (using my developer discount which brings it to about 2900 or 3000)

    Thank you guys so much!
     
  2. goMac macrumors 603

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    #2
    Current Mac Pro should do 1080p just fine. Honestly, your biggest limiting factor these days is going to be disk speeds. You're going to want to RAID or buy faster disks, or both.

    Don't worry about USB 3.0 or Firewire 3200. No one knows if either will ever make it to the Mac, you don't really need them, and USB 3.0 is no good for moving video around anyway.

    Worst case if you just have to buy a PCI Express card to use those ports. You are buying a Mac Pro for it's expandability, after all.

    (For the record, I work for a company that writes video editing software, and my work rig is a 2.26 octo.)
     
  3. Rafalski24 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    Thanks

    Yeah that makes sense, can I do raid of say 2 1TB 7200rpm drives without that expensive raid card? with software or something?
    Thanks so much!
     
  4. goMac macrumors 603

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    #4
    Yeah, you can do a software RAID.
     
  5. Rafalski24 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    a few more questions

    sorry for asking so many questions, I will have the 640GB that comes with it and I will also have 2 1TB drives, what kind of speed will I get out of the raid? and where should I put the operating system? the single drive or the raid?

    thanks again!
     
  6. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

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    #6
    Once you have the money saved up then decide. As it may be a couple more months until you have the money. Chances are good though the current mac pro will be your best bet. I don't think it will be awhile until we get another refresh. I would consider a used Mac Pro though as you could get one that handles 1080 with how much money you currently have.

    And don't worry about asking questions. Thats what we are here for, we like it! :)
     
  7. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #7
    Assuming you mean to make a stripe (RAID0), then its 2x the performance of a single disk.

    You can place the OS, apps, and data all on the array. The 640GB can be used for backups (to start), or even be used as a Windows disk if you need it, as Boot Camp will not work on the array.

    I had a thought though. If you're interested in a base '09 Octad, you can get a 3.2GHz '08 Octad for the same $$$ ($3299USD on Apple's Refurbished Store). It will give you better performance on both single and multi-threaded apps, despite the architectual differences (cores are the same, only memory and CPU interfacing has changed). So you end up with more performance for your money. Check out the net as well as the forum, as there's plenty of test results out there. :D

    For that same money, you will get EFI64 (needed for graphics cards already, and for future versions of OS X, when it goes full 64bit <no more 32/64 Kernel inclusion>). It also skips the issue with the ICH10R that limits throughput to 660MB/s. This will be an issue with SSD, if you ever switch to them in the future as well. Needing a SATA/eSATA card or worse, proper hardware RAID card isn't a small matter financially speaking, as they can get in the $1k+ USD range (24 port models). :eek:

    But if you do ever need one, it's less expensive to use in the '08, as you don't need an adapter to use the internal HDD bays (saves you $165USD). Memory is also cheaper than the DDR3 UDIMMs needed in the '09's, and is easier to expand in the future, as it has more slots.

    Granted the '09's have the IMC (Integrated Memory Controller) and QPI, but they aren't really used much with current software. I'm only aware of servers being capable of taking advantage of triple channel DDR3. Most applications can only get up to dual channel on DDR3.

    As it will take time for software to catch up, it might be a good idea to skip it ATM, and wait until you really need such a machine, given the time lag it's likely to take.

    Just something to consider. ;)
     
  8. goMac macrumors 603

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    #8
    Also, be aware, if you're using Final Cut, you can get it to use different disks as scratch and storage for your raw footage.

    Again, disk speed is going to be your limiting factor, it really just depends on how serious you are. At work, I have a 4 disk NAS RAID on a gigabit network, and it can't even keep up with raw uncompressed 1080p footage. I doubt you'll be working with uncompressed 1080p though...
     
  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #9
    You might want to have them look into DAS for your machine (cheapest). If it needs to be available for multiple systems, then take a look at FC (not cheap :eek: :p). :)
     
  10. goMac macrumors 603

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    #10
    Well, it's just test footage, I'm a programmer, not an editor, so I don't mind so much. :) I just need to make sure that our code is rendering a few frames properly... And usually I don't need 1080p footage for that. :)

    Yeah, our NAS sucks though. If we had a server room/rack, I would have already through an XServe and some sort of RAID array into the mix... But we don't have a room where we could stick that and not go deaf from the noise...

    We DO work with the Red camera, but I'm not on any of those projects.
     
  11. Rafalski24 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #11
    So the architecture speed increases (ie. DDR3 ram and faster front side bus) is negligible on the base 09 model? and I am a student developer so I could get the current base with the 4870 and 8gb of ram for under $3000. So is it still worth getting the older model?
     
  12. Tesselator macrumors 601

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    #12
    Well, I dunno what Apple will offer in the future. I guess the USB 3 and the faster FW won't be included till the 2011 machines at earliest. What machine do you have now? I'll assume it's the 1,1 Mac Pro @ 2.66 and say that the 2.26 2009 is not going to be a significant upgrade. Not at all. If you're current machine is faster than a 2.66 then the 2.26 will in fact be a downgrade.

    Intel is doing some interesting things with imbedded interfaces for video, RAM, and so forth (in-chip). I think you won't see any improvement in the apps you mention until those are released and perhaps matured - at least not for the $2600 you have now. Triple that maybe. So IMHO, if you want Apple brand hardware and you want to edit with the apps you mentioned then you either need more money or you need to wait another 18 months.

    Also of note in your pursuits of the art I would like to suggest they you look into D'Fusion: ( www.eyeonline.com ). It's currently windows only if I'm not mistaken but it's commonly held as one of the best if not thee best sequence and stream processor in the industry. It's very worth the time investment of learning the application. If you attack it aggressively it only takes a week or so to learn well - technique of course is a separate matter but there are many books and on-line tutorials for that.


    .
     
  13. Rafalski24 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #13
    I only have a macbook pro now (2.4GHz), and yes I plan to save up another thousand dollars or so before I buy the Mac Pro.
     
  14. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #14
    DDR3 is technically faster, yes. FSB is gone in Nehalem architecture, and the QPI replacement is also faster.

    But the software you're using can't currently utilize it. Very little can in fact. Those changes were aimes specifically at the server market, where they can be used. Other than that, there's little difference between Penryn and Nehalem (better power managment,..., but not much, and is essentially invisible to running mainstream applications).

    Remember, software development lags behind hardware, and by the time it catches up to the current hardware, a few newer lines will have released by then. :eek: :p

    Now add in the other differences/issues I mentioned (EFI32/64 and ICH10R), the '08 makes more sense. It was priced better than the '09's to begin with, and in terms of cost/performance, is the sweet spot for Mac Pros IMO. :D

    Search the forum, as I'm not the only one who has this opinion of the '08 vs. '09. ;)
     
  15. Rafalski24 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #15
    Just to clarify you think it would be better even if I can get a better deal on the 09 model to get an 08 model?
    This is a big purchase for a college kid so I will be thinking about this for a while. Just like to clarify everything before I make my decision.
     
  16. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #16
    Kewl. Anyway the 2.26 octad will not edit "HD (1080p60)" smoothly so you'll need to consider something a bit more substantial.
     
  17. Techhie macrumors 65816

    Techhie

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    #17
    For the kind of apps you are using, the 2.26 GHz octad will actually lag behind because many of them depend on single core clock. The CPU performs nicely with final cut and logic, but you will want to save in for an all around winner like the 2.66 or 2.93 GHz octads. By that time, the speed bump in the line may have already happened and you can make the choice then.
     
  18. MythicFrost macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

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    #18
    You can get cheap RAM @ otherworldcomputing.com for almost any Mac, I bought 8GB (2x4GB) there and have had no problems.

    You can also get the ATI Radeon 4870 512MB (I think) and the GTX 285 1GB for Mac. (The GTX should still be there, that's where I got mine)
    Not sure which is better for video editing.

    And I would choose the highest clock speed, because processor is the thing you can't upgrade easily and safely (if at all).

    2.93GHz + Turbo Boost to 3.33GHz is NICE.

    Kind Regards
     
  19. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    #19
    Well you can't use the Developer discount on refurbs.
     
  20. Rafalski24 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #20
    Yeah thats what I noticed, which is why the 2.26 octo looks appealing since its actually cheaper... How noticeable will the lack of Hz be? Is over clocking an option? I haven't seen anything for about overclocking nahalem
     
  21. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    #21
    The closest you'll get to overclocking on the Nehalem is Turbo Boost which increases the processor automatically when less than 4 cores are being used. Otherwise that's pretty much it.

    The 2.26 8-core is a great computer. However it is not faster than the 3.2 8-core 2008 model. As it's been mentioned upgrades for the 2008 models are cheaper including cheaper RAID options, and cheaper RAM.

    Personally choosing between the 2.26 8-core 2009 model and the 3.2 8-core 2008 model, I'd definitely go with the latter. If you somehow go for the 2.66 8-core 2009 model, then the last will be the best choice without a doubt.
     
  22. smacman macrumors 6502

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    #22
    Question for Nanofrog:

    You and others have stated that one of the advantages of the 08 models over the 09 is EFI64. Are you implying that the 09 Mac Pros do not have this capability? Have they really gone backwards and shipped Nehalem Mac Pros with EFI32???
     
  23. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    #23
    No, 09 has EFI64 as well, but because the 08 has EFI64 and it's cheaper to upgrade, makes it's a great choice.
     
  24. nanofrog macrumors G4

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    #24
    The '08 is a better machine, and the difference in cost (assuming the '09 is cheaper), would likely be made back due to less expensive upgrades (memory and hardware RAID, if you should ever go for it).

    I understand the cash is an issue, but you will need to make upgrades from the base configuration anyway, so consider those parts too in your cost analysis. You might be surprised. ;)

    The lower clock speed will affect most usage, as it applies to both single and multi-threaded apps. Since most are single threaded, you will notice it more often than you think.

    As per Over Clocking, no there's nothing out. Apple doesn't offer access to any firmware settings, let alone those needed to OC the system.

    So that leaves:
    1. A 3rd party application that can allow this (it does exist for the '08 btw, and was written by ZDnet's german site). Perhaps worth a search of MR, as it's been posted on before, and may even have it's own thread IIRC. Worth a look.

    2. A pin mod similar to that used on the LGA771 parts. So far however, I've not seen one posted anywhere, as most boards (SP) are capable of it (PC side of course).

    There may be some software method out now that will work with DP systems under Windows. I've not researched it, so I'm not sure.
     
  25. smacman macrumors 6502

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    #25
    Ok Thanks...
     

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