Help Deciding on the optimum Mac Pro configuration for Video Production

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Zagreus, Apr 30, 2009.

  1. Zagreus macrumors member


    Jan 9, 2009
    Bradford, West Yorkshire, U.K
    Hello, I am a bit of a newbie to these forums but wanted a mac question answering and after looking around and a large use of the search button I still couldn't find the answer I was looking for. So I decided to post here. My basic question is this: I am going to be buying a Mac Pro within the next 3 - 6 months and so, what kind of configuration should my Mac Pro have if I am going to be running Photoshop, Final Cut Studio etc. With paticular reference to what brands of RAM and Hard Drives I should buy, because Apple's prices to me seem to be exorbatant. Thank you very much for your help? Also is the investment in Apple's Displays worth it or would a third part monitor suffice? Finally what kind of processor speed and number of cores would be necesary?

    As an aside, where is the best place to purchase my Mac Pro, KRCS in Britian seem to give me the best deal, but are their other Mac retailers I could turn to for a better deal?

    Thank you so much for all your help.
  2. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    Final Cut Studio needs more questions. Are you planning on using HD media and if so, what codec will you be using? Also, what will be your workflow? I know that answering some of that can be a pain in the arse... But generally, you will need a RAID for HD media.

    As for a monitor, go third-party. Not saying Apple's monitors are overpriced, but there are better to be had. It all depends on your budget.

    From what I've heard, OWC RAM and Crucial RAM are pretty good, unless you want 4 GB DIMMs, which in that case you might need to be a little more picky. The amount of RAM? The mantra is "the more you have of it, the better".

    Hard discs, generally 1 TB Enterprise drives are pretty good. When I build my RAID (in about a month or so, b/c of that magic budget word), I was planning onn using Samsung Spinpoint F1s; however, there are other options depending on if you care more about reads or more about writes, or what-have-you. As long as it is an enterprise drive, you're peachy.

    EDIT - for the number of cores, there are upsides and downsides to each. 8 and a higher clock speed will be far more expensive, obviously.

    What I really think is that you should think about how much power will you be putting this through, how far will you "drive" it. The farther justifys how much power you put into it; just remember that even though Nehalem is today's awesome tech, it will become obsolete like everything else at some point, and if you plan on selling it, it will devaluate over time.
  3. Zagreus thread starter macrumors member


    Jan 9, 2009
    Bradford, West Yorkshire, U.K
    Ok thanks for that, in terms of whether I'll be using HD media or not, the real question is that the projects I'll deal with will be a mixture of HD and SD, but I'm not sure what codec I'll be using as that's often dictated by my clients so it's hard the predict, with a slight bias towards SD more than anything, but I still need the capacity to deal with HD should the need arise. My workflow therefore at the same time will be different dependant on what the project requires but I will be using all the components of the Final Cut suite, apart from Qmaster since I can only afford one of these. For now.

    In terms of a monitor budget I've probably got about 300 for the monitor, since the actual machine is my main priority, can you recommend a good brand/model?

    I think I'm going to go for the Crucial RAM as I've heard good reports about them elsewhere on the internet, and thanks for the heads up on Enterprise drives, that's definitely something I'll look into.

    I think I'll probably end up plumping for the highest clock speed Quad Core, unless Final Cut can take advantage of all 8 cores should I buy the Octo Core, is this possible?

    Thank you for putting up with all my questions
  4. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    If you are making money off this machine, then you can probably justify going to an Octo core... and your application will definitely benefit from it... at least if not now, over time it will.

    The best bang for the buck for the Octo is probably the 2.66GHz. 12GB of RAM is probably ideal (6x2GB) from OWC which is the same modules Apple factory installs.

    For drives, if you can afford a couple of SSD's for your OS/Apps/Active project work, you will be amazed. Then go with large hard drives for archiving your projects or even a RAID1 array if you are responsible for archiving your client's work for a period of time. At least this is what I would do if I was in your shoes.
  5. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    Okay, further "advice" on hard drives...

    For HD media, generally to support throughput between the discs and the machine, you need a speedy, redundant RAID. The best RAID is a RAID 10 array (A pair of stripes, methinks) that offers the best redundancy and the best speed - the throughput is 2x as fast as one hard drive, and if a drive fails you can just swap it out. However, an easier route would be to record to and read off of a RAID 0 of two or three hard drives, and back up to a larger, bigger drive. For an app drive, any drive will do; to me, at least, SSDs are an AWESOME idea, I drool over Intel, but I think they are overkill for the price/GB. I would recommend an ATA over Ethernet enclosure on-the-cheap, using OpenSolaris and RAID ZFS, but I have yet to build it and test it myself. Just to justify a RAID, here's a clip of editing HD with only one hard drive (thank you Twoodcc). And here is the page it occurs in.

    For a monitor, however, I don't want to burst your bubble, but for a monitor you should be looking at IPS models, which generally are out of that price bracket. There is the Dell 2209WA, which happens to be an affordable IPS monitor (e-IPS), the only real difference being the viewing angles are more constricted then full-blown S-IPS or H-IPS. However, the viewing angles are better then a TN, and unlike a TN the 2209WA has full 8-bit colour (wheras the TNs have to dither). The only downside to the 2209WA, as far as I can see, is that it is 1680x1050 resolution; that may make a difference when viewing 1080 media... Since 1080 media would have to be scaled down in a software fashion, you may not find the final product to look good when it actually does, or vice versa. If you already have a 1080 broadcast monitor, I would not worry about it. There are other good monitors, too - The NEC MultiSync LCD2690WUXi-BK, from what I've heard, is the ****. However, monitors from the same OEM using the same panel are pretty good, such as the Planar PX2611W. The NEC is a little over a thousand dollars, the Planar is about 800; you could buy a refurbished DS-263N from the Doublesight store (I can say for this one, since I own it) for about $600, but I do not know if it is available anymore.

    However, I would check out this thread on Anandtech which has some good multimedia monitor recommendations, and some good information on monitors period.
  6. joaoferro37 macrumors 6502


    Jul 31, 2008
    Vogon Planet Destructor
    In terms of HD, what kind of video camera you have. P2, XDCam, Red, HDV? What is the final product? Blu Ray, DVD, Flim?
    How long is the footage?
    Do you need to archive the footage?

    shooting at RAW? JPG? TIFF?
    What is your camera?
    Do you need to archive it? DVD or hard drive?
  7. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

    Dec 23, 2006
    In my imagination
    I hope the OP doesn't mind if I hijack this thread.

    Right now, I am about to pull the ultimate trigger of my life. I am actually buying a machine BRAND NEW instead of refurbished. My G5 dual 2.0 is aging, and cant run color or encode fast enough.

    My main issue isn't with application, it's more with the cores. I can either get the 2.93 Quad, or base model Octo.

    Is Snow Leopard really...... I mean REALLY going to blow me away as far as multi-core aware apps are concerned? I am reading the benchmarks and the quad does blow away the octo in apps that aren't core aware, but how much will pro apps benefit from SL?

    Basically, will I be pissed off by either the RAM cap, or the 4 cores by getting the quad?

    If you were a freelancer with $4000 to blow, what would you do?

Share This Page