Help Please - Video editing specs, is a 2010 Mac Pro the right choice?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by DietCoke, Mar 16, 2011.

  1. DietCoke macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2011
    #1
    Just a little background. I produce videos for a website on a regular basis in a professional role using Panasonic DVCproHD footage from P2 cards and the occasional 7D DSLR footage. I am also looking at adding a Panasonic AF101 in the next year which is AVCHD I believe.
    I have been using Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 (along with AE, SB etc) and we recently spec'd a very good PC with 24gb ram, i7 980X, 250GB SSD work drive, 2TB storage, 130Gb boot drive. Graphics card is a 2gb Nvidia Quadro 5000 which works with the mercury engine. It was a custom built machine and has never worked without numerous crashes since we got it. It has been back and forth with the supplier since new and the numerous crash issues have never been resolved. They were also never consistant so it was a battle. This would have been bad enough but we also commisioned a laptop at the same time for mobile editing which has had almost exactly the same issues which points to a vendor issue to me.

    Anyway, we want to get rid of these machines back to the supplier as unfit for use and are looking for new solutions. That may be another custom PC from another vendor, or it could be an Apple solution, I have no issues with either and I am not a PC or Mac fanboy, I just want a machine that will do what I need and without constant crashing or other issues.

    All the people I have asked so far for opinion have said, get a MAC, so what do you think? What kind of Spec should I look at? and any members who work with Pro video, what would you suggest? I am open to all help I can get and as I have said would like some ideas from fellow Video pros ideally, but open to all experiences and opinions. And would a 15-inch spec'd MBP be good enough for on the road production with premiere?

    Thanks in advance. :)
     
  2. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #2
    I just got a Quad MacBook Pro that's faster than the low end 2010 Mac Pro. I got tone with 512GB SSD. Works great without the PC time / headache tax.
     
  3. nightwolf macrumors member

    nightwolf

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario, CANADA
    #3
    Get a mac is correct

    While windows were made for games and business... macs were built for pix and videos. They are better and for the projects you are doing, an imac will do. I use an old macbook and a i3 imac both running Final Cut Pro. They do the job and will not let you down.

    Want more power, the work stations have a lot of engine and juice to render files without headaches. expose and spaces are great tools when working with multiple windows.

    Am not saying macs are better... all am saying is I'd drive with a truck through mud than I would with a car.
     
  4. DietCoke thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2011
    #4
    Thanks for the replies.

    The comments so far match with what others I have asked have said in terms of reliability. I don't doubt that is a strong point with the Apple brand.

    I am not sure an iMAC really is up to the volume of work I produce on video and I have to be aware of future video codecs as this machine has to last at least three years. I mean have you dropped HDSLR footage direct on the timeline for realtime editing in a hurry and had it play back in FCP? It does in Premiere but that is using a lot of resources, like the mercury playback with the Nvidia card, which is one of the major questions I was asking. As I can see Apple only spec the ATI cards which won't work with premiere, so I need to know from someone who uses DLSR and a MAC Pro if I am going backwards? Most of the time I don't have the luxury of waiting to convert to another codec for editing. I need to work quickly most of the time.
    I also work a lot with dynamic links with After Effects and Soundbooth CS5 while editing in Premiere CS5 and love the instant save updates when changing thinsg in the other programs. So I need to know I can do that as well?
    I was looking at a 12 core machine, so is that overkill?

    Sorry about all the questions, but with a bad taste still in my mouth with the last PC and Laptop builds, I want to get this right.

    Thanks again for the replies so far.
     
  5. strausd macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    Texas
    #5
    I do a lot of video stuff as well. However, my main reason for having the MP I do is for 3D in Maya and few other 3D programs. I also do a lot of Premiere and After Effects work. Basically, all of the programs I use can take use of all my cores, and when it comes to rendering, there is always room for improvement. I'm not complaining at all, I love my Mac Pro, I am just saying render times can always be faster.

    Many people on this forum just say "get the 3.33GHz 6-core, it will be fine." Don't get me wrong, that is a great machine, but it only has 4 RAM slots. If you upgrade to a Mac Pro with dual processors, you will get 8 RAM slots, which can be very handy.

    As far as I know, After Effects and Premiere will limit the amount of cores that are used if you do not have enough RAM. So I would say buy the best you can afford and also take into account that you will need a good amount of RAM to use all the cores in AE and Premiere. And if you are going to get an SSD, I would suggest putting it in the second optical bay of the Mac Pro. That way you can leave your 4 bays open for other storage, that's what I did.
     
  6. funkytwig macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    #6
    The reason you are having problems is not because you are using a PC its because the people building the PC are incompetent. Despite what people say there is not a massive difference between a top quality PC running Windows 7 and a Mac apart from 2 things.

    1) There is some software that only runs on mac (i.e. Final Cut Pro) and via serversa.

    2) The mac will cost you twice as much.

    3) (ok I said 2 but there is a another reason) - they look great and your friends will be impressed.

    In terms of which PC to get going for totally custom build is a little risky, people like DELL will spend great care testing the components are all totally comparable and optimized.

    Ben
     
  7. funkytwig macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    #7
    Ps

    Almost forgot, for 2D graphics/video editing the graphics card is not that important. I have run both Avid and Vegas on a fairly standard one.
     
  8. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #8
    I would tend to agree that the problem isn't with Windows per se, but rather how the PC was built and tested and how well it's supported by the manufacturer. To say that Macs are more reliable than PCs by default is a pretty big generalization, especially considering that the hardware isn't all too different these days.

    Example: I know a lot of Avid editors on certified PC hardware (mostly HP workstations) that have very few issues.

    But one thing PCs have going against them in general is the open nature of their platform. When building a machine for a specific purpose, one must carefully select parts that will play nice with each other as a system and run the desired software reliably. There's less of that in the Mac world obviously because the machines are all prebuilt and run an exclusive OS.

    As an Adobe editor, you should also consider that the Mac version of Premiere Pro has fewer supported CUDA GPUs than the Windows version. The Mac is limited to two (Quadro FX 4800 and Quadro 4000) that are actually still produced. Not to mention the cost involved with re-buying the CS5 suite for the Mac.
     
  9. strausd macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    Texas
    #9
    For single processor workstations the MP will definitely cost more. Twice as much? Probably not that much.

    However, dual processor workstations are entirely different.

    I just went on Dells site and a dual six-core 2.66 GHz workstation with 6GB RAM, 1TB drive, and all the standard stuff for everything else. How much was it? $5,369

    Now for the Mac Pro with dual six-core CPUs at 2.66 GHz, 6GB RAM, 1TB drive and all the standard stuff it is $4,999.

    The base GPUs on both aren't very good, but the 5770 on the MP is a little better. Also, if anybody cares, the optical drive on the MP is just a tad better.

    PCs do have better options for GPUs, so if that is the most important thing you are looking for and you cannot live without a specific GPU, then maybe you should go with a PC. But remember, you can run Windows 7 on a Mac Pro, so it might be worth it to find whatever power cables you might need and buy the GPU and run it on your MP on Windows 7.

    But if dual CPUs is more important, I would definitely suggest a Mac Pro over any PC.
     
  10. hector66 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    #10
    This is true, most Xeon-level workstations are reliable when backed by a reputable company, Macs included. I think the biggest advantage Mac has in the video space is it is the only platform that can run the big three software bundles from Apple, Avid and Adobe. AND it can run Windows which makes sure that you never have to miss out on an application.

    Mac Pro is the only way to go for professional editing if you want to maximize your investment. You could buy an iMac or MacBook Pro, but you'll be replacing them more often. MacBook Pro with Thunderbolt is definitely a game-changer with its 4 cores and high speed I/O, but you will have far fewer options in the short term to take advantage of this, while solutions that take advantage of the Mac Pro's PCIe slots are plentiful.

    It's simple. Get a Mac Pro with as many processor cores as you can afford. Get it with 12GB of RAM to start. And the most important thing of all is get good storage. Make sure you get a RAID 5 solution for speed and safety and make sure you get enough spinning platters in that RAID that you can easily play back all the layers of video in the highest quality you are working on. One layer of ProRes may only be 25-30MB per second depending on resolution and quality, but there may be numerous times that you may go up past five layers visible and you don't want to have to render every time you want to play it back.
     
  11. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #11
    If you are mainly running Adobe Premier and AE you will be better served by a PC. Painful to say, but true. The specs of the PC you were using are pretty much unmatched in Apple land (CPU's yes but...). Best card for Mercury playback we have is the Quadro 4000. Do not underestimate the power of using supported card with Premier. It is night and day. More cores could help but AE will really use only 7 or so and loosing the mercury support with the ATI cards will hurt. Also cutting the performance is uncool (4000). You will most likely feel the Mac to be a bit slower in all things. Premier and AE user = Get a PC. Final Cut and AE user = get a Mac.
     
  12. strausd macrumors 68030

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    Jul 11, 2008
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    Texas
    #12
    Where are you getting your information?

    I use AE CS5 every day and each time I render it maxes out all 24 virtual cores on my MP.
     
  13. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

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    Jul 17, 2010
    #13
  14. dimme macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Location:
    SF, CA
    #14
    Sounds like you should be looking for a vendor that will support you needs. As many said PC pr Mac they are both good, it comes down to support. So you need a partner that knows Premiere.
     
  15. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #15
    erm.. the Mac Pro can easily meet and outdo those specifications for nearly everything... (Even the 4/6-Core Mac Pro can take 32GB RAM with 4*8GB chips, and the 8/12-Core MP can take 64GB RAM. Storage is also easily met with the MPs 4 Internal DBays, or an external RAID if you want very fast throughput. The only place his PC can beat what is available as an upgrade to the Mac Pro currently is the graphics, and then its just a matter of time for Nvidia and Adobe to get their acts together and let us have a Quadro 5000/6000 with CUDA.... admittedly this will probably happen the day their replaced but we can still hope (And the Mac lets you have everything.. I mean having FCP, AVID and Premiere as well as Motion ( ,Shake if you still have a use for it) and AE on one machine lets you use every product for what its good at... even if it is a little costly to move over to the Mac - but thats all been covered above).
     
  16. strausd macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    Texas
    #16
    Not the mention the Mac will let you run Windows 7. So whatever software you need or already have, you can run it. And like I said before, you can put any GPU in a Mac Pro, you just probably won't be able to run it on OS X. Personally, I think the Mac Pro is one of, if not the most versatile workstation out there.
     
  17. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #17
    Thanks for reiterating exactly what I just said. If you didn't notice I have a Mac Pro. The OP is used to having mercury playback working. If you take that away, it will be noticeable. No one is talking expansion here. Do you know that you can buy a PC with dual socket Xeons and 8 HDD bays? C'mon. Don't be so naive. If you get a PC you have the entire world of latest greatest HW at your ready, you have to wait for Apple to decide to release updated components. I like OS X better than Win , so I get a Mac Pro and suck up the shortcomings and benefits. Yes, you can have it all on a Mac Pro but Adobe runs like ****. Ironic huh?
     
  18. strausd macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
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    Texas
    #18
    Haha maybe they have the best hardware at the ready, but it seems some people don't have the best luck with that, look at OP...
     

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