Ideal Mac Pro Congiuration for FCP X and Adobe Creative Cloud

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by dpavid, Apr 15, 2014.

  1. dpavid macrumors regular

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    Mililani, Hawaii
    #1
    My 2008 MacPro is starting to feel slow. Its been my workhorse for 7 years and I have more than made my moneys worth on this machine. It's running FCP 7 and Adobe CS5 currently.

    My core apps are FCP 7, thinking about going to X, if not Premiere, After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign on occasion for print material, and probably the entire Creative Cloud from Adobe. We also plan to edit 4k video soon so I need the MacPro to run Davinci Resolve and/or SpeedGrade smoothly as well.

    My plan is to store all the media on an external Thunderbolt 2.0 Pegasus R6/R8 which should be sufficient for speed.

    So my question is what is the ideal setup? I was thinking about a 256GB Internal HD for apps and OS only, 3.5GHz 6-core, 32GB RAM, and Dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM each.

    Any reason why I should get the faster processors or more RAM? Where will I see the performance increase? Quicker render and export video times?

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
     
  2. maplingstorie macrumors 6502

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    Jan 25, 2009
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    Malaysia
    #2
    faster processors/more cores mean shorter time to export. If video editing is what you do for a living, then it's wise to go the most cores you can afford. I don't think ram would be much of a concern as the D700 provides extra 12GB of 'VRAM' for your renders :p
     
  3. thaboz macrumors newbie

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    Sep 6, 2008
    #3
    There where some tests recently where the ideal machine for editing was the 8-core nMP, the D700 and as much RAM you can afford, also worth noticing is that the 1TB internal SSD perform much faster than the 256GB one, I know this is one of the most expensive options and not sure if the performance gain is that noticeable. Just my 2-cents.
     
  4. vjpulp macrumors member

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    Bern, Switzerland
    #4
    This is not entirely true. If you work with Adobe Software, the number of Cores is insignificant, since Premiere and AE are more and more supporting GPU power, as you can read here
    http://blogs.adobe.com/premierepro/2014/01/newgpusincc.html

    So my perfect configuration would be
    D700, 32 GB RAM, 6 Cores, and an internal 512 GB disk.
    All the fat media data would be stored on external HDDs.
     
  5. bxs macrumors 6502

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    Oct 20, 2007
    #5
    While agree with most of this, I would add that render times benefit enormously by core count. At this time the cost jump fro 6 t0 8 cores and 6 to 12 cores is astronomical unfortunately and would only advise buying the 8 or 12 core system if the budget and/or the business case support the expense.

    We have 3 high-end 27" iMacs, one 2009 8-core MP and a new 12-core MP6,1 fully loaded. All the files needing rendering by the iMacs are sent over to the new MP6,1 for rendering using BG Render and the MP6,1 not only does the rendering of these files in background but also allows the designer using the MP6,1 to continue working without any stuttering or stall situations.

    As far a RAM use/size is concerned I would advise dumping the Apple stock 16GB that comes with the 6, 8 and 12 core models and buy the OWC 64GB package. It's really cheap IMO, and provides huge kernel File Cache benefits for holding frequently used data. If you have an application that can monitor File Cache hits you will certainly be able to understand this benefit.
     
  6. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

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    #6
    Sorry, but that is very misleading. Premiere Pro is heavily multithreaded and benefits greatly from multiple cores. Anyone can check this themselves by using iStat Menus or Activity Monitor. On Windows use Performance Monitor or Task Manager.

    FCP X is even more dependent on multiple cores since it does background rendering and uses less GPU-accelerated effects. But both edit suites frequently encounter situations where all available cores are in heavy use.

    That said, there is a cost to higher core count configurations and the scalability is not perfect.

    Ironically the greatest acceleration for export uses Intel's Quick Sync, which is not supported by the Xeon CPU used in the Mac Pro. This can be 5x or 10x faster than multi-threaded or even GPU-assisted methods, but it only works for single-pass H.264 or MPEG-2.
     
  7. dpavid thread starter macrumors regular

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    #7
    Thanks for everyone's insight.

    With everyone's comments taken into consideration, it seems like get the most GPU as possible with 32 or 64 GB RAM minimal. The processor would just speed up render times, not increase workflow speed. Am I correct on this?

    If so, would it make more sense to buy a 6-8 MacMini's and render/export using QMaster?

    Is there a render app like BG Render for Adobe Creative Suite and FCPX/7 and Compressor?
     
  8. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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    #8
    Then look all the testing that BareFeats.com is running to decide.
     
  9. orpheus1120 macrumors 65816

    orpheus1120

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    #9
    ^ this.

    From a economical standpoint, the 6-core offers bang of the buck though.

    How does the Crucial's stack up to OWC's?

    Looks like its $756 for 64GB for Crucial currently.
     
  10. goMac macrumors 603

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    Apr 15, 2004
    #10
    The relation between VRAM and RAM is not clear in general (I mean, technically yes, but not from a higher up app usage perspective).

    Some apps will store things in both VRAM and RAM. Some apps will only do VRAM. Moving things to VRAM can be a very expensive operation so I wouldn't necessarily consider VRAM a RAM replacement.

    Overall, I do agree that getting the D700 is first priority over RAM. But as a post-purchase upgrade, or possibly at build time, I'd consider bumping up the RAM as well. Stock is 12 gigs? It's a pretty decent amount but 16 or more wouldn't hurt either.

    Get as many CPU cores as you can. I would NOT recommend starting with the Mac Mini strategy. Get more cores as those will give you the most bang for the buck. If you need faster encodes, then start stacking nodes. But you're going to get more milage out of cores on the machine than network nodes, so do that first.
     
  11. dpavid thread starter macrumors regular

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    #11
    Thanks!
     
  12. impay macrumors newbie

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    Mar 18, 2014
    #12
    I never heard this how do you know?
     
  13. goMac macrumors 603

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    Apr 15, 2004
    #13
    From what I understand, the 1 TB SSD drive is kind of like four 256 gigabyte (or two 512 gigabyte) SSDs in RAID on a single card to reach that capacity, so the performance is higher.
     
  14. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #14
    I think the 6-core is the sweet spot in terms of bang-for-buck this generation. The 8-core is also a nice choice, but sits high up the diminishing returns curve... e.g. Money is probably better spent elsewhere.

    I think anyone is nuts to get the 256GB SSD. You should have your entire workflow on that internal SSD which means enough capacity to house your current project files. Move projects to the external when done, but don't "work" off data on the external... That will kill your performance and negate a lot of the benefits of having such a capable workstation.

    Larger SSDs are usually faster than their smaller capacity variants because they usually have more NAND chips in parallel using more channels on the SSD controller which is akin to having more drives in RAID0. However, I'm not certain if this is the case with the SSDs in the nMP.

    Having enough RAM is critical, but too much can represent wasted budget that might be better spent elsewhere. I think 32GB is the sweet spot. Any more and you're creeping up the diminishing returns curve again.

    As others have pointed out, get the D700s for your type of work. If there's one app that will benefit from these it's FCPX.
     
  15. dpavid thread starter macrumors regular

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    #15
    Thank you for all the posts. From what I gather, the sweet spot is:


    Sleeping on this and pulling the trigger tomorrow. Only thing I'd still consider is maybe 1TB drive. I'd appreciate any last thoughts. Thanks again!
     
  16. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #16
    Get the 1TB from Apple. It's faster than any other SSD I'm aware of. So if you're going to wait for something faster, cheaper, and as big or bigger, you will have to wait a pretty long time I think. It will allow you to put your current project files on the internal which will have more performance benefit than anything else you could do.
     
  17. bxs macrumors 6502

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    #17
    Absolutely agree with this. :)
     
  18. dpavid thread starter macrumors regular

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    #18
    Ah man! Going to try and change my order now....
     
  19. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #19
    Nice... :D
     
  20. dpavid thread starter macrumors regular

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    #20
    Canceled my order and upgraded to the 1TB. Thanks for the tips!
     
  21. vjpulp macrumors member

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    Bern, Switzerland
    #21
    I ordered exactly the same configuration, except the 1TB drive- I took a 512 GB, and will use a Promise Pegasus R4 RAID. This way, I'm supposed to get even faster performances, when it comes to big video files.
     
  22. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #22
    Ideal Mac Pro Congiuration for FCP X and Adobe Creative Cloud


    It will be an awesome system. Glad to help.
     

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