iMac or Mac Pro for HD editing???

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Joe Mack, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. Joe Mack macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2008
    #1
    Hello! I'm in the market for a new Mac and have come to the conclusion that I just don't know what to buy. Let me start out by letting you all know what I will be doing with the system.

    I will be multicam editing a TV show that was shot on HDV in 1080i with up to 5 cameras (more likely 3). The bulk of the graphics would be lower thirds.

    I was looking at a new iMac i7 with 8 gigs of ram but also at the MP's.The specs on the MP's that I can buy are as follows:

    1) One 2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon "Nehalem" processor. 4GB of 1066MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 with 512MB GDDR3 memory.

    2) One 2.66GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon "Nehalem" processor. 6GB of 1066MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 with 512MB GDDR3 memory.

    3) *08/01/2008* Processor: Two 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processors
    Memory: 8GB (four 2GB) of 800MHz DDR2 ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB 320GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s; 7200 rpm; 8MB cache + 750GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s; 7200 rpm; 8MB cache

    The 3 MP's are used but in great condition and ALL of the systems are within a few $100 dollars of each other. really like the iMac, but am worried it wont be enough. And since they are all around the same price (the iMac is the most expensive) I have no clue what to do. Any advice would be much appreciated!
     
  2. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    Nov 30, 2008
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    UK
    #2
    I'd buy the '08 Mac Pro and upgrade the graphics card to an ATI 4870.

    It's a gorgeous machine, single threaded apps will run faster on the 2.93GHz Quad though.

    The iMac, although it has a powerful CPU, is a very limited machine. No additional internal hard drives, less powerful CPU and 16GB RAM limitation.

    So, Mac Pro all the way.
     
  3. jrlcopy macrumors 6502

    jrlcopy

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    #3
    IF you are doing multicam editing with up to 5 cameras the imac won't be enough due to the fact that the hard drives aren't fast enough, and the firewire 800 bus isn't fast enough to display more than 3 cameras at a time.

    So a mac pro with large internal hard drives (preferably raided together) is your only real option.

    I had the same issue, even transcoding the hdv videos to prores or dnxhd won't speed up the limiting seek/read time of firewire 800. Just did a tv show where they took away our avid stations and gave us imacs as a test and we ran into the issue and couldn't display 4+ camera's at a time, our media was stored on 4TB Gtech RAID's over firewire 800.
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #4
    '08 Mac Pro all the way. Mac Pros are getting updated soon so if you dont need it know, you may want to wait and see what's coming
     
  5. Joe Mack thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 1, 2008
    #5
    So no on the iMac and no on the 2.93? I'm not sure I understand what "single threaded" apps are.....
     
  6. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #6
    Single-threaded means it can only use one core so that's where the GHzs matter the most. If the app(s) you're using are multi-threaded (=supports multiple cores) then the amount of cores (+ Hyper-Threading) will speed things up. E.g. in single-threaded apps 2.26Ghz MacBook is about as fast as 2.26GHz octo Mac Pro (if Turbo boost isn't counted) but if the app can take advantage of multiple cores, octo Mac Pro will run circles on MacBook

    What app(s) are you using?
     
  7. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    Sep 19, 2003
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    Canada, eh?
    #7
    You can have all the processors and cores you want at your disposal, but if the software isn't written specifically to take advantage of it, then there's no speedup. Other cores can be used to run other apps concurrently, which helps, but if you are running one program that does a lot of computation (like a video editing app) then that is where the slowdown is going to be.

    A single-threaded program will simply say "do these computations" and they are queued up into one CPU core to be run. The other CPU cores sit idle because the OS doesn't know how to split up the work. A program written specifically for multiple processes will say "these computations can be broken up into these four chunks of work that can be done in parallel" so the OS is now able to spread the load across up to four different CPU cores for faster execution.
     
  8. PrinceAvalon macrumors member

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    Jan 11, 2010
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    Hicksville, US of A Baby!!!!!!
    #8
    Single threaded basically they can only use one core or processor and aren't designed and coded to use the power of the multiple cores...

    Typically if most of the apps one uses are single threaded a very high clocked Dual core is recommended over a QUAD or higher... but you should also look into the CPU's turbo features....

    Basically a QUAD or OCTO core CPU think of it like the power of say a Bugatti veyron... and if you use single threaded apps put that power in say New York or a high populated city... the power is basically useless and not being used... so in essence it could be seen as a waste unless the software is gonna be updated soon to take advantage of multi-threading or you use some apps that are or you just want it for the futures sake...
     
  9. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    Nov 30, 2008
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    UK
    #9
    Ehhh, no!
    The MacBook processor is a Core2Duo, whereas the Mac Pro octad processors are Nehalem based XEON CPU's which have the same architecture as the desktop i7 processors, hence at the same clock speed, the XEON is considerably faster than a Core2Duo!
     
  10. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #10
    I know that. That was just an example for OP as he doesn't seem to be a guru of CPUs. If we only look at GHzs and number of cores (which 98% of people do) they would be the same but of course, Nehalem is +15% faster than Penryn. Bad example, I admit it :eek:
     
  11. Joe Mack thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 1, 2008
    #11
    Ah that clears things up =) Are the Final Cut Studio programs and/or Adobe CS4 designed for 8 Core use?
     
  12. MovieCutter macrumors 68040

    MovieCutter

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    May 3, 2005
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    Washington, DC
    #12
    I've edited XDCAM HD footage on a 2.4Ghz MacBook. Anything you buy now will do just fine. Final Cut is not multi-core aware, CS4 is.
     
  13. XxEjGxX macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2009
    #13
    my 21.5 just about takes 4 720p cameras but the HDD is struggling, I say go with a nice mac pro [​IMG]
     
  14. Joe Mack thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 1, 2008
    #14
    Thanks for the info everyone. If we edited on Final Cut Studio only, would it be a waste to get an 8 core since the FCS only recognizes the quad processors. Also would the iMac work if we used ProRes?
     
  15. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #15
    I would still get the 8-core if it costs almost the same as 2009 quad. It has more RAM and HD space as well and if you're planning or even thinking about using After Effects, all extra cores are worth it
     

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