Mac Pro - configuration for AFX and FCP?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by annasmithnz, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. annasmithnz macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2013
    I'm about to purchase a new Mac Pro and need help to choose the best setup

    I deal with HD footage and renders in most codecs up to Animation quality. I'll be editing and creating graphics for multiple clips that will probably be around 2mins in duration. SO primarily using After Effects and Final Cut Pro

    I'm not a complete idiot when it comes to computers but I don't have access to an IT department to advise me at the moment,

    There are so many options so any suggestions on the configuration would be appreciated.

    Processor, Ram, Hardrives, Graphics card?

  2. bsbeamer macrumors 68020

    Sep 19, 2012
    FCP-7 or FCP-X? Adobe CS6?

    Generally speaking, get the fastest processor(s) you can afford.

    AE will utilize 64GB ram without issue. 96GB will work, but not sure if you're best to spend all of your budget on that. Check OWC for more info and prices.

    Hard drives... if you're expecting to edit in HD animation codec and play in real-time, then you'll need a very fast MB/s read/write speed drive. The CalDigit HDPro2 (which is about 700-800MB/s read/write in RAID-5) in "real world" experience will sometimes have trouble with handling that. If editing in another codec (such as ProRes) then you'll get much better real-time performance and then that opens up more of a drive selection to ones that can do around 250MB/s-400MB/s sustained, such as the CalDigit VR2 or an AV Pro with an SSD.

    Graphics cards are debated to no end around here. Probably should get a new Nvidia card to use with Adobe products. Will have to do some tweaks to fully utilize it. Read through the other threads and search a bit - most of that's been covered thoroughly already. Think there's a few stickies with all of that info.
  3. annasmithnz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2013
    Awesome, thanks

    yes it will be CS6 and I'm assuming the new FCP but possibly 7

    The footage wont be animation quality but the GFX renders will be high res

    thanks for your help. I have also been told that I shld max out a new iMac. So I'm just weighing up my options

  4. Trixster macrumors member

    May 18, 2009
    cpu is by far the most important thing when working with video. Then ram, but with 2min clips you´ll be nowhere near the 64GB limit bsbeamer is talking about, you´ll be fine with a more "normal" 32gb setup.
    A good graphicscard doesn´t hurt, but the benefits depend on the application AND the effects you are using, I myself find the extra GPU power underutilized in most cases.
    Harddrives are another matter altogheter, the faster the better. The most bang for the buck is to go with two SSD drives in raid 0 (or 3 or more ssd drives in raid 5 for extra security).
  5. bsbeamer macrumors 68020

    Sep 19, 2012
    If dual CPU you'll get much better AE performance with 64gb RAM. If single CPU then 32gb would be fine.

    2 min clips can be very intensive graphics, composites, or more. The more layers you have, the more effects, key frames, etc - generally the more intensive the render. Some 30 second commercials can take over an hour to render in 1920x1080 HD, so depending in your needs, requirements, and workflow, it's something to consider.
  6. bsbeamer macrumors 68020

    Sep 19, 2012

    FCP7 is 32bit and can't utilize a lot of RAM. so RAM would only benefit AE in that scenario.

    MacPro offers a lot more options and speed than an iMac overall, but I know people who work on iMacs. As long as you're not expecting lightning speed renders then it'll work with AE. If you want a fast drive like an HDPro2 or fiber solutions, then you need a MacPro. There are thunderbolt RAIDs, but I know people who think the performance isn't worth the cost. I recommend the HDPro2, it's phenomenal but it's not cheap.

    Do you have or need an IO card like an AJA or Blackmagic?

    Good luck. If you can wait until NAB then you may have some additional options, at least in the storage drive area. Hopefully maybe a new MacPro by then too?
  7. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    Adobe really only recommends 64GB with a 16 core machine, something that is unavailable from Apple. I can't find the page right now, but it's in their description. Basically 2GB per assigned logical core. 16 with hyperthreading gives you 32 cores, so 64GB. Assigning the same amount on a 12 core mac pro would mean 48GB. At least that's the way Adobe explains it.
  8. bsbeamer macrumors 68020

    Sep 19, 2012
    This might be the page you're looking for:

    AE lets you manage the amount of RAM used for full Adobe suite and then how much is reserved for other applications. Depending on this configuration and the amount of multitasking you're looking to do, you may not have the full 64GB available.
  9. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    While you don't have an IT department, you probably do have a budget. That is capped by the expected revenue ( or ability to charge back into org that does generate revenue). That is going to put some boundaries on the problem. It is very easy on these forums to configure a $20K workstation system with associated peripherals.

    There is an issues associated with "fastest processors you afford" that aren't really being touched on here. You shouldn't get into a point where you are "Robbing Peter to pay Paul". Too much allocation to CPU spending probably will decreas RAM , Storage , and Graphic card capabilities because will be out of budget.

    It doesn't really pay to heavily skew just to the CPU. Make sure to account for enough RAM , storage and graphics to be adequate and then deduct those from budget to see how much "play" you have with CPU prices.
    That should lead you to a closest match default configuration if can't settle how to manage the more CPU vs. better RAM vs. better storage vs GPU tradeoffs.

    FCP 7 vs FCPX makes as different in not just the RAM usage but also in effectively leveraging the GPU. Video ("graphics") rendering that doesn't make use of the GPGPUs doesn't make a whole lot of sense. In the past, that was true but for modern 2013 apps in this space not to leverage OpenCL is huge head scratcher. Having a giant bucke of flop ops that need to be done doesn't necessarily mean x86 cores anymore. Yeah there are apps and plug-ins with comatose development coupled to them but unless trapped on those it is quirky to let them drive future hardware purchases.

    FCP 7 has upsides if have a significant legacy library of older FCP projects or need to interchange projects with people who have such libraries. If you are primarily doing your own stack scale would tip toward FCPX.

    After Effective is become more GPU card balanced (not so CUDA biased ) but again depends upon what will be using it for in short term. Longer term that should disappear.

    Storage can be an issue because the more you have the more you need to back up. If your projects are in the 100GB range then SSD (or two) may be better fit than looking at RAID solutions for the active working sets.

    Another storage question to ask yourself is how much do you need to keep on nearline storage ( need fast access to last 6 months of work. last 12 , or everything ? ). It is alot cheaper to archive stuff not gong to look at for a long time onto an detached external 3-4TB drive than it costs to keep it spun up and active on a RAID-5/RAID-6 set up.

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