Mac Pro Cores/Speed/RAM Guidance Requested

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by iansblues, Oct 11, 2009.

  1. iansblues macrumors newbie

    Oct 9, 2009
    Hi. I am new to the forum, so feel free to direct me to an existing thread, if appropriate.

    A) Does the forum happen to have existing performance results that document the extent to which the various 10.5/10.6-era releases of the iMovie, or Final Cut, apps are multi-core/thread aware and savvy ... are these two apps able to drive/saturate lots of cores (8 cores / 16 threads)?

    As an example, it would be great for me to know how long it takes a recent release of iMovie to export 4GB of video (as an example) on each of three different MP configs, if memory and disk are equal across the three. Here are the currently-considered price-points/configs :

    1. Early ’09 4-cores @ 2.66
    2. Early ’09 8-cores @ 2.26
    3. Early ’08 8-cores @ any speed

    I am leaning toward paying-up for an 8-core MP (12-16GB, 2 x GT120s, 3 x 24" portrait monitors) to support :

    1. Scripted, hourly EyeTV (250 Plus) record/export, followed by import to iMovie for simple edit/export to a workgroup of stock traders (news/opinion clips)
    2. Two Fusion-based XP instances running Scottrade Elite and various (low/moderate-utilization) custom apps
    3. Three 24” monitors whose windows are actively updated, resized, and moved
    4. Several Safari/Numbers/Pages sessions always open
    5. “Spaces” actively used to switch between different “work surfaces”
    6. Routine TimeMachine backups
    7. Routine video edit/burn sessions for family members, as time allows
    A “One core and 1.5GB RAM” allocation to each Fusion-based XP VM seems to work fine for me.
    B) Three final considerations :

    1. Does the EyeTV Turbo.264 product speed video encoding, even on a fast MP?
    2. Is the “amount” of RAM the greatest factor in iMovie/FC import/export speed, given 10-15% clock speed differences, or does CPU speed matter more?
    3. Is the best value in MP ownership to always keep one that is a generation, or two, old, or is “buy new and sell the older generation” the best route?

    Thanks for your help! (I apologize for the long post)
  2. Dr.Pants macrumors 65816


    Jan 8, 2009
    I never played with iMovie much, so I don't know about its usage too well. Final Cut, however, likes the extra cores for renders. However, keep in mind that you would require two monitors attached to one graphics card to use dualie monitors (i.e., cut/correct/edit/import/mix in one and fullscreen view in the other. Or at least I could've swore that was the case.

    If you're running any NLE along with two VM instances, I can already tell you you want either of the higher two systems and buy 8 4 GB DIMMs from OWC to "max" out the RAM at 32 GB. Everything you want to run I imagine you want to run smoothly to get to your workgroup ASAP.

    Good to see you don't want Apple displays in this case ;)

    For final considerations.

    1. I do not know, as they are products I have only vaguely heard about.
    2. CPU for render, RAM for ease while cutting. There's a min amount of RAM to get the most out of the cores, but trust me, this machine will need enough RAM to wake up at night and steal stuff out of the fridge.
    3. Depends on the headache you want to feel. Transferring all that stuff from one machine to another is not going to be a fun task, IMO, considering that either one has to reinstall everything on another machine or clone HDs and then maybe have to kill permissions errors. I would stick with a machine for two generations at least just because of the time/problems associated with installing everything to a new system.

    Of course, there are a few users here (I won't name names) that change systems every two months or so. It all depends.

    Also, for #7.... This is just me, but I'd set up different user accounts for other people using the MacPro, just in case they arse something up (like closing a VM, for instance). I'm pretty sure VMs can keep running in the background while another user is logged in..... I could be wrong. A good peice of advice is to leave your first account made well enough alone, as IIRC its the root account, and any screwups on the root account transfer to the whole system.

    Also, over 250 programs are being recorded? Are some simultaneous? Even thogh they're AVCHD, you might run into a bottleneck with your HDD (which I would have separate ones for each VM, too). But one at a time should be fine. Just watch out as your drives fill.
  3. iansblues thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 9, 2009
    Mac Pro Cores/Speed/RAM Guidance Requested

    Thanks Dr.Pants.

    Clarification : I wasn't very clear about the EyeTV product. "EyeTV 250 Plus" is the USB-based, hardware-compression device that is supporting the recording of financial news. Usually, only one recording is running at any given time during the business day.

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