Mac Pro or iMac for using Handbrake

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by dj.paterson, Jun 8, 2008.

  1. dj.paterson macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2008
    #1
    Hi,

    I really need a desktop computer that can convert a lot of DVD's to h.264 using Handbrake. I will also be doing a lot of Tunebite work using Bootcamp, converting my music collection to mp3 format.

    What would suit me better a Mac Pro or an iMac.

    If I go for an iMac I would have to purchase the 20" version as the 24" version would be far too big for my small bedroom. However this limits me to a 2.66ghz processor. Would this be adequate for fast encoding?

    Would a Mac Pro be overkill? I don't play games or do any other massively intensive tasks other than using handbrake a lot and tunebite. However, I do currently have a Dell 20" 2007wfp monitor.

    Really appreciate your thoughts on this, as I am finding this very difficult.
     
  2. gazfocus macrumors 68000

    gazfocus

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    Jan 3, 2008
    Location:
    Liverpool, UK
    #2
    I think your only limitation would be the hard drive space. iMac's are very difficult to upgrade the hard drives in (unless you go down the route of the external drives).

    I think it depends on how time critical you are. If you need good speeds when doing the encoding, you would be better off with the Mac Pro due to its Quad or Octo core (depending on the model), and of course, having the external monitor means you can get a larger display when you feel the need and therefore it should last you longer :)
     
  3. utekineir macrumors 6502

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    Feb 20, 2008
    #3
    The advantage of the mac pro over the imac isnt so much the increased speed on one encode. Handbrake is limited in how many cores it uses for the encoding.

    Its that you can encode 3-4 things at once where the mac pro shines. The mac pro is a monster when it comes to multitasking.

    One of the things i have been working on over the last number of months is encoding 300+ dvds for use on the apple tv, since a scrolling menu is a whole lot easier than going through stacks of movies. I had a mac mini 2.0 ghz, which isn't too far off from an imac since both are laptop parts. Doing one handbrake encode at good settings for apple tv basically brought the system to its knees and would take 3-4 hours each. On average it would be able to do about 6-8 a day, which would pretty much make the machine unusable for anything else.

    The mac pro does 3-4 encodes at one time each faster than what the mini could do one in. Plus its usable for other tasks while doing so. (4 is a bit flaky, though it seems to be related to using the same 2 hard drives for each encode).


    Is the extra cost/space worth it to you? Well thats something for you to decide. If you only have a limited amount of things to encode you will finish encoding everything eventually with either machine, and once you do, what then? Mac pros aren't cheap, especially after adding in a screen and ram. Encoding wasn't the only reason I went with a mac pro, but its a hell of an upside.
     
  4. dj.paterson thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 8, 2008
    #4
    So in order to encode several movies at once you would need several internal hard drives?

    I was intending on encoding to external hard drives, would this make it slower?


    I also rip my dvd's using handbrake at the same time as converting them. So will the 16x DVD drives help?

    What are would the time differences be between encoding a DVD on a 2.66ghz iMac and a quad 2.8Ghz Mac Pro

    Also, how long would it take to encode a normal length movie on a current Quad 2.8Ghz vs an Octo 2.8Ghz Mac Pro?
     
  5. utekineir macrumors 6502

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    Feb 20, 2008
    #5
    I rip mostly everything to the hard drive with mac the ripper, then encode. With a 2.8ghz octo my bottleneck is the time to get everything on the hard drive since i only have one dvd drive. I store everything on one drive, then the encodes are saved onto a different drive. Basically i rip them to the drive here and there while i'm doing other things at the computer or around the house, and when i get 15-20 or so done i open 3 instances of handbrake, que up 5 or so each and let it go to work. You could use one drive to read from and store to. But i'm sure it would choke pretty hard with multiple encodes at once. It would probably be fine for one at a time though.

    There are some movies which mactheripper wont handle but work fine straight through handbrake from the dvd.

    For your purposes external/internal etc shouldn't really have any drastic differences assuming you aren't using ass slow drives. Its not like you're looking for or need bleeding edge maximum bandwith etc etc etc.

    For your other questions:

    Pretty much any dvd drive now is probably 16x, they're dirt cheap. I wouldn't worry about it.

    I have no idea what the time differences would be between different chips. As i allready said, the mac pro will be a bit faster for one encode. But the difference on one encode is pretty much irrelevant when you consider the difference in price. Multitasking is why you want a mac pro.

    As for quad vs octo on one encode. It doesn't matter since handbrake wont utilize all the cores on an octo with one encode.

    You're probably better off saving nearly 2k and going with the imac. The mac pro seems pretty far beyond your needs.
     
  6. hexonxonx macrumors 601

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    Jul 4, 2007
    Location:
    Denver Colorado
    #6
    I had purchased a 20" iMac like you are thinking of doing and used it to rip DVDs and music files. That didn't last long because the hard drive quickly filled up. I then bought a 1TB drive and that quickly filled up.

    Last Monday, I bought a Mac Pro simply because of the drive capacity being up to 4TB. Second reason as already pointed out, it's ability to do multiple things at the same time such as being able to rip to DVDs at the same time or encode different files at the same time. It also does these things in a much shorter amount of time. Ripping a two hour movie on the Pro took about 20 minutes as compared to 50 minutes or so on the iMac.

    Your reasons for thinking of buying a Pro are good enough reasons to me, it's pretty much the same reasons why I have one. It's all about getting more done quicker in allot less time with allot more storage space.
     
  7. utekineir macrumors 6502

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    Feb 20, 2008
    #7
    Mac pros are amazing, when multitasking comes in they are in a whole different league from an imac. But you pay for the difference, only you know what your budget and time constaints are.


    Either way you will have to buy extra storage. 1tb externals are around 200-230 or so. A mac pro would also need a screen if you don't have one.
     
  8. alex7575 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    #8
    utekiner,

    I'll have to disagree with you, handbrake DOES use all cores, and on a mac pro (octo 3.2) it takes about 40 mins for a 2hr dvd, on a regular macbook (core 2 2.4) takes about 3 hrs.

    Also:

    [​IMG]


    This is my 4 core MP, notice all the cores busy, and how much HB is using?

    >300%, meaning it's using all cores.
     
  9. dchao macrumors 6502a

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    May 20, 2008
    #9
    I second that, get a second DVD drive (cheap 30$ these days) or even a Blu-Ray drive, so you get your movies onto your hard disks twice as fast.
     
  10. utekineir macrumors 6502

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    Feb 20, 2008
    #10

    Thats a 4 core, read up on the handbrake message boards. Theres some explanation there about how handbrake encoding doesnt take advantage of much more than 3 or 4 cores.
     
  11. richard.mac macrumors 603

    richard.mac

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    #11
    ^ ive seen a picture around here of a Mac Pro using all 8 cores while encoding with Handbrake.
     
  12. Chundles macrumors G4

    Chundles

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    Jul 4, 2005
    #12
    Our 2.8GHz Mac Pro (octo) gets well over 100fps doing a DVD to iPod HiRez settings. It's f*cking amazingly fast.

    The iMacs just feel achingly slow in comparison.
     
  13. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #14
    If you need a dedicated Handbrake machine that won't break the bank get a Windows machine. Quad core processors are dirt cheap nowadays.
     
  14. utekineir macrumors 6502

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    Feb 20, 2008
    #16
    It may be better now, but in the past handbrake on windows sucked compared to on a mac. Iirc the op wanted a mac, and didn't want to mess with a hackintosh.
     
  15. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #17
    I've had it working perfectly in Windows XP and Vista 64-bit.
     
  16. ChrisN macrumors 65816

    ChrisN

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    Demarest, NJ
    #18
    If you have a mac pro with 2 optical drives can u burn 2 dvds same time?

    ChrisN
     
  17. hexonxonx macrumors 601

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    Denver Colorado
    #19
    I ripped a few DVDs today. The Mac Pro rips these so fast that I wished I would have bought a Pro months ago.

    While ripping the DVDs, I had activity monitor open and it showed that all eight cores were being used.

    The thread that was linked to above about eight cores was started over a year ago and there have been revisions to both the Mac Pro and Handbrake since that thread started.
     
  18. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

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    New Hampshire
    #20
    Well with Toast you sure can. It is supposedly specifically designed to be able to run with multiple copies of it open which I do often using my internal drive at the same time as an external. I know for sure that it works with at least versions 8 and 9 of Toast- I did not have dual drives with versions prior to that but suspect it would.
     
  19. utekineir macrumors 6502

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    Feb 20, 2008
    #21
    all 8 are used, but none to their potential, its spread out
     
  20. hexonxonx macrumors 601

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    Denver Colorado
    #22
    I've heard that you can do the same with Handbrake. I don't have two optical drives so I haven't been able to try this yet.
     
  21. Chundles macrumors G4

    Chundles

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    #23
    Don't see why you couldn't run two instances of Handbrake, each pointed to a different disk.
     
  22. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

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    Russia
    #24
    The the best possible performance on a Mac Pro (especially 8 core), you need to rip all those DVDs first to your HD with MacTheRipper and then encode 2+ (on 4 core) or 4+(on 8 core) at a time with Handbrake. Just open multiple instances of the app and que equal number of movies in each.
     
  23. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Indianapolis
    #25
    Multiple instance fun usually involves a copy of the program.
     

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