Mac Pro purchase question

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by blunti, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. blunti macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011
    I recently moved back from Europe to the States. I sold the 8 core in Europe.

    I work as a professional editor and I also use After Effects heavily.
    question is : the 8 core was ok but I wasn't really satisfied with it and now I'm debating between the "sweet spot" 6 core and the 2.66 12 core.

    Price in this case is not the problem. Heavy After effects and Avid Media Composer. (Obviously will purchase FcpX when it's available)

    Pretty much just need some help to decide which one of these will fulfill my needs more than the 8 core westmere did.


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  2. philipma1957, Jun 9, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2011

    philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    well if it is for business buy an 2010 eight core 2.4 and mod it to a dual hex 3.46 . it is the fastest machine that is a mac pro.

    here is a refurb for 2969

    new cpu's with warranty

    3230 for a pair total cost is 6200 for a dual hex 3.46GHz

    apple charges 6200 for a dual hex 2.93

    the upgrade is under 2 hours to do and is not difficult. it would be the best a mac pro can do
  3. blunti thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011
    thanks for the quick reply. The system you recommended is really sweet. however I don't want to have any problems IF it turns out I need to send the system back for repair or something.

    On the other hand $6200 seems just a little steep considering it's a 2010 model. I can justify spending 4700-4800 on the system itself (2.66 12core) but $6200 with a (possible) new design and architecture change just around the corner seems a bit too much. I'm installing tons of ram and an ssd for boot, but I have a seperate budget for that.

    My main concern is if the 12 core 2.66 worth the money or can the 6 core do the job (AE + Avid) better than the 8 core 2.4 westmere did?


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  4. blunti thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011
    still need input on this guys!
    need to buy comp this or next week the latest.

    so question again: heavy AE, Avid, FCPX (when it comes out)

    6 or 12 core? 2.66 version of the 12 core.

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  5. jenzjen macrumors 68000

    Aug 20, 2010
    Your posts confuse me, you initially said price isn't an issue but later it reads like you don't want to spend alot with a possible refresh within a year and later still you need a machine within a week.

    If price really isn't an issue, get the 12 core and upgrade from third parties. If a new pro comes out in a year that's a noticeable upgrade, sell this machine to recoup some value if price turns out to be a little issue.
  6. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    I just ordered a 2 x 2.93 with the HD5870 and I'm upgrading the RAM myself to 24GB. You should consider getting this rig for maximum performance (you can always upgrade the RAM, processor not so easily.)
  7. blunti thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011
    So you think it would be worth getting the 12 core then? hopefully the new fcpx and AE will take advantage of the multiple cores.
    but then again if upgrades pro comes out in a month ill shoot myself in the head:)

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  8. SatyMahajan macrumors regular

    Apr 26, 2009
    Cambridge, MA
    AE has used multiple cores since CS3.

    FCP X uses Grand Central Dispatch for the background rendering.
  9. blunti thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011
    AE does have multiple core handling. however my experience was that when enabling use of multiple cores that resulted in a bit slower render time. (only had 15gigs of ram (3x4 +3x1 gigs)

    on the other hand Avid Media Composer does not make any use out of multiple cores, hopefully this will change soon.

    question still remains. what would be smarter to do now? 6 or 12 ? in any case ram will be upped quite a bit.

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  10. blunti thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011
    forgot to add that longer rendering times occured after i switched from an 8 core 2.8 2008 mp to the slower core speed westmere 8core. so possibly it had to do something with clock speed ;)

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  11. marksandvig macrumors regular

    May 21, 2006
    i think the general consensus is that no new intel chips for the mac pro line will be available until q4 2011.. in which case if there is a bump in a month it will be a minor improvement, not a drastic one.
  12. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Please understand, that there won't be a new MP just around the corner. Suitable Sandy Bridge parts aren't scheduled to release until Q4 2011, and then they need time to actually manufacture and ship systems, typically 13 weeks = 1Q (aka lead time). So realistically, we're talking March of 2012 at the earliest before the machines actually surface (= ~ 9 months away).

    Given this, what is your actual budget (please make sure you allocate enough funds for upgrades, particularly memory and storage)?

    BTW, disks are the biggest bottleneck in the systems, so don't under-invest in this area (need to keep the cores fed - otherwise fast clocks are a waste of money). Please understand, that storage is an area that's often overlooked or not considered with sufficient merit/weight in my experience. For example, RAID may need to be considered (i.e. hardware based as a means of increasing throughputs as well as provide redundancy as a means of reducing the amount of time you'd need to spend fixing problems as time means money for a professional).

    It's really going to come down to how much time you put into the different parts of these suites (i.e. is most of your time spent where true n core multi-threading is used, or not) to determine which is the best way to go (i.e. more cores, or faster clock speed, as you're giving mixed signals as to budget).

    It won't (see above).

    Clocks could have had something to do with it, but so does memory capacity, GPU used, and storage throughputs. You'll need to spec out a balanced system or you won't get the performance out of it you'd expect (more than just clocks and cores involved).

    There definitely aren't any suitable Sandy Bridge parts out yet, but I doubt we'd even see a mid-model refresh of any kind, as the market seems to be shrinking from what I can tell (comes down to economy of scale not making it feasible; even with past Intel versions, they didn't do this - they've waited for new CPU's from Intel each time).
  13. blunti thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011
    thanks all for the input!

    Nanofrog: budget is around $6.5-7k. Already have my 30 dell, and my 4x2 gigs HDD that i've taken out from my "old" rig.

    So nasically what i'm looking at is:

    -Intel 320 series 160gig boot drive
    -6 or 12 core MP

    I understand that SB xeons are not out yet. but people in other threads keep talking about minor upgrades ( TB, maybe a tiny clock speed increase) in the FCPX topic. What I would really like to avoid is to spend a huge amount of money on something that _might_ get bumped thus making my investment somewhat obsolete ( when talking about possible resale value later on).

    It's why I'm just trying to make sure i get the right rig and that it will stay future-proof for a while. But i don't want to just waste money brainlessly.

    And since Avid will (probably) take a while before it starts taking advantage of multiple cores let me just narrow the needs down to FCPX and After Effects.

    Appreciate all the inputs!

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  14. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    A new model with TB and a tiny clock increase are not going to make your computer obsolete.

    We're not even sure TB will be successful. Adoption outside of Apple is at a snail's pace. Even Apple's own lineup doesn't entirely include it. Sony has already "fragmented" TB by including it, but using a different connector. The statement that PCIe cards will not be available for existing computers is a kick in the nuts. Video card makers are annoyed that TB actually has much less bandwidth than display port 1.2, thus preventing monitor daisy chaining from the TB/DP connector.

    I like Thunderbolt a lot, but there are problems to overcome including USB 3.0 which got a good head start and is backwards compatible with about everything made under the sun.
  15. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2010
    In regards to processor, I have a 6*3.33 at home and I got a client I often freelance for to get a 12*2,66.

    With enough RAM the 12 core is MUCH better for After Effects. They got 48GB RAM which gives 3GB per core plus headroom for FCP, Photoshop, etc, and I would not recommend anything less than 24GB for a 12 core AE machine.

    The 12*2,97 is something like 25% extra cost for only 10% extra power compared to the 2.66 so not worth it in my opinion, and the 2.66 is more easy to find on the refurb store.
  16. philipma1957, Jun 14, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2011

    philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey

    buy the 12 core 2.66

    cost is 4249 at apple refurb store if you have the discover card you get 5% off. you can add ram 96gb

    six sticks are 363 each

    that puts you at 2178 plus 4249 or 6427 for a 12 core with 96gb ram

    if you do not need 96gb ram buy

    six sticks of 8gb

    cost is 792 so 4249 plus 792 is 5041 for a 12 core with 48gb ram

    this puts you 2k under budget put in a better gpu lets say a 6970 in a few months maybe 400 or 500 bucks

    down the road a cpu upgrade can be done by adding a pair of x5690's wait a year or two for that..

    I now list this because the 12 core 2.66 is in stock you will not need to jump to upgrade the cpus once you fill it with ram. this machine will have a gpu upgrade path {sooner under 6 months } and a cpu upgrade path {Later over 18 months}
  17. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Cannibalizing gear from your previous system is always nice. :) Especially large screen monitors, as those can set you back quite a bit (Eizo's 30" ColorEdge series comes to mind at over $5k USD; example). :eek: :p

    But I'm curious as to what you plan to do for storage. :confused: The SSD will make a wonderful OS/applications disk, but what do you plan to do with the 4x 2TB disks?

    I ask, as though a stripe set can offer raw speed, it's not even as reliable as a single disk. This is fine for a hobbyist that can afford the time necessary to fix it when it breaks (replace the bad disk, restore from backups, and re-perform any lost work that occurred between the last backup and when the array failed), but not so much for professionals, where time literally does = money.

    As it happens, the MP can also do level 10 (0/1/10 and JBOD to be thorough), which will offer you some redundancy. But it comes at a speed and capacity penalty that may not be viable (4TB usable capacity with your existing 4x 2TB disks), and you're still missing a backup solution.

    A hardware RAID, such as RAID 5 may be in order, but it's not exactly inexpensive either, as you'll need a controller, enterprise disks, and some additional hardware (either an internal mounting kit, external enclosure, or both). I'd need specifics to go any further, but it offers a great balance of performance and capacity (not quite as fast as a stripe set for the same number of disks, but it's redundant).

    Something you need to think about carefully (i.e. SP Hex + storage system that can keep the cores fed vs. more cores <12 in particular> that will be starved because the storage system cannot remotely keep up).

    So I'd figure out the storage solution (+ any other upgrades you may still need, such as memory), deduct that from your budget, and that will dictate which machine will be possible. I suspect the SP Hex (really nice machine for the money, as it's faster for both single and multi-threaded applications than the current Octad for just a couple of hundred more), but this is more out of an educated guess as to what you'd really need for storage (based on a presumption of a busy professional editor). ;) :D

    In fact, the storage + memory + SP Hex could exceed your budget. :eek: Seriously. But it will depend on your specific needs (immediate capacity and future growth + performance to dictate the number of ports for the card, member count <disks>, and additional hardware to connect it all together).

    As a professional, resale value shouldn't be a concern as the machine will pay for itself multiple times over if you have the business and do it right (get the right machine + upgrades).

    Now as to trying to plan for the future, that's difficult on a good day (not impossible to do, but things change rapidly and can destroy the best laid plans, such as expecting say 4TB capacity growth per year, but end up with 2x or more of that figure). If all goes well however (increased income generated), such a situation wouldn't be that difficult to work out (just buy more disks and enclosures, maybe a larger RAID card or additional card if necessary).

    In terms of software, you could wait until more information comes out on FCP X as it's not that far off from what I'm reading. Past that, I'd recommend considering anything else not announced vaporware (don't make assumptions as to what features are coming <next week, according to this>, let alone when as you've an immediate need).

    There's a front page article that might be of interest. ;) Assuming this actually comes to fruition (in terms of the peripherals, presuming they're not sold with an Apple label on them), it could ramp up the adoption rate for TB.
  18. blunti thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011
    thanks for all the input all!

    nanofrog: I always had seperate drives for audio and video. Once i finish a weekly show i just consolidate the audio+video, send it over to my network storage and then normally just make back everything up to a blu-ray disc. Will possibly just take the bd burner out of my pc and pop it in the MP...

    So this way i always have everything backed up and can always restore data/sequence when needed.

    Need to mention that I'm not working with 4k ;) just 1080 and for the past ~5-6 years (first 2 years were edited in SD) never had storage/backup problems :)
    i normally digitize footage in avid kinda compressed and do a batch capture with full quality when the show is finished.

    I think I'll just get the 12 core 2.66. should be good with the advised amount of ram. (48gigs)

    Thanks all for the help. I really appreciate it.

    Also sorry for the messy writing but iphone is giving me a hard time:) big hands but small phone :p

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  19. blunti thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011
    I understand what you mean by data loss=money loss. I forgot to add that every day when i finish work i backup the new sequence/efx/ w/e to the network drive. I know this could be done more professionaly but im not working for Lucas ;) yet :D


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  20. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    :cool: NP. :)

    Single disks are quite stable, and so long as you have a backup, you'd be fine.

    What I wasn't sure of, is if you were trying to use stripe sets (RAID 0) for primary data storage, particularly if there was no backup. Not the right way to go for critical data in professional use (seen too many problems).

    I'm just trying to figure out how much MB/s throughput you need for editing. Gives a really good idea as to what sort of storage system would best suit your needs (keep you from waiting on the system as much as possible).

    I have the same problem with smart phones, so I don't bother (I can fire up the computer and get something typed in the same amount of time, and it's even legible). ;)
  21. blunti thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011
    thanks again for the swift reply nanofrog :)
    1 more question about the ram :

    1333mhz right? was thinking about getting 6x8 gigs or 3x8 for now and add another 3x8gigs later

    also, would 3x8 gigs + 3x1 gigs ( the default 1gig modules that ship with the MP) work?


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  22. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    The Hex core CPU's can run 1333MHz (and will run that in triple channel; use the 4th DIMM slot, and it drops to 1066MHz, even using 1333MHz memory). Keep in mind, the memory frequency it runs at isn't important for the software you're running. Capacity OTOH is in your case (most users fall into this category), so if you need to use the 4th DIMM slot, do so.

    Now if you mean to use 8GB sticks from OWC, those are Registered DIMM's (RDIMM's). RDIMM's cannot be mixed with any other type of memory (which means no mixing it with Unbuffered DIMM's (UDIMM's) which is what the OEM memory is, or non-ECC memory that you'd find in a PC running an LGA1366 socket i7 CPU).

    Samsung does make 8GB UDIMM's (which would mix with the OEM memory), but last I checked, they were very hard to find and expensive.
  23. blunti thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011
  24. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Both are non-ECC DDR3. It can mix with the OEM memory in the system, but will run in non-ECC mode (not critical in your case, as the software doesn't really need ECC support), but the capacity could be an issue (each of those you linked are only 4GB sticks).

    Which means, if you fill all 8x DIMM slots, you can only get a max memory capacity of 32GB (should be fine for now, but not sure about future software versions, as they may be worse at memory consumption). This could mean you'd end up having to replace some or all of the sticks to increase capacity in the future if needed (depending on the type of memory you can find at that later date; I suspect Registered will still be more common though in the near future for 8+ GB sticks, as Samsung is the only vendor out with chips of sufficient density to offer 8GB in Unbuffered configurations right now).
  25. blunti thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011
    I was thinking the same to be honest. Future expandibility was my only concern about the 4gig sticks.

    Since I cant mix the OEM ram with 8gig rams (ecc vs non ecc) might as well get 4x8gigs now and buy an additional 2 sticks later if needed:)

    thx for all your help. appreciate it! :)

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