MacPro or PC for video/audio and rendering?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by robains, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. robains macrumors regular

    robains

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Location:
    California
    #1
    I'm debating whether to continue with a MacPro (currently own MacPro 1,1 2X2 3Ghz - 8GB RAM - ATI 5770) or move to Windows platform for my video/audio rendering work. I have a lot experience on both platforms so the OS isn't a deciding factor - hardware and application support is.

    I can build a Windows PC 12 core right now for about $5988.92

    Supermicro Motherboard Xeon 5600 2 physical
    Intel Xeon 5690 3.4Ghz 6 cores X2
    ATI 5970 2GB video
    256GB SSD X2 - 512GB total
    24GB RAM ECC
    Case full size
    1200Watt Silverstone Power Supply
    BD/DVD drive

    I've built many Windows PCs before so this is not a challenge for me. This Windows PC is more powerful - 3.4Ghz processors vs. 2.93Ghz in Apple's MacPro, but Apple's closest equivalent hardware comes to $8699.00

    Given that I will most likely need two of these computers, as I move back and forth between. While one renders one project I use the other to work on other aspects of the same project or different project (minimize my down time for final renders). So two from Apple is $17398 vs. 2 Windows $11978, so I'm looking at a cost savings of $5420.

    Or, should I wait? I need more cores as they do directly reduce my conversion/render times as I do A LOT of video conversion from MTS to .MOV (currently Apple ProRes 422 HQ) via Toast 11 (supports as many cores as you one can throw at it) for use with FCP 7.0.3.

    I also do considerable rendering using Cinema 4D R12 (soon to be R13).

    I like OSX, but it would appear Apple's commitment to the "Pro" market is dwindling with no real "upgrade" for FCS (FCPX is not for Pro level) and their latest 12 core MacPro is missing some features that I could get elsewhere on the Windows side of life. Even with the 10.0.1 FCPX update, there is still SO much missing that FCS is still the tool of choice. 3rd Party vendors also seem to be more focused on the Windows application side now ... suttle, but vendor support seems more solid on the Windows side vs. OSX side (as in less buggy and in some cases extra features).

    So I guess the question is, should I wait for the next Apple MacPro or proceed with my move to Windows hardware for my video/audio and rendering platform? Is there no future in the Pro market for both Apple hardware and software?

    Obviously part of me wants to stay on the OSX side and believe in Richard Townhill's statement that FCPX will be the "modern foundation for the next 10 years" but 4 months just to get 10.0.1 which doesn't address any of my needs ... in the meantime the rest of the Industry continues forward.

    Rob.
     
  2. goMac macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    #2
    Why are you comparing now? The Mac Pros are due for a refresh.
     
  3. flatfoot macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    #3
    They'll still be less bang for the buck than equivalent Windows machines.
     
  4. dimme macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Location:
    SF, CA
    #4
    cost savings of $5420

    If this is your business than that should answer your question
     
  5. cperry2 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2011
    #5
    My first thought is that if the software on the Windows side is sufficient, go for it. Think of what you could do with that extra 5K...

    No doubt, Apple is/ has been far more interested in developing and emphasizing their consumer business, which is actually too bad because they used to have some very appealing, integrated pro solutions. Obviously this is slipping - cancellation of Xserve, "prosumer" FCP X, stagnant Mac Pro, etc.

    There is one caveat - Does or will thunderbolt matter to you? I guess if you can't afford to wait very long, it's a moot point, but anyway...

    Besides all of that, Windows 7 is just fine, and Windows 8 looks like it'll be fun and stable. And there is also the "Hackintosh" route, but not sure why you'd want to do that unless you are bent on keeping FCP 7.

    So, bottom line, a self-built Windows solution is the far more pragmatic solution, and pragmatism counts here. Cheers
     
  6. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #6
    If you can wait, wait for the next MP revision and then make your decision. You may still pick PC at that time, but at least it will have been a better comparison. Right now MP hasn't really changed much since 2009. 2012 model is likely to be significantly different.
     
  7. YESimBLUNTED macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2011
    Location:
    In my cubicle somewhere in this rat maze
    #7
    Why don't you invest in some mini's and set-up a render farm? Then you don't have to worry about back-and-forth between machines. Just a thought...
     
  8. goMac macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    #8
    To also reply to something else the OP said...

    The Mac pro market is fine. FCPX is getting it's upgrades, as promised. It's like for years pros were only children, and now Apple has this new iPhone baby, and now pros are convinced Apple doesn't love them anymore because of their new baby brother, so they're constantly threatening to run away.

    It's overblown.
     
  9. robains thread starter macrumors regular

    robains

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Location:
    California
    #9
    Are they? I thought they were just recently "refreshed" with 2 X 6 core? Missing features like "Thunderbolt" (aka LightPeak) in the MacPro line ... which I believe will become critical for what I want to do.

    Yes, obvious cost savings and more performance on the Windows side ... but I need to factor in moving 3rd party apps to Windows side which might eat up some of that $5420 savings.

    Sorta hinged on a few factors right now:

    • Thunderbolt and USB 3.0
    • 8 core Xeon release for next MacPro?
    • Will Apple deliver on FCPX updates to match and exceed FCP 7.0.3 before year end?

    Thunderbolt is a big factor especially for supporting devices ... so that I no longer have to worry about video card support as Thunderbolt would be fast enough to support external graphics units such as something like this.

    I really want to stay OSX, hence my post ... but just concerned about what Apple will have available hardware and software wise. They have Thunderbolt in their laptops so there is hope, but I see mixed messages and no word (as usual) on when/if the next MacPro will be out and what it will contain.

    I could probably push a decision off until year end, but no longer than that.

    So if anyone has some insight, it would be appreciated.

    Rob.
     
  10. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #10
    Not necessarily. On launch they compare pretty favorably. After launch and discounts is when they start sliding.
    I looked for a W3680 workstation and all the PC offerings were 3400.00+ for same specs and a decent case. The proc was 1100.00 by itself. Now it is 500.00 and apple still charges the exact same amount for it. I lost 200.00 going Mac Pro in my experience. I think OS X is worth that at least.
    OP:
    You may need to wait a bit longer than end of year if you want SB-E. Which you should. Why pay so much for 1.5 Year old processors from Intel. PC or Mac, they are both old Westmere.
     
  11. goMac macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    #11
    Nope. Haven't been refreshed in over a year.
     
  12. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #12
    I think you'd still need to insert a supported card. This is a big deal to Mac laptop owners, but I can't see anyone using this on a MP unless they are out of slots.
     
  13. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    Boon Docks USA
    #13
    Nice choice on motherboard. I have 2 X8DTI-F's. One has 1 X5670, the other has 2 E5640's. Not sure you need ECC ram for video editing. Never had an issue using non ECC. Save yourself a few bucks.
    If this is a business, money talks and BS walks. If you can accomplish your work on the PC at a reduced cost, go PC. It all depends on what platform you need to get the job done.
     
  14. odinsride macrumors 65816

    odinsride

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    #14
    What about getting 10 mac minis for $6k and using xgrid for your render jobs? That would be 20 cores :)
     
  15. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    Boon Docks USA
    #17
    If apple could put 3Ghz quad core processors w/hyperthreading in a mini, the mac pro would die. Ivy bridge should allow this if we are lucky.
     
  16. robains thread starter macrumors regular

    robains

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Location:
    California
    #18
    I had thought about the Mac Mini route, but some applications I use can only deal with cores on the current computer, not render farms. Although render farms are good and probably will be a planned add-on in the future, I need the flexibility of two powerful workstations ready to roll at any time.

    So the current guess is that Apple will do a significant MacPro update early 2012?

    I hate these decisions ... so another 4-7 months to endure ... what to do what to do, ugh. If only Apple would provide some future roadmap ... I know I know, never gonna happen ... but I gotta wonder how many customers they lost because of this philosophy - maybe things will change with new CEO? The MacPro and "pro" applications are such a small segment of Apple, I honestly don't think it needs to be shrouded with secrecy.

    Rob
     
  17. goMac macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    #19
    It's not really all that secret. It's pretty connected to Intel's updates. They generally release yearly, and they match with Intel's schedule if they can. Not rocket science.

    Intel is releasing new Xeon's in November. So that would be your roadmap.
     
  18. robains thread starter macrumors regular

    robains

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Location:
    California
    #20
    Ok, so Apple would need to do an EFI64 update 1-2 months? But what about Intel Motherboard with Thunderbolt that supports the new Xeon's out in November?

    January 2012?
     
  19. goMac macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    #21
    A what? EFI64 has nothing to do with this.

    Thunderbolt is up to Intel. There is an ongoing thread about this as Thunderbolt has never been done with a PCI Express Graphics Card, so it's kind of new territory. And Intel hasn't explained what the plan is.

    I find it hard to believe the new Mac Pro would not have Thunderbolt, though.
     
  20. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
  21. accessoriesguy macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2011
    #23
    your a beautiful person :D

    have you considered just getting a huge A** powerful server? and then making a powerful build and hooking it up to that server.

    Example Mac Pro => Xraid server :)<

    alright in all seriousness I would wait.

    Xeon server processors are soon to be replaced by Sandy Bridge E processors, they will be faster, better, and support Quad Channel RAM amongst other things, if your going to make a awesome build that you want to perform and last you should at least wait for Sandy Bridge E. They were announced for the 4th quarter I believe, and will probably be released before Christmas (for holiday shopping reasons). So yeah there will be a wait, but for that type of jump in architecture and performance, in a long lasting computer, a month or 2 wait should be worth it.
     
  22. goMac macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    #24
    XRaid is just a giant RAID array. It doesn't actually do any processing, and it doesn't actually do any serving in any conventional manner.
     
  23. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    Boon Docks USA
    #25

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