minum specs that could do video editing & RAW photo edting

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Sossity, Feb 27, 2011.

  1. Sossity macrumors 65816

    May 12, 2010
    These look like very powerful machines, but if I get one, I will need it to last me a while like 2-7 years, what would be the minimum specs or processor that I could do heavy video & editing of RAW photos, graphics etc without problems? they are expensive & notice that they seem to be highly expandable, so was thinking I could get a more base model & add things as I need them. Would a 4 core work for me? or should I go for more cores?
    will there be a refresh of these as well? I dont want to get a previous model only for drastically new better model to come out. I notice the mac pros now do not have the new thunderbolt port on them like the macbook pros.

    Any input from experienced users who do video & graphics input would be appreciated, thanks in advance

    new to mac pro.
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    What kind of video editing do you want to do and what kind of RAW photos do you want to edit?

    At work we use a Mac Pro 1,1 to edit SD broadcast video, we shortly had a Mac Pro 3,1 to edit compressed HD video (without prior transcoding, as it would have taken to long). We fare very well with these machines, especially if one uses the proper setup and a proper editing codec, which H264 is not for example.
    We edit with Avid MC btw, with what applications do you want to work?
  3. Sossity thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 12, 2010

    I work with standard def now, but will probably go into high def video, with something like apple's final cut/final cut pro software or adobe software.

    I am not sure what you mean by mac pro 1,1 or 3,1, what do these numbers refer to? do you use 4/quad core?

    the photos I have would be RAW files from a nikon DSLR camera.
  4. wonderspark macrumors 68040


    Feb 4, 2010
    Each generation of Macs are indicated by 1,1 for first release and so on. I have a 2009 Nehalem Mac Pro, which is 4,1. The 2010 version currently sold is 5,1.

    I edit feature length HD movies on my system, a 3.33GHz Quad, and it's been great. I saw one in the Apple Store refurbished section not long ago for about $3100.

    There are many things to consider, such as RAM and how many slots each version has, and number of actual cores (from four to twelve) which makes a difference depending on what you'll actually use to edit, such as Final Cut, After Effects / Premiere, and so on. I do better than just get by on my quad core system, and I use Premiere/After Effects CS5, but I also don't have insane two-hour deadlines to meet, either. If you have to render projects out very quickly, you should consider more than four cores. If you have more time, four is plenty in my opinion.

    Also, don't buy upgrades from Apple... I use OWC for RAM, and you can get drives and such from third parties at a huge savings.
  5. Sossity thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 12, 2010
    I have seen alot on ebay with dual core 2.66 Xeons or 2x dual core 2.66 Xeon processors, are these old? would they be fast?

    I see some are expandable up to 32GB of RAM.

    I am on a bit of a budget, & it would be nice to keep it under $1,800 for a base & then add on RAM etc as I need it.
  6. MattDSLR macrumors 6502

    Jan 23, 2011
    For what you have I would go with 4 core 3.2 and max out the ram, if you switch to high def and with in a year than go with 8 core as you could drop in new processors in there a year from now with out changing anything out

    6 will do short term and its one of the fastest computers up there right now, but has a very limited chip upgrade option
    Go Nikon!
  7. Sossity thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 12, 2010

    Can one swap out the processors the same way one can with RAM in these machines? so are the dual core or quad core 2.66 a bit too slow & limited?

    so I should go with a minimum of 4 core at 3.2ghz or 2 dual cores at 3.2ghz? I am new to mac pros & am just making sure I get the specs right.

    Nikon is good so far, I have the D7000.
  8. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Entirely depends what exactly you do with SD video... Although offhand any Mac Pro is fine for even basic HD editing.

    If you're doing heavy color correction, compositing, or other things, that changes the requirements.
  9. Sossity thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 12, 2010

    Yes, I probably would do some color correction on both video & photos, I shoot in low light & often have to brighten things up.
  10. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    A basic Mac Pro probably wouldn't do too badly on those tasks...

    What software do you use? If you use Aperture, I'd suggest upgrading the GPU.
  11. Sossity thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 12, 2010
    pardon my gross ignorance, but what part is the GPU? I know CPU is the main processor or brain of the computer.

    I use Adobe software, the creative suite design premium CS5, may get Adobe light room & for video imovie, but would probably move to Adobe video editors, such as apple final cut pro

    I will also be running virtual machines; through parallels desktop, windows 7 pro or windows xp pro
  12. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    no matter how much you want it to, a computer won't last you 7 years (well, it will physically be there, I doubt it'll be useful for work). 5 years is already iffy. 6 years ago we were using PowerMac G5's. the first Mac Pro came out 5 years ago, and those are getting old and probably won't be supported in a year or two. support for the newest graphics cards has already been dropped.

    anyways, how much power you need depends only on your video work. photo work requires nothing in comparison to video. not that you have a choice anyway - the only options worth buying that can be found within $1800 are the 2008 2.8 quad (rare) and 2009 2.66 quad.

    I suggest sticking with iMacs or Windows.
  13. Sossity thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 12, 2010
    one of the main reasons I was looking at the mac pro over an imac was it sees easier to swap parts like hard drives & RAM.

    My neighbor went through an ordeal with an imac, he had to take it into apple to have them change out the hard drive because of how it is built into the screen. He had iphoto '11, it kept crashing, & eventually the hard drive had to be replaced, it had 2gb of ram runnning mac os 10.6
  14. billgates99 macrumors regular

    Apr 13, 2010
    CS5 can really benefit from number of cores, clock speed, large amounts of RAM and NVIDIA quadro or gtx cards (you can use GPU acceleration for NVIDIA cards but not AMD video cards) http://www.nvidia.com/object/adobe_AftereffectsCS5.html

    see these benchmarks:



    The current version of FCP is only 32-bit, which I assume this means the following:

    - can only use max 3-4GB RAM
    - does not benefit as much from multiple cores, rather benefits from fewer cores that are higher clocked

    Hopefully the upcoming new version of FCP which is due during spring 2011 will be 64-bit and allow for some sort of GPU acceleration.
  15. wonderspark macrumors 68040


    Feb 4, 2010
    Honestly, if I were building a machine today, I'd build a PC. Now, I love my Mac Pro, but consider the following:

    1) $1800 budget. You can build a whole lot more power in a PC than a Mac for this figure.

    2) Adobe/nVidia one-two punch with the CS5 suite. Once Premiere Pro CS5 hit with the nVidia hardware acceleration, the game changed. PCs have far more options for GPU (video card) choices, and at a far lower price. Macs have a very limited number of cards that use the CUDA technology, and those cards start at $1100 or so new. You can still find used cards that work, like the GTX285 for Mac for about $400 (give or take), but it's getting harder. The nVidia cards literally make a 10x difference in playing back realtime video with effects applied.

    3) Final Cut Pro/Studio. As mentioned, it's currently stuck at 32-bit, and that's sad but true. There is talk that the next version that has yet to be seen is going to be "awesome," but even then, it has a LOT of catching up to do to even approach CS5, and what do you think CS6 will offer by then? I am hopeful, but pessimistic about what the next Final Cut will be. CS5 has no problem authoring and burning Blu-ray discs, if you install a Blu-ray burner in your Mac like I did. I've burned about 40 so far for the last HD movie I edited.

    When I built my Mac, CS5 had not come out yet, and I was on top of the world. The game changed, and PC has the edge right now. I'm a fan of Mac, but I'm also able to see truth, and willing to accept/admit it. If you're on the fence over Adobe vs. Final Cut, you'd do yourself a service to put some serious consideration into a PC. If your heart is set on Apple and Final Cut, then ignore all that and get the most Mac you can afford for now, and as money comes in, upgrade it to improve your HD workflow.
  16. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    there's nothing difficult about swapping RAM in an iMac. as for the hard drive, you can get an iMac and pay for someone else to swap in an SSD and eSATA port.

    or you build your own desktop and use whatever you want.
  17. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    For about the same level of power as an iMac...

    Only if you're editing with Premiere...

    With a Final Cut revision so close, I wouldn't consider the current Final Cut's lameness. CS5 is honestly not that great, it's hardly something to aspire to. It just happens to suck the least.

    Yeah... CS5 isn't so great, and the same features are present on the Mac...

    CS5 doesn't even use OpenCL, and it's pretty much a guarantee that new Final Cut will. That makes CS5 pretty much a non starter in my book. If CS5 used OpenCL, it wouldn't matter if you used an NVidia or ATI card. I'm not going to blame Adobe's shortcomings on the Mac.
  18. strausd macrumors 68030

    Jul 11, 2008
    I've always heard get the best you can afford. This, of course, means to take into account what accesories you might want later on, like more hard drives, RAM, stuff like that. I am rendering on After Effects as I am typing this maxing out all 24 virtual cores I have. So if time is money for you, definitely try and get whatever will increase render times.
  19. wonderspark macrumors 68040


    Feb 4, 2010

    Saying CS5 "just happens to suck the least" tells me that for you, goMac, everything sucks. That's a rough spot to be in, and I wish you luck. It certainly doesn't suck for me.

    I hope the next FCS is the next thing to "suck the least." If so, I'll buy it.
  20. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    In all fairness, the Intel Mac Pros in general are several magnitudes faster than the PMG5 towers they replaced. And up until recently with select software, the majority of users couldn't even harness the power of multiple cores and lots of RAM.

    For example, 2008 Mac Pros (3,1) are still very powerful machines though they are now 4 years old and I can't imagine them being exceedingly slow even next year. Sure the new Nehalem/Westmere/SB architecture has its advantages, but the difference in performance isn't nearly as groundbreaking as the PowerPC to Intel transition was in 2006.

    As a professional editor, I don't consider PrPro CS5 totally game changing yet. Adobe practically alienated a potentially very large user base by limiting GPGPU support to CUDA (on a handful of graphics cards, mind you) only. And there was no reason to do so other than to scratch NVIDIA's back as a business partner.

    Even with CS5's Mercury Playback Engine, I still know very few editors professionally that view PrPro as a viable replacement platform. In the end, workflow and interoperability with other trades is key. While Adobe is making pretty big strides in those areas, they're not quite there yet. If FCP (hopefully) gets GPGPU acceleration in the form of OpenCL, the tables may turn.
  21. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2010
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    6 years ago we were editing almost exclusively SD footage. Now we edit 1080/50i or 25p and that won't change over the next 6 years. So there is no reason that a machine that handles today's codecs just fine still won't be able to do the exact same thing in 6 years' time.

    At least with a MacPro you've got the leisure of dropping in HDDs, SSDs, RAM, expansion cards, at will and according to budget present and future.

    Edit: the next Final Cut Studio will most probably be using 64 bit and OpenCL technology and most Mac Pro machines will be able to benefit at least partially from this major upgrade.
  22. wonderspark macrumors 68040


    Feb 4, 2010
    I don't think this needs to turn into a fight over FCS vs. Adobe. By the sound of the OP's needs, either would most likely do the job.

    The OP has indicated use of Windows, is on a tight budget, and has no prior experience with Final Cut. S/he does already use CS5 Design suite, and wants expandability and power. Given these things, I think it's a good idea to be open-minded about the option of a PC as well as a Mac Pro.

    The argument that "everyone I know" uses Final Cut doesn't make it automatically the best choice, especially today. I'm trying to look out for the OP's best interests. What is the motivation to bash Adobe and sway someone new to the game over to FCS? I imagine one reason might be that the more FCS sells, the more likely Apple is to give it the attention it needs so very badly. That's great for you all who use it, but try to think about someone besides yourself once in a while.

    Adobe isn't junk, and neither is Apple. Advising a newcomer to look at all the options is just the right thing to do.
  23. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    Hey Matt. Could you clarify this a bit?
    If you have 1 socket daughter card with 3.2 quad in it you'll need to get a dual socket board for 8-core "upgrade" right? And if you mean 8-core single chip you'll need a whole new motherboard.
    How is the 6-core more limited as you'll have to get a dual socket card for it to upgrade as well? to say 3.46GHz 12-core.
    Or did you mean limited as in there isn't much faster to replace it with:)
  24. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    I've worked extensively with CS5 actually, even during it's beta period. Severe performance issues, and the Mac version is basically coded on top of a translation layer that in some places can even break stuff like copy/paste. It's like the Word 6.0 of video editing software.

    Now, I'll give it credit for stuff like 64 bit, and the Mercury engine, but Mercury will get blown out of the water by OpenCL in FCP. It's ridiculous that Adobe wants to make me buy an NVidia card for something that an ATI card is perfectly capable of doing.

    That said, the current Final Cut is also pretty awful too. Apple has really been dropping the ball, but they have an opportunity to create something without the shortcomings of Premiere, and possibly AE.
  25. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2010
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    What's AE suddenly doing in here ? And what shortcomings are you talking about... The one that prevents it from editing a feature length ?


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