need some advice for Final Cut/FCE Hardware

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Dr Strangelove, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. Dr Strangelove macrumors regular

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    #1
    Guys I am trying to spec out an iMAC to be used mainly for Final Cut, Adobe etc. to edit videos for my website http://mmanuts.com

    I know I know, MACPRO is faster but I can't justify the increase in price.

    For Final Cut/FCE, what is the most important factor to increase rendering speed... fast hard drives, fast cpu, RAM?

    Was looking at the iMAC with i7 processor. Should I consider SSD for applications and a second SSD for rendering with a firewire array for storage and final files?

    Trying to get a grasp on workflow that will decrease the amount of time I currently take. Right now I have a MacbookPro with an external Firewire drive.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

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    #2
    Final Cut Express will run just fine on a iMac, Before I got my Mac Pro and Final Cut Studio, I had FCE on my MacBook, runs acceptably. The biggest slowdown is a combination of CPU and RAM - for rendering and compressing, you want the fastest CPU possible - nothing crunches numbers faster than a faster CPU (Hence why I stretched myself past breaking point to get a Quad Pro... - but if you can only afford the iMac, the i7 is an acceptable solution). Your planned disk setup sounds good, but would it cost more than the base Mac Pro with 4 internal SATA drives (1 for Boot/Apps, 1 for Scratch and 2 in RAID for files etc)?
     
  3. GroundLoop macrumors 68000

    GroundLoop

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    #3
    I would still consider spending the extra $300 to get a quad MP. If you ever decide to move on with Adobe Premiere, it would be nice to have the option to upgrade your video card to something that support CUDA. Plus you would have the ability for > 10TB of drive space in the MP. You could also install a Blu-Ray burner , etc.

    just something to think about.

    GL
     
  4. hsilver macrumors regular

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    #4
    I use iMac with FCP. Works well

    I have the i7 quad core iMac and a CalDigit Firewire RAID working with HD material in ProRes and there are no issues.

    You can send the latest model iMacs to Other World Computing directly from Apple and for $169 they will install a SATA port so you can use a SATA drive or RAID -even faster. They also will install SSD drives at same time if you want to go that route. Probably not necessary.
     
  5. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

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    #5
    Especially not for Final Cut Express...
     
  6. Dr Strangelove thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
    Why is Final Cut Express not considered as intensive as the full blown version. I have been using it for a year now and considering to upgrade to the full blown version but not sure of the benefits.

    The Mac PRO does not figure in the price of a 27" monitor which is also why the iMac is such a great deal. I have a 24" now and could really use another monitor for Final Cut editing in dual screen mode.

    If I keep my apps on an SSD, AIC files on the firewire/SATA HD and write to an SSD for the output, is that the best way?
     
  7. matteusclement macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

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    #7
    Cpu #1

    max out the CPU, it will always bottle neck. I know, I owned a iMac.
    Then ram. Buy third party from newegg.ca or .com.
    If you are going to color correct, do it over night, the GPU in the imac is okay.
    A FW 800 raid 0 scratch disc would go a long way, especially if you can get two and daisy chain them. Then you have a material HDD and a scratch HD.
    by the time you chunk down for that, you will want a macpro. Just sayin.

    A used quad core are often affordable. i can get one for 1100 Canadian. MP 2,1
     
  8. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

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    #8
    Final Cut Pro is a much much more complicated product in terms of the fact it is integrated with Final Cut Studio, and has things like Color Correction (either in the App or via Color) and the ability to handle a larger number of formats with a larger number of effects - it also has Compressor attached, I mean in terms of UI, thats the same between the 2 versions pretty much, but FCP is a lot more complicated in terms of what it lets you do.

    The Mac Pro may not figure in the 27" ACD, but it is a much faster system (In real-world use, my baseline-MP and Cinema outperform a i7 27" iMac in just about everything I do by enough that for me it justified the extra cost), however for FCE it would be fine (I do a lot of Motion work, so needed all the extra horsepower).

    Your ideas about file storage seem sound - when rendering however, if its a relatively large project the SSD may not be large enough, but if itll fit, using it may speed things up.
     
  9. chrismacguy, Jan 14, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2011

    chrismacguy macrumors 68000

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    #9
    Or, if the OP wants a new MP, he needs to get in education (ie enrol in a community college for a single semester, get a "student" ID and use that), which would get it at a discount... (educational pricing is the only reason I got my MP5,1 for FCP otherwise, I wouldve got the high-end iMac, it wouldntve been the same, but it would probably pull close for everything but Motion 4 and rendering speed.
     
  10. Dr Strangelove thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    I guess the real question is, will the imac run Final Cut Studio just fine? I'm looking at the Macpro and it starts at almost $400 more than the imac I priced out.
     
  11. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

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    #11
    It will run it "Just Fine", however it just wont be as fast as my Mac Pro thats all.
     
  12. Dr Strangelove thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    Are you using compressor to do batch jobs when burning the final version of your video? If I have an iMac, what would be the cheapest way to add more nodes to the batch jobs. Would a Mac Mini do ok if just for the purpose of handling batch jobs?
     
  13. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

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    #13
    If your going to buy a iMac and a Mini, itd be cheaper, faster overall and more efficient just to purchase a Mac Pro. (Even the base Quad 2.8 would offer similar performance for batch jobs than a iMac + a Mini). However, id say that a iMac would still handle the batch jobs just fine (Personally I leave Compressor running Batches while Im in a Lecture, and "supervise" it using Apple Remote Desktop), how much stuff are you planning on compressing in a batch job?
     
  14. matteusclement macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

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    #14
    +10

    completely agreed.
    it sounds like the OP needs to lock his $$$$ into some GIC's for a month and think about this. THE MACPRO will be cheaper in the end and more upgradable.
     
  15. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

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    #15
    And dont forget its also much easier to add Storage etc to it in the Future. (RAID Cards as well as the 4 Internal Drive Bays)
     
  16. mwchris macrumors regular

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    #16
    THIS " more upgradable" is the key! That $400 price difference will mean nothing when a few years down the road you want to upgrade and have to buy a whole new iMac, or send it somewhere to get upgraded.

    Buy the Mac Pro, deal with one monitor while you save up the money, and you will be fine.
     
  17. Dr Strangelove, Jan 16, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2011

    Dr Strangelove thread starter macrumors regular

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    #17
    Well we shoot a weekly hour long show in HD, do interviews and a few other things. Lots of editing to do every week and right now the main thing that takes forever is the rendering and conversion.

    Were not making a ton of money on this just yet, but I do need something faster. Was thinking of possibly waiting for the next refresh in a couple of months. This would include an upgrade from FCE to Studio and either an iMAC or Mac Pro.

    Are there some hard numbers I can look at for the entry level Mac Pro versus the high end iMAC?
     
  18. martinX macrumors 6502a

    martinX

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    #18
    Rendering and converting what? Rendering in the timeline, or rendering the final output?
    Barefeats is a good start.

    MPG, too.

    Happy hunting!
     
  19. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

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    #19
    The only thing I think you may run into with the iMac, is theres no way to add expandability (RAID Cards or eSATA Cards) - Which youll want on an iMac as youll be running out of storage before long - especially if you want to keep the raw footage somewhere for archival reasons/bloop tapes etc. A rough comparison Ive made is a friends 27" i7 iMac is about 30% slower than my Mac Pro in real-world usage.
     
  20. Dr Strangelove thread starter macrumors regular

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    #20
    Do you have the entry level MacPRO or the 8,12Core?

    Also, for storage, I was most likely going to use a Fireweire, eSata solution for either a MacPro or iMac purchase.
     
  21. Dr Strangelove thread starter macrumors regular

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    #21
    Actually both take a while on my macbook pro. If files would render quicker in the timeline I could edit faster and if the rendering took less time when getting the final output, it would also be easier to get work done on a deadline. FCE doesn't let you do anything else when its rendering, I am assuming FC Studio is not this way.
     
  22. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

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    #22
    I have the bottom-of-the-line Quad 2.8 Mac Pro. (All poor student me could stretch too)
     
  23. Dr Strangelove thread starter macrumors regular

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  24. martinX macrumors 6502a

    martinX

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    #24
    The reason I asked is that timeline rendering (or not needing to) is CPU-dependent, but faster hard drives can let you put more layers in. Final rendering is also CPU dependent, but if you are creating h.264 files, you can buy usb devices that speed up the process considerably and free up your Mac for other things.

    You assume wrong :mad:
     
  25. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

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    #25
    +1 -Another thing Apple really really ought to fix on rewriting FCP (come on apple give us Final Cut Pro 8 - the upgrade weve all been waiting for for far far too long now)
     

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