Recommendation for best (and most cost effective) MacPro upgrade for FCP

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by treehorn, Aug 11, 2010.

  1. treehorn macrumors 6502

    treehorn

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #1
    With the new releases looks like I can finally convince my boss to upgrade the old G5 I'm using to a new model (yay!).

    Before I submit my proposal, I would love some advice and feedback, as I'm trying to re-cycle as much as I can.

    The purpose of this computer is almost entirely editing on Final Cut Pro, spitting things out to either tape for the very few people who we can't break the habit, or DVD (or uncompressed MOVs). Doing more and more converting the files to h.264 for people to either proof via uploads (or post on their websites/youtube/etc). Do a bit of Motion work and Sound work but the vast majority is FCP workhorse editing.

    Primarily working in SD but starting to rent HD cameras for people who are wanting it (and willing to pay for the privilege :).

    I am suggesting:

    • 8 Core 2.4ghz middle level Mac Pro
    • ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB card
    • Buying 2 Western Digital AV-GP WD20EVDS 2TB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal AV Hard Drive

    As we have a relatively new 1TB drive in the old computer, we will use that for archive use in the new one.

    Questions I have in particular:

    We will be needing a 400 Firewire card to connect with our Sony HVR-M15 (and another old) Recorder/Players, so any suggestions as to the best for the new Mac Pro models?

    We have an old Apple Cinema Display that was purchased with the G5. Will it work with the new one using a Mini DisplayPort adaptor (or is it really a bad idea to do so) As it has no dead pixels and still looks great...saving $800 or so wouldn't be a bad thing (and environmentally correct to boot!)

    The 6GB that comes with it is more than what we currently have (and I shudder at how much he spent for that...). I have 10GB at home. I'm assuming I should increase what comes with it (and also assuming I should buy it elsewhere). What I'm not sure about is what the best/most cost effective way to go about it would be. Buying 2 - 2GB sticks for the remaining two slots to bring it to 10?

    If that is the case, are getting two of these the best option: Kingston ValueRAM 2GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM ECC Registered w/parity DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Server Memory Model KVR1066D3D8R7S/2G

    Thanks for your help and insight! Wanting to present well-arguable budget (that will be less than what he is expecting)
     
  2. Erendiox macrumors 6502a

    Erendiox

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    #2
    Your recommended model sounds good for what you're doing. Why get a FW400 card when you can just get a FW800 to FW400 cable or a FW400 to FW800 Adapter? Alot cheaper, and will not consume one of your PCI slots.

    Is your old Apple Cinema Display one of the plastic ones, or aluminum bezel ones? The aluminum bezel Cinema Displays will work great with a simple mini displayport to DVI adapter. The super old plastic ones require a DVI to ADC adapter in addition. While this will work with the super old ones, I would recommend upgrading to a new monitor instead if this is the case. It's usually not worth the money (That adapter is 100 bucks!).

    As far as ram, I find the cheapest and most reliable third party vendor to be crucial.
     
  3. treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502

    treehorn

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #3
    Was/am considering getting a card for two reasons: 1) seems more stable than a cable or adapter, and since we are loading in video primarily via the Firewire stable is good and 2) getting a dedicated PCI card for video capture is usually a better idea than using the computer's bus (especially when other external drives, etc. will be using it too). At least that's what had been recommended in the past and seemed to work...

    The AC display is...I think Aluminum bezel. It was purchased right before the PowerMacs/Mac Pros went intel. I'll look when I go to work (see if i can find serial/model number/year on it)

    And thanks for the link to Crucial! Their price for 4GB of memory looks great....
     
  4. Erendiox macrumors 6502a

    Erendiox

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    #4
    Having a dedicated FW bus for capturing is not a bad thought, though capturing DV hardly saturates the bandwidth (25Mbps DV vs 800Mbps bus speed). It's not expensive at all though for a FW PCI card so by all means, do what has worked for you. :)

    If it's right before the G5s went intel then you should have one of the Aluminum Cinema Displays. Those will work with a 20 dollar adapter.
     
  5. xStep macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2003
    Location:
    Less lost in L.A.
    #5
    It isn't a matter of saturating the bandwidth. In fact it is the opposite. The bus will run at the slowest speed of the slowest connected device. So I've heard enough times. By adding a card, you add a new firewire bus that can be dedicated to the slow camera and have your FW 800 firewire drives work at full speed, as long as only FW800 devices are on that bus.
     
  6. Erendiox macrumors 6502a

    Erendiox

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    #6
    Hmm, I wasn't aware it worked that way. I know the port itself is slowed down to 400 speed, but will it really slow down all the other ports on the same bus?
     
  7. matteusclement macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    victoria
    #7
    if you do a lot of H264, get one of these.
    http://www.matrox.com/video/en/products/mac/compresshd/

    watch the video on the site and see why it is worth the 500 bucks. It makes it so that you can still work on your machine while compressing.

    the extra ram would be nice, but I like having hard drive space and back up. A good raid card might be worth your time so that you can back stuff up with a RAID1 and maybe even splurge on a RAID0 set up.

    But the matrox hands down is a must.
     
  8. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #8
    OP, what is your budget?

    Seeing as how the company doesn't update very often I'd look at getting a 12-core machine because it's the fastest one available and should have the longest life span.

    Yes, because the port is just a port while the bus is the pipeline that the data travels down. It's like having multiple on ramps (ports) to the same stretch of highway (bus). If the speed limit on the highway is reduced it impacts everyone regardless of what on on-ramp they use to get to the highway.



    Lethal
     
  9. treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502

    treehorn

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #9
    Everything I read indicates that 12 core is overkill - and given that $1500 is almost 50% increase in price...is it justifiable to do it (versus, say, that matox accelerator/processor....which I did web seminar on a few weeks back)
     
  10. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #10
    If you can upgrade every 2-3 years it could make more sense to get a mid-level machine and replace it later with another mid-level machine. If you only get to upgrade every 5 years (how old is the PowerMac you are replacing?) then I think the 12-core is worth considering. It totally depends on your situation though. I'm just trying to toss out food for thought.


    Lethal
     
  11. matteusclement macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    victoria
    #11
    Depreciation

    I am not an accountant, but doesn't stuff like computers depreciate over 3 years? So a 3500 6 core vs a 5000 12 core...
    3500 every 3 years or 5000 every 5 years
    15 years = 17500 for a 6 core
    15 years = 15000 for a 12 core

    It looks to me like your company has been around for a while and hopefully will continue to be. IN the long term of things, the 12 core is going to stomp ANYTHING that is going to come out (Like a 64 bit FCP). The 12 core with a matrox will last you WELL beyond 5 years, assuming that they don't come out with a new H.264 like standard... which I would like to think that matrox would come out with a new bios or something.

    of course, these are arguments that you have to make with your boss.

    PLUS (correct me if I am wrong), you could use the 12 core as a cluster computer and utilize it with a 2nd machine (or more). This could give you a central server to expand the business on. If I am right and your boss can understand clusters, then this could be a good selling point of the 12 core.
     
  12. THX1139 macrumors 68000

    THX1139

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #12
    Final Cut Pro doesn't take advantage of multiple cores (yet). You'd be better going for higher clock speed than more cores unless you use other multi-core aware apps like After Effects, or any Adobe CS 4/5 applications. If Apple ever gets around to updating FCS, they will undoubtedly go with multi core, but who knows when that is ever going to happen? Last I heard, FCS needed a total rewrite. Of course, you could always migrate to Premiere until that happens.

    So, to make FC zippy on a Mac, you need higher clocks speeds, fast drives, and lots of ram. Or dump FCS and go with multi cores.

    As for firewire, I capture to FW800 all of the time with a cheap conversion connector or cable. However, if you are going to have deck plugged in all of the time, it might be worth getting a card.
     
  13. treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502

    treehorn

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    #13
    He's wanting to go top-of-the-line to my surprise (he doesn't understand clock speed/multi cores, etc...heck, he still has troubles getting his PC to work). But his mindset is definitely "Future Proof" so that's good.

    And since the initial 12 core does have a bit of a bump on clock speed...there should be some speed bump in FCP, even if it doesn't take full advantage of the cores (I would hope/assume that Compressor via QMaster would be able to take advantage of the 12 cores...)

    Have memory requirements/recommendations changed with this configuration? 10GB was more than enough two years ago when I bought mine. And paired 1GBs for 6GB plus paired 2GB to bring it up to 10 good option?
     
  14. matteusclement macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    victoria
    #14
    Top Of The Line!?

    Top of the line? You must make a good impression on him!

    I have 8gigs of RAM and only After Effects Maxes that out. 10 should be enough in my eyes.

    Getting the Matrox as well?
     
  15. THX1139 macrumors 68000

    THX1139

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #15
    12 cores at the higher clock speed? Problem solved. Definitely future proof - although there are few protections for technology changes (Light Peak is just around the corner). It's "almost" impossible to change a Mac Pro mother board and there's not a lot of slots to be adding things as your needs grow. Nevertheless, the 12 core is the best value when you price out the cost of the components. Make sure to not skimp on ram with all of those cores. Wish I could afford one!

    As for ram, if I were you - I would load up the slots with 2GB sticks at the minimum. If you can afford to buy 4GB sticks that would be better because it will give you the option to add more later without having to swap. Try not to mix your ram. 10GB is still a lot of ram, but 12 cores might want more than normal. I would think the sweet spot would be 16-24GB, but that depends on what you are doing. Ram is really going to help with multiple apps and time line rendering in After Effects.
     
  16. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    #16
    I've been doing a little H.264 research recently, and whilst I think Max is a neat little addition to Matrox's interfaces, I'm not impressed by the CompressHD.

    On my 8x2.8Ghz I'm seeing single-pass SD x264 encodes run at five times realtime. From what I've read, the resulting image is better quality than what I'd get from Max.

    Given the CompressHD costs $500 and, worse, uses up a valuable PCI-E slot, and that we'll probably see GPUs being harnessed by mainstream encoding software in the not too far distant future, I wouldn't peg it as a good addition to a new 12-core.
     
  17. mBox macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2002
    #17
    Honestly your specs are good enough. It's the extras that start to bring the cost up.
     

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