Sell fully loaded new MBP for MP? Heavy AE work

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by rawdawg, Apr 2, 2010.

  1. rawdawg macrumors 6502

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    #1
    Last summer I bought the newest and greatest 17" MBP (specifically with ExpressCard to retain eSATA capabilities) to replace my old Dual G4. I've since started doing more complicated and large sized image sequences in AE. My MBP has become Frankenstein with a hot Sonnet Pro eSATA card, RAID 0, 8GB RAM, dual monitors, and virtually every other connection port in use-- I may as well bought a desktop but it's good for the rare times I travel.

    As I've upgraded I've wondered if I should have just bought a MP yet I still keep spending money on upgrades. I know AE has multithreading abilities and I thought you could use it over network (like multiple computers with compressor using Qmaster). Does anyone have experience settng this up and is it easy?

    The old plan was to get a Mac Mini to use as a render farm, but now I'm wondering if an older MP would work, but I don't even know if my idea is sound. Or should I sell my loaded MBP and buy a MP (and a MB for portable use)? If the idea of using an older MP over a network is good does anyone with experience feel it's worth it to get an older 8-core instead of a newer 4-core?-- I read an old shootout on barefeats saying an older 8-core can outperform early 2009 4-cores and leave money for more RAM. ( But the same article had a confusing blurb about sometimes less RAM is faster than more....)
     
  2. matteusclement macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

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    #2
    But it's good for the rare times I travel

    I think that line kind of sums up your needs. I too was in that situation and then I just bit the bullet and sold my laptop. For a while I missed it so much, but by the time my MP was running Raid with a kick ass video card, there was no looking back because I didn't need to do stuff on the road, I just did it all at home because it was so fast.

    MP = more power = less rendering time = more done in shorter time

    Not sure where you live, but your best choice might be to go to a authorized mac reseller and trade in your MBP towards the MP. I have a feeling you will not get nearly the worth of your MBP back on the open market. I know that 8gigs of ram alone is a huge chunk of change.

    Not sure if AE is CPU heavy or GPU heavy, but a beefier graphics card is always an easy upgrade. (I love my ATI HD4870)
     
  3. matteusclement macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

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  4. rawdawg thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #4
    thanks for the feedback.

    Does anyone know how easy it would be to get an older MP and control it with my MBP assigning render tasks to it?
     
  5. matteusclement macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

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    #5
    super easy. you have to set you MBP to the Master render cluster and the MP to the slave or added cluster.
    it's in applications: apple qmaster set up.
    that is... if it like compressor for final cut.
    WARNING: last time i used qmaster, it was a delicate little monster that had to be set up right or cleared then set up again.

    google "qmaster cluster set up"
     
  6. rawdawg thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #6
    Thanks so much for letting me know! Have you set it up for After Effects also? I imagine Apple would have made it easy for their qmaster program but also need to use it for AE... It would also be very helpful to use it for Lightroom.

    By setting MBP as master render cluster and the MP as slave does that mean it "first" uses the MBP and only goes to the MP when it needs to? Because I would prefer it to use the faster (although older) MP first to free up my MBP for other computing.

    Someone else told me I should consider getting a Windows box for rendering AE. He said the crossplatform issue shouldn't be difficult since it's just scripts and that a friend of his did it, although he had no idea how. I'll bet it would be a powerful and cheap solution, although not sure it would be able to work with qmaster. Does anyone have any advice to offer about this possibility? If it works I will be buying one asap!
     
  7. matteusclement macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

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    #7
    Buy a PC to render?

    So you're thinking of buying a PC with AE to render the AE files?
    if that is the case, I am guessing that it would work. Your other option, although some may frown upon it, would be get a PC that you could turn into a hackintosh for simplicity sake. But from experience, you cannot do render farms with hackintoshes.. maybe something in the bios?
    But I built my hack for 1200 and it's a quad core monster (OC'd to 4.2ghz).

    I forgot that qmaster is used for APPLE programs like FCP and LOGIC and I don't know if it will work with AE, I have no experience with it.

    What sized files are you using? THese have to be EPIC projects to warrant getting a MP.
     
  8. rawdawg thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #8
    matteusclement, first off, thank you so much for coming back to help me on this. You're the sole voice on this thread so far and I appreciate your help.

    As you can see I don't have a lot of knowledge about this, but I desperately need help finding a solution. I don't know if selling my new MBP at a loss and shelling out top dollar for a MP is a good idea, I don't really make a lot of money with this for now. I am a DP hired to shoot (not edit) but am starting to make money doing time lapses and would like to focus on this direction for the future. I know my way around FCP, would love to learn color, and am just getting used to AE. I use Compressor often with sequences I make.

    My files are full resolution (either 5616x3744 for my 5DmkII, or 3888x2592 with my Rebels). I create my compositions at 1620x1080 to preserve my aspect ratio and pad the left and right at export to make it 1920x1080. Having my source be full sized images allow for virtual pans and zooms. Using deflicker filters, sharpen, twixtor, and other effects take forever to render these sequences. Just stabilizing is a huge pain. I've been using jpg files but would like to do raw. Just exporting my jpg files from raw using Lightroom takes days for some of my pieces. As you can see I need help rendering.

    I actually didn't think of buying a PC with AE and just using that. It is definitely an option but it wouldn't support FCS and compressor. Is that the simplest and cheapest option? Originally I was thinking about networking it with my Mac, there's an obvious crossplatform issue but my friend said it could be done.

    You say a hackintosh is good for simplicity sake, how do you mean? The fact it doesn't work as a render farm with my MBP means it would be the same as buying a PC with AE only I'd be running OSX right? (i.e. no controlling it from my MBP)?

    And old MP would be an option. Do you think the PC route would be cheaper? I guess you don't have much experience with AE. But if you use FCP with your hackintosh and since it's not renderfarm-able, do you just use it as an independent machine (opening programs yourself as if a different computer)?

    For some reason I've been fixated on assigning tasks through my current MBP to use all available processors (on my MBP and render computer) but perhaps this is more complicated than I realize. Is it best to just use it as a different computer? I would love to ask someone like yourself with more experience what my options are. Perhaps I'm not thinking outside the box enough.
     
  9. matteusclement macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

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    #9
    Whoa, a lot of questions...

    I don't know if selling my new MBP at a loss and shelling out top dollar for a MP is a good idea, I don't really make a lot of money with this for now.

    I was thinking about getting an older MP that is an intel version. they retail here in victoria bc for about 2200 on the used market (barebones quad core)

    My files are full resolution (either 5616x3744 for my 5DmkII, or 3888x2592 with my Rebels).

    So you're just stiching photos together or are you using video?

    I actually didn't think of buying a PC with AE and just using that. It is definitely an option but it wouldn't support FCS and compressor. Is that the simplest and cheapest option? Originally I was thinking about networking it with my Mac, there's an obvious crossplatform issue but my friend said it could be done.

    This option sounds like it is a HUGE opening for problems and headaches. I don't know what your friend has SAID, but I wouldn't trust anyone unless I SAW it with my own eyes.

    You say a hackintosh is good for simplicity sake, how do you mean? The fact it doesn't work as a render farm with my MBP means it would be the same as buying a PC with AE only I'd be running OSX right? (i.e. no controlling it from my MBP)?

    I would have to try it again doing the render farm thing, but last time I tried, it tanked. I will get back to you tomorrow about that as I have to compress some video.

    And old MP would be an option.


    YES it would be. Intel is a must.

    Do you think the PC route would be cheaper? I guess you don't have much experience with AE. But if you use FCP with your hackintosh and since it's not renderfarm-able, do you just use it as an independent machine (opening programs yourself as if a different computer)?

    I use my hackintosh with FCP, COLOR, COMPRESSOR and all the other goodies with no problems. What seperates this option from the real deal is that I have been able to UBBER overclock my CPU (2.8ghz to 4.0ghz) and have things render WAY faster. My mobo supports this kind of OC and in the end I will have to buy another processor sooner than most, but the time I saved rendering is worth it. Sounds wierd, but I have thought about it alot.

    For some reason I've been fixated on assigning tasks through my current MBP to use all available processors (on my MBP and render computer) but perhaps this is more complicated than I realize. Is it best to just use it as a different computer? I would love to ask someone like yourself with more experience what my options are. Perhaps I'm not thinking outside the box enough.

    I was just thinking that if you have a heap of rendering to do, share those files and such with a home PC and render them on that computer on a shared drive. Again, the computational power you can get out of a tower is much more vast than a laptop.
    I have seen used PC's locally for 600-800 bucks that are quad core monsters. If you have the balls, I can help you with setting up a hackintosh. (prepare for hecklers....LOL)
     
  10. rawdawg thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #10
    :).... Man, sounds like an undertaking. I've always been able to fix my computers. I'm not a programmer or engineer but I'm savvy. Only thing is I hate it. Does it require routine maintenance or once I'm up and running I'm pretty good? Since you posted I've been looking up Hackintosh guides. Any you suggest?

    I've also been trying to find an affordable used MP... I found this one but is it too good to be true? http://cnj.craigslist.org/sys/1670580277.html I dont' know what these used machines are worth. But if this is more cost effective and not as hard as it sounds to make a Hackintosh, do you have any reading material for me?

    My files are image sequences in AE, but of course I'll be doing videos in FCP.
     
  11. matteusclement macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

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    #11
    900 bucks?

    I don't know what to say about the $900 MP. I say give it a try if you have the coin kicking around.

    The building of the computer is super easy now that it has been tried and tested with a heap of online users. Snow Leopard made it even easier. Mine set me back about 1200 and it's great.
     

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