Specs for video editing

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by randomafk, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. randomafk macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2011

    I'm looking to buy a mac pro for the purpose of video editing with final cut pro and etc.

    What kinds of specs would be ideal? Do I want to get a 6 core 3.33 ghz intel xeon processor for instance or an ATI radeon 5870? Most importantly, what kind of performance increases would I see in more expensive hardware?

    My budget is pretty high but i'm trying to keep it less than $4500.

  2. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    5870. 8 gigs of RAM. As many cores as you can afford. Probably a dual CPU version over a single CPU version if you're worried about expandability.

    SSDs are also a worthy upgrade, but a little less important than the above.
  3. cluthz macrumors 68040


    Jun 15, 2004
  4. randomafk thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2011
    so would say, 2 4core 2.4ghz cpus be better than a 6 core 3.3ghz cpu?
  5. johnnymg macrumors 65816


    Nov 16, 2008
    This has been debated MANY times and it's often stated that the 3.3GHz Hex is "faster" than the entry-mid speed dual processor units and a step-2 behind the highest speed dual.

  6. apeden macrumors member

    Jul 21, 2011
    The 6 core one is faster then the 8 core 2.4ghz one
  7. blunti macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2011
    how soon do you NEED the MP?
    We are expecting the new Pros soon, might wanna wait a bit. Seems like it will be worth the wait...
  8. randomafk thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2011
    I'm willing to wait a bit, but when is it scheduled to be released?

    ANd i guess i'll go with 6x3.33ghz then
  9. wonderspark macrumors 68040


    Feb 4, 2010
    I have an older 3.33GHz quad (not hex) with 16GB of RAM, ATI 5870, and an Areca RAID card for an 8-bay tower of drives, and I do pretty well with HD footage. I use mostly After Effects and Premiere CS5, and I also have a GTX285 which I almost never use despite the CUDA feature. (It doesn't help me in After Effects at all, and I do fine with Premiere and 5870.)

    RAM is cheap enough now that I'm about to up my RAM to 32GB, so I'd get as much as you can afford from a place like OWC. My RAID3 sees sustained data throughput speeds of ~700MB/second read, ~750MB/second write. I also have a 3x1TB RAID0 internally for my scratch disk, and it gets ~330MB/sec read/write sustained. The OS is on the stock 640GB drive. This setup works incredibly well for HD.

    If I were building a Mac today for HD editing, I'd get the 3.33GHz 6-core, 32GB of RAM, and the same RAID setup, maybe using SSDs instead of 7200rpm drives in my internal RAID. I'd definitely try to pick up a refurbished Mac Pro before buying brand new. You could get that refurbished 2010 quad for $2119 that's been sitting there for weeks, and upgrade it to a 3.33 or 3.46 6-core and save a ton of money right there. (I would have snagged it long ago if I didn't love my current system.)

    I built this up over the course of 18 months, but started with just the 4870, 16GB of RAM and the internal 3TB RAID0. In that first setup, I was able to effortlessly edit DVCProHD 1080 footage into a 104 minute feature length movie without even rendering most of the time, even with effects on the layers. Eventually I got the 5870 and GTX285, and then built the external RAID when enough extra money came in from edit jobs. The point is, you can build up slowly and make it work, if you make good use of your internal drives and external backup drives.
  10. randomafk thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2011
    Thanks for the suggesitons, that'll definitely save quite a bit of money.

    If i'm interested in getting nvidia as cluthz recommended, would the Nvidia Quadro 4000 be a good choice then?
  11. wonderspark macrumors 68040


    Feb 4, 2010
    It's what most people get these days, because of the severe lack of options. I don't think you'll need it, but that's my opinion. It will only help if you're mostly using Premiere CS5 or 5.5. It doesn't help After Effects, FCP anything or Motion. I don't think it even helps Adobe Media Encoder or anything but Premiere. It doesn't speed up EVERYthing in Premiere, either.

    I love CS5, but I believe the benefit of the Mercury Playback Engine is pretty limited. In my case it makes more sense to use the 5870, but every situation is different, so you should look into it further before buying that card.

    In any case, if you had to choose that card or RAM, you should choose RAM.
  12. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Unless you're primarily editing under Premiere, the 5870 is a better choice.

    Despite what Cluthz said, After Effects will not take advantage of the Quadro. Only Premiere.
  13. pjandres macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2010

    I was faced with the same decision last January but got sticker shock. I decided to build my own using:
    Xeon 6-core W3680 (3.3 ghz)
    24GB RAM
    ATI 5870 w/ 2GB
    10k rpm system disk (Win 7)
    3TB 7.2k rpm data disks
    Plextor Blu-ray writer
    Asus workstation class mobo

    ... for a lot le$$ and even Photoshop CS5, Lightroom, and Premiere can't slow it down.
  14. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Which you can do with your existing machine via the firmware flash tool (turn a 2009 into a 2010 model). ;)

    Reminds me of some food items that comes in a box; instead of "Just Add Water, you get "Just add CPU". :D :p
  15. wonderspark macrumors 68040


    Feb 4, 2010
    Oh, I know I can... It's just that it's all working so well right now with four cores. I'm trying to resist temptation to swap in the six core until it feels more necessary. :)

    I was just pointing out that 2010 Mac Pro is a good, easier and cheaper route for someone looking to start now.
  16. TonG macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2011
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    Unlocking nVidia Cards

  17. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    You could just wait. FCP7 is still around. FCPX has promised upgrades to return features.

    It's a bit early to start making calls about where the video editing market is going.

    Heck, in six months Mercury could be ported to OpenCL (which seems likely.) In which case none of that card stuff applies.
  18. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    The ability to flash the 2009's to 2010 firmware now makes those a viable alternative as a buyer should be able to find one cheaper than a refurbished 2010. Something to seriously consider if on a tight budget. ;)
  19. ekwipt macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2008
    I'd seriously look at getting a Mac Mini with a Thunderbolt 27"Screen and Thunderbolt hard drive.

    2.7GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7
    4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB
    500GB Serial ATA Drive
    Apple Thunderbolt Display (27-inch)
    Apple Thunderbolt cable (2.0 m)
    Promise Pegasus R6 6TB (6x1TB) RAID System


    120GB Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G SSD 2.5"

    2 x 4.0GB 1333MHz DDR3 SO-DIMM PC10600 204 Pin

    Hitachi 750GB Travelstar™ 7K750 Hard Disk Drive

    Mac Mini Dual Hard Drive Kit

  20. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    That's cute.
    Take into account external case sleeping on your HDD's. I hate that more than anything else on OS X. Uncontrollable sleep patterns on the external busses. Wait, wait, wait, OK. So glad I got a machine with tentacles of cable around my desk.
  21. ekwipt macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2008
    Thunderbot is one cable for each device

    One cable into enclosure, one cable into Monitor, I don't think you could do any better with a macpro and it takes up way less space and you could be editing HD projects in FCP with the Thunderbolt enclosure.

    Then you could buy either a new Blackmagic or AJA i/o device with Thunderbolt

    Or if you wanted to cheap out a little you could get a new Samsung 3D display

  22. wonderspark macrumors 68040


    Feb 4, 2010
    2.7GHz dual core with only 8GB of RAM would be horrible specs for editing HD video, especially paying $3964 for such a system. You must be joking.
  23. ekwipt macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2008
  24. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Yeah. I'm not sure I understand the mini config. At all.

    Slow CPU. Slow GPU. ...why? That's Mac Pro money.
  25. ekwipt macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2008
    You may be right, how about dropping the Mac mini and getting the top end iMac then:

    3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
    8GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB
    1TB Serial ATA Drive
    AMD Radeon HD 6970M 1GB GDDR5
    Apple Magic Mouse
    Apple Wireless Keyboard (English) & User's Guide
    Promise Pegasus R6 6TB (6x1TB) RAID System



    Two 2.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon “Westmere” (8 cores)
    6GB (6X1GB)
    1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive
    ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB
    One 18x SuperDrive
    Apple Magic Mouse
    Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad (English) & User's Guide


    and that's with out Thunderbolt Drive and monitor

    I reckon the iMac would be a better bet

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