Upgrade for FCP?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ddixon752, Aug 24, 2010.

  1. ddixon752 macrumors newbie

    Nov 14, 2006
    OK, I have a Jan. 2008 2.8 dual-quad Harpertown - 6GB RAM w/GeForce GT120 driving an Apple 24" display. My heaviest use is semi-pro Final Cut use and since my switch to HD video am frustrated with render times when using multiple HD video layers. And, faster Log and Transfer, iDVD encoding, H.264 conversion, etc. would be nice too. I do zero gaming.

    I was all set to upgrade but with my current setup Geekbenching at around 10,000, I'd have to spend about $3400 (edu price) plus extra for RAM to only get up to about 15,000 on GB (hexcore). I'm just not sure it's worth it for my non-pro needs, although I'm still waiting to see Barefeats/Macworld real world app benchmarks. I don't have the budget to go 12 core.

    So, I'm now considering as an alternative spending <$1.5K on options that might improve rendering, L&T, encoding, etc.:

    -Bump RAM to 10 or 14 GB
    -SSD drive(s) for boot drive and/or apps and/or FCP project/media files
    -Replace the GT 120 with the 5870
    -Raid options? (I have to confess I need to research raids more - when I start reading about all the different options I glaze over. I need to Google for a brief overview, but I think there are options that provide faster disk access???)

    So, would any of these really help, or am I just being unrealistic?

  2. mackenziemac macrumors newbie

    Aug 20, 2010
    All would help in effect. Although I would focus on first updating your graphics card, which will help with rendering multiple layers. The last thing you should do is set up raid 0. Ounce you sorted out your tower then you should start looking into setting up some drives in stripped mode.
  3. GroundLoop macrumors 68000


    Mar 21, 2003
    RAM will only help of you are seeing a significant number of page-outs during your workflow. This can be seen in activity monitor.

    SSD drives will allow your machine to boot faster and launch apps faster, but once your data is paged into RAM, SSDs won't have a huge effect. The is the same for RAID 0.

    Upgrading the video card will only help for those actions that are GPU accelerated (which are few and far between in FCP at this point). The GPU upgrade will help out quite a bit in Motion if you use it.

    Unfortunately, rendering and encoding are usually highly dependent on the CPU above everything else.


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