Upgrade to speed up Video editing

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Greg M, May 6, 2012.

  1. Greg M macrumors 6502

    Jul 13, 2008
    I'm fairly new to both the Mac Pro and video editing. I'm using Production Premium 5.5 which will soon be upgraded for free to CS6. I've been running it on a 2008 MP 3.1 with 20gb ram and a 4870. I've noticed that photoshop, after effects and premiere don't even use 4 cores but they do use a lot of ram. The only programs that I've seen use 6+ cores is encore and capture one (my RAW converter).

    I'm probably going to sell my MP 3.1 and use my MP 1.1. Here's what I'll have in the 1.1.
    Dual 2.66
    12gb ram with 2 open slots
    HD 2600 256mb or the 4870 1gb
    500gb 7200rpm for main drive
    160gb raptor for scratch drive
    160gb raptor for current work drive
    2tb 5400 drive for storage of older projects

    Possible upgrades that I can see. I'll have $400 - $500 for upgrades.

    add 8gb ram - $200

    upgrade cpu to dual quads - $200 but having watched the usage on the 8 core MP I don't see this as having a lot of bang for the buck

    256gb SSD for main drive - $200 Once the programs are loaded into memory I don't see this as adding much to the overall performance. I'm more concerned about speeding up the processing of files than I am about opening programs. Increasing the ram is probably much more useful.

    upgrade the video card - seems for less than $500 Macvidcards can provide a cuda card that's suppose to speed up Adobe apps significantly. I just don't know which ones and by how much.

    I'm not sure what the priority for the upgrades should be. I know that by going back to the 1.1 MP I might be stuck on Lion going forward. That's fine. This computer will be for editing, not for "normal" use.

    I'm thinking this order:
    video card
    maybe SSD's down the road

    If I go video card then that's all I can do for now. If I go ram and processors then I can do both of them now.

    Will the video card result in greater gains then the processor/ram combo?

    If the video card then which one? I'd like to have 2 monitor ports (dvi or display port) plus an HDMI port.
  2. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    Keep in mind CS6 will use more cores and is more 64-bit across the suite so can access even more memory. I would not sell the 3,1 (what 3,1?) for the paltry 1,1. But even so...

    I would go:
    SSD - Boot
    Video Card
  3. wonderspark macrumors 68040


    Feb 4, 2010
    This is incorrect. I'm using CS5 and CS5.5 on my 4,1 that I upgraded to a 5,1 6-core, and I have to tell Premiere and After Effects NOT to use all my processors, or it will "see" and use twelve of them. I have it set to use "only 8" of them, which it does. If you look at your processor use while in action, you will see it using as many or as few cores as you allow it to use. You can also tell by the fact that it will show frames being rendered in multiples of the number of processors provided... eight at a time, in my case. I save "two cores / four processes" and 6GB of RAM for other programs apart from Adobe to prevent crashes, and it works quite well.

    On another note, I think it's a mistake to ditch the 3,1 and use a 1,1. If anything, sell both and get a 4,1 or 5,1. RAM is cheaper and it's just a better machine.
  4. jasonvp macrumors 6502a


    Jun 29, 2007
    Northern VA
    I thought we've already determined that you're not actually doing that for Premiere Pro? Perhaps you're able to tell AE not to use all of your cores, but not so with PPro? If you did in PPro, where did you make that change?

  5. Greg M thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 13, 2008
    Where do I tell those programs how many cores they can use? I know where to set the ram limits but I don't see anything about cores. I watch PP use 3 cores tops and encore has used up to 6.

    Ram is cheaper but the computer is more. At this time I have to skimp on the computer because I've what I've spent on the video and sound equipment.
  6. GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    You'll get enough for both to buy a 4,1..especially since you have money to upgrade either machine.
  7. Greg M thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 13, 2008
    This is getting off of my question. I sell the 3.1 and take $400-$500 to upgrade the 1.1 while using the rest of the money from the 3.1 sale to pay for something else, not another computer.
  8. GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    and you'll still have less of a machine than to sell both with much good money spent..

    Mountain Lion is not going to run on 1,1's so how long after that is there going to be support for Lion. As it is much of the app store (if you buy there) is Lion only and now we're going to 1 a 1 yr release cycle.

    depending on market you can get $1500+ for the 3,1 close to say $700ish for the 1,1 now you sitting and a clean $2200 subract negotiations $2000..that should get you into a 4,1 or really close.
  9. Greg M thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 13, 2008
    You're right on the price of the 1.1 but I'm not getting any interest at $1300 for the 3.1.
  10. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

    Sep 12, 2007
    For a kick off Premier Pro hammers all 12 threads on my 2009 MP upgraded to 2010 Firmware with a W3680, so I don't know what settings are wrong for you!

    And I have to agree with what others are saying.

    Sell both, put the money towards a SP 2009 machine, 16GB ram and a W3680.

    That will be faster than ANYTHING you can do to the 1,1.

    From ebay:

    Mac Pro 4,1 2.66Ghz: $1000
    W3680: $600
    16GB 1333Mhz: $150.

    Total: $1800, $2000 if the 4,1 costs more.

    Plus you have more up-to-date hardware with:

    PCI-E v2
    SATA II (SSDs!)
    MUCH faster than the 3,1 in both single and multi-threaded apps.

    If GermanyChris's values are correct how does this not make sense!!?!?
  11. Greg M thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 13, 2008
    Numbers are off. If they weren't then it would make perfect sense. Cheapest I've found a 4.1 quad is about $1300 and an 8 core for about $1750.

    I can't get any interest for my 3.1 at $1300. If I sold it for $1300 I could take maybe $500 of that to upgrade my 1.1. I don't understand why people are having trouble understanding what I'm saying. The 1.1 is worth about $700 plus the $500 for upgrades makes a total of about $1200 for a computer at this time. The rest of the money goes towards paying for video equipment that I've already bought.

    I'm trying to put together a decent computer to use that will be sufficient until I get the other equipment paid for.

    Is there anyone that can just help me with what video card would be the best for a 1.1 MP or would upping the processors and ram be better?
  12. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    People are just struggling to help you throw money away on the 1,1.
  13. Greg M thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 13, 2008
    You might see it that way but I don't see it as throwing money away. If I had the money to get a newer MP I would agree with you. I don't so I'm trying to do the best I can with what I have.

    A 1.1 with 8 cores ($170), an upgraded video card (can be moved to another future MP) and enough ram is a very strong machine. If it's basically used for video editing then it will be very functional for at least 2-3 more years. There's no need to move beyond Lion even though I'm sure there will be a way to run ML on it.

    I'm just looking for information on the best order to implement these upgrades to see the greatest improvement first.
  14. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    Keep the 3,1. BAM! Improvement.
  15. Greg M thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 13, 2008
    How? Upgrade the processors in the 1.1 ($170 or less) and then they're basically the same. Any paper differences won't be noticeable. The main difference is EFI64. The difference in RAM speed will not be noticeable.

    Well I thought that there might be some decent help here, guess I was wrong.
  16. deconstruct60, May 7, 2012
    Last edited: May 7, 2012

    deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    The Mac 1,1 is about to be desupported as Vintage by Apple (It has already crossed the five year mark after replacement ) . If there is a major failure you might have to buy a replacement 1,1 just to have a non-zero number of Mac Pros.

    This is like someone selling off their backup drives to help pay for upgrades on the remaining main computers. It is regressing and then sinking even more money into regressing further. If you allocate $300-400 to upgrading the Mac 1,1 that just puts you $300-400 further behind building enough fund up to upgrade out of the Mac 1,1.

    The fundamental core problem is that the video hardware can't pay for itself. It may be necessary to cannibalize your computer equipment to get to a point where the new video hardware can produce a return on investment. However, the return will have to be even $300-400 larger if you spend more money that your business is not producing now. There has to be some sort of cash flow problem if cannibalizing the hardware. That's should be a signal to cut back on spending. That would include upgrades.

    It seems unlikely performance is an issue if tossing a 3,1 for a 1,1. So the upgrades are particularly motivated by that factor.

    The best improvement is to dump the Mac Pro 1,1. Save up enough money to do that.
  17. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    You never defined what 3,1 you are comparing with so help is a little hard?
    No-one is telling you this is a good idea because maybe it isn't? Maybe you should look at your logic first before complaining. Users here are VERY knowledgable on tech and buying advice so not sure why you would ask a question, not like the answer, and then complain about it. Just do what you want. Not too many people are going to back you up though. And please what version are you comparing the 1,1 too?
  18. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

    Sep 12, 2007
    I'm assuming his 3,1 is the 2.8ghz dual proc, 8 core.
  19. wonderspark macrumors 68040


    Feb 4, 2010
    Perhaps a new approach to this problem might be building a new PC, and switch NLE license(s) to Windows versions. You can get a lot of bang for your buck that way, honestly. I understand if you don't like Windows, but it's just an idea. The CS suites actually have more features in Windows than in Mac versions, historically. Not sure yet about CS6 on that subject. Plus, you can choose from a lot more video cards at lower prices. The programs act and look the same across Win/Mac, too.
  20. Greg M thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 13, 2008
    3.1 MP 2.66 8-core with a 4870

    I don't need it to last years. If I upgrade the video card in the 1.1 I'll be able to move the video card to the next MP I get so that's not throwing any money away. By selling my 3.1 and upgrading the 1.1 I'll save money right now but still have a very capable computer. A year or so from now I'll get a newer MP.

    The 1.1 with upgraded processors will be faster than the current 4-core MP and cost a third of the price.

    I'm not asking if upgrading the 1.1 is what everyone else would do. I'm asking if upgrading the video card to something like the 570 would give more boost to Adobe software then upgrading the ram and processor? I've already got 10gb ram.

    My "complaint" is that everyone is saying everything BUT answering my very simple question.



    I fully understand what you're saying and it does make sense. However, I really want to stay on the Mac side even if it has a few less features and runs slower. Only reason I don't use a good MBP is because of file storage. That will change if thunderbolt ever starts (what a turd so far).

    One thing I'm getting is USB 3 and eSATA for whatever MP I end up with.
  21. derbothaus, May 7, 2012
    Last edited: May 7, 2012

    derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010

    OK. Thanks. 1,1 Mac Pro only has PCI v1.1 so that could be a concern as you would want v2.0 or v3.0 moving forward. Example is the 5870 doing very little over the 5770 so that may be a concern. Otherwise someone with same config can be the only authority on the matter. You may get lucky with a user. But a 1,1 with a hacked GTX570 may be a rare Mac indeed.

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