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Need professional advice: I've been sitting on my Mac Pro 1,1 , now what?

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Bryan RobertsNeed professional advice: I've been sitting on my Mac Pro 1,1 , now what?
by on Jun 13, 2012 at 3:51:21 pm

Hi all,

I'm at a serious crossroads right now and can't seem to figure out the best plan of action. I'm a professional Final Cut / Avid editor working in LA and over the past few years, have only edited in FCP. I love it, it is lord but regardless of the differing opinions, for me in LA there just aren't houses switching to FCPX so it looks like it's back to the drudges of an Avid life... eventually. For the time being, I'm working on many projects and have stayed in FCP7 and work from my home bay quite often lately. I bought a 2.3 dual core G5 right when they came out and then had a director gift me his Mac Pro 1,1 3.0 ghz clovertown 3 years ago for payment on a project we were doing. My Mac Pro 1,1 has been great to me - I have 12 gigs of ram, a solid state boot drive and upgraded the video card to an ATI 3870 - I also run a 5 drive bay external enclosure for SATA drives via esata and a Sonnet Tempo card. The only thing that's been killing me is exports and renders out of my system which take way longer than they should and now I can't upgrade past Snow Leopard not to mention Avid MC6 (and FCPX) are 64 bit only which my 1,1 mac pro will not do. So this past Monday was my day, to get a fresh new redesigned Mac Pro with the latest connectivity etc. but as we all know, that didn't happen.

The question is, where from here hardware wise? I still need OSX to edit in FCP as I dwindle its use down, I love the look of upcoming windows 8 but don't know if I want to commit QUITE that much. A hackintosh or Quo computer etc. was what I was thinking originally but reliability as a system and compatibility with Avid has been a serious concern considering this is how I make a living and considering how my 2006 mac pro tank has been chugging along project after project without issue. Do I take one on the chin and get a 3.33ghz 6 core Mac Pro that's essentially 2 years old, new from the Mac store? Do I look for a used one? Should I just hold out for the "late 2013" mac pro refresh rumor and sit on my 6 year old machine since I could just continue to edit in FCP7 and Avid MC5? Any thoughts would be more than appreciated. I feel like my render and export times are becoming embarrassing but don't know where the best move is.

FCP / AVID EDITOR
Features : Television
http://www.DefiningFilms.com


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Chris GordonRe: Need professional advice: I've been sitting on my Mac Pro 1,1 , now what?
by on Jun 14, 2012 at 12:30:42 am

Unless you're really pressured to get a new machine NOW, I'd wait to see what Apple comes out with for the new Mac Pro. If for nothing else, just to have it as an option and do an objective analysis/comparison of the different platforms. I'd also be inclined to wait on the PC side, too.

Some specific thoughts:
  • We're (finally) starting to see adoption of Thunderbolt on PC motherboards so this will probably start a landslide of Thunderbolt peripherals. I think we'll all want Thunderbolt in our next machines.

  • We're early in the Ivy Bridge CPU life. Early adopters pay a premium to be first. Wait a few months and you could save some money. Regretfully the Xeon CPUs in the Mac Pros and other high end "workstations" don't come down too much in price over their life.

  • If you're considering Windows 8, let it get released and get hardware with it pre-installed. Not that I like the install that PC makers do, but it will ensure you get hardware that is really up to snuff with drivers for Win8 and not something you have to shoe horn together.


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    Craig AlanRe: Need professional advice: I've been sitting on my Mac Pro 1,1 , now what?
    by on Jun 14, 2012 at 2:01:13 am

    Has your exports and renders out slowed down lately or just not keeping up with the amount of work you have?

    I don't see FCP 7 going away in the next year and if it keeps jobs coming your way I think you can afford to wait it out. I have a Mac Pro 4,1 2 x 2.66 and it handles all three programs very nicely. Maybe your best bet is a used Mac Pro that meets your spec needs. If you just need a Mac to learn AVID 6 and FCP X then any current Mac will do. A year from now we all should know what platform and apps have replaced FCP 7 and what platform and hardware is the latest best way to run them.

    MacPro4,1 2.66GHz 8 core 12gigs of ram. GPU: Nvidia Geoforce GT120 with Vram 512. OS X 10.6.x; Camcorders: Panasonic AG-HPX170, Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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    Bryan RobertsRe: Need professional advice: I've been sitting on my Mac Pro 1,1 , now what?
    by on Jun 14, 2012 at 2:13:38 am

    Thanks guys,

    I actually started on Avid and cut several broadcast shows years and years back (never a power user but was able to deliver on deadlines) but then made the switch and moved out to LA and since have been a FCP faithful. I don't plan to even delve into FCPX as every post house is seeming like they're going to shun it and if I'm going to need to learn new keyboard shortcuts all over, file structure and build new memory muscle, I'll put my time towards Avid since it's so well established and committed to keeping things the same (for better and worse)... once I gradually move away from FCP7.

    The need is more that lately, I've had tons of exports when deadlines approach and I always must let my machine export overnight which is getting old. I also must plan carefully when deadlines are extremely tight by making sure everything has been completely rendered before an export. It's just gotten to be a bit silly when the slow down is on my end and my clients are paying well.

    It sounds like I need to find a used 2010 Mac Pro for a decent price and then wait it out with that machine. I gather, the silliest thing to do would be purchase a "new" Mac Pro at full price when a used 2010 will get me the same speed or try to make a hackintosh work perfectly when I make my living editing - it seems like the reliability would be a constant issue, or worry.

    FCP / AVID EDITOR
    Features : Television
    http://www.DefiningFilms.com


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    Gary HuffRe: Need professional advice: I've been sitting on my Mac Pro 1,1 , now what?
    by on Jun 15, 2012 at 6:22:04 am

    [Bryan Roberts] " sounds like I need to find a used 2010 Mac Pro for a decent price and then wait it out with that machine."

    I think that is a great idea.


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    Everest MokaeffRe: Need professional advice: I've been sitting on my Mac Pro 1,1 , now what?
    by on Jun 15, 2012 at 8:15:54 pm

    If money is not issue, and I believe that's your case, it's good idea to buy second-hand tower to speed up your renders.

    Production and Postproduction in Moscow
    http://www.mokaeff.com


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    Bryan RobertsRe: Need professional advice: I've been sitting on my Mac Pro 1,1 , now what?
    by on Jun 16, 2012 at 6:41:42 pm

    After looking at some used towers - can someone chime in on where the biggest render bump comes from or really, where a used sweetspot might be? It seems like processor speed is an important factor and based on bare feats, 8 cores seem to do better than 4 and obviously it needs to be 64 bit and not 32... but what about chip architecture? Nahalem, I cant seem to lock down what would be a substantial bump from my 06 3 ghz mac pro dual proc dual core but where the returns diminish. Thoughts? Thanks guys!

    FCP / AVID EDITOR
    Features : Television
    http://www.DefiningFilms.com


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    Everest MokaeffRe: Need professional advice: I've been sitting on my Mac Pro 1,1 , now what?
    by on Jun 16, 2012 at 7:46:47 pm

    I'd rather steer clear of Nahalem and focus my search on Westmere - this is where the raw power at the moment resides. I believe you can find some year old second-hand tower at affordable price. And look only for dual cpu architecture. Anyways it's your wallet and it's up to you to decide what price is affordable and reasonable.
    BTW, I too have MacPro 1,1 and many argue that it's the best Intel mac made by Apple ever since they shied away from PPCs. Everything that came after was 101 marketing. I still hold down to mine dearly.

    Production and Postproduction in Moscow
    http://www.mokaeff.com


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    Bryan RobertsRe: Need professional advice: I've been sitting on my Mac Pro 1,1 , now what?
    by on Jun 16, 2012 at 11:14:31 pm

    Alright, I think I have it nailed down - 2009 2.93 Nehalem Octo, they seem tough to find though, hoping to find one for around $2k...

    FCP / AVID EDITOR
    Features : Television
    http://www.DefiningFilms.com


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    Nigel BeaumontRe: Need professional advice: I've been sitting on my Mac Pro 1,1 , now what?
    by on Jun 25, 2012 at 7:33:44 pm

    Don't know if this is helpful - I have a 2006 3.0 MP and FCPX runs fine on it.

    Nigel Beaumont

    Mac Pro Quad 3.0Ghz 12GB FCS 3 OSX 10.6.7, Aja IO, some black cables&shiny firewire drives

    "Ofcourse it'll be finished in time for tx"


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