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Ultrascopes on an old Dell Precision - Possible? Also future of USB3 support on mac for Pocket Ultrascope?

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Alistair Ferguson
Ultrascopes on an old Dell Precision - Possible? Also future of USB3 support on mac for Pocket Ultrascope?
on Feb 5, 2013 at 10:51:57 pm

Hello, can anyone help me out with some advice

I'm in need of some monitoring (scopes) for home use at the moment while I learn Resolve and was thinking of buying a new mac mini, a 1900x1080 monitor, an Ultrastudio and a copy of Scopebox.

However as I've not got a paying job for this (yet) was thinking I could perhaps for now save on the cost of the mac mini and re-purpose an old Dell Precision 670 workstation I have and just buy either an Ultrascope or a Pocket Ultrascope to do the job.

The specs for the machine are a Dual Xeon 3Ghz, 4Gb Memory, Quadro FX3450 - As far as I can see from reading up on this the CPU & memory should do the job but the graphic card can make all the difference, I do understand there are qualified cards listed, the above of course is not on the list but this doesn't mean it won't work... Apparently if a card is OpenGL2.1 compliant you have a good chance of it working, I cannot find out if this card is - does anyone know? Or if not what is a suitable card which would do the job at a good price?

Also am I better off buying a Pocket Ultrascope over the PCIe version, one thing I would look towards the future is buying a Mac Mini and using it at a clients office. The possibility of using the USB3 version for this is tempting as the macs now support USB3 but does the Pocket Ultrascope support the mac mini?

To pay the extra for the Pocket over the PCIe and to have the less capabilities, the additional cost of buying the USB3 expansion card for the Dell would be pointless if the future of mac support is non existent from BMD, I'm sure we all agree that the idea of a thunderbolt version of the Ultrascope is hardly a dream as more machines become equipped with it. So do I just buy the PCIe one and get on with things?


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Bob Zelin
Re: Ultrascopes on an old Dell Precision - Possible? Also future of USB3 support on mac for Pocket Ultrascope?
on Feb 6, 2013 at 12:43:07 am

1) throw logic out the window.
2) do not expect Blackmagic to develop USB3 for the Mac. As a big user of the Pocket Ultrascope, I now view it unfortunately as a doomed product in its current state with USB3. Hopefully I will be wrong.
3) how to you tell if your graphics card works with Ultrascope - only one way - TRY IT. "But why can't Blackmagic tell me if the card is qualified". I have been trying to get that answer since day 1 of the Ultrascope. You are on your own.

A $599 Mac Mini (or eBay Mac Mini with Thunderbolt) a Blackmagic Thunderbolt capture product and Scope box is an excellent working solution.

Guessing which graphics card will work for you with your Dell Precision is the real job here, but buy the PCIe version of the Ultrascope, with the "qualified" graphics card, and you will have an excellent product.

For more money, you can get the $599 Mac Mini and a Teranex 2D ($1895) and run the Ultrascope software on the Mac Mini, and you will also have a working Ultrascope.

As for hopes of USB3, and the Pocket Ultrascope - for someone that has built over 15 of these units with the Pocket Ultrascope in the past, and now can't find a single CURRENT computer that is comptatible - all I can say is GOOD LUCK.

Bob Zelin



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Alistair Ferguson
Re: Ultrascopes on an old Dell Precision - Possible? Also future of USB3 support on mac for Pocket Ultrascope?
on Feb 6, 2013 at 12:25:24 pm

Bob!
So glad you took the time to respond - from reading on here I know you're a guru when it comes to installing these products, so appreciate your advice.

I agree on the lack of advice / certification from BMD on their products in terms of using them with other hardware. Even if they allowed a section where other users could post their setup specs it would help, like "we're not saying this will work but... Bob has these working on xxx model of HP/Dell machines and Mary has these working on a home built machine with a Gigabyte motherboard" rather than us having to hunt through forums for the answer or as read on here the disappointment and fact-finding missions others have when they received their hardware from BMD.

BMD seem to make great hardware, which says it will do everything you need it too and at the right cost but after that it all goes out the window. I say that as someone who has bought 2 Decklink cards, thought a recent interview with Grant Petty was inspirational and looks to buy a Cinema Camera when they fix all the sensor problems - so I'm not nocking them, just disappointed that this seems to be the case.

I take on board everything what you say and wouldn't mind buying another GFX card from their supported list if mines didn't work but looking at the costs last night I realised that only one retailer in the UK sell the PCIe version at below or close to the RRP/MSRP on the BMD website, some have a markup of over £100 for the product versus competitors.

Considering that this will be a board which will only do one job and the support for which seems less than ideal - I'm thinking of following your advice at re-looking at the Mac Mini and Scopebox, This way at least I can use the setup at other clients facilities, the whole setup will be quieter (deadly quiet) unlike the dell which sounds like a bat out of hell when going, and the Ultrastudio can also have a dual role of I/O hardware for Avid if I ever want to run it on the Mac Mini.

I was really impressed last night reading a post on the Scopebox website about how the new version released Jan, 28, 2013 features hue vectors, developed in conjunction with colorist Alexis Hurkman. That's some reaching out to your community and from reading on their site they seem to have a real spirit about them - so would love to support that!


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Archie Fenwick
Re: Ultrascopes on an old Dell Precision - Possible? Also future of USB3 support on mac for Pocket Ultrascope?
on Mar 3, 2013 at 9:29:21 pm

Hey Bob,

If you wanted to use the Ultrascope going from the Teranex to the Mac Mini via Thunderbolt then does that mean you wouldn't be able to capture to the Mac Mini any clips from the Teranex, or just that you would have to shut down the Ultrascope software while you were doing it?


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