FORUMS: list search recent posts

Choosing a Mac system for AE/Premiere CS5

COW Forums : Adobe After Effects

<< PREVIOUS   •   FAQ   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Micah McDowell
Choosing a Mac system for AE/Premiere CS5
on Oct 12, 2010 at 3:12:56 pm

Been needing an upgrade for some time and now I'm in the market for an editing system. I plan to run Adobe CS5 (Premiere/AE/Photoshop... lots of all three). Right now we work with NTSC DV footage but HD is in the future within the next year or two. These systems need to last; they are replacing 8 (!) year old workstations and will need to last at least that long.

Right now I'm thinking:
Mac Pro (either 3.33GHz 6-Core or the 12 core if we can squeeze it into the budget)
24GB of RAM or more if budget allows
Installing an SSD in the optical bay as a boot drive and then a 4 drive internal RAID 10 for media
Blackmagic Intensity Pro card for video I/O (we mostly capture via Firewire or SD card and lay off to the web or hard drives, so it's mostly for monitoring & capturing the odd archival VHS)

Some questions I've come up against:
Is there anything about this setup that would be a bad idea?
Do I need a RAID controller card, or will running a software RAID not tax the system too much?
What video card? I doubt it will affect AE, but for Premiere it seems that Nvidia cards would be incredibly beneficial. Of course Apple no longer offers one, so which to buy? Do I need an FX 4800, or is that way overkill? I guess I may need to cross-post this in the Premiere forum later.

Thanks for any insights you may have!


Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: Choosing a Mac system for AE/Premiere CS5
on Oct 12, 2010 at 4:12:55 pm

[Micah McDowell] "Is there anything about this setup that would be a bad idea?
Do I need a RAID controller card, or will running a software RAID not tax the system too much?"


Personally, I'd get external RAID storage with hardware RAID 5, rather than soft internal RAID 10. Any of the manufacturers that advertise here on the cow would be suitable: CalDigit, Dulce, MAXX Digital, etc.

[Micah McDowell] "What video card? I doubt it will affect AE, but for Premiere it seems that Nvidia cards would be incredibly beneficial. Of course Apple no longer offers one, so which to buy? Do I need an FX 4800, or is that way overkill?"

You're right -- the graphics card won't make a difference to AE, but it will make a huge difference with Premiere.

On the Mac, your current choices are a GTX285 (if you can find one), or the NVIDIA FX 4800. Both of these will be obsolete later this month, when NVIDIA releases the Fermi-based Quadro 4000 for Mac.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


Return to posts index

Micah McDowell
Re: Choosing a Mac system for AE/Premiere CS5
on Oct 12, 2010 at 6:40:16 pm

Thanks for the info...

I would like to have an external RAID, but not sure if we can support it cost-wise. If I can, I'll sneak a CalDigit into the budget. Is there an important reason to go with a RAID 5 rather than a 10, other than tying up less drives for parity? I was under the impression that RAID 10 should have significantly better performance, though I might be wrong.

Didn't know about the Quadro 4000; I will definitely keep that in mind if it is released soon.


Return to posts index


Dave LaRonde
Re: Choosing a Mac system for AE/Premiere CS5
on Oct 12, 2010 at 6:46:38 pm

I don't know what the deal is with RAID 10, but RAID 5 has an extremely valuable attribute: increased data security.

Any RAID worth its salt has multiple drives, which brings multiple opportunities for failure of a single drive. With some RAID arrangements, that spells disaster. Your data's gone.

But on a RAID 5, the fifth drive is a parity drive, checking the other four. If any one drive fails, you simply unplug the bad drive, insert a new drive, and the array rebuilds every bit of data, based on what it knows about the other four. Yeah, it takes an hour or more, but you don't lose data.

A pretty handy thing to have, if you ask me.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: Choosing a Mac system for AE/Premiere CS5
on Oct 13, 2010 at 3:10:13 am

[Micah McDowell] "Is there an important reason to go with a RAID 5 rather than a 10, other than tying up less drives for parity? I was under the impression that RAID 10 should have significantly better performance"

I'm more concerned with physically getting the drives out of the Mac. Apple removed the iPASS connector from the 2009 and 2010 Mac Pro models, so hardware-based internal RAID arrays require custom backplanes or modified drive slides and cabling. (On the 2006 and 2008 Mac Pros, you just had to disconnect a single cable from the motherboard and reconnect it to your internal RAID card.) Software-based RAID is still a possibility, but I'd prefer to offload RAID processing to a dedicated controller.

I think that RAID 10 does theoretically give better performance, but RAID 5, even over only 4 spindles, is more than fast enough for your needs. To sum all that up, I'd rather have hardware RAID 5 than software RAID 10.

[Micah McDowell] "If I can, I'll sneak a CalDigit into the budget."

I'm a CalDigit user, too, and I've been very happy with their products.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


Return to posts index

Marshall Colley
Re: Choosing a Mac system for AE/Premiere CS5
on Nov 20, 2010 at 7:08:18 pm

Great a Fermi-based Quadro 4000 for Mac! It sure pays to read this site before one purchases anything. I've been hunting high and low for a GTX 285 Mac Edition to run the Mercury Engine in Premier CS5 on my 2008 2.8 Ghz, 16M RAM 3.1 Mac Pro. I've been leaning on making a decision to shift to Premier CS5 from FCP 7 because I use PS and AE and want to simplify learning curves and edit real time from a Canon 5D mark III (when it comes out..soon I hope). I scuba dive and want one camera and editing system to do it all. I love FCP, but Adobe's really moving ahead in many respects with CS5. I keep thinking Steve has something up his sleeve which will blow Premier CS5 out of the water with the next FCP Studio version, but right now, the water is looking pretty good for diving with CS5 and the Canon 5D.

I just snatched up a new Mac Edition GTX 285 for $450 on eBay 10 minutes ago and then come across this post that it will be "obsolete by the end of this month" to be replaced with the new Fermi-based Quadro 4000 for Mac. To think that I've written nVidia more than a couple times this past month asking about Mac support for my Mac Pro and they said nothing about this new card.

Where's my Irish luck? I guess I'll look up the info on the new Quadro 4000 for Mac and see how much is it' going to cost? I don't do 3D or play games, I wanted the GTX 285 for Premier CS5's Mercury Engine and any OpenCL improvements. Is the GTX 285 still a good buy or have I just blown $450 when a much better and cheaper card is right around the corner? :-(

UPDATE: Well, the Quadro 4000 costs a cool $1,200 ! Phew, my savings will most likely pay for half of the 5D Mark III (hopefully) and also from what i've read, the clock speed on the Quadro is clearly much less than a GTX 285, or a 5770/5870:

Quadro 4000:
Memory Bandwidth: 89.6 GB/s
Core Clock: 375 MHz
Memory Clock: 700 MHz
at a max W of 142 (power)

GTX 285 (Mac version - which was slightly underpowered):
Memory Bandwidth: 159 GB/s
Core Clock: 648 MHz
Memory Clock: 1242 MHz
at a max W of 204 (power)

5870:
Memory Bandwidth: 153.6 GB/s
Core Clock: 850 MHz
Memory Clock: 1200 MHz
at a max W of 188 (power)

So, unless the applications have been written for Quadro acceleration, the GTX 285 should perform better in many 2D apps, etc. and may still provide close to the same CUDA acceleration with it's 240 Cuda cores vs 248 on the Quadro...not really that much of a difference....it seems?

Any thoughts on the matter? Since I'm on a limited budget, am I better off with the GeForce 285 or should I sell it and save up for the Quadro 4000?


Return to posts index


Walter Soyka
Re: Choosing a Mac system for AE/Premiere CS5
on Nov 21, 2010 at 7:36:23 pm

[Marshall Colley] "Is the GTX 285 still a good buy or have I just blown $450 when a much better and cheaper card is right around the corner?"

Better? Yes. Cheaper? No. Worth the cost difference? You'll have to decide for yourself, but I think it's too early to tell.

Since the Quadro 4000 uses a new architecture, I think it's tough to compare it with the GTX 285 on specs alone. I'll plan on getting new Quadro cards for future systems, but I've got a GTX 285 in my Resolve system already, and I'm waiting on application performance benchmarks before I decide if I'll upgrade it.

Since you're buying a CUDA card for the Mercury Playback Engine, you'll see a huge leap in performance for your first $450 (going from no acceleration to the GTX 285). How much additional performance will you have to get from the Quadro 4000 for it to be worth an additional $750 over the cost of the GTX 285 to you?


[Marshall Colley] "Any thoughts on the matter? Since I'm on a limited budget, am I better off with the GeForce 285 or should I sell it and save up for the Quadro 4000?"

On a limited budget, I'd put the cost difference between the graphics cards into RAM, or storage, or video I/O.

If NVIDIA released a GTX 480 for the Mac, then our GTX 285 cards would be worthless -- but I don't see that happening.

Instead, I think that the GTX 285 will hold its value pretty well. There were only 3 serious CUDA cards made for the Mac: the old GTX 285, the old Quadro FX4800, and the new Quadro 4000. Since both the old Quadro FX4800 and the new Quadro 4000 are so much more expensive than the GTX 285, I don't think there will be much downward pressure on the price of the GTX 285.

I'd recommend keeping the GTX 285 -- it's still a great card -- until you absolutely have a reason to switch to a Quadro.

Just a reminder -- After Effects renders on the CPU, so this discussion is about Premiere's Mercury Playback Engine. None of this discussion applies to After Effects.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


Return to posts index

Marshall Colley
Re: Choosing a Mac system for AE/Premiere CS5
on Nov 22, 2010 at 12:06:52 am

Thanks Walter.

I pretty much came to the same conclusions. Since the GTX 285 runs at much faster clock speeds, it will be interesting to see real world application comparisons in CS5P and other apps not written for CUDA. Currently I'm using an ATI 3870 with a passive cooler which has been a great card. It's fast with core apps and even outperformed the 5770 in some tests I ran. I was hoping, however, to be able to run both cards together, since the 3870 has component and S-video out which I'd like for movies on my plasma TV and my Sony Pro analog video monitor. I realize the GTX 285 requires 2 power adapter cables and the 3870 uses one, so unless I go up to the optical bay and tap into that power connector, I'll be short on connections on the MB.

This has raised overall power concerns with my 2008 3.1 Mac Pro. I'm currently running 4 hard drives (system drive & BU + 2-1T Apple RAID. In addition, I plan on buying a Blackmagic Intensity Pro for compositing and playback.

Do you think the MP power supply will be enough to keep up with the power demand, should the 3870 work with the 285?


Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: Choosing a Mac system for AE/Premiere CS5
on Dec 2, 2010 at 9:10:58 pm

Hi Marshall,

Sorry, I've got no idea if that will tax the power supply too much or not.

Regarding the GTX 285 vs. Quadro 4000 discussion, there's another thread I'd like to call your attention to. For CUDA performance on DaVinci Resolve, the GTX 285 is outperforming the Quadro 4000.

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/277/2848


I can't find any new stock of the official EVGA NVIDIA GTX 285 for Mac online anymore, but there are a few eBay sellers listing PC GTX 285s which have been re-flashed for use on Macs. Reports on the DaVinci forum is that they work flawlessly.

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/277/1488

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


Return to posts index


Marshall Colley
Re: Choosing a Mac system for AE/Premiere CS5
on Dec 3, 2010 at 4:23:34 am

Hi Walter,

Well, I found a Mac GTX 285 a few weeks ago when a slew of them showed up on eBay and even Amazon. They went fast, but I got one. It works flawlessly in my 2008 3.1 Mac Pro.

The new drivers for the Quadro 4000 (also other listed cards, including the GTX 285) gave better Open GL performance then the older drivers they still recommend for the Mac 285. nVidia says you don't need to load the Q4000 drivers, but my tests showed they gave about an 12% boost in Open GL on XBench. The sad thing is that my lowly ATI 3870 is 20% Open GL faster than the GTX 285! , which shows the drivers for Open GL released by nVidia really haven't improved all that much. However, I went with the 285 to get Mercury Engine acceleration in Premier CS5, which it now shows as active. I haven't done any editing, but there are plenty of posts regarding the CUDA processing improvements.

So, it looks like I lost a little speed on Open GL applications for increased speed in rendering. Perhaps when apps are written for Open CL there will be better improvement, especially since the 3870 doesn't support Open CL. As to using both cards, my passive cooler on the ATI 3870 took up all available PCI space so either other planned cards had to go or I put the stock single slot fan back on which was horrendously loud. I've decided to just get a Black Magic Intensity card to view my footage on both the Sony professional CRT monitor and the Plasma and use my MBP to interface with my Plasma for Netflicks and all other entertainment.

All is well. I look forward to seeing how fast real time editing is now in Premier CS5 with the Mercury Engine engaged. Nice to see it's the fastest in Resolve should I go that route too.


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]