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Best solution for upgrading mac tower (graphics card, and video card) to use Resolve 12?

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singleton makin
Best solution for upgrading mac tower (graphics card, and video card) to use Resolve 12?
on Mar 28, 2016 at 3:51:33 am
Last Edited By singleton makin on Apr 7, 2016 at 11:48:27 am

I just got a Mac Pro 2009 quad core
My question is more about this tower Mac Pro
I just got a eSata PCIe card so I can use my legacy RAID drives g-tech another LaCie four drive bay

But I noticed and have been told by the seller of this Mac that I have tremendous options of adding internal HD that would just handle media and he said it was faster than the eSata

Can anyone give me any advice as to which drives are the best for this internal raid
And also if the new Samsung mSata cards or NAND or flash ram or SSD drives for the OS are even lucrative options for this old of a Mac?

Also my goal is to get a video card and graphics card upgrade to enable me to edit with Resolve 12

I am grateful for any information about this upgrade path


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Joe Loria
Re: Best solution for upgrading mac tower (graphics card, and video card) to use Resolve 12?
on Apr 27, 2016 at 10:11:03 pm

All internal SATA connections in the mac pro 4,1 / 5,1 are SATA 2.0 not 3.0. Which gives you about 3g speed per drive bay, as oppose to 6g speed performance in a newer computer equipped with SATA 3. This means if you were to install a modern solid state drive which is capable of SATA 3 speeds, (a read / write performance of about 500 to 550 MB/s) into one of the hard drive bays, your speed would be capped by the SATA2 connection, giving you about half the read/write performance the SSD is capable of (giving you about 250 to 280 MB/s). This means that it would take 2 SSD's in RAID 0 on your Mac Pro to reach the performance of one single SSD connected to a SATA 3 capable computer.

In contrast, most mechanical spinning disk hard drives (say 7200 rpm) will never be able to reach the SATA 2 connection speed and average about 110 to 150 MB/s transfer speeds. So for the sake of argument, lets say you were to install 4 mechanical hard drives into all 4 hard drive bays of your Mac Pro and set them up in RAID 0. You should expect about 4x read/write performance of 1 single disk (about 440 to 600 MB/s but probably closer to 500).

Now its important to note that the 4 internal hard drive bays in the 4,1/5,1 Mac Pro share a controller that is limited to about 800 MB/s. This is fine for any mechanical drives out there because they will never exceed that limit. Unfortunately though, if you were to install 4 SSD's in all 4 drive bays, and set them up in RAID 0 thinking you would get 250-280MB/s multiplied by 4 giving you about 1000 MB/s, your speed would be capped by the controller giving you about 750-800MB/s.

You can also install mechanical and/or solid state drives in the optical bays (with a 5.25 to 3.5 or 5.25 to 2.5 adapter bracket) as there are two SATA 2 connections for the optical drives. Of course you would have to remove or disconnect the one optical drive if you wanted to use both for hard drives. Other wise you can keep the top optical drive and place a hard drive in the bottom optical bay. Or you can remove the optical drive, buy an external enclosure for it, and connect it as an external. Allowing you to have 2 hard drives in the optical bays. It's also important to note that the SATA 2 connections in the optical bays are on a separate controller to the one for the 4 hard drive bays. So even if you max out the read/write performance of the hard drive bays with SSD's in raid 0, you can still increase that by using the optical bays for hard drives.

With all that said, you still have more options via the 4 PCIE slots. These slots are PCIE 2.0. The bottom two slots are x16 the top two are x4. Most likely your graphics card will be in the bottom most slot #1. That leaves you with 3 more slots. Now, there are a whole slew of pcie options out there for connecting internal and external drives at really high speeds, including but not limited to : RAID controllers, esata internal/ external cards, cards for adding 1 or more SSD's, m.2 cards, mSATA cards, SAS, you name it, the list goes on and on.

Depending on what you plan on doing as far editing and grading footage is concerned, that will determine what your best options are.

1. What resolution will you be working with, 720, 1080, 4k? Generally speaking, the higher the resolution the larger and faster the storage needs to be for real time playback. However, this can be worked around by working with proxies and cutting your resolution down while editing and then exporting at the original resolution.

2. What type of file is the footage? Prores, RAW, h.264? Is it 8 bit, 10 bit or 12 bit? 8 bit h.264 720 24p would require the least amount of overall computer performance and storage space whereas 4k 12 bit RAW would require the most. Again this can be dealt with by working with proxies and such. Also, Prores comes in a variety or flavors to consider.

3. Effects and amount of grading also has a huge effect on what you will want to purchase. More effects, more grading, more editing, more files = more money!

As far as graphics cards go, you want something with as much memory as possible because Resolve is very gpu intensive. They say 4gb will let you grade 1080 prores with little to no issues. With 4k RAW you are going to have to work at much lower resolutions, proxies ect.. and I doubt you will get real time playback. DaVinci recommends 6 to 8gb cards for intensive professional work. These can be pricey and as far as I know their are none available for mac. You can purchase certain high quality graphics cards meant for PC and they will work in your mac pro with certain limitations. Or you can go to macvidcards website (very reputable) and check out what they have available.

CPU's and memory are also extremely important. You said you have a quad core which means you have a single CPU. This will have an impact on your limitations. When it comes to video editing, more cores = better performance. And in most cases the same goes with RAM.

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singleton makin
Re: Best solution for upgrading mac tower (graphics card, and video card) to use Resolve 12?
on Apr 28, 2016 at 6:48:36 am

Thanks for the guide this is very helpful!!!!!

Few questions since I have changed a few things

1. 12 core Mac 5,1 now instead of the other weaker one.
2. Pcie with m.2 512GB flash ram ssd for OSX and resolve 12
3. M4000 nvidia card for getting my feet wet with CUDA and Resolve it's half the price of Titan X and half. CUDA
4. Deck link extreme 4K card installed

Now which is best pcie card for storage?
Please send me a link for ATTO vs. Others and fibre channel vs other cheaper solutions.

Also with this flash ram Running OSx and resolve

Is it not possible to max out the RAM AND USE RAM DISK for fastest processing possible?
Of course backup for later safety and when machine is off

But what about on set quick form shoot dit edit then color grade then output!? For short form media?

Thanks again

I'm comparing this to a flame I know but 15, eo 60 max 90 secs is what I need.

Cutting a feature OK then you need a fibre channel or can out please tell me the best case pcie scenario for external or internal raids? Thanks again

Wow would another pcie m.2 at 2TB just be a blade runner cutting beast?

Singleton Makin
"observe the masses and do the opposite!"

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singleton makin
Re: Best solution for upgrading mac tower (graphics card, and video card) to use Resolve 12?
on May 7, 2016 at 6:20:13 am

Joe Loria on Apr 27, 2016 at 10:11:03 pm wrote a wonderful reply

Thank You Sir Joe! I am grateful! for your patience and your wisdom!

You saved the day in more than one way.....


Singleton Makin
"observe the masses and do the opposite!"

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